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Old 08-21-2017, 10:00 AM   #1
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Default How to refurbish Roadtrek with a goal to remove musty odor?

Help!
The "introduce yourself" section helped me to get up and running with the 1996 Dodge 190 Popular I purchased last week. It only has 23k miles on it and everything works.

I believe it sat in the rain for an extended period of time and the leaking skylight windows allowed it to get very damp inside. There are signs of water entry on the left and right sides of those windows. I was told they had been resealed, but they are still slightly leaking... so that needs to be fixed.

The bigger problem is all the fabric surfaces. I've opened all the boxes and inspected for mold. The only problem was the rear passenger side seat which had mold under the wood. I've repaired that and sanded, sealed and painted with Kilz the wood.

I've removed the loose carpets. But the problem with odor is now the glued down carpets, the seats themselves, the cushions and even the soft fabric walls. While drivable and usable, it's not enjoyable. I spent the weekend using tricks I found online (including scrubbing, peroxide, etc.). But, in the end, I'd rather tear out and replace.

I live in NH and would prefer to have a professional do this work principally due to a lack of time on my part. So, my questions are this:

1) Can someone recommend where to get decent replacement cushions for the rear?
2) Ditto for captain's seats.
3) How about ripping up all the carpet, including the front of the van. I've heard it can be very difficult. I wouldn't mind replacing it all with a vinyl tongue and groove flooring.
4) The fabric covered doors and walls seem like they're going to be particularly difficult to deal with. Any advice? Has anyone rented a steam cleaner from Home Depot with success? The passenger rear double door was the worst offender and I spent a good 15 minutes scrubbing the fabric with scolding hot water and left in the direct sun to dry. While not working 100%, it dramatically improved the smell, so I have some hope that a professional system could salvage (although the '90s blue carpet on the doors is pretty foolish!)
5) Finally, the source of the leaks has to be fixed. It was recommended I look up YouTube videos on those top three skylight windows that are leaking, but nothing was particularly helpful. Again, I'd rather have a professional do it.

Because of the low miles and generally great condition of the appliances, body, engine, etc. I'm completely willing to spend a few more thousand dollars to refurbish it. I just need help finding someone to do the work here in New Hampshire. I'll be calling the Road Trek service center in Southern NH, but I'm predicting the age (1996) of the model will limit my options with them.

Sorry this is such a long intro!

-Pete
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Old 08-21-2017, 12:42 PM   #2
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That sounds like nearly a complete rebuild job. I bet everything you remove will lead to more surprises if it has been leaking water. There could be moldy insulation behind every wall covering and you won't even know without removing the coverings to find out. That sounds like a lot more than a few thousand dollars especially if you were paying someone an hourly rate to do it. Leaking water is usually bad news.
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:30 PM   #3
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I don't think it's too bad. The soft fabric on the walls didn't get wet, they are just a bit smelly from what I assume is a year of absorbing odors from the carpet. Also, the rear carpet seems fine... it's just up front under and around the leaking skylights. But, I've found "Superior Interiors" in Hooksett who do this sort of thing. I've stuck my head in and around all the appliances. I've torn off the covers of the wood frames out back... they're all fine.

-Pete

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That sounds like nearly a complete rebuild job. I bet everything you remove will lead to more surprises if it has been leaking water. There could be moldy insulation behind every wall covering and you won't even know without removing the coverings to find out. That sounds like a lot more than a few thousand dollars especially if you were paying someone an hourly rate to do it. Leaking water is usually bad news.
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Old 08-21-2017, 01:47 PM   #4
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Pete, I am having a difficult time with the computer today, this may get posted more than once,

Once you are sure you have stopped the leaks, try these out,

Borrow a dehumidifier and dry out the van as much as you can.

Place bowls or pans of white vinegar inside the van, change the vinegar every 24-48 hours. It will absorb mold and mildew smells. White vinegar is inexpensive.

Try any of the Arm and Hammer products made to absorb mold and mildew smells. Place them under the seats and change them out every few weeks. You may get lucky and find these at your local dollar store. Check their website to see their products.

You might want to consider an Ozone Generator, They are available on Amazon for about $70.00. Follow directions and read safetey warnings. I recomend using it sparingly, a few minutes every other day. Don't try to use it a long time all at once, Ozone has its own odor and takes time to dissapate.

Also, try Fabreeze on all fabric surfaces, I like the unscented.

Good luck, have fun.
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Old 08-22-2017, 06:10 PM   #5
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Fruch hit the nail on the head. Dry it out. Ozone also. Careful of too much ozone..... it degrades olefins (rubber, foam, padding, certain insulatiuons)
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:16 AM   #6
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Fruch hit the nail on the head. Dry it out. Ozone also. Careful of too much ozone..... it degrades olefins (rubber, foam, padding, certain insulatiuons)
Thanks for the tip about running it too long! I was wondering, "What's the downside of a long run." Knowing the ozone will degrade rubber and foam is really important! I'm hoping for 30 minute runs at a time because I have one of those $70 units (great reviews on Amazon) showing up tomorrow!

I'm going to give the treatments a go. So far, there was one door that was the worse (right below the leaking skylight.) Scrubbing with hot water dramatically improved it. I did that on a hot sunny day when it could dry out quickly.

The "soft touch" wall coatings have me perplexed. I'm wondering if a rented steam cleaner could be used on them?

Has anyone ever ordered replacement cushions? Do they need the plywood on the back? Why? Why not just have the plywood under them? I'll try scrubbing and treating the existing cushions first, but it looks like I can order some new cushions online or locally.

-Pete
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:50 PM   #7
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Pete, I'd start with 15 minutes (or less) in an area the size of a van. You could always do a longer treatment later. I used an Enerzen Commercial Ozone Generator 4500mg Industrial O3 Air Purifier Deodorizer Sterilizer in a large closed bedroom for 45 minutes and you could smell ozone all over the house for hours, the ozone smell in the bedroom took 2 days to fully dissipate. It's only a little machine, but it really puts out a lot of ozone. Be careful not to spend a lot of time in an area with high concentrations of ozone.
Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:18 AM   #8
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I'm doing some treatments tonight... will report back tomorrow. I grabbed several pieces of different kinds of foam and left them near the device to test the effect.

One question I have regarding O3 generators: Should you have them mounted in a window (without gaps, of course) where it can pull in fresh air pass the plates to create the 03, or can they just work off of the oxygen present in the closed camper?

-Pete
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:37 AM   #9
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Pete, if you can, try to prop the ozone generator in a window so you can use outside air. Seal off the widow opening around the ozone generator the best you can with cardboard and painters tape or foam and tape. There are a few YouTube videos showing guys using Ozone Generators in cars. Check this one out:

Good Luck.
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:08 AM   #10
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That video was the original one that I watched and was the reason I asked the question! The instructions with my unit said nothing about trying to supply the device with a source of fresh O2 through a window, etc. (And there's a stupid handle that makes it tough to easily wedge into rectangular spots.) I've rigged up combo of foam padding and other materials and have it running in a window this morning.

Last night I ran it for 15 minutes, then an hour later 30. Then, when I went to bed for a full hour. This morning I opened the van and the combo of ozone smell and other odors made it difficult to determine the effectiveness. I'm not running it for another full hour. I see no signs of damage to the interior foam, although I understand that such damage would be essentially behind the visible covers. It's a risk I'm willing to take for the O3 to do its job.

One thing I DID test was putting one of the short backrest pads relatively close to the output during my 30 minute run. There was a very noticeable drop in bad odors later until I squished the pad in my hand and could smell the mustiness coming from the foam. It's deep in those thick pads for sure! I have low expectations that the O3 will go deep enough through just one or two treatments to no warrant replacing the whole cushions. (You sleep on these things, so they are my number 1 priority for getting clean.)

By the way, why did Roadtrek split the back-rest (bolster) pads into two pieces rather than just making two long ones? I don't get that!

Stay tuned for more updates later this afternoon after I get out of work. By the way, this little O3 generator seems to be working extremely well for it's price and size. I can't wait to try it on my basement!

-Pete

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Originally Posted by fruch View Post
Pete, if you can, try to prop the ozone generator in a window so you can use outside air. Seal off the widow opening around the ozone generator the best you can with cardboard and painters tape or foam and tape. There are a few YouTube videos showing guys using Ozone Generators in cars. Check this one out:
Good Luck.
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