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Old 12-21-2017, 04:39 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Indiana
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THOR #10301
sewer smell because sink plumbed to black tank

Hello everyone. I am the owner of a Thor Venetian I bought last March. My unit has been in the shop and factory for a total of 4 months since I purchased it last March. I suffer from a sewer gas smell coming from the bathroom sink while driving down the road which is plumped for some inexplicable reason into the black water tank. I have done pressure measurements in the black water tank versus ambient inside motorhome and found that during braking the pressure from the sloshing of the " Poo" causes the belching of smell back up the sink that only has a shallow 2 inches in the u trap under the sink. I am currently starting litigation against Thor and Phil Houser at Thor motorcoach company for faulty engineering and shoddy craftsmanship and was wondering if anyone else has any similar issues they could share. My outside mirror came loose and almost fell off. Multiple cabinet and trim have fallen off. I have visible screws showing thru an out of walls, TV not working due to a compromised HDMI cord, seat not working because of poor wire crimps, Black water and fresh water connection when new that they say have been fixed. These are not all the problems I have had but just a sample. When I bought the unit and tried to fill the freshwater tank throwing the valve, the water came out of the sewer flush line. Any help or sharing of similar experience would be appreciated and Oh BTW Hi to everyone and hope you all have a good Christmas!!
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Old 12-21-2017, 05:28 PM   #2
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THOR #8860
Is there any way to re-plumb the sink, and create a deeper "U" underneath it?
I would think that would be cheaper than hiring a lawyer...

Good luck!
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Old 12-21-2017, 05:50 PM   #3
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THOR #7035
Faulty engineering for having the bathroom sink drain to the black tank like hundreds of thousands of other RVs? Good luck with that.

Poor workmanship is a no brainer, but that also applies to hundreds of thousands of RVs coming out of Indiana. Unless they refuse to fix the problems under warranty then it's hard to imagine you have a case worth pursuing there either.
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Old 12-21-2017, 05:57 PM   #4
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THOR #908
I actually like that the lav sink goes to my blank tank. Great way to get more water in there....and soapy water to too!

Also, about the stink.
It might very well be either a loose or faulty AAV (air admittance valve)
I found that mine was barely hand tight....AND it was leaking. A quick stop at a hardware store while on a trip, and about two minutes, problem solved....quick, cheap, and easy.

Good luck on your other issues!
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:15 PM   #5
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THOR #3186
If you look in the sink cabinet you will see a black plastic vertical pipe in the drain plumbing. At the top of this pipe is a vent that opens and closes when you drain the sink. This vent is removable and often sticks open. When stuck open you get the odor. You can get a replacement at any Home Depot etc. or online. There is another vent in the kitchen sink.

I think that hiring an attorney in this matter is an excellent idea, for the attorney and his family anyway. You can google this vent application and learn why it is there. BTW grey tank odor can be worse than black tank odor.

By adding the bathroom sink water to the black tank it creates more fluidity making the complete draining when dumping more feasible.
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:27 PM   #6
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THOR #5248
Again I agree that bathroom sink is plumbed that way. When breaking camp I run hot water in the sink while I am dumping. I get a clean dump and my sensors work. I also close my sink plungers when traveling just I case the traps do splash out.
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Old 12-21-2017, 06:40 PM   #7
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THOR #4735
It's HIGHLY unlikely that any sink trap will 'slosh' out while traveling, you're not doing tumbles or leap frogs, just driving... the p - trap is not going to slosh out just due to driving.... but, it IS possible that, while draining your Gray/Black tanks before leaving, the 'siphoning' effect can come into play, pulling out the water that is in your p - traps, including the shower and kitchen sink.
We've had smells before, usually WHILE driving and a window is open, or the roof vent is open... it stinks, too!, but is from the GRAY tank, which smells a lot worse than you might think! We solved the issue by making sure to run about a cup or two of water into each drain, including the shower, after dumping, and before traveling, ESPECIALLY if it is temperate weather and a window or vent will be open.

As for the lav sink draining into the black tank - it makes no difference which tank it drains into, as far as that goes. If you think that 'just because' it drains into the black tank that you have a special case, you'll be wrong. Many, many RVs are designed this way - it's no accident. The general reason is that is just much simpler to have the lav, which is close to the toilet, use the same tank. Running the lav drain plumbing across the coach, or down the line, just to have it combine with the other gray tank items is not always necessary. Ours does this, and I've never considered it any type of 'defect'... the engineers are not always right, but most of the time they know what they are doing, and the reasons why... though, it's true, it's not always immediately obvious to us users.

as for your other warranty or build concerns, that's what your warranty is for, and that's what manufacturers like Thor EXPECT you to use it for. They build RVs... they ship them to dealers... dealers sell them to you... you use them and find all the 'faults'... Thor repairs them. Relating buying a car, which is more of an 'everyday' event for the public, and produced thousands per day, is TOTALLY different than RVs, especially motorized RVs like motorhomes. There is way too many variables in each unit, versus a car, and they are produced one-at-a-time, by people, with no robot interference! Sad that some folks have many more warranty issues than others, and sometimes this could be the difference between dealers and their own in-house inspections of new units, but the dealer is also there to resolve these issues, even after-the-fact. We feel your pain.
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Old 12-21-2017, 07:53 PM   #8
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THOR #5112
Warranty and dealers will fix your problems? they are the problems. i agree with answers to plumbing and some of the other things . good luck and hope you get it fixed.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:14 PM   #9
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THOR #9721
Quote:
Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
I actually like that the lav sink goes to my blank tank. Great way to get more water in there....and soapy water to too!

Also, about the stink.
It might very well be either a loose or faulty AAV (air admittance valve)
I found that mine was barely hand tight....AND it was leaking. A quick stop at a hardware store while on a trip, and about two minutes, problem solved....quick, cheap, and easy.

Good luck on your other issues!
Where is this valve located?
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:20 PM   #10
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THOR #10301
There is 2 in of water in the u trap under the sink. The pressure in the tank while braking at highway speeds is as much as 6 in of water. This number goes up and down as the fluid seeks level. So I am to expect mirrors, cabinets and trim molding to fall off on a motorhome that cost about 3 times what my first house cost. I'm expected to re plumb the sink? We often take 4 kids across country and we were told to drain tanks before leaving and by supposition not to use them?

Apathy from consumers is what allows coach manufactures to continue to crank out this kind of crap. I'm an engineer and a medical doctor. Wonder if people would like the kind of shoddy work from me when I put them to sleep?

Thanks for the suggestions. I will look for the stuck open valve that one fellow spoke of.
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Old 12-21-2017, 08:37 PM   #11
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THOR #2601
Has anyone given you an answer on why the black tank is retaining pressure? The tank is vented and should not be pressurized forcing the water out of the P-trap.

I have a 2015 Vegas and all Vegas/Axis bathroom sinks drain to the black tank. In fact many other Thor models also drain the bathroom sink to the black tank. I have never had a problem with black tank oder. We have over 15000 miles on the RV and have never experienced any oder coming up through the bathroom vanity sink drain.

In your post the 4 months that was spent "fixing" your warranty issues -- was that at the dealer or the factory?
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:03 PM   #12
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THOR #5821
I am not a fan of plumbing the bathroom sink to the black tank, and wish it went to the grey. I looked at the drawings, and the motorhome, and it appears, because of the way the tanks are mounted, to change that sink from the black to the grey tank, would require violating at least one law of physics, maybe more. So much for that! I have not noticed any odor coming from the sink, so apparently the trap is working, at least on mine. Given that things do work, I will live with what to me is the inconvenience of the BR sink draining into the black tank. Still not a fan, though.
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:03 PM   #13
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THOR #8860
Putting that bit of extra soapy water into the black tank IS a good idea...
If the valve is sticking: that's an easy thing to fix.

The rest of the stuff that you're worrying about:


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Old 12-21-2017, 10:15 PM   #14
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THOR #1287
Could be the vent stack that is the issue--in winds or while driving the pressure across the top of the stack is keeping the sewer gases from escaping thru the vent. Especially if the problem doesn't occur when parked. We installed a cyclone vent cap, there are other brands and styles to choose from, to avoid the problem. Easy to install in mere minutes, and might be the solution you seek.
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Old 12-21-2017, 11:41 PM   #15
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THOR #2271
Try the Cyclone Sewer Vent. The bathroom sink is supposed to be plumbed to the black water tank to make sure it has enough water.
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Old 12-22-2017, 12:42 AM   #16
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THOR #10301
The dealer installed a cyclone vent cap and the base pressure in the black water tank is with the vent cap on. I don't understand why a black water tank would be pressurized going down the road except it is located in the downward force area right behind one of the roof vent covers.

The factory basically told me to dump tanks and apparently not use them on the road. Also, the work was done partially at a dealer that wanted to replumb the sink but was told no by Thor and then Thor took possession of the coach without my consent and declared it not a problem. Now the front heater doesn't work. They had to pull a new HDMI cable as the TV never worked ever!


Thanks again for the suggestions.
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:33 AM   #17
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THOR #9606
As noted, many RV manufacturers plumb the bath sink to the black tank for several reasons. It balances out the tank loads as most RV'ers make more grey water than black.

It also ensures that water is IN the black tank to aid in decomposition and prevent the 'black mountain' effect.

On three of our RVs, 2 diesel pushers and one fifth wheel, we discovered that the black tank vent pipe went too far into the tank. As the black tank filled and the level overcame the vent pipe opening, the tank pressurized.

It depressurized after my DW went to the do a #1 and when she flushed, it blew back in her face. Needless to say, got that fixed right away.

Sorry about all your issues. The RV industry is not like the car industry.
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Old 12-22-2017, 02:28 AM   #18
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THOR #1287
it is critical that you have a fully functional toilet and sewer system. As Jim pointed out, several threads on vent pipes improperly inserted, not connected in wall, or partially obstructed. Details on when it occurs (when underway, when roof vents or windows open) should help a top notch facility pinpoint and fix the problem. You need to make sure you have access to a really good repair facility--your dealer may not be up to snuff. Lots of threads on that too.
Re your TV--did it work during your delivery walk thru? Most TV's work thru the coax cable, HDMI is used in conjunction with peripherals like cable/sat box and DVD/BluRay player. My HDMI was fubar at delivery and Thor reimbursed me for a wireless system rather than replace the HDMI cable. My coax cabling had several bad connections as well.
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Old 12-22-2017, 03:12 AM   #19
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THOR #5196
The valves under the bathroom and kitchen sinks are called “air admittance valves”. Many times the valves are not screwed in tight and leak. Remove the valve, wrap the threads with Teflon tape and then screw in snugly. If the vent riser is open and not plugged then you can not have pressure in your black tank. I am pretty sure the smell problem is the air admittance valve, very common problem.
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Old 12-22-2017, 01:47 PM   #20
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THOR #9721
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
...wrap the threads with Teflon tape...
I have already gone through a whole roll of teflon tape repairing leaks on our rig. Either they were wrapped haphazardly or not at all. That's a good thing to have in your toolbox for sure.
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