Hi All: This is my first post. I'm the new owner of a 1984 Newport N27 which is beautiful except for a persistent combination of petroleum/chemical cleaner odor strongest beneath the companionway. As the boat is opened and aired out it dissipates, and I never thought it would be a problem......nothing that a little cleanup and airing out couldn't fix...... until the folks in the next door slip told me that the old owner became too discouraged with the smell and finally dumped the boat. Now I'm very worried...
Let me tell you what I've done to this point in a general cleanup of the boat, determined to cover all bases....
Beginning forward, I removed all old sanitation tubing, including about 7 feet of overboard discharge tubing, diverter valve, and hand pump. NASTY. I removed and completely cleaned the holding tank. I also steam cleaned the holding tank compartment. I replaced all tubing with the fancy $$ "odor-safe" tubing. A minor odor problem reasonably quickly solved.
On to the bilge. Each storage hold inside the cabin has a "downstream" drainage route to the bilge. With a power washer dispensing a diluted Purple Power/clorox/Dawn detergent mixture, I sprayed all of these inaccessible "tunnel" passages alternating with a brushing out with a long handled Christmas tree brush used for drier vents. The filth was amazing!! The bilge itself was cleaned the same way, and I got rid of 'tons' of algae slime and oily residue. I then meticulously cleaned the diesel engine, as well as every square inch of exposed anything in the engine compartment. It looks darn near new. The Purple Power mixture worked very well indeed.
Closing the boat up for the day with a big sense of satisfaction...... returning the next morning..... not the least
bit of reduction in the petro chemical odor! Just as intense as ever. SO..... I must need better ventilation. I saw a website hawking a boat/RV ventilation system called CLEAR-AIR. "Guaranteed" to eliminate odors anywhere in the boat by snaking various sized ventilation suction lines to problem areas on the boat, and then collecting them in a 125 cfm central fan unit, finally exhausting outside of the cockpit thru a vent. $695...WAY too pricey for something I could easily build myself. $100 later, I had reverse-engineered this system using a FAN TECH centrifugal fan from EBay and some PVC parts and spa hose from Lowes, I installed it, and ran a 2" ventilation suction line into the engine compartment fuel tank area, another 2" suction line to the aft cabin itself, and a third 1" suction line to ventilate the bilge. The unit runs continuously off shore power ; the cabin air is somewhat better, but the exhaust in the cockpit stinks of this familiar petro/chemical stink to high heaven. There is big time active outgassing somewhere. I'm now convinced that the odor is originating in the area of the fuel tank, but this area is inaccessible; covered up by a plywood
"floor" for an optional unused quarter berth. This plywood is not structural. There may have been a spill of some solvent, cleaning product, motor oil, fuel... years ago; there may be a chronic leak in the fuel or breather hoses, a loose clamp, decomposing fuel sender gasket, who knows? I can't get to it. I'm currently leaning toward removing the quarter berth plywood floor to gain access to the fuel tank area to check it out. I'm even willing to remove/discard the old tank and hoses and relocate a new one to a more serviceable area if it'll end the problem. Any help from your experiences would be really appreciated. I was convinced that all stink has to be finite, but I'm beginning to think the boat is haunted by a stink with a life of it's own, that we may never eliminate.
My wife and I are really frustrated, and I can't imagine we'll ever spend a night aboard her until we get to the bottom of this. It's driving us nuts. If you have read along this far, thanks so much for hanging in with me
, RON W Watkins Glen, NY