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Old 04-26-2009, 09:26 PM   #1
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Question My '97 Jayco Eagle 5th wheel...SMELLS. How to get rid of it??

Bought a 1997 Jayco Eagle 5th Wheel 28' for a good price. I did notice an odor when I first walked in to check it out. But thought I could remove it.

I washed down all the walls with either a spray cleaner or a bleach solution. I scrubbed the vinyl flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. I washed all the bathroom. I took down and washed all curtains. I polished the wood table and cleaned all the blinds.

The carpet? Yes, it had stains and looked 12 years old. The previous owner, who owned a carpet cleaning business, claimed he cleaned it. Not. I got on my hands and knees with a cleaning solution, and scrubbed it, then wiped it with a towel. All of it. Even did that with the couch.

BUT THE 5th WHEEL STILL HAS AN ODOR I can't stand.

No, it's not a rotting animal odor. Yes, I have been using an odor neutralizer. The latter definitely leaves a pleasant smell. But after a few days, the odor is back.

To describe the odor is hard. It's like an old smell of a 12 year old used 5th wheel? Not sure. But I hate it.

Any ideas? Could it still be the carpet?

Monte and Janie
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:50 PM   #2
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My 1984 camper had a smell I couldn't stand. After much cleaning, someone on the boards recommended that it was my tanks that stank. Have you put any effort into cleaning your tanks? Grey water tanks can stink just as bad as black after a while, if food or other organic stuff goes down.

I'm not sure the proper way to clean the tanks. I used a gallon of bleach in each tank, then filled the tank all the way. After letting it sit for a day, I emptied. I repeated once more for each tank, and the odor went away.

Again, not sure if that's the "right" way to clean your tanks, but it's how I did it. I'm sure your local camper store could also recommend the correct cleaning procedure for your tank.

I also opened the vents and windows completely for a few days, helped air everything out. Especially if you're been using a lot of liquid cleaners, you want to let all that moisture get out of the camper.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:01 AM   #3
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Buy 4 or 5 boxes of baking soda and sprinkle that through out the carpet. Let sit for a week and vacuum. I have heard but never substantiated that using bleach is not the right way to clean tanks. Rather then destroy all bacteria in tanks you have to establish the ones that actually clean the tanks by chewing on the organic stuff. Buy some tank deoderizer that's organic (has bacteria in it) and add that. That establishes the "Good" bacteria. I have used my trailer for years using a bacteria based tank cleaner not the destroy everything approach. I have also heard that a periodic use of water softener along with 5 gallons of water and a whole bag of ice cubes with an hour drive will help clean the solids out of a tank and clean the sensors also.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
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You may be wanting to be looking for a leak. It may be not showing on the inside but a mold spot in your insulation in the wall.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:26 PM   #5
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Paul,

What bacteria based tank stuff do you recommend? I'm about to take delivery of a new rig, and would like to know what brand and where you purchase.

Thanks!
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:59 PM   #6
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Hmmm....you know, I don't think my smell problem has to do with the tanks, but I do find it interesting that our manual says to pour baking soda in the tank to remove odors. And putting baking soda on the carpet sounds like a good idea, too, but we're leaning to renting a rug doctor.

I love the ice cubes and driving idea.

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Buy 4 or 5 boxes of baking soda and sprinkle that through out the carpet. Let sit for a week and vacuum. I have heard but never substantiated that using bleach is not the right way to clean tanks. Rather then destroy all bacteria in tanks you have to establish the ones that actually clean the tanks by chewing on the organic stuff. Buy some tank deoderizer that's organic (has bacteria in it) and add that. That establishes the "Good" bacteria. I have used my trailer for years using a bacteria based tank cleaner not the destroy everything approach. I have also heard that a periodic use of water softener along with 5 gallons of water and a whole bag of ice cubes with an hour drive will help clean the solids out of a tank and clean the sensors also.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:28 AM   #7
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I think the bacteria based enzyme I'm currently using is called Pure Power waste digester and odor eliminator. I bought it at Camping World. Previous to this I orderd somrething off the web that worked really well. I don't remember it's name. It smelled minty and ran about 30$ for a gallon that lasted almost 8 years.
Older odor eliminators were formaldehyde based and caused problems with septic systems that some municipalities and RV parks used. It also killed everything. The enzyme or bacteria based cleaners are considered "Green" because they cause no harm to water treatment systems and are not harmful to the enviornment while still eliminating odors and establishing an ongoing bacteria chewing system within your tanks.

I had a rental house where the previous owners had a dog that urinated on the carpet. I tried everything that people had sugested trying to get rid of the smell. detergent, fabreeze, viniger and water and even tried rubbing alcohol mixed 50/50 with water after reading about that. Nothing worked. I finally went out to the trailer and got some enzyme I use in the tanks and sprayed that on the carpets. That did it but it took 3 weeks with an application each day. later I pulled up those nasty smelly carpets and found the urine all over the wood floor also. I moped up and cleaned and then applied each day an application of the enzyme and Presto. All smells gone. It's interesting to note that a new pet odor eliminater on the market that gets rave reviews is an enzyme.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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OK, I'm sold. We'll go looking for the enzyme today, just in case the smell is coming from the tanks. We have to clean out the tanks anyway, so why not. I wish I could describe it--like an acrid lemon smell, but not lemony at all.

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I think the bacteria based enzyme I'm currently using is called Pure Power waste digester and odor eliminator. I bought it at Camping World. Previous to this I orderd somrething off the web that worked really well. I don't remember it's name. It smelled minty and ran about 30$ for a gallon that lasted almost 8 years.
Older odor eliminators were formaldehyde based and caused problems with septic systems that some municipalities and RV parks used. It also killed everything. The enzyme or bacteria based cleaners are considered "Green" because they cause no harm to water treatment systems and are not harmful to the enviornment while still eliminating odors and establishing an ongoing bacteria chewing system within your tanks.

I had a rental house where the previous owners had a dog that urinated on the carpet. I tried everything that people had sugested trying to get rid of the smell. detergent, fabreeze, viniger and water and even tried rubbing alcohol mixed 50/50 with water after reading about that. Nothing worked. I finally went out to the trailer and got some enzyme I use in the tanks and sprayed that on the carpets. That did it but it took 3 weeks with an application each day. later I pulled up those nasty smelly carpets and found the urine all over the wood floor also. I moped up and cleaned and then applied each day an application of the enzyme and Presto. All smells gone. It's interesting to note that a new pet odor eliminater on the market that gets rave reviews is an enzyme.
-Paul R. Haller-
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:03 PM   #9
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doodlebug52, just remember that it probably won't happen after one application depending what was used before. Some people use pine sol, others a formaldehyde product. You will have to establish the colony and that takes some time. After that though 2 oz every tank is all you need to have them do all the work for you.
I do not know if you have ever had a Jayco built 5er before but I am a genuine Jayco fan. I owned a designer series 5er from them. They are absolutely the very best manufacturer for customer service even after the warreny is out and they are comitted to always doing the right thing. Call their # and talk with them if you have any concerns about anything they build. They are a joy to work with.
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Old 04-29-2009, 12:03 AM   #10
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Ditto on the Jayco. About to buy my second one next week!
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:26 PM   #11
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Our Jayco fiver is two years older than yours. Some things things to look for:

The carpet. After fifteen + years, it definitely had an odor. I just finished ripping all of it out and I'm replacing it with new carpet.

The roof, Check for leaks. Especially check for leaks around the rear of the fiver. We have a leak that rotted the framing on the rear wall. Easy enough to remove the rotted wood and splice in new 2x2 framing. It made the bathroom stink.

The tanks. Do the thing with ice cubes in the black tank, tow the trailer around for a while to mix things up. Drain and rinse again.

With proper care and maintenance, you should get many more years out of your Jayco.
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:57 PM   #12
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From personal experience_ Baking Soda left on carpeting too long and too thick will cake into the pile and is verrry difficult to remove. After 4 years we can still see where it was.
PineSol is commonly used in holding tanks, but some RVing websites say to avoid it. For a list of what NOT to use, visit http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az1233.pdf
If the source of the odor is from a water leak, there is only one way to eliminate the odor. Seal all sources of water intrusion and replace all water-damaged material and/or seal moldy stuff with http://www.concrobium.com/
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Old 06-14-2009, 04:33 PM   #13
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Did you ever get the smell out?
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:52 AM   #14
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Did you ever get the smell out?
I would say we've lessened it, even if I still occasionally notice it.

We cleaned out the black water tank as best we could. Got a wand. Did the ice cube wash while driving. Use the EXODOR PORTA-PAK Blue Tablets plus the RV DIGEST-IT CONCENTRATE Deodorizer/Bacterial/Enzyme liquid. Also use yellow tablets in the gray water.

Changed the carpet. I don't think the odor was coming from the old carpet, but the new carpet smell helped. (Was shocked to see 1/4" of Utah's red dirt under the old carpet!)

And I frequently use an odor neutralizer spray since we also have to keep a kitty litter box in the shower/bathstall. Favorite is Renuzit Citrus Sunburst. Had to get the Renuzit "Wonder Pet" when it's all they had last time, but it has the same smell. The kitty litter was not the reason for the weird acrid smell we noticed after we bought it, by the way. It's just an additional "smell" that I make sure I combat.

I'm going to post about kitty litter in RV's, since I found a great product. Will also ask about the exterior, which is my next project.

So bottom line, the smell is still there, but greatly lessened.

Janie
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