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Old 07-08-2005, 09:19 AM   #1
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That "Old" Smell...

My '72 Ambassador has that "old" smell that permeates the entire trailer. That's the only way I know how to describe it is "old". It's not the "leak" smell...it's the "old" smell.

I aired it out during the homecoming and didn't smell it after about half way through the first day, but now that it's back in my driveway all closed up, it's thick again.

I've heard someone else say in a prior thread that it might be caused by the upholstry. Is this true? I plan on redoing all three of the couches and the fabric "guards" behind the twin couches which is most of the upholstry but will that curb the smell? Will fabreeze work?

Anyone who has any information that will resolve this issue in my trailer will receive $1,000,000 (in the form of a personal check that will bounce as high as Jimi Hendrix) Thanx!

Ben

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Old 07-08-2005, 09:55 AM   #2
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My floor repair project improved the old trailer smell somewhat, as I got a lot of rotten wood and dirt out of the trailer and bellypan. The smell does stay in the upholstery though, and it gets worse when it's closed up. Since i keep my trailer at home I often open the windows and door on hot days, and usually leave the vents open the rest of the time, which helps a lot. Fabreeze on the upholstery might help contain the smell somewhat. I find that after three years I have gotten used to it, and it's just what the trailer smells like. That smell makes me want to go camping now
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Old 07-08-2005, 10:47 AM   #3
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I solved it by replacing the entire interior, including the sub-floor - do I win do I win???

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Old 07-08-2005, 10:56 AM   #4
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Yep, they do sometimes stink, got rid of most of our "stink" by removing the old carpeting. We also throw Bounce dryer sheets in the cabinets and stuff to help it out. They are also supposed to help keep away the unwanted bugs and critters (which, knock on wood, has proved to work so far). We also keep the vents cracked open to provide a little circulation as Steph mentioned.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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My 1971 Tradewind used to have that old smell. I can best describe it as a combination of plastic, bad breath, and cooking odors.
What helped tremendously was cleaning the walls completely, especially behind the galley cabinets. We cleaned every inch of wall and cabinetry, inside and out. I had to get fresh water in the bucket about 5-6 times before it came clean, and the trailer did not even look really dirty inside.
New upholstery and no carpet did the rest. It did not smell at all after the interior was cleaned and refurbed. It would sit in the hot sun in a storage yard for a week, with no annoying odors to speak of.
I guess that's one of the advantages of the synthetic interiors of the 70's, in that the material really does not absorb odors like real wood.
When the new owners came and looked at the trailer, the first thing the woman said was "ooh, this one doesn't stink!" Maybe that's why it sold so quick.
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:27 AM   #6
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working out the "old" smell

Rivetedude -- we're still working out the "old" smell in ours too. It is strongest after the doors and windows have been closed up, and its worse in the front of the trailer than it is in the back.

We've removed all the carpet and old curtains and shades, and steam-cleaned the cushions, and we still have the smell. I don't notice it so much in the plywood floor (yes, I actually got down on hands and knees and sniffed at the wood -- it smells like wood (thank goodness!). I'm smelling it mostly in cupboards, walls, and ceiling. My latest theory is that propane odor from the old furnace (which we recently replaced) has permeated the old vinyl somehow. Does anyone know if the "old" odor is somehow worse, or different, in trailers of different model years? In other words, do 70s or 80s models with all their ABS plastic, vinyl, etc. have different odors than 60s or 50s models?
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Old 07-08-2005, 11:38 AM   #7
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Uwe -- I think our replies are running along the same vein. I think most of our odor is behind the galley, where the range and furnace are located, but it's also in other areas where cooking odors drifted.

What did you use for the cleaning process to get the odor out of the walls?
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:13 PM   #8
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Actually I did the same thing as Uwe on my 59 and 75 - scrub, scrub, scurb..........

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Old 07-08-2005, 01:25 PM   #9
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Ken and Uwe -- you're givin' me some hope here. So what did you use to scrub, scrub, scrub away the odor? Ken -- did the odor in your '75 seem to be concentrated in the vinyl wall covering?


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Old 07-08-2005, 02:26 PM   #10
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I'm not sure where the odor was coming from - my trailer had been basically unused for 20 years so it just sat. It was in great condition, but dirty/dusty. If I remember I used pinesole (sp?) - as Uwe - went through several rinses - it did not look like anyone had ever cleaned under cushions in closets etc - I really scrubbed from top to bottom.

Another thing to consider - is if some critters have made their way into the belly - also if you have a leak somewhere, you may be dealing with wet insulation smell - that takes a bit more work to fix. I would start with a good scrub down -

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Old 07-08-2005, 02:37 PM   #11
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Talking My two cents!

Doug & Jamie,



I was selling a beautiful 1968 Camaro one time. Shortly before listing the car on eBay I was inspecting and photographing the car. All at once a stink took me by surprise. I located a mouse (deceased) in the head liner. How can one little creature emit such a stink I will never know. I used a small canister purchased at Wal Mart that was an odor capture device. Sounded hokey at best, but I was desperate. Geeeee . . . . . get rid of smell pocket $20,000 – I’ll just have to try it. Needless to say – I am adding my two cents to this thread because this device was a life saver. I agree that locating the stink source is important as is a good cleaning. I just thought that I would add some additional food for thought.



Regards,

Henry
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:05 PM   #12
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Uwe's description is the closest I've seen to what we have. It's a combination of cooking odors, propane, and plastic. Earlier it had a mildewy odor that went away after we removed the curtains and carpet and I scrubbed down the dirty walls and floor behind the fold out beds. A few weeks ago we had the old furnace replaced and the old catalytic heater removed and were checked for leaks. So I'm pretty sure there are no propane leaks now but the smell of propane lingers and I think it's an old smell that is still in the vinyl. So I'm going after that next.

What about the rangehood/fan. How do you clean that?
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:06 PM   #13
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smellovision

I have a '61 Overlander that smells like........umm old too.
If there were a thing such as "smellovision" you know, smell TV, you could use this smell in a creepy basement scene for a horror flick. It would work awesome.
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:09 PM   #14
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When I did the floor I had the cabinetry out and scrubbed the walls with softscrub cleanser with bleach. I concur, there was a ton of dirt on the walls, particularly behind the kitchen cabinet. Lots of dust buildup on the floors around the wheelwell liners as well. There was a lot of cleaning to do, considering I thought the trailer was clean enough during the previous two summers when we were using it!
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