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Old 08-01-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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Default Boat smells

my boat smells like a urinal! I pumped out the tank but did not add anything to it. What is the best additive to kill the smell? Thanks in advance if anyone can help.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Boat smells

I would cycle some fresh water through the head and fill the holding tank and get it pumped out again. I would consider doing this a couple of times. Your water tank should hold more than you holding tank, so I would fill the water tank, then fill the head with water from the faucet until the holding tank is full. (I may even top off the water tank again). Then head over to the pump out and pump it out. Before leaving, fill the holding tank again with the water faucet and ask them to pump you out again. I'd go through this fill and pump cycle at least twice, and strongly consider a 3rd.

Then head down to any marine supply store and take a look at what they're offering. I, personally, haven't had much luck with the new 'uber-environmentally friendly' stuff. I've had very good luck with SEALAND products, and they make a decent deoderant. Check to make sure that you don't need to service the head itself. I had a problem with the valve allowing a little bit of holding tank 'stuff' to backflow back into the head.

Things to consider:

1) No matter what brand or product, most advise pumping out your holding tank every 5 days. I like to hit the dock on Sunday afternoon and pump out the holding tank and top off the fuel. I then dump some chemicals and about 2 gal. of water into the holding tank and I'm ready for the next weekend. I have a fresh, empty holding tank and a full tank of gas every Sat. morning.


2) I use more than the recommended amount of checmicals in the holding tank. If it tells me 2-4 oz. I use 6oz. (nobody cares how much money they saved when their boat smells like a outhouse.

3) Flush a little more than you need to. Think about how much water you'r pumping into the head with each pump. Now think about the diameter of the hose and the length of the run. 5 pumps will get your 'package' about 3 feet back and it will be sitting in the hose, not the holding tank.

4) check for leeks. This includes all fittings at the head and all the fittings at teh holding tank.

5) The old black sanitation line is more permiable than people would like to think it is. The very expensive white SeaLand santitaion hose is not.
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Boat smells

good comments there....that's for sure...when we used the head for the weekend ...and on the way back to my marina..I stop off at the pump out station and pump the santank...then I add about 10 gals of water to the tank...pump out again....I'll do this a few times and since new..we haven't had any problems.....I also pour in some of that stuff in the green bottle for campers and such....it really helps in keeping the critters from growing and off gassing into the boat....hope this helps....

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Old 08-30-2009, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Boat smells

Thank you for the help. Added green RV/Marine treatment and so far so good. I did find a leak though. :shock:
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Boat smells

Where was the leak? IS it the Elbow/Tailpipe connectors at the holding tank, hose connection to elbow/tailpipe, or the holding tank itself?

Elbow/tailpipe connector to holding tank: These are usually threaded males into a threaded female on the holding tank. You can remove the sanitation line from the elbow/tailpipe, then unscrew the elbow/tailpipe from the holding tank. Clean or replace and I used teflon tape on the threads. don't be afraid of it. If you think you've used to much, you're probably not there yet.

Sanitation line to elbow/tailpipe: Here some teflon tape on the barbed end works great. you may need to put the sanitation line in some hot water to soften and loosen it up, then use some 'Hose Lube' to help slip it on. 2 host clamps on the connection, and make sure you oppose the two connectors, if possible.

Holding Tank itself: I had a lak in the actual holding tank that I was able to fix with some marine putty/epoxy which could be hardened under water. This is the stuff you may find in a marine store that is a 2 part epoxy putty (white inside with a layer of green on the outside) that comes in a cylinder shape. You can break off a chunk and work in in your hands (strongly recommend latex gloves) until it is an even white color to activate the 2 parts. Then jam, press, spread, smear the stuff with as much pressure as possible into the hole or crack. Give it time to set then test. It worked great for me.

I have fixed just about every head, holding tank, line, connection issue imaginable on the road to resolving my head/holding tank fiasco. Trust me when i tell you it was a long road to craptastic.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Boat smells

The leak is in the head at the toilet. The previous owner replaced the Vacu flush with a manual due to problems. It leaks where the the inlet for the tank meets the discharge for the toilet. Smell is better after adding the treatment. I think it boils down to you must pump the tank at least once a week.
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