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Old 08-24-2020, 11:53 AM   #1
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HELP! Diesel Odor in Aft Stateroom - Help in Mitigating?

Hi all-

I'm new to all this. Purchased an 88 Nova CPMY Sundeck Trawler. Our second boat (1st was a sailboat). We love it!

There were some leaky tanks in the compartment under the stern fishing deck of the boat which we cut out and removed. The area does not appear to have bilge access from this compartment. Its been thoroughly cleaned with orange oil, and painted. However, it does (still) smell somewhat of diesel / hydraulic fluid.

Way more annoying is that the smell is also in the aft stateroom. There are tanks under the bed, so we don't really seem to have any access to the bilge area under the bed.

I'm looking for any suggestions on how to mitigate this smell. I'm thinking there must be some fluid in this area of the bilge, but it's relatively inaccessible. The stern end of the engine room has a big genset and batteries.

Are there any oil-consuming bio-products that anyone has any experience with? If i cannot get to the area, maybe i can release some critters that will find their way there and convert any petroleum products in the bilge to something that doesn't stink?

Thanks!

Mike








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Old 08-24-2020, 12:01 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard! What you might try is a boroscope, of some type to at least "take a look" at the hidden recesses.


While there probably are oil eating microbes, personally, I would want to actually see what is hidden but that's just me. You may have to install access plates at strategic locations for future forays into the your new mistress's innards.


One advantage of the boroscope "look-see" is you can check out locations that would be most suitable for said inspection plates.
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Old 08-24-2020, 12:26 PM   #3
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Buy and Read Peggy Hill's book. "Getting rid of boat odors".

She will probably read this post and offer some advice, but buy the book anyway.

BTW "Under the stern fishing area" is commonly called the Lazarett.

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Old 08-24-2020, 02:00 PM   #4
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If there is oil in the bilges there is nothing you can do until you first get the oil out. Then you need to do an investigation in order to figure out if the oil has gotten into the stringers and bulkhead bottoms, which is common for boats that have had oil in the bilges for any length of time. If it has it's a much bigger problem.
I've never believed that a boat should have bilge areas that are inaccessible. Maybe the first thing to do is make them accessible so you can figure what's in there.
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Old 08-24-2020, 02:59 PM   #5
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Scrub the bilges with pine sol. Better like the smell of pinesol. Lol
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Old 08-24-2020, 03:00 PM   #6
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The camera is a good idea.
You can also push some oil diapers under the tanks with string attached to pull it out and see what you find.
Another way it to add some water ballast up forward in barrel etc to lift the stern enough to get anything in a low area to flow towhee you can see it.

Diesel smells unique so it should be easy to identify
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Old 08-24-2020, 03:11 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard. I second Peggie Halls book on boat odors.
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:08 PM   #8
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Welcome to TF Rockport. However, as you have such a specific issue, I've taken the liberty of moving your thread to an area more likely to be noticed and advice given, than it might receive in the 'How to use the forum, etc' area.
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Old 08-24-2020, 08:35 PM   #9
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You have to access the bilge to eliminate the smells. There are enzymes that convert oil/diesel, but the oil still has to be removed. Low volume power venting can tame the problem, but it won't go away until the bilge gets cleaned.
I have a 70 year old wood boat. Power venting the bilge areas removed bilge/boat odors, but the major odor causing items had to be removed or at least mostly eliminated. I use standard bilge blowers at greatly reduced speed that run 24/7. They help keep the bilge dry. My boat smells like a house.
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Old 08-24-2020, 09:46 PM   #10
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Smell from some spilled diesel should dissipate within days. If the smell has not diminished, you likely have a small leak. You will need a borescope to find it.

Flooding your bilge with a detergent such as krud kutter will clean it up. It becomes oily waste and can't be pumped overboard. I use a hand pump into 5 gal home depot buckets. My marina contracts with a disposal service.
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:24 PM   #11
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After you have cleaned the area use PUREAYER. See www.pureayer.com
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Old 08-25-2020, 12:20 AM   #12
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My money is on a continuing leak too. You need a way to check the tanks. Can the bed be removed,even just temporarily, to get a proper look at the area? Could it be the aft tanks or maybe the bilge drops towards the transom so it comes from further away. Any correlation between refueling and the smell worsening, ie query leaky filler tube? Any signs of deck issues over the tank areas leading to rusty leaky tank tops? Just ideas, hope it helps.
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Old 08-26-2020, 11:48 AM   #13
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You will need to gain access to the tank[s] to see what is going on. Check the fill hoses, the vent hoses AND the feed hoses to the engine and other gear that draws from that tank. Flashlights mirrors, maybe a remote camera to see into areas that cannot be seen into directly.

Hoses lose their resilience and take a set/ shrink a wee bit which can mean the clamps are no longer holding the hoses tight on the fittings. Weeps can develop.

GO around with a nut driver and snug the clamps up. Don't crank on them as that may cause more trouble, just a good snugging.

Get some of the blue Scot paper shop towels and use them to wipe all the fitting and connections. I find the Blue towels will show even tiny weeps as a distinct change in the colour, darkening, that a white towel will not..

I have found leaks in water and fuel that way but also by wrapping one of those towels around the fittings and leaving it there for a day. Over time a really small weep should dampen the towel.

Use the towels also to wipe the hoses themselves as the hoses , if old enough, or damaged may weep.

Get Peggy's book as suggested and clean the bilge once you have identified the source.

If there is any corrosion of the fittings, rusty steel fittings, then the loose corrosion MUST be removed as the flakes can create a leak path that no amount clamp tightening can close. THen use a fuel resistant SEALER, NOT GLUE, such as Rectorseal #5 from places like Home Depot.
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:05 PM   #14
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Ventilation!
This works amazingly well.

Doesn't matter if our engine room/bilge area is squeaky clean or if we let it get filthy, don't smell a thing. Just have to take off the engine room vent covers when you fire up the engines. The goal is for air from the engine room/bilge NOT to flow into the main living spaces. Do it by controlling how air exits and exits that space. The red line is the sole.
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westiculo View Post
Ventilation!
This works amazingly well.
That's interesting. So is the "non-X-ed" vent one of your normal engine intake vents and you are basically running it "in reverse"? Or is that a new vent, and you cover the normal (X-ed) engine room vents in order to establish your preferred airflow?
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:23 PM   #16
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Yeah it's a normal engine intake vent. On our Grand Banks there are 3 vents on each side of the boat (6 total). We installed a Fantech inline centrifugal duct fan (they're very quiet and have adjustable speed) that continuously runs, blowing air out from the engine room. The X-ed vents we made covers for.
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Old 08-26-2020, 03:28 PM   #17
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Pete,

It's actually Lazarette.
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Old 08-27-2020, 10:32 AM   #18
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I've gotten a lot of use out of a wifi inspection camera:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MV6X4M4/

The idea is you connect your phone to this via WiFi. This lets you prop the phone up somewhere you can see it while jiggling the camera probe around. The kind that connects directly to the phone are a hassle because you invariably need to wiggle the probe cord around at angle and end up knocking it out of the phone (which then falls, and breaks).

The oil absorbing sheets work quite well. I got a bale of these two years ago and haven't run out yet.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZHUV18

I keep a few resting in places that might have liquid appear, but might drain and be otherwise pumped out. These cloths catch the oil and let any water pass.
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Old 08-27-2020, 10:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westiculo View Post
Yeah it's a normal engine intake vent. On our Grand Banks there are 3 vents on each side of the boat (6 total). We installed a Fantech inline centrifugal duct fan (they're very quiet and have adjustable speed) that continuously runs, blowing air out from the engine room. The X-ed vents we made covers for.
We've got Fantech units at the house and they are indeed nearly dead silent. But they're all 120vac fans. Does Fantech make DC units? Or are you powering yours off AC?
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Old 08-27-2020, 10:40 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
We've got Fantech units at the house and they are indeed nearly dead silent. But they're all 120vac fans. Does Fantech make DC units? Or are you powering yours off AC?

Powering off AC. Unfortunately I found it impossible to find a quiet DC one, but the AC one is probably more efficient anyway even through the inverter. Also we don't usually run it when we're out and about unless we're at anchor for more than a day.
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