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Old 02-16-2018, 05:00 PM   #1
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Ammonia(?) odor in closet

2017 Flying Cloud 25 FB. To my male nose it first started smelling like a dead animal, but has since (and according to my bride's much better sense of smell) is like ammonia. The closet is next to the fridge. I took off the shelf at the bottom of the closet and could smell some ammonia kinda faintly but it's there. Stupid question but would an ammonia leak manifest itself at some point in liquid form? I'm not sure if anyone has experience with this. I took a picture of what it looks like under that shelf next to the outer wall. One other item of note is last nite the fridge raised to 38 degrees but not 100% sure if that was from putting groceries in earlier in the day or not. The fridge temp started dropping last nite and is back to 32 now.

Suppose we'll need to be taking a trip to the Airstream dealer in Gulfport.

Any ideas are appreciated!
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:04 PM   #2
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sounds like a fridge leak.
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Old 02-16-2018, 05:36 PM   #3
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Yes fridge most likely.
Do be careful if you are staying aboard. It can cut loose and really gas out the space. I'd suggest keeping the roof ehhaust fan on to move it out of your living space.
It's lighter than air and will gather near the ceiling.

Cheers Richard
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:57 PM   #4
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Ditto -- prob the fridge, and be careful per earlier comments.

Yes, adding groceries to fridge can raise temp. Best to pre-chill everything if possible especially in the summer.

If the fridge continues to hold a consistent cold temp, the smell could be something else IMO. Our fridge in the old AS failed, with ammonia smell, but it failed quickly.

I would call the dealer ASAP as they may have good suggestions.

Good luck!

Peter
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Old 02-17-2018, 11:07 AM   #5
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Are you sure it is Ammonia and not Propane?
IMHO the unit would not cool if it loses ammonia
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:15 PM   #6
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It's often hard to diagnose stuff from afar.

In 2005, I had a 1973 fridge leak. You could visibly see the gold/green oozing out of a fitting. The smell wasn't bad inside, as the business end of the fridge is more or less outside. The fridge could still freeze milk an eggs at a low setting.

Supposedly…The ammonia gas is very dangerous. I wouldn't want to sleep in the trailer.

As mentioned…it could be propane. And again, I wouldn't want to sleep in the trailer.
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:10 PM   #7
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We experienced a bad smell in that same area, and it turned out to be a problem with that backflow valve, causing us to smell gases from the black tank. Pee can smell like ammonia.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaLevel View Post
We experienced a bad smell in that same area, and it turned out to be a problem with that backflow valve, causing us to smell gases from the black tank. Pee can smell like ammonia.
Is this the backflow valve?
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:16 PM   #9
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Is this the backflow valve?
Yes. It is actually (at least in my trailer) a check valve to allow air into the sink drain when the gray tank is dumped in case the stoppers are in place. It is not supposed to allow air (with accompanying odors) to enter the living area of the trailer, but it can if it gets a piece of food waste trapped in it.

Al
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:50 PM   #10
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So pardon my ignorance but do I disassemble this thing?
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:03 PM   #11
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IIRC the top screwed off on mine. There was a flexible flapper diaphragm inside. But that was a couple of years ago and yours may be different from mine.

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Old 02-18-2018, 07:06 PM   #12
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Sorry, I got the terminology wrong. I was referring to the check valve that is part of the black tank flush plumbing. I had Airstream (Jackson Center) fix it when we took the trailer in for some warranty work.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:33 PM   #13
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Ammonia(?) odor in closet

I had this same smell it was a water leak that got under the vinyl floor and it mildewed. Smelled like ammonia. Are there any black spots on the vinyl floor ? Lift up the floor / bottom of the closet and see if your water pump is below the bottom. Very possible it leaked (mine did) and caused this smell (mine did)
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Old 02-24-2018, 11:53 AM   #14
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Follow up...

I failed to mention a key aspect to this odor. it was intermittent. It would come and go every half hour or so. Anyway, for those who might be interested, it has apparently gone away once we dumped our tanks. Our black tank was showing 85% so who knows how much closer to 100% we were anyway.

SeaLevel put us on the track of it possibly being a tank odor versus an ammonia leak and it appears that's what it was.

Just wanted to post this and hopefully close the book on this particular Airstream Anomaly. More to come, I'm sure and the experience and guidance on this forum is amazing. No need to re-invent the wheel unless I insist on trying!

Thanks
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Old 02-24-2018, 12:01 PM   #15
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Glad to hear you tracked down the problem. Look up the GEO method for maintaining your black tank. We use Happy Camper, whatever brand of water softener is available, and Dawn each time we prime our black tank for another cycle.
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Old 08-17-2019, 02:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by troubadour1 View Post
I had this same smell it was a water leak that got under the vinyl floor and it mildewed. Smelled like ammonia. Are there any black spots on the vinyl floor ? Lift up the floor / bottom of the closet and see if your water pump is below the bottom. Very possible it leaked (mine did) and caused this smell (mine did)


@troubadour1
How did you deal with the mildew smell under the vinyl floor? I followed all my water lines to determine where my leak was and found nothing. Then came to the conclusion my black spots on the vinyl floor under the back bunk bed was from the toilet over flowing one time a few months back. I thought I got all the water and damp out obviously not. Now I’m experiencing that ammonia smell in cupboards etc. Anyway this thread help me determine my cause if smell. Now what to do about it?
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