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Old 10-05-2014, 07:40 PM   #1
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1979 30' Argosy
Jeddo , Michigan
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Camper has "ODORS" Help Please

I have an Argosy 30 and it is a stinker! When the camper is left closed for any extended period ( over a week or so)the smell is just obnoxious. We have scrubbed the entire interior, disinfected the fresh, black and grey water holding tanks, replaced all interior carpet and hard flooring and recovered all the interior upholstery. The floor was solid through out and I painted the sub floor with primer when I put in the new flooring. I am now wondering if water could have entered the area between the bottom of the sub floor and been trapped in the insulation between the bottom pan and the sub floor, where the camper frame is located? What would be the downside of removing and not replacing the pan metal and floor insulation? I am getting pretty frustrated with this problem after chasing it for about 1 1/2 yrs. any suggestions or solutions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:01 PM   #2
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Definitely drop the pan and inspect, but it's not a good permanent solution. If there's water there, it's getting in from somewhere so find the leak. It's an easy fix if that's the problem.

Let me first suggest that you check the vent pipe for the toilet. If it's clogged anything left in the black tank will ferment and burp out through the toilet bowl.

Next, you mentioned re-covering all of the upholstered pieces. Old foam can break down and smell like ammonia, so I'd suggest putting the upholstered pieces in a shed or garage for a week - and if the smell moves you've found the cuplrit.

How about the batteries? Do you have them on a charger/battery minder? Remove them next time you store it, see if that changes anything.

Lastly - mice between the interior and exterior skin, and their droppings.... or just the carcasses of the departed ones can be pretty fragrant. Take covers off the outlets or loosen lamps from the inside skins and take a whiff.


Hope it's anything but the last one.

Paula
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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We had a similar but not as bad situation. Since our unit was 07 we were surprised it had a smell. After doing what you had also done, we decided the only thing left was the zippered covers on the upholstered pieces. We took them off, washed them and then put them back on. No more smell. Maybe that is your problem. If the covers are not removeable, a good upholstery cleaner should do the job. Maybe not the problem, but it is something to try and you will have clean upholstery.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:03 PM   #4
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Hey hardwood,
I didn't replace the insulation under the floor for that very reason. The old insulation was full of both dead mice and their droppings. Yuk!
Tim
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:50 PM   #5
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I went o look at a 19ft recently and could not identify the smell but the seller did say it was there when they bought it maybe 7 years ago. I decided to pass on the purchase. It was whilst I was driving home that I remembered when I had smelled that smell before. It was when cleaning a mobile home, the forced air heating vents were infested with (dead) mice.The smell is pretty odd, almost amoniated or similar (to me) to napthalene. Hard to describe but it might be mice. See if you can find an ozone machine to pop in there for 3 days. Keep the windows shut and dont go in there whilst its running. Shut the power off after the three days and then wait 5 or 6 hours before removing it.
If the small comes back you will know its in the walls or belly pan.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:00 PM   #6
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If the foam seal at the bottom of toilet is leaking or missing there might be a hidden deposit around and under the base of the toilet. My Safari had a funky smell when I got it. Someone had removed the toilet then re-installed it and did not get the foam seal placed correctly. I cleaned it up and installed a new seal. No smell since then.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:10 PM   #7
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any chance that a previous owner had a cat or dog that had accidents? If so there are enzymes that kill that smell.
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Old 10-07-2014, 08:11 AM   #8
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Wow, thank you all for your input. I have replaced most everything on the inside that would hold a smell. Checked all the gaskets leading to the holding tanks etc. etc. I am going to drop the belly pan and see what is going on in there. At this point I am either going to find the problem and remove/repair it or get rid of the trailer. Enough is enough I guess! I would like to inspect and repaint the frame anyway just to preserve it. We really like the old trailer and it pulls great so am hoping to find the problem. Again, thank you. Jeff
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:59 AM   #9
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These things tend to get smelly after a while. The fiberglass in the walls and under the floor tend to get moldy and smelly after a while. Rodents and bugs contribute to the problem. Also all the plastic stuff ages and out gasses as well. You could try an ozone generator but they can cause plastics to degrade even further if used too much.

Perry
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:45 AM   #10
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I found mouse nests , dead mice ect.. in the underfloor insulation in my Argosy when worked on it. I also found the same in the walls and I know there is some behind the interior endcaps that I have not got to yet.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:46 AM   #11
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Paula mentioned batteries, so be sure to check that possibility out. When they are being overcharged and are at the end of their life they give off a very strange smell, similar to dead mice. It is a possibility, anyway.

Then dead mice, then mold and crap in the underfloor insulation. My best three shots.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:25 PM   #12
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My gutted shell still stinks. The bottom 4 feet of interior walls and insulation are removed and aluminum washed repeatedly. All new subfloor, no insulation in floor yet. Looks like I need to remove the ceiling to find the smell. Good luck finding your odour!
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:40 PM   #13
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Did anyone suggest checking the black tank vent on the roof? If that gets blocked, the smell will build up pretty fast in the TT, and will NOT go away.

Get up on that roof (staying on the stringers that support it), and take the vent off, then run something down the pipe and make sure it is clear.

The vents need to be serviced every few years in order to stay clear. Leaves, birds, etc can get trapper in them making things stinky inside.

They are also a common source of roof leaks. You will need a new gasket, a piece of screen to keep leaves out, and a tube of Vulkem (I can't remember the new name for it, but someone here will tell you).

Anyways, check it thoroughly before doing anything else, it is a pretty simple repair, and probably needs doing even if it is not what is causing the smell.
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:37 PM   #14
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Not to be too pessimistic, but I am amazed at how long odors stay even after all the insulation is gone from beneath the floor and in the walls. The Caravel is stripped inside and I swear I could still smell the mouse urine, mouse bodies, etc until very recently. Every panel for the interior is going to be scrubbed down before I put it back into the trailer.
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