Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-05-2013, 02:28 PM   #1
Guru
 
Moonfish's Avatar


 
City: Port Townsend, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Traveler
Vessel Model: Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 702
Rotten egg/sulfur smell

It stinks! About two weeks ago, we started to notice a rotten egg smell on our Cheoy Lee 46. The smell is basically confined belowdecks in the aft cabin and aft staircase landing area. It's not the hot water, nor the cold water, either. Running both anywhere on the boat gives off no odor. And the smell is not in the adjacent engine room.

We noticed the odor about the time we pumped out (which is every two weeks). Neither the aft or fwd head smell, though. And the holding tank is located under the floor in the fwd cabin. No smell there, either.

The best possible source we can so far identify is when we lift the floor hatch in the aft staircase landing just outside the aft cabin and engine room doors. The aft fuel tank access plate is there, and the smell seems to be the strongest at that point. It's a 220 gallon tank that feeds the day tank for the two diesel heaters. There isn't any apparent fuel leaking, as the tanks are made of fiberglass and integral to the keel. There is no way to sound that tank (we can sound the 620 gallon fwd fuel tank), but I am surmising the aft tank may be close to empty.

Can a mostly empty diesel fuel tank give off a rotten egg smell - outside of the tank? My wife put her super sensitive nose at both the aft tank vent line and the deck fill, and all she can smell is a normal "diesel odor".

Oh, and the odor seems to ebb and flow in strength. Some days it is really strong, and others less noticeable. Any ideas? Thanks!
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
Darren
Port Townsend, WA
m/v Traveler - '79 Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
http://www.pacificnwboater.com
Moonfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 02:51 PM   #2
Guru
 
fryedaze's Avatar
 
City: Solomons Island Md
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Fryedaze
Vessel Model: MC 42 (Overseas Ltd) Monk 42
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,052
Have you checked your batteries. I boiled a cell dry a few years ago and it smelled like rotten eggs from the sulfur.
Dave
__________________

__________________
Dave Frye
Fryedaze, MC 42 (Monk 42') 1989 Overseas Co
http://mvfryedaze.blogspot.com/
fryedaze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 03:16 PM   #3
Guru
 
Anode's Avatar


 
City: Missourah
Country: USA
Vessel Name: M/V Scout
Vessel Model: Sundowner Tug 30'
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 645
^^^^^+1
__________________
Chip

Deliveries & Yacht Services
www.captainchip.com
Anode is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 03:25 PM   #4
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Stale salt water in toilet intake hoses can do this.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 05:16 PM   #5
Guru
 
Moonfish's Avatar


 
City: Port Townsend, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Traveler
Vessel Model: Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 702
Thank you for the ideas. All batteries are fine, and we have Vacuflush heads that are plumbed fresh.
__________________
Darren
Port Townsend, WA
m/v Traveler - '79 Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
http://www.pacificnwboater.com
Moonfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
bluebyu's Avatar
 
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 38MC
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 302
+2
Overcharging batteries will create the odor.
bluebyu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 05:18 PM   #7
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,853
Shower sump? They can get funky.
__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 05:23 PM   #8
Guru
 
Moonfish's Avatar


 
City: Port Townsend, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Traveler
Vessel Model: Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 702
Brand new (8 months old) Magnum Inverter/charger. I monitor them, and they are not overcharged. However, the shower sump is something I will look into!
__________________
Darren
Port Townsend, WA
m/v Traveler - '79 Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
http://www.pacificnwboater.com
Moonfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:01 PM   #9
TF Site Team
 
dwhatty's Avatar
 
City: Home Port: Buck's Harbor, Maine
Country: USA
Vessel Name: "Emily Anne"
Vessel Model: 2001 Island Gypsy 32 Europa (Hull #146)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,733
Have had that odor several times over the years traced to HW tank.
__________________
David Hawkins
Deer Isle, Maine
dwhatty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:08 PM   #10
Guru
 
HopCar's Avatar


 
City: Miami Florida
Vessel Name: Possum
Vessel Model: Ellis 28
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,506
Maybe the kids didn't find that Easter Egg you hid under the tank?

Check the other stuff, if you don't find the source come back to the batteries.
Sulfer smell = Sulfuric Acid = Batteries
Maybe one cell is going bad.

Has anyone ever used one of those infrared thermometers to check for a bad cell in a battery? Seems like there would be a temperature difference between a good cell and a bad one.
HopCar is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
Guru
 
jleonard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,740
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwhatty View Post
Have had that odor several times over the years traced to HW tank.
+1 It just took a lot of flushing by running the water with a little bleach added to the tank.
__________________
Jay Leonard
Attitude Adjustment
40 Albin
Mystic,Ct. /New Port Richey,Fl
jleonard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:22 PM   #12
Guru
 
Codger2's Avatar
 
City: San Diego
Country: US
Vessel Name: "Sandpiper"
Vessel Model: 2006 42' Ocean Alexander Sedan
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 5,421
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwhatty View Post
Have had that odor several times over the years traced to HW tank.
Me too!
__________________
Codger2

My passion for improving my boat(s) exceeds my desire to constantly cruise them.
Codger2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 06:53 PM   #13
TF Site Team
 
dwhatty's Avatar
 
City: Home Port: Buck's Harbor, Maine
Country: USA
Vessel Name: "Emily Anne"
Vessel Model: 2001 Island Gypsy 32 Europa (Hull #146)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,733
Quote:
Originally Posted by jleonard View Post
+1 It just took a lot of flushing by running the water with a little bleach added to the tank.
Yup.
__________________
David Hawkins
Deer Isle, Maine
dwhatty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 08:11 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
magicbus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 460
Opening the shower sump and giving it a spray of bleach solution might help!

Dave
__________________
Barnegat Light NJ or Nantucket MA
magicbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 08:13 PM   #15
Guru
 
Moonfish's Avatar


 
City: Port Townsend, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Traveler
Vessel Model: Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 702
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
Maybe the kids didn't find that Easter Egg you hid under the tank?

Check the other stuff, if you don't find the source come back to the batteries.
Sulfer smell = Sulfuric Acid = Batteries
Maybe one cell is going bad.
That's so funny, because we wondered if in fact we had forgotten one Easter egg! Both my wife and I remember counting them that morning, and accounting for them all. Plus, we've looked everywhere the odor is and can't find anything "rotting". I even using a mirror tool to look under the floor and behind tanks. Nada. We thought maybe a dead mouse, but again no carcass.

Batteries are all good, every single cell. Just checked. Plus they're all in the engine room where there is no bad smell - just engine room odors.

The hot water tank is in there, too. It's newer (an IsoTemp unit that's just a few years old) and is just fine. No odor at the tank or in the hot water when running it. We had that problem, though, on our last sailboat with an old, corroded hot water heater. We'd get stinky water at the taps...

Anybody have experience with a nearly empty diesel fuel tank producing bad sulfur smells? We have a dock neighbor who thinks that is the culprit.
__________________
Darren
Port Townsend, WA
m/v Traveler - '79 Cheoy Lee 46 LRC
http://www.pacificnwboater.com
Moonfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 09:06 PM   #16
Veteran Member
 
Island Sunset's Avatar
 
City: Oak Harbor, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Island Sunset
Vessel Model: Cheoy Lee 46' LRC 1983
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonfish View Post
It stinks! About two weeks ago, we started to notice a rotten egg smell on our Cheoy Lee 46. The smell is basically confined belowdecks in the aft cabin and aft staircase landing area. It's not the hot water, nor the cold water, either. Running both anywhere on the boat gives off no odor. And the smell is not in the adjacent engine room.

We noticed the odor about the time we pumped out (which is every two weeks). Neither the aft or fwd head smell, though. And the holding tank is located under the floor in the fwd cabin. No smell there, either.

The best possible source we can so far identify is when we lift the floor hatch in the aft staircase landing just outside the aft cabin and engine room doors. The aft fuel tank access plate is there, and the smell seems to be the strongest at that point. It's a 220 gallon tank that feeds the day tank for the two diesel heaters. There isn't any apparent fuel leaking, as the tanks are made of fiberglass and integral to the keel. There is no way to sound that tank (we can sound the 620 gallon fwd fuel tank), but I am surmising the aft tank may be close to empty.

Can a mostly empty diesel fuel tank give off a rotten egg smell - outside of the tank? My wife put her super sensitive nose at both the aft tank vent line and the deck fill, and all she can smell is a normal "diesel odor".

Oh, and the odor seems to ebb and flow in strength. Some days it is really strong, and others less noticeable. Any ideas? Thanks!
Darren,

Not sure if this will help, but worth checking out. On your Pacific NW Boater site, you featured a Rescue Tape application where you fixed an exhaust water leak, inboard
The transom. We experienced the same issue on our CL 46, on the port side. The water drains under the aft cabin berth, and surrounds the rear fuel tank. Had to use an 8' extension on my wet vac to get all the water out. And, I did find water under the hatch right outside the engine room door. Stale, salt water can smell very bad. Might be worth using a flashlight to peer into the dark space under the rear cabin.

Will be looking out for our sistership, Traveler, this summer.

Good luck,

Mark
__________________
Mark Buchholz
46' Cheoy Lee LRC '83
Oak Harbor, WA
Island Sunset is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #17
Guru
 
windmill29130's Avatar
 
City: Little River SC
Vessel Name: JAZ
Vessel Model: Ta Chaio/CT35
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 716
Does your holding tank have one of these, if so it may need changing?
Attached Images
 
windmill29130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 09:26 PM   #18
Member
 
City: Not where I want to be
Country: US
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 9
I just diagnosed this same smell for my inlaws recently (in their home). Turned out to be a bad anode inside their water heater. In their case given the age of the unit, it was more cost effective to replace the water heater than purchase a new anode for it.

Good luck.
Hurry Knot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2013, 10:48 PM   #19
Guru
 
AusCan's Avatar
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Kokanee
Vessel Model: Cuddles 30 Pilot House Motor Sailer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,097
Rotten egg smell is from hydrogen sulfide (H2S). It is detectable by smell at under 2 parts per million, so it doesn't take much to create a stink.
**Be careful poking your nose around though, this gas is fatal when the concentration gets to about 1000ppm.

Most of the above posts are possible sources. The H2S is produced by bacteria. SRB's (Sulphate Reducing Bacteria) which breed in old diesel or stale water. These little fellas will produce hydrogen sulfide as a byproduct. Besides the smell; another problem is the H2S they produce is very corrosive to your fuel tanks.
Bleach works well to kill them in water, and use a good diesel fuel treatment product in your tanks.
BTW- they will live in diesel only if there is a trace of water.
They are also anaerobic, so it won't be the old sandwich under the fridge if there is a supply of oxygen.
AusCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2013, 02:51 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
bobsyiruncle's Avatar
 
City: Winnipeg
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Brass Ring
Vessel Model: 38 bayliner
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 147
this kind of gas?

Nobody asked if you have any propane on board. Even the small throw away tanks could be the culprit. I have noticed on my BBQ they are most susceptible to smell when they are empty. A tank seems to depend on pressure to seal itself. Propane is heavier than air and always flows down into the bilge. Just a pin hole in a copper line could do this.
__________________

bobsyiruncle is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012