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Old 09-07-2017, 12:33 PM   #1
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Diesel Fuel odor on everything

Looking for suggestions. I have a 1988 44 foot aft cabin Nova Embassy with twin 3208 cats. The fuel tanks have been replaced and and it seems that as far back as 2011 fuel was found in the bilges and it was there for quite some time according to surveys I have found on the boat. No fuel leaking now but the fumes are horrible. It gets on any fabric left on the boat. I have cleaned with dawn all fuel lines etc. Was wondering if anyone has had this problem and what they did to fix it. I think I will start painting the entire engine room and bilges , remove and replace air cond ducts. Have I forgotten anything?Any thoughts would be most welcome.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:56 PM   #2
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I hear (on very good authority) that this company makes what you are looking for...
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:07 PM   #3
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Once clean try a ozone generator (you can hire them) They remove all sorts of real bad odors. Google them we used to use them to freshen the interiors of boats laid up for long periods.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:00 PM   #4
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One thing you need to do is check under everything, even if that means pulling up some floor or a bed to see if any fuel reached other areas. The other suggestions are good for the odor, but there may still be some source remaining fuel. It could have run through the bilges to even the bow.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:44 PM   #5
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Bet you still have liquid fuel hiding in some structural compartment in the bilge. Might be hard to get to. Be methodical.
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:04 PM   #6
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It will permeate all fabric and foam. Look up headmistress posts on how to fix the problem
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:15 PM   #7
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wash down all areas accessible, re wash again, do it a third time. Put dawn in the bilge at all accessible points, fill as high as you dare, pump it out, wash down again, rinse all soapy places and pump again. Refill bilge , run the boat and try to slosh bilge water around, pump out again. Repeat as may times as you can handle. You can buy odour remover for diesel and furnace oil but really just need to wash/rinse/repeat. Stay away from solvents/caustics and acids ads they will mess up wiring.All while doing this ventilate like crazy. If after a couple times the smell is not substantially better, you still have a leak!! Look for a high pressure mist around injector pump and lines that gives low vol but high atomization and stink ability. Also verify tanks are vented outside. Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:18 PM   #8
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Could it be a tiny hole in a high pressure fuel line emitting just enough diesel fuel to fill the boat w a diesel fog. Like very fine spray.
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:56 PM   #9
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Also look at tank vent lines and fill lines. Seen a few that are poorly fitted and can leak when filling tanks.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:21 PM   #10
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Look hard at the fuel tank tops. They could have a hole you can put your hands through but not drip a drop on the deck.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:37 PM   #11
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For bad contamination I use Super Clean, a strong commercial detergent. If there is no diesel, there is no smell. You have to check and clean everywhere. Your engine room insulation could have diesel in it. It can wick between materials or in bundles of wires. If the bilge water was high then that bilge line is where you start. Pressure washing might help for the bilge. Steam would be better. Cleaning and painting can close in the smell.
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Old 09-07-2017, 06:16 PM   #12
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put any open bowl of white vinegar in the cabin. should help
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:56 PM   #13
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We had pin hole leaks in our fuel tanks. Replacing the fuel tanks didn't cure the diesel smell problem. We had to cut out and replace the plywood support boards that were underneath the tanks to get rid of the odor. The plywood absorbed the diesel so much that they were saturated like a wick. After removing them we set them on end and the diesel would drain out in a steady weeping flow.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:20 PM   #14
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PureAyre PureAyre is the only product I've found that eliminates ANY odor. Not only will it get of diesel and residual odor left behind by stinking sanitation hoses, but PureAyre is also rated for use around food...which means you can even use it to get rid of the odor left in your fridge by the steaks or fish that spoiled when a natural disaster took out shore power for 3 days. Also does a great job on musty PFDs and foulies.

However, it's not an air freshener or a quick fix. If you want to completely eliminate any odor, it's gonna require some work 'cuz y
ou can never eliminate any odor unless you first eliminate the source...'cuz as long as the source continues to exist, it'll continue to generate new odor. So first you have to find and fix any leak or replace the stinky hoses, then thoroughly clean the site, including every nook and cranny ...a good scrubbing with detergent and water--just detergent and water. Mop up an excess water and let it air dry till it's at least only damp...no standing puddles. Now you're ready to eliminate the residual odor.

Use PureAyre full strength...I'd use a pump garden spray jug set to a fine mist. Spray every surface, nook and cranny...just a light spray. Do NOT rinse...just let it dry with hatches open so that plenty of fresh air can circulate. If the soft goods in the cabin have picked up the odor, despite what the Febreze commercials claim, just spraying it on the surface won't do much...you need to spray enough on carpets and rugs to penetrate to the backing...enough to penetrate cushions to the middle from both sides..not enough to make 'em drippy, just enough to get into the cushion....you'll prob'ly have to remove the covers and send 'em to be cleaned. Again, just let everything dry. If you still have any odor, you missed a spot.



A spray bottle won't go very far...plus, it's cheaper in the long run to buy it by the gallon...it has an indefinite shelf life, so just keep it on hand.
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Old 09-07-2017, 09:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Also look at tank vent lines and fill lines. Seen a few that are poorly fitted and can leak when filling tanks.


I replaced my fill and vent lines last year for this very problem. Once replaced the diesel smell went away
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:33 AM   #16
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As suggested you may still have a reservoir hidden somewhere. Open everything and inspect closely.
Check the engines while running. A leak can occur that can be found only while running and not just at idle.

Different engine but I had that and finally had to get down to find it. No matter how quickly I dropped into the engine compartment the engine heat had evaporated the leaked fuel. Only while running was the leak apparent. Carefully check the throttle shaft seal on the injection pump as they can weep again evaporating at low loads.

Check all vent lines, fill hoses, supply and return hoses, clamps, etc.
When is odour strongest? You may have odour constantly but if gets markedly worse when running then a leak may be active, think engine and lines.

Ventilation will help also using some fans to force air to exit the boat and circulate but best after the source has been stopped.

Thoughts are jumping. Using tablet and have not figured ,yet, cut & paste to organize.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:37 AM   #17
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Been there, done that, got two-two week long cases of contact dermatitis from dealing with - hands-on - cleaning diesel from the boat during our tank leak and replacement adventure this past summer. Boat stank of diesel for weeks. We had diesel floating on the bilge water 'way up under the forepeak berth, diesel puddling between stiffeners, diesel all over the port engine bilges.

Sop up all you can reach with oil-sorb sheets. Scrub everything you can reach with dish soap. Hose and scrub all you dare around electrical equipment, where you know the diesel has reached.

Then quit. Leave the boat open and the bilges open. Run fans; we used a cheepie 'box' fan for several weeks while we worked in the ER. Diesel evaporates.

And again: diesel evaporates. Some patience required.
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:55 PM   #18
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I have not used Pureayre on a boat, but did get some for home use and did not have anything like the experiences HeadMistress had. The odor of the product itself is awful. Then it's sticky and takes a huge quantity for a small area. Last, once the odor of the Pureayre dissipated the original odor returned. Glad it was only used in a small test at our home as it took extra effort then to get rid of it.

To be fair, I looked at reviews and 40-50% of the ones I found give it a 5, agreeing with Peggie, while 15-20% give it a 1, agreeing with my review. Then the others all in between seeing good and bad.

This was a Shark Tank show product that the Sharks loved the product but none of them wanted to be in business with the owner.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
I have not used Pureayre on a boat, but did get some for home use and did not have anything like the experiences HeadMistress had. The odor of the product itself is awful. Then it's sticky and takes a huge quantity for a small area. Last, once the odor of the Pureayre dissipated the original odor returned. Glad it was only used in a small test at our home as it took extra effort then to get rid of it.



To be fair, I looked at reviews and 40-50% of the ones I found give it a 5, agreeing with Peggie, while 15-20% give it a 1, agreeing with my review. Then the others all in between seeing good and bad.



This was a Shark Tank show product that the Sharks loved the product but none of them wanted to be in business with the owner.


I had a similar result attempting to get mildew odor out of cushions. I ended up using odo ban from sams and it did the trick. Much less expensive as well. Pure ayre is probably a great product, just didn't do the job for me

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Old 09-08-2017, 10:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
Bet you still have liquid fuel hiding in some structural compartment in the bilge. Might be hard to get to. Be methodical.
I had 4 gal of thickening diesel trapped above a stringer that was under a leaking oil stove day tank. There were 6 house batteries and a Raritan setup concealing all but 6" of that stringer from view. I sponged out that 6" wet spot but it just kept on coming until it almost filled a 5 gal pail.

I had to dispose of it surreptitiously as used oil, as two oil transfer stations didn't recognize old diesel as a category.

If the smell is really strong and not just funky, pretend it's gasoline and find it now.
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