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Old 06-29-2016, 05:45 PM   #1
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AC Swamp Smell +

Hello travelers and workampers,

I'm 8 miles north of the border in AZ. You've heard the temps.

The Duo_Therm 600 Penguin series has a bad smell when running but more concerning is the condensation hose that leads outside. It must be dry rotted or something. The water travels outside the hose and water leaks from the socket in the bathroom, Water is also hanging in the plastic area above the black and gray water valves that surrounds the bottom of the trailer and runs along behind the tires and exits to the rear of them also.

I need to change the hose for starters. How is that job going to go, any fast track knowledge of the job would be great. Also any other thoughts about the water traveling so far from the hose exit point would be appreciated also.

My 5 month home is a 1997 Safari 25 footer. The wife is arriving shortly, so this situation is heating up . hahaha

Please, your thoughts, thanks,

Mike
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:14 PM   #2
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Swamp smell makes me think of bacteria infested standing water. I see you may be from New York state, which is much wetter than Arizona. You are right that most Airstreams have a "catch pan" for AC condensate and a drip tube that exits the belly pan somewhere. If the swamp smell is most noticible when running the AC, than I think the condensate pan is a factor.

I wonder how much condensate there is in Arizona? If your trailer is wet due to stormwater leaks, what better place than Arizona in the summer time to dry it out?

So maybe job one it to get a ladder and remove the air conditioner shroud. Mine is held on by several screws that weren't to bad to remove. My shroud weighs less than 15 pounds. With the shroud off, you can stick your finger in the drip pan and see if there is standing water in there, then take a wiff and see if it smells like a swamp.

If there is standing water in there, then you know your drain tube is plugged.

You may be able to absorb the smelly standing water with a towel or sponge. Then you can spray some bleachy bathroom cleaner in the pan and by morning the bacteria ought to be gone.

If there is no standing water in the drip pan, then quite possibly your plastic drain tube is draining the condensate between your Airstream exterior and interior skins. It might be that an experienced RV tech could pull a new tube from the belly pan to the AC using a "wire puller" cable. Maybe the cable could be threaded up the old tube, and then the old tube removed and cut off the cable. With the cable in place, it might be possible to pull a new tube in place without removing interior skins. There may be some standard way Airstream techs replace the condensate pan drain tube.

I'm just trying to stimulate some thinking on how to solve this problem...

David
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:35 PM   #3
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If it's original the evaporate coils probably need a cleaning. Check the orange or blue big box hardware stores or a local ac installer for a can of evaporate foam. It sprays onto the coils to clean them.
As far as the hose goes, your chances of running a new one without major work and removing interior skins is about 0%. You may be able to get the drain to run out onto the roof and down the sides. Just have to deal with the water running down the side of the trailer. Without looking at the unit specifically can't tell exactly how to do it though.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:08 PM   #4
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The hose may just be blocked up with dirt or something. Try duct-taping a shop vac suction line to the condensate drain outlet. You may bust loose a clog.

If that fails, try snaking a wire puller up from the bottom or down from the top.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:03 PM   #5
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I had a similar problem with our '96 AS, water was leaking from the AC plenum at the point where the drain tube connected to the condensate pan the AC is mounted on....there is a kit that eliminates the condensate pan. I bought mine from "etrailer.com", the installation is rather involved, but it solve my problem...my drain tube was OK, so we didn't have to replace that....
Good luck!

Larry C
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Old 06-30-2016, 07:00 PM   #6
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I might add I installed a Coleman AC on my 86. I was completely oblivious to the condensate drain. The Coleman unit did not have one, nor did the instructions refer to one. I installed the unit and was quite surprised to see condensate dripping down the sides of the trailer. I'm used to it now. I imagine other rigs have the same problem.

David
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Old 07-01-2016, 10:12 AM   #7
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Dynamite!

All solutions sound good, will start with the easiest first and continue!

Thanks

Mike
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:34 PM   #8
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Follow up of job, step one completed!

The condensation hose was in 2 pieces. I left the longer one still in the wall. How that helps me, I'm not sure. This on the Mexican border Arizona heat drys everything, so hopefully inside the wall will be ok.

The take away from this job is not letting the water freeze in the AC reservoir!

The drain pipe in this Penguin 600 series doesn't sit at the bottom of the reservoir, about 1/4 inch up. It was cracked and opened like a jaw. I re-sealed it with Seal Brite marine sealer and it works dynamite.

The drain hose may have had water in it also and cracked, then dry rotted or something like that. Two owners b4 me let the system freeze and I bought the repaired version, evidently not in entirely.

Next step is to re-run the condensation hose. Now it's fed into the shower temporarily.

How to proceed?

1) Take out refrigerator, have no idea how.

2) Remove sealed cabinet shelf, see photo, and jig saw away sections of wood, nalgahide and fiberglass sheathing to feed snake and replace hose?

3) Remove wall next to refrigerator and cabinet? Any instructions anywhere?

OR any other ideas, please.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:35 PM   #9
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Let it drain onto the roof?

Otherwise you're looking at gutting a good chunk of the trailer to remove skins. Cutting skins is a good way to cut wires and such. If you do cut skins to do it use a very short blade or oscillating saw to prevent hitting the outer skin. A normal jigsaw blade will hit the outer skin from the inside.

Possibly pull belly wraps to see if you can feed a new hose up from the bottom. Try some non collapsing nylon tube, it's clear with reinforcing fibers. Use a tubing male to male coupler and pipe clamp end to end and try pulling new one up through the wall by pulling the old one up from the inside. Or the other way around. Wrap the joint in tape to smooth it out and prevent catching on things I the wall. This assumes it's a straight shot. If the pipe is offset in the wall this likely won't work.
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:45 PM   #10
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I put a new AC on my 86 a few year back. The brand I purchased did not come with a condensate train pan or any related instructions. So the condensate moisture drains on the roof. I've gotten used to it.

That may be a low cost option for you.

David
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:25 AM   #11
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The roof drain option:

I'm picturing an algae or some other line stained on the side of the trailer. Is that what you had to get used to?

The pipe reservoir is about 4" below the ceiling and roof in the trailer space, meaning 2 elbows to get the water to fill up then flow up and out. Sounds like it might.

Or

There are 2-4 bolts under the AC plastic housing from the inside. If those are loosened can the AC unit be moved without falling out?

There maybe enough room to see where the hole was for the old hose and reach the other piece to use the joiners and snake method.

Mike
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Old 08-11-2016, 05:28 PM   #12
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No, no algae or no staining due to condensate drips. Condensate is no worse than rain. I guess some folks don't like a drip, drip down the side of their trailer on a hot, sticky summer day when the AC is running. It was just an option for you since you have a problem with the condensate drain tube inside the walls of your Airstream.

Some air conditioners have this condensate "cookie sheet" pan under the AC to catch the condensate, and then allow it to drain down the tube between the walls. You do not want water standing in this pan as it will grow bacteria and begin to smell like a swamp. It often happens in automobiles.

I don't understand your "pipe reservoir" 4" below the ceiling, two elbows and water flowing up. I need a picture I guess.

My AC is held to the roof with four bolts that are accessed from the inside of the trailer under the plastic air duct. The air conditioner sits on a rubber gasket around the 14" square hole in the roof. The AC will not fall through the hole in the roof, nor will it fall off the roof if the 4 bolts are removed. You can lift the AC from the roof and possibly move it onto a piece of plywood up there so you can make repairs or adjustments to the drain system. The AC likely weighs over a hundred pounds, my guess. Airstream roofs are thin aluminum and are only strong where there are ribs. You have to know where the ribs are (rivet lines) and support any weight on ribs or bridging two ribs. You will likely have to disconnect the 115v Ac wiring to move the AC up and over.

Hope this gives you some insight to your project.

David
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Old 08-11-2016, 08:00 PM   #13
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Pulling out the ac unit or moving it sounds like a good idea. The radiator clamp in the photo is around the condesation pipe which temporarily goes to the shower. This shot was taken from inside the trailer.

Mike
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:53 PM   #14
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Re-visit

Back to this project-to get the drain hose to the roof, the hose ends up higher than the white plastic drain pan before it will start emptying. This looks like a problem. It looks possible to have the hose even with the drain pain but a hole would have to be drilled in the metal bottom portion of the AC unit.

The line in the pic can be tucked under where the green screwdriver is. But is still slightly higher with top of drain pan.

Re connecting the drain line through the walls will not happen either. Are there any better ideas?

Thanks mucho, pics attached,

Pond
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