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Old 06-09-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
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propane gas leak (rotten eggs) 2010 International stench

Hi All

Here is something I could use your help with...

The 2010 International Serenity we brought home has had this awful smell for some time, which I attributed to just the new fabrics and materials - eau de new RV. But it's not going away, and dissipates to slightly less stinky if I open all the windows. Sort of smells like rotten eggs mixed with grilled hamburgers and lighter fluid. Yum So if it's a propane leak somewhere, do I have to haul this up somewhere to an Airstream dealership or will they send someone to me? Anyone have experience with this sort of thing? This baby is hopefully under warranty.

The valves on the propane tanks are closed, btw, and the fridge is on "off". We did use the heater on the way back here from Oregon, and don't know if somehow the pilot lights might be drawing propane? Or the propane leads are misconnected? I tested the propane leak detector and it appears to be sort of working - it sounds its red screeching squeal for about 5 seconds in test mode - not the 4 minutes the manual calls for.

Yikes! Thanks in advance for any tips.
Wendy
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:51 PM   #2
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Could it be the smell of using the furnace for the first time?
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:11 PM   #3
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You say the smell is not going away... Be certain the valve on your propane tank is closed. Allow the unit to air out, then close it up again to verify the odor remains. If it does, it's likely not the propane as that doesn't linger long. I've entered some new RVs that have been sitting closed up in the sun and the fumes from the adhesives, fabrics, and paneling brought tears to my eyes. This goes away in time, faster if you can leave some vents open. Another (not so pleasant) possibility, a dead mouse? Your description could be something like that.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:23 PM   #4
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Thanks but haven't used the furnace since April but did use the air conditioner. As for turning off the propane and airing out the coach then closing the coach up again and checking for the smell, I did that too several times. The smell is strong with propane turned off. It's propane leaking from somewhere I am pretty sure. We smelled it at the dealership but it never goes away. My friend who works with propane smelled it right away and identified it. I just don't know what to do next. The propane tanks are definitely shut off and have been for 2 months. The coach has been parked in our back yard.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendywoods View Post
...
The propane tanks are definitely shut off and have been for 2 months.
...
Then where is the propane coming from? The tanks are the only source.

Why don't you completely disconnect the hoses from the tanks? Then you will have no propane connections at all, not even a shut off one.

If the smell is still there, you will know that it's not coming from the propane system.
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:55 PM   #6
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I assume your internal gas alarm is not going off - and the tanks are turned off - think you have another issue here...
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield
Then where is the propane coming from? The tanks are the only source.

Why don't you completely disconnect the hoses from the tanks? Then you will have no propane connections at all, not even a shut off one.

If the smell is still there, you will know that it's not coming from the propane system.
Excellent idea. Let me try that.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:59 PM   #8
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The smell may come from the gray water holding tank through your p-traps or one way vent valve (our is behind the vanity sink). Put a little of the blue septic treatment down one of the drains and flush with water. Also make sure all of your p-traps have water in them, to stop the odors from backing up. We always do this and that fixed our odor problem.

I hope this works.

Paul
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:35 PM   #9
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Check the vacuum breaker on the blackwater rinseout line. It's a transparent plastic looking valve thingy which is located under the kitchen sink in our 23' safari. Its part of the blackwater rinse system that is meant to prevent pressure backflow.

This appears to be a fairly weak part that is prone to failure. After our first long trip (2400 miles) ours parted at the sping loaded valve seat. I noticed it after there was a persistent trash / sewery smell everytime I opened the cabinets & drawers. Not a big deal to fix, I just removed it and set a temporary plug in the hose (oh yeah, also remembered not to use tank flush feature). If it is that, just call AS and send them a photo of the broken part. they replaced mine under warranty no prob.....

good luck
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:36 AM   #10
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"rotten egg smell" is often used to describe overcharged batteries. you might want to do a sniff test in the battery compartment(s) to eliminate that from the possibilities.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:03 AM   #11
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"rotten egg smell" is often used to describe overcharged batteries. you might want to do a sniff test in the battery compartment(s) to eliminate that from the possibilities.
that's my thought--defective battery(ies). Just be careful removing the connections when checking. If it is a battery, that smell could also indicate a buildup of explosive hydrogen gas. Remove the ground cable first, from the point on the frame, if possible, so you don't generate a spark.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:27 PM   #12
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Dead mouse?
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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I'll second (er, third) what Ricky and Terry suggest: An overcharged and boiling battery can result in that kind of smell. Happened to us. I thought for sure that it was a sewer leak at first, too.

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Old 06-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #14
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Rotten eggs is the battery. Propane doesn't smell of eggs.

Considering the age of the trailer once you have replaced the battery or batteries have the convertor checked. A convertor running out of regulation will Cook the batteries and if it did it once it will do it again.

Wash down the front of the trailer good because the battery acid will have condensed on the skin as it boiled out of the battery box. The battery boxes should be sealed enough that no acid vapors got into the trailer


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