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Old 10-08-2007, 06:25 PM   #1
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2003 31' Land Yacht 30
New Bern , North Carolina
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 101
Bad persistent odor in RV

I have a very bad and persistant odor in my RV that I cannot solve. Please bear with me. I have been advised by many and one kind person advised that I should look for why is the smell entering the RV. Four major reasons: Traps not working, gas vents are blocked, vacuum break not working, toilet seal allowing gas to seep thru.
I checked and double checked all of these possibilities to no avail. I also flushed, rinsed several times. I tried rock salt in the blackwater tank, pluse dawn. The gray water tank ditto but no rock salt, instead baking soda. The odor is strong when first entering and disapates with 10 minutes. I'm open to any and all suggestions. This is driving me nuts. Thanks for listening.

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Old 10-08-2007, 07:14 PM   #2
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
1953 32' Liner
1955 22' Safari
Valley View , Texas
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Whats the odor

Is it sewage? Is it gas? Is it something dead (mouse)?
Run clean water thru all the drains, to fill the traps, befor you exit...check upon return for the odor.
Don't ever leave a dirty black tank. Follow many suggestions here on cleaning/rinsing after use.
Good luck if its a dead critter.
The burning odor from a gas pilot can be bad....
Worst of all.....a gas leak. Check it out.

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Old 10-08-2007, 07:14 PM   #3
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2002 19' Bambi
Lafayette , California
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You may want to check for water leaks. Mold and mildew in damp carpet, carpet pad, or, even, wood can sometimes generate quite an odor.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:19 PM   #4
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1999 25' Excella
Bemidji , Minnesota
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 199
Can you do the "animal, vegetable, mineral" sort of test??? It would help to know if it smells like rotten eggs or chemical smells, etc.??? We had trouble with bathroom smells and no amount of cleaning or additives helped. We had the stool replaced and lo and behold, there was "GUNK" under the old one. Presto... no more smell! *)*

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Old 10-08-2007, 08:10 PM   #5
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2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
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Hello Steve -- You can update purchase of an Airstream by going into your control panel (User CP) on the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Select 'Edit Profile' under the Control Panel menu at left of the page. Scroll down the page to Trailer #1 and select your year and length. This will help people get a better idea of the range of problems any time that you post.

I know the worst, musty smelling Airstream I ever smelled was an early '70s Overlander with leakage (2 different causes) and rotting floor on both ends.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 10-08-2007, 08:27 PM   #6
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1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
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My wife and I just went through this last month -- we were sure that we had a mouse die in the belly section and it was rank...

I drilled out a gazillion rivets and got access through the belly skin -- absolutely nothing to be seen.

On the advice of a pal, we turned off the propane at the bottles and gave it 24 hours. No odor ramaining -- Bingo!

Through trial and error isolated it to the furnace; the electric gas valve was not quite closing so there was a persistent leak that was just bad enough to stink up the joint without setting off the gas detector.

Worth a shot, I think.

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Old 10-08-2007, 08:30 PM   #7
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1968 24' Tradewind
Louisville , earth
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You didnt leave an in-law in there did you?

Visit my photography page
and the
Favorite camp grounds project map
My Blog

(The artist formerly known as General Disarray)

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Old 10-08-2007, 08:39 PM   #8
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
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if it is a rotten egg smell it can be coming from a battery boiling dry.

but, without more info we are all just guessing!

you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:40 PM   #9
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1964 26' Overlander
1964 19' Globetrotter
Eastern , Washington
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Check the freezer! It's really easy to leave food in the freezer after a trip and turn off the fridge. After a few weeks of festering, it can smell horrid.

Don't ask me how I know....
1964 Overlander | '08 Touareg V6
Current Project: 1964 Globetrotter

Let's have a polishing party: I'll supply the trailer and buffing supplies. BYOB (bring your own buffer)

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Old 10-08-2007, 09:02 PM   #10
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1973 27' Overlander
1972 29' Ambassador
St. Paul , Minnesota
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I know an Airstream that Joe Somewhen stored a bottle of toilet tank chemical on the shelves underneath the galley and forgot about it so when it tipped on its side and jumped into the sub-floor when traveling it wasn't noticed.

At some point in the above sequence the cap did fail to be tight and a swath of heavy duty formaldehyde was broadcast nearly everywhere - from beneath the furnace and beneath the fresh water tank to under the duct work.

It used to extremely bother me - formaldehyde degrades into formic acid which is what ant and bee stings are, once the eyes and sinuses capitulate to its presence it is still so ornery I can't spend much time in the trailer.

I tore out the bathroom and rear floor and have it reassembled weather tight I was so sure thats where the smell was coming from.

As soon as I get the bathroom installed the sink-galley cabinets and FW tank floor panel is GONE; parts trailer is now 5 feet away my projects' door... Now its just to try and regain the morale I had entering this project...


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