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Old 07-02-2012, 11:51 PM   #11
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

Does it only happen if you drive it? If so it could be oil or coolant leaking onto something.
If it happens all of the time even when it is parked it much be something chemical or dead inside.


Herb if the A/C was leaking that bad it would be empty in no time they don't hold much and it doesn't really have much of a smell and what little it does have doesn't last once its empty. A leaky heater core smells really bad but it is quite a sweet smell. Burning oil onto the exhaust will give almost anyone a head ache but again if it isn't running the smell usually goes away until it is hot again.

So you are back to square one. If the fluids are full and there is no smoke, and it happens weather or not it is running it almost has to be chemical or animal. Now that I here how it was stored I am with you and don't really think mold is as much of a possibility. I am curios to know what it is , I wished I could smell it, well maybe not. You might try calling a few shops around you and ask someone if they might know what the smell is. I worked at a dealer for many years and trust me we had many a car come in with a smell and almost always we could tell someone what it was. From dead animals to rotten food and even crayons in the defroster / heater ducts and more.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:57 AM   #12
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

What about a battery, is the house battery inside or outside?

I had an old AGM that I finally declared dead after I got a funny smell when I tried to recharge it when it was docked at that house.. Kinda like a acid like smell, it was definitely venting... and probably deadly. Smell went away after I got new house batteries..

Also got a smell when the battery discharged completely beyond below 9volts..


Do you have a SMB installed Propane tank underneath?
In my case, I had a strong gas smell, and found out it wasn't sealed to well where they cut out the location to place the propane tank and the gas smell was getting into the compartment. I sealed it up with foam sealer, fixed the gas vapor vent..


Another thing I've noticed thru the years is I've found evidence of sealant "poop" as I call them where there are one or two dabs of sealant I've found in enclosed locations. There were two dabs of this sealant they were using, just left there between the penthouse rails... Don't know why there were dabs, as if they were starting it off the sealant process and put two dabs there to start it off, but never returned to clean it up.. I squeezed the dabs and it was still pliable and they did smell funny.. Found a few under the cargo door panels, under false floor, between the rails where the chain and spring goes on the penthouse rails..


And then there was the time when Mammoth Chipmunks decided to make a nest between the inner walls of the van and one of them died eventually when I got home.. And I had the gut the interior trying to find his body..
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:55 PM   #13
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

More good things to check, I thought of battery last night too.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:13 PM   #14
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

I think the original posters quote "a strong smell, almost like a concentrated "new car" smell." seems to point to something plastic in nature. Any car deodorant would have dissipated after a year I would think. My gray water tank has never made a bad chemical smell. Batteries usually have a rotten egg smell when going bad and a dead creature...well it sure don't have a new car smell. Propane also has a distinct smell.

Being time seems to be part of the equation, I would not think it's electrical but like everybody has posted, everything needs to be checked. Circuit boards and resistors produce a chemical smell as do capacitors. Problem is generally a bad component will cause a failure in the device. Glue around the trim could even be the problem.

A hazmat company might be able to do a test to find out what it is or rule out what it isn’t.
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:54 AM   #15
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

Thanks everyone for your thoughts! No lack of trying here!

Some additional comments:
  • I removed the batteries just to rule them out, and it made no difference.[/*:m:3lupa63w]
  • My plug in electrical stopped working well over a year ago (and I think well after the smell first became an issue); so I haven't been running the a/c or fridge at all. (Not going to bother getting that fixed until I can get rid of the smell!)[/*:m:3lupa63w]
  • I have a chemical toilet, also removed; no difference.[/*:m:3lupa63w]
  • I get the same sort of physical reaction to fabric softener sheets; had a girlfriend who filled her closet with fabric softener sheets (to keep everything "fresh") and it would make me sick--headaches and dizziness. Same thing happens in the van. Fabric softener sheets are made with formaldehyde and a whole host of other nasty chemicals--many RVs also notoriously outgas formaldehyde (google "rv formaldehyde" and you'll get plenty of links), but that's usually when they are new.[/*:m:3lupa63w]

I think daveb summaries the situation well in his last post.

I am leaning toward something breaking down in perhaps the glue or some part of the cabinetry/upholstery/building materials.

I think I will drive it around to various RV service shops around town and ask them to give it a whiff. (I can drive it without a problem with the windows open!) Will report back here.

Happy 4th!
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:50 PM   #16
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

My interior gutting revealed a half dozen blue chemical chunk things that the PO had put in to combat rodents. In the heat/humidity of the Deep South, those things REALLY stunk, just like you are describing! Hmmm... any chance some helpful person "installed" something like that while the rig was stored?
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:22 PM   #17
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

Quote:
Originally Posted by twogone
My interior gutting revealed a half dozen blue chemical chunk things that the PO had put in to combat rodents. In the heat/humidity of the Deep South, those things REALLY stunk, just like you are describing! Hmmm... any chance some helpful person "installed" something like that while the rig was stored?
I also have packets of Fresh Cab mouse repellent in my rig and people always wonder what the smell is but it's a safe product.

Marc, is that stuff made for the rat to eat and die, or to repel the critter?

Maybe a shop or whoever built the van? Very possible and worth looking into.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:18 AM   #18
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

The block(s)o'stink that I dug out are not rodent specific, kinda like an industrial strength "air freshener" or maybe urinal mints (PO was a restauranteur). I found one under each seat when I first got the van home, and upon removal of all the cabinets, I found 4 or 5 more behind them. No more blocks and no more "fresh air"
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:16 PM   #19
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

Urinal mints

Marc your breath...well...it's bad. Would you like a urinal mint?

Bet that will whiten your teeth
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:06 PM   #20
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Re: persistent smell with older sportsmobile

Do you have any fluorescent lights with ballasts? Sometimes they smell bad when the ballast is kaput.
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