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Old 06-25-2021, 11:09 AM   #1
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Nasty water

We just bought a '92 e250 that has been well maintained. but upon running the water we realized that it legit smells like porta potty. not sure how old the water system is, but curious on thoughts. do we just disinfect with the bleach method or go for a full replacement so we know things are in good condition. I'm more inclined to replace the tank etc, but I have no clue how to do any of that at this point. Thoughts?

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Old 06-25-2021, 12:04 PM   #2
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"porta potty" smell in the fresh water system? What kind of holding tanks does your van have? If there is evidence of back-flow from any holding tank, then of course you will want to consider replacing every inch of the fresh water supply system.

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Old 06-25-2021, 12:40 PM   #3
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Some water in different areas have a bad taste or smell. The water system should be totally independent of the black water tank if you even have one. My van doesn't have a black water tank but the sink can produce unwanted smells from the drain if I don't keep it somewhat clean. Also did you ask the owner if they used some sort of liquid to keep the water tank from freezing?

Here is an old post on water tank maintenance:
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Old 06-25-2021, 01:45 PM   #4
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Could it be an RV water system antifreeze?

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Old 06-25-2021, 02:39 PM   #5
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Bleach is the answer. Wasn’t it Trump who said……oh, never mind. Bad joke.

I’d bleach the system.
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:45 PM   #6
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Regarding bleach use in your water system - be aware that bleach is corrosive ! Too much could possibly corrode your plumbing fittings/chromes - causing more problems for you. I had read years ago that in a disaster such as a flood where local water sources are contaminated - using one (1) tablespoon (Tbs) per 10 gallons - versus teaspoon - which is (tsp). - would be an acceptable disinfectant to make drinking water safe.

I too use the - (1) (Tbs) per 10 gallons (2 Tbs for my 20 gal tank) when disinfecting and drive around doing the "slosh" method - and then add baking soda - or even club soda - for a cleaner, better taste. Then flush with fresh water slosh at least once --
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:54 PM   #7
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I wouldnt start replacing things until at least making an attempt to clean things up. Pull the anode rod out of the water heater if it has one. The water heater can start creating a sulfer smell in the water if not properly maintained.

Drain the water heater, rinse the calcium deposits out with a wand you can buy at any RV shop. Install a new anode rod. Get yourself some 20 mule team borax at home depot, some ZEP citrus degreaser, some dawn dish soap, put a few gallons of fresh water in the black tank (Just enough to float ice on the bottom of the tank). Dump 2 cups of borax, 2 cups of dawn, 1/2 gallon ZEP, let it sit overnight, then add 2 or 3 bags of ice and drive it around so the ice can help break loose any poop mountain. Go drain your tank, then fill the tank completely with fresh water and drain it 2 or 3 times.

Now drain your fresh water holding tank, fill it about 1/2 to 3/4 with fresh water. Add bleach, drive it around, turn on all your faucets to get that bleach water into the lines, let it sit overnight. Then drain the tank and lines, fill tank with fresh water, run water threw faucets, drain tank, and repeat until the bleach smell is gone. DO NOT dump bleach down the black tank, ammonia created from urine mixed with pure bleach will create chlorine gas instantly.

If you have a black tank it requires regular maintenance. Make yourself a schedule and follow it. Also dont drain the blank tank constantly, it needs water in it to prevent poop mountains from forming under the poop chute. Regular flushing of the tank is a must.
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Old 06-25-2021, 08:47 PM   #8
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I'll also throw this out there. Flushing, bleaching, etc. we still never drink from it, strictly hand washing and such. We carry separate gallon jugs for drinking, cooking, coffee.
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:24 PM   #9
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^^ this ditto!
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Old 06-25-2021, 09:38 PM   #10
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We have a 23 gallon polyethylene water tank in our 2019 Transit 350 SMB. I too was concerned about the cleanliness of the water tank (I owned a sailboat for many years in which the water tanks were drained annually and “sterilized” with vodka). I decided to place an inspection/clean out port in the top of the tank (Beckson deck plate 8”). After I empty the tank for the season, I dry it out and wipe it down with Clorox. When I refill it, I still use vodka (1 oz per 10 gal) as an additive. The water I place in the tank is pre-filtered using a 100 micron filer (TastePure - Camping World). I have a separate General Ecology IV 0.4 micron filter at the sink for drinking water. Attached is a picture of the bottom of the tank after emptying “all” the water. The next picture is the clean out deck plate. A 6” plate would have been adequate.
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