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Old 10-29-2017, 09:17 AM   #1
WRS
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Permeating smell

We have a 2007 cedar creek 362 bts fifth wheel near perfect condition. Problem is permiating smell that ruins our food, get into plastics, woods, everything and cannot be easily washed out. Not mold more like chemical, vinyl like.
We have tried everything, Ammonia, ozone, charcoal, bake out, had several rv techs and dealers look at it with no resolution. I have seen other post of people with the same problem but ended with no resolution. Please Help if you have any suggestions
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:17 AM   #2
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During those model years there was a lot of formaldehyde issues with RV's of many brands and models. Sometimes it was reported to never dissipate. Does it smell like that?

How long have you owned the RV?
What all have you tried to alleviate the odor?
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:27 PM   #3
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We have owned the camper 2 seasons, we seasonal in it, cook, shower, stay in it most of the summer, run the A/c, heat, open all Windows all the time.
The smell is chemical like, vinyl, hard to discribe and permeates everything even plastic items and almost impossible to wash off. Could that be formaldehyde?
We have had Servpro fog it, boild vinegar on stove,
Pans of ammonia for days, Boiled Ammonia on stove (Don't try this without resporator) washed down all walls, cabinets floors ceiling with vinegar, cleaned carpets and furniture, fabreze, hanging bags of odor absorbent you can buy online, Lysol, ozone machine multiple times, we ran a hepa filter the whole time we stayed in it. Run the fantastic fans for days with all Windows open and smell remains. Two traveling rv repair guys (both claimed over 30 yrs in business) and RV dealer check over complete camper and found to be perfect shape for the year, no water infiltration.
They claim no way to fix it.
I pulled the belly pans out and climbed all thought around everything and just cannot find the source.
Activated charcoal, baking soda failed, failed.

????????
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Old 10-30-2017, 02:08 PM   #4
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It's possible, but you'd think it'd have dissipated after this much time.

I would think ammonia would make things worse not better. But maybe not.

I've heard that vinegar in several small bowls sitting for several days helps, but sounds like you've already tried that.
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Old 10-30-2017, 02:48 PM   #5
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I found articles online for using ammonia to break down formaldehyde gas, might work but I be live something is continuing to generate the odor.
I have tried the vinegar several times as that is a common suggestion.
I appreciate your reply.
Probably will have to trade it, (hate to, we own it and are completely content with it)
what ever is offgassing must be cost prohibitive to change out for an 07. (Wall insulation or something)
If anyone knows of any other things I could try or check I would greatly appreciate advise
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Old 10-30-2017, 03:39 PM   #6
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I don't think things will change with a ten year old trailer. Do other people smell it, or is it just absorbed into food and other materials?
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Old 10-30-2017, 04:17 PM   #7
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Everyone smells it, most don't think it real bad and I would agree until you live with it for so long.
If it stayed in the camper might not be as bad but when it ruins food stored in camper like chips crackers etc as well as adhears to everything that spends more than 1 hour in it including my kids takes some of the fun out of it. My house smells like it when we bring in laundry and such for days.
If it permeates into even plastic Tupperware and has to run multiple cycles to get out can it be healthy to live in it summer months?
I would really love to know what it is before discarding of an otherwise perfect for us camper
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:08 PM   #8
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Couple of questions. Was the odor there when you purchased the Rv? If not how long after did it start? Have you done any repairs or mods to the unit. I can suggest a product called chlorine dioxide. You can find the product online. I also just as a precaution would have a Formaldehyde and Volatile organic compound test completed. If it turns out to be Formaldehyde it would best to get rid of it.
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:41 PM   #9
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Thank you for your post.
We did have one rv repair man try a "Bleach Bomb" that after reading up found out it was Chlorine Dioxide. Did work for a short time.
When we bought the unit had mothballs smell (I be live to cover it up) .
The smell is not terrible and didn't think much of it until it started following us and everything out of the camper and spoiling food. So it was always there I'm shure just takes some time for it to drive you insane after trying everything under the sun to get rid of it. I have done no modifications.
We did spill a container of calcium chloride type container that is used to keep air dry but I can't see how that would cause the odor we have.
I think something must be removed but who knows what.
I was hoping someone has had the same problem and located the source, even if that means not worth fixing at least we would know
We should have it tested I agree
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:40 AM   #10
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I have a thought. Check your grey tank...not your black tank. The grey water one only. Make sure it is completly drained and dried. Then close it and flood it with bleach water, fill it all the way up using your shower and sinks. Drive it around for awhile. Then dump it. I know this sounds silly but I had a good friend who had a grey tank that was stained with a foul order because of the soap water in it, the for what ever reason it wasnt venting properly.

We did this and it solved the problem.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:20 PM   #11
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My neighbor had a horrible stench that smelled like dead fish, develop in his kitchen.

He is a former restaurant manager and is very clean in his food storage habits.

After tossing the entire freezer and refrigerator contents and properly cleaning, the problem was still there.
An appliance repair tech determined that mice had moved into his nearly new refrigerator, and it needed to be replace. Problem solved.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich5117 View Post
Couple of questions. Was the odor there when you purchased the Rv? If not how long after did it start? Have you done any repairs or mods to the unit. I can suggest a product called chlorine dioxide. You can find the product online. I also just as a precaution would have a Formaldehyde and Volatile organic compound test completed. If it turns out to be Formaldehyde it would best to get rid of it.
To add on to what Rich said, if it formaldehyde you need to get rid of it, formaldehyde is not good for you to breath in, even if you don't think it smells that bad, it can cause health problems. If you remember hurricane Katrina, the government bought a lot of small campers for people to live in, it was making them sick, they found those cheaper made trailers had been made with an excessive amount of formaldehyde, you can find thousands of those trailers in storage and not being used. Most campers are made with some formaldehyde in the walls, it is an excellent mold inhibitor but to much can make you sick. Maybe you have a leak somewhere that is causing the formaldehyde to permeate from the wall(s).
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Old 11-10-2017, 03:35 PM   #13
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WRS... I sympathize with your problem.

Must be so frustrating for you after exhausting so many trials and no results.

Suggesting a long shot here... but would it be possible that a previous own may have coated the interior of the cabinets, raw wood surfaces, to seal and make them look better with some sort of finish ?

If so , many off the shelf wood finishes will off gas for years if used in an enclosed area like a cabinet.... how do I know(?) ... because I used a Varathane finish on the inside of some oak bathroom cabinets that I made (at home) many years ago , 20+ yrs, and it still has a very strong offensive odour when I open the cabinets.

I do hope you get to solve your problem soon.

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Old 11-10-2017, 07:45 PM   #14
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Formaldehyde forms when two component materials cross link such as conversion varnish etc
It is the byproduct of that process
Unlikely that after ten years you would notice that
It would likely be inside cabinets where off gassing could be trapped
There are environmental contractors that might be able to trace it down for$$
Formaldehyde has a distinct odor not unlike ammonia
Vinyl has a more petroleum odor
Could be the upholstery?
Did you contact the Mfg?
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