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Old 28-10-2014, 19:42   #1
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How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

So far every boat I have been on has had an overwhelming stench of diesel fuel, working around diesel I know that it takes very little to stink, is there a common way of combating the smell on a boat?
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:01   #2
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Desensitization...
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:06   #3
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Exactly. Just learn to love it.

It smells like victory.
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:08   #4
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Some smell worse than others. You get used to it.
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:10   #5
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

I have had plenty of leaks and you need to fix them. Once you do, flush the bilge with lots of soap. Of course it depends on how long it has had leaks. At some point the smell would become permanent, like an old spice ship.
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:10   #6
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Meticulous maintenance will minimize diesel odor.
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:23   #7
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Mine was bad that way.I tried a lot of "chemicals"from vinegar to u name it.
About the only thing that worked was plain old scrubbing of the engine,bilge & soundproofing with detergent.I used Dawn,cause it was found to be best at cleaning oil spill off waterbirds,ie:it cuts grease well.There are probably other detergents as good.I removed hatches,etc & scrubbed & hosed them on the ground.I have an Espar type forced air furnace & every time it ran-diesel smell.The primary engine fuel filter was mounted right over the hot air out hose.Had to replace all the hose,as it was saturated with odor from years of spill during filter changes.I've finally gotten rid of the odor,but it wasn't easy.
I relocated the filter & am religious about putting absorbant sheets under it,or anywhere else that might get a drop.If I do spill a little,while bleeding,or whatever,out comes the Dawn right then.Scrub ur engine,pressure wash it even-no harm as long as u plug the intake.Soundproofing will hold the odor as will any other "absorbent"material in the area.Check ur fill ,vent & return lines-both ends.Good luck!
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Old 28-10-2014, 20:29   #8
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

what smell....

Actually most odors are probably coming from the foam in the various pads about the cabin. You can do an experiment and remove all the cushions to the cockpit and then see if the boat aroma improves. More times then not it's the old foam that is smelling.
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Old 28-10-2014, 21:38   #9
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

And look really hard for small leaks. I am in the middle of dealing with a very very small leak in our day tank. I only found the leak when I pulled the tank out to clean it and realised my hands were slightly oily. So subtle a leak but oh so smelly.


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Old 28-10-2014, 22:12   #10
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Vanilla will also reduce the smell of diesel, I use it to clean the top of the fuel tanks.

However, I agree that cushions can hold a deisel smell. Replace foam and sanitise covers regularly.

Best of luck - Sue.
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Old 29-10-2014, 01:33   #11
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

I wanna know what is wrong with smelling diesel. Just kidding of course.

Chase leaks and keep the bilges wiped. That is the only cure.
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Old 29-10-2014, 02:40   #12
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

You don't have to put up with that smell. It's a sign of either present or past maintenance issues and sometimes neglect. The smell can give some people headaches and add to nausea from sea sickness.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to get rid if the smell in an old boat.

After you have ensured there is no spillage anywhere, no fuel leaks, no oil infused cleaning rags hidden somewhere you then need to check that no exhaust is coming back into the cabin, or worse leaking from inside the engine bay. If your exhaunt overboard is particularly smelly or oily then you need to follow that up. With mine just having the injectors serviced helped a lot.

Next step is a good cleaning with a suitable soap and water.

Talcum powder left in areas is good to suck up fumes and can be sucked up in a vacuum cleaner later. Vanilla essence is good for wiping down items.

IF you still have a problem, it's almost certainly in the foam,and bedding, curtains and other materials. Wash all that you can in a washing machine or get professionaly dry cleaned. Replace cushions and mattresses you can't wash.

That should take care of it. If like mine however there is still a faint sign of diesel, then it could be ingrained in old wood such as the floor linings and wooden and rotten bulkheads. That's where mine was and in the mattresses.

Hope that helps.
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Old 29-10-2014, 04:14   #13
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

My boat is properly maintained and meticulously clean. As a twenty year liveaboard I have never had a diesel odor.
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Old 29-10-2014, 04:15   #14
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

After chasing down leaks and giving the bilge a good wipe, you can use a product that is made from citris. I used to use it in the navy when ever I could get my hands on it. West Marine sells a citris product that works really with diesel smells. It is a little pricey, so you might want to shop around.

WEST MARINE Pure Oceans Citrus Bilge Cleaner | West Marine

Some friends of mine like the stuff they buy at WalMart. They use on the tug boats.

Star Brite 94400 Org Citrus Bilge Cleaner Gal - Walmart.com

Your bilges will smell like fresh squeezed oranges.
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Old 29-10-2014, 04:23   #15
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Re: How Do You Control The Diesel Smell In Your Cabin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
what smell....

Actually most odors are probably coming from the foam in the various pads about the cabin. You can do an experiment and remove all the cushions to the cockpit and then see if the boat aroma improves. More times then not it's the old foam that is smelling.
This is a really good point.

Last summer I pulled all of ours out of the boat (38 separate cushions in total), put them in a child's wading pool in the back yard with a bit of mild detergent (wool wash from memory) and stomped up and down on them over a few hours. Then I rinsed them and left them to dry before putting the machine washed (or replaced) covers on. The difference was remarkable.

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