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Old 08-05-2013, 06:44 AM   #1
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Default Questions on a stinky toilet

I installed a toilet (which I thoroughly cleaned and bleached) from a 1981 winnebago, that I bought for parts, into my toterhome. After our first trip I started noticing a smell of sewage in the bathroom. I feel confident that the plumbing is all tight and holding. My question is could it be possible that the seal on the toilet's flush mechanism is dried out (due to its age) and letting vapors past? It holds water just fine.

I'll have to get some pictures up to show you all my build as it is more or less done. It is a 2000 freightliner century sleeper cab with the back of the sleper cut off and a 18 foot box on the back. It turned out way better than expected and way over budget but no worries. We have already taken a few trips with it and slept 12 people in it (we kind of maximized the bed space with loft beds that wrap around). Just got back from a trip with it this weekend and we were getting 10mpg with the 14l cummins n14. I was very impressed!
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
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if the blade or ball valve is holding water then i dont see how the seal could be bad.
where possible, we keep at least some water in the bowl - it helps to create a vapor barrier too (although the seal should be enough).

could the smell be coming from the roof vent tube (rather than the toilet seal) ?
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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That was what I thought as well but I am beginning to have doubts. The vapors are lighter than air so they should be able to rise up through water also they may be able to pass by a worn out seal that the water cannot. That is my thought but it is unfounded. I guess the best way to check this would be to yank the toilet off and plug up the opening with one of those rubber expansion caps and then see how it does.

If I drive around with the windows open and bathroom door open the smell will clear up but then after the door is closed for a few hours it comes back. Should be able to test it then I guess.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:25 AM   #4
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ive always been told DONT open the toilet room roof vent (unless the fan is running)....as it could circulate fumes between the toilet room & the vent pipe

i think if the fumes were passing thru the water, youd see bubbles.

i recently discovered (w/ a pretty full black water tank) that the infiltration of sewer gas was possible, when driving down the road....basically our tank was 3/4 or more full and i was unable to find a dump station....i guess the sloshing around agitated the tank and cause some sewer gas escapement. generally on road trips our tank is pretty empty...usually not more than 1/2 full at best so weve never had an odor issue before.

a few months ago i re-built our toilet (since the blade seal was leaking a little) i replaced all seals, added a sprayer (worthless, since you have to have your foot on valve/open to use it) and i even added the 2 inch riser.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:54 AM   #5
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I am assuming you have a roof vent pipe on your tank.

As long as the bowl holds water, your blade seal is fine. That wouldn't cause an odor until all the water leaked out, then gasses could escape. The water itself is the barrier. You wouldn't see "bubbles" unless there was positive pressure in the tank, as in no vent pipe.

I would tend to suspect the seal of the toilet to the tank/floor would be the culprit.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
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I do have a roof tank vent. The bathroom vent comes out the side of the room (since there is a loft above). I used a 12v boat blower so that thing does a really good job. Actually I have a few friends who cannot go without smoking on the road and I make them go in the bathroom with the blower on and you never smell smoke in the rest of the truck.

Back to the issue at hand, I do sort of suspect tank / floor seal. The first trip we took the truck on I started noticing the smell on the way home. We had 12 people sleeping in the truck and while there was enough bed space the tank couldn't handle it at all as everyone was drinking non stop all day. I went back to check on it after a day being there and it was literally to the blade seal full. Obviously nobody else was thinking about that. We got pumped out in the morning and then were good to go. This gave me confidence that all my fittings were holding but I do wonder if maybe some sewage leaked out and is sitting around the seal. It was the original seal from the 81 winnebago.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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Default Odor

I was having odor problems with my Renegade. I bought an attachment that goes on the roof hooked on to the vent pipe. It rotates with the wind. Kinda looks like a space ship on the roof. Long story short, it solved my odor problem.
It is available at any RV supply store.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:51 AM   #8
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^ huh I know exactly what you are talking about I was planning on getting one but never did. Seemed like there are better places to spend money. To be honest I really didn't think it would make that much of a difference. Guess i will have to put one of those on the list
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:12 PM   #9
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I had a similar situation that turned out to be the floor flange was not installed level because of this the seal (which is not a wax seal like home) would leak odor when the fantastic fan was on. Leveled the flange, bought a new seal and problem solved. Another item not covered under warranty-lol.
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