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Old 08-09-2012, 04:19 PM   #1
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foul odor

I have a foul odor somewhere on the outside of my 2004 Winnebago Journey. It smells like roton eggs. My first guess was the black tank. I cleaned it so much with so many cleansers, you could drink out of it. OK, maybe not but I am pretty sure it is not black tank related. I have noticed it off and on. I had the Propane tank serviced and it really got bad and pronounced. Then it subsided after a while. Do they put rotton eggs odor in Propane like they do in Natural gas for your house so you know if there is a leak? is there any way to troubleshoot a propane leak, or just take it to the RV shop. It seems to come from the front of the bus and the rear. i suspected the engine or genny, but I checked the fluid levels and they seem OK. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #2
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Oh yea, the inside propane gage reads 2/3. the guage on the tank reads 1/2. Could the tank have been overserviced? It was serviced and since then, the only thing we used gas for was when the refrigerator went to auto. I'm told some gennys use propane. I am pretty sure mine used diesel. What else uses gas. The water heater does i believe, but we have never run it on gas. I'm pretty sure the heat is all electric but I could be wrong. I don't know of a gas heater. I certainly want to get it fixed before the rally.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:26 PM   #3
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I'm sure you know that grey water can smell every bit as bad as black water but I wonder why the odor would be outside the rig....

Batteries which are boiling can also smell exactly like rotten eggs. You may want to check the battery tray when your charger is on and see if you've got a bad actor in there threatening to make a big noise. I had this happen and caught it just in time since it was really hot and bulging terribly... not to mention smelling like rotten eggs.

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Old 08-09-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boeing Guy View Post
Oh yea, the inside propane gage reads 2/3. the guage on the tank reads 1/2. Could the tank have been overserviced? It was serviced and since then, the only thing we used gas for was when the refrigerator went to auto. I'm told some gennys use propane. I am pretty sure mine used diesel. What else uses gas. The water heater does i believe, but we have never run it on gas. I'm pretty sure the heat is all electric but I could be wrong. I don't know of a gas heater. I certainly want to get it fixed before the rally.
Just a thought on the propane gauges... since modern tanks can't be filled over 80% full, maybe your inside gauge is "calibrated" to 80% showing full.

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Old 08-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #5
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Hi Jim,
The Journey uses propane for the stove/oven, water heater when selected, refer when selected or on auto when AC not present, and for the furnace.

You can check for propane by spraying a soapy water solution on the pipe joints and connections and watch for bubbles.

I can't say that I think propane smells like rotten eggs, but everyone's sniffer is calibrated a little different.

Have you noticed this in different camping locations or just where you are now? That type of smell sounds like sewer. If you, or your neighbor, keeps the drain hose connected and valves open the sewer system vents through your tanks and out the vents on the roof. You the get an occasional whiff that can be pretty strong depending on the conditions.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:42 PM   #6
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Rick O has 2 good possible sources on the batteries boiling and possible gray tank smells.

Here's a couple more:

Yes, propane can have a rotten egg smell. Have it checked for leaks. I would think a simple drop-leak test would show up a propane leak.

If your generator runs on propane, you will see 2 hoses coming from your propane tank; 1 which feeds all your appliances, and a second dedicated source to run the generator. You can also call Winnebago, give them your coach s/n, and they can confirm what generator was built with the coach.

Hot water heaters can make the water smell like rotten eggs, but you will smell this from running the hot water, not necessarily outside the coach.

Do have the batteries checked for overcharging, possibly from a bad cell. As Rick O stated, boiling batteries can give off such a smell.

And yes, your hot water heater heats water from both propane and electric.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:46 PM   #7
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Rick has a good point. Battery out gassing does have a sulfur smell if concentrated enough. If you suspect they are over charging turn off power to them, air out the battery compartment, and let them cool before handling them.

Good catch Rick.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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I would also check to see if any or how much water is in the batteries.
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
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Propane tanks will release a bit of gas now and then if they are full, when they heat up and the gas inside expands. It is a safety vent thing so it doesn't explode. Where our tanks are stored at work you can smell the rotten eggs in that area in the afternoon.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:32 PM   #10
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X2 on the batteries.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:45 PM   #11
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My money is on the batteries. I went through this for a month or more until I figured out it was most noteable when on shore power. Take a whiff by the battery compartment when on shore power, also to locate which battery run your hand around the sides, bet you a cool drink one of your batteries will be much warmer to the touch.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:24 AM   #12
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If not the batteries its probably a propane leak. I had to replace a fitting at the outside tank regulator on an 02 Journey with the same symtoms. Brush soapy water on all the fittings at the fill and regulator locations before you do anything else, propane leaks could be explosive. If thats what it is use yellow sealer or yellow teflon tape on the threads.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:38 AM   #13
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Batteries or propane leak. Does your stove top have a pilot light that may have been left on?
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:46 AM   #14
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It is possible that water in your hot water heater if it stays on and you don't replenish it will smell like rotting eggs, that's caused by bacteria growth in your hot water heater.

You have to turn breaker off and drain and let inside dry out then flush dried bacteria out.

The way that I prevent that from happening I add 1/4 cup of bleach into 10-12 gallon tank hot water heater, refill then turn breaker back on.

Happy RVing, James
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:04 PM   #15
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Heads up Jim....Winnebago had some issues in '03 and (I think) '04 with their propane tanks...the welds on the tank brackets could crack and cause leaking. You should contact Winnebago and see if your RV was part of their recall...if it was then get assurance the recall was done to your unit. (The recall involved new brackets). Good luck
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:33 PM   #16
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Just a thought, is your rig running when it smells OUTSIDE?
If so, you may want to check your Catyelictic Converter, I
Had a pickup that had the same problem as
you describe and that was problem
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:03 PM   #17
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The smell has pretty much gone away. We had the propane tank filled. About 3 weeks ago in Michigan. It was in the 70s. We noticed the odor right after that. It kind of went away but not totally. When we got home to St, Louis it was over 100 degrees. We smelled it again. We used gas only for the fridge while we were traveling. This past weekend, we went to the Lake with my daughter and she cooked on the stove every day. The smell is pretty much gone. The tank is down to 1/2. I suspect that the tank was overfilled. And when we came south, it was heat related. We will not use it for 18 days. I will monitor the pressure gauge. If it stays at 1/2 while not in use, I guess I can be pretty confident that it isn't leaking. The odor was not inside the coach.
I did check the batteries while on shore power. No overheating or bulging.

I'm just going to assume that it was overfilled and monitor it. If an inside appliance was leaking, i assume that I would smell it inside. Thanks for the info. I wil monitor it.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:14 PM   #18
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I aslo recommend that you check the Batteries.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marinelender View Post
Heads up Jim....Winnebago had some issues in '03 and (I think) '04 with their propane tanks...the welds on the tank brackets could crack and cause leaking. You should contact Winnebago and see if your RV was part of their recall...if it was then get assurance the recall was done to your unit. (The recall involved new brackets). Good luck
This was the issue with the occasional, slight "propane" smell around our tank, on our 2005 Adventurer. Winnebago replaced the entire tank at no cost to us.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryl Bisson View Post
This was the issue with the occasional, slight "propane" smell around our tank, on our 2005 Adventurer. Winnebago replaced the entire tank at no cost to us.
You don't by chance know who you talked to to get it fixed, do you. I'd like to talk to them.
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