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Old 05-31-2017, 07:20 AM   #1
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How do we track down moldy smell?

I've got a 2014 Flagstaff V-lite and all of a sudden after the last (rainy) camping trip I'm smelling mold immediately as you step in the trailer. No signs of water leaking; emptied all cupboards (no smell/no water). Any suggestions on how to track it down?
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:38 AM   #2
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Any idea what the humidity level is in the trailer? You want to get that down to about 40%. You can do two things to try to get it down. 1. Close it up and run the A/C for quite a while. That should remove some of the moisture. and 2. Get a dehumidifier and use it religiously.
Most people worry about moisture finding its way into the trailer through cracks, etc., but forget about the moisture in the air. Both do a lot of damage, just one does it more slowly.
This will do well enough to let you know the temperature and humidity levels. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
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DampRid containers and starbrite mildew bags when not using the trailer.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:58 PM   #4
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Moldy odor

Problem is the smell is very localized. Just inside the entrance; not anywhere else.
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Old 06-01-2017, 12:49 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like water intrusion from a compromised seal or caulk. Probably leaking behind the wall and soaking the insulation and rotting the wood that you cannot see.

Could be big trouble if not corrected asap. I suggest a unit positive pressure test to find out where it's leaking at and the fixing the leak with Dicor or Eternabond whichever is used on your unit.

You may have to get into the wall and do remediation, repairs which should be left to a competent RV repair facility.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:19 AM   #6
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We used to have an old TT that we left in the North Woods for about 8 months out of the year,,, the ground under that TT never dried,,, smell got so bad we thru every thing out and turned TT into a storage shed !!! There was never any signs of any leaks !!!
It was a hard lesson !!! Dehumidifier might be your first try ???
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:23 AM   #7
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If you believe it is leaking, try this:
SealTech Manufacturing USA | Industry Standard for RV Leak Detection

I have talked to a couple of people, who did it and found out there were leaks they had no idea existed.
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben31 View Post
If you believe it is leaking, try this:
SealTech Manufacturing USA | Industry Standard for RV Leak Detection

I have talked to a couple of people, who did it and found out there were leaks they had no idea existed.
Seal Tech costs quite a bit of Jack. Your leaf blower and some of your time costs a lot less.... and does the same thing. My 'dime' is cheaper.

Comments like 'no evidence of leaking' make me scratch my head in wonderment. I really wonder what people are looking for...

You never 'see' a visible leak (water intrusion), until it's too late. When it shows inside, it's been working away between the outer skin and the inner walls for a long time....
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidecarFlip View Post
Seal Tech costs quite a bit of Jack. Your leaf blower and some of your time costs a lot less.... and does the same thing. My 'dime' is cheaper.

Comments like 'no evidence of leaking' make me scratch my head in wonderment. I really wonder what people are looking for...

You never 'see' a visible leak (water intrusion), until it's too late. When it shows inside, it's been working away between the outer skin and the inner walls for a long time....
Care to share the details of how you DIY? Thanx!
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:09 PM   #10
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Pretty easy really..

You need an electric leaf blower
A sheet of cardboard, some duct tape
A spray bottle and water / soap solution
Grease pencil
A ladder to get on the roof and some time...

Close the unit up, close all vents and window and doors. Open a suitable window that you can duct tape a piece of cardboard to and cut a hole in it for the leaf blower nozzle and tape the blower nozzle to the cardboard.

Start the blower to apply positive pressure to the unit. be apprised that you will have some leaks that aren't critical (like range vent for instance).

What you are doing is creating a positive pressure inside the unit and it don't take much...

Get your spray bottle of soapy water and start going over all the caulking, seams and around items like window mouldings..

Wherever there is a leak that water can get in, the soap solution will bubble. As you find them, mark them with a grease pencil. Do the roof especially paying attention to the caulked seams and the nose, whereever there is a caulked seam.

If it's bubbling, it's leaking and water (intrusion) is getting in. Caulk accordingly with the correct caulk, butyl or Dicor or Eternabond, whatever the case may be.

Thats how you check a unit for water intrusion.

Pretty simple, takes some time on your part but you'll know right away if the unit is rotting from the inside out.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:24 PM   #11
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SidecarFlip, Good write up. If some of us had sit and thought long enough about it we may have come to a similar solution. But it's easier when someone else has already figured it out. Good job, man and thanks a million.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:44 PM   #12
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I actually just laid it out on another forum (not a Forest River brand forum), a generic forum.

SOP with me, every spring when I pull my unit out of the barn. Really should be done yearly if you want the unit to last a long time. Unless of course you live in the desert and it never sees any rain.

In the HVAC world, it's called a 'Blower Door Test'. You can do it to your house too (preferrably room by room) to see where your heat loss / air infiltration is to mitigate heating and cooling losses. In the HVAC world, they use a thermal imaging camera but you are looking for spots where water can get in so soapy solution is your 'camera'.

The biggest cause of loss in value in an RV and the hardest (most expensive to fix) is water intrusion and the collateral damage. I've seen a couple RV's that weren't very old that had so much intrusion damage they weren't financially fixable.

Don't think any insurance policy cover it either so it's all on your dime.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:55 PM   #13
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I did this once to a car that smelled really bad of mold. I barrowed my brothers Halloween smoke machine. It worked great. found the leak in just a few minuets.
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Old 06-02-2017, 03:21 PM   #14
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Thanx for all the info.
I am assuming the air will take the path of least resistance. Therefore what about the aforementioned range vent, window frame seep holes, etc. Does anything need to be done to them to insure that there is enough ari pressure to actually identify the tiny cracks that can/will leak water?
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