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    Boat stink? Head stink?-gctid826937

    Chasing that stank!

    Not really sure where it comes from, but it is there...sometimes bad, sometimes not at all...and I can't pinpoint it by sniffing. I've stuck my nose into the forward holding tank compartment and it smells like what faint holding tank smells like. This smell I'm smelling is like rotten onions! Very sharp and pungent, but not what I would expect from leaking effluent. And I can't really pinpoint it inch: It's strongest in the guest head, especially when it is closed up for awhile and seems to leak out into the guest and forward staterooms from there...the master head doesn't stink. The engine rooms bilges are clean and have a faint "engine" smell so I don't think it's that...

    I've stuck my head in the toilet and it really just smells like old seawater...I've pulled the plywood out of the guest head under cabinet and it kind of has a musty and holding tank smell...around the toilet doesn't really smell...but at head level? Fookin' stinks like rotten onions!

    Hints? Tips? Suggestions? I've got a steam cleaner and I'm going to hit the carpet and ceilings with it...I've pulled the toilet due to a clog in the macerator (and it still isn't that smell) and I think I'm going to replace the head line (another thread). Btw, why is there, how far does it go, and can I remove the existing carpet that is under the bathroom?

    Thanks!
    . . .It places the lotion in the Basket. . .and that basket happens to be in a 1987 Bayliner 3870 w/ Hino 175's

    #2
    Just guessing...could it be mold or rotten wood from a leaking windshield bolt?

    Greg
    Newport, Oregon
    South Beach Marina
    1986 3270 with twin 110 HP Hino diesels. Name of boat "Mr. Darcy"
    Past work history: Prototyping, tooling, and repair for Reinell,. General fiberglass boat repair starting in 1976.
    Also worked as heavy equipment mechanic, and machinery mechanic for over 30 years.

    Comment


      #3
      I've just replaced all my waste water lines and vent, threw out the macerator , installed a new electric head and that solved my problem but that kind of problem you'd know what the smell was right from the get go. How big of water heater do you have?

      Is there one or two water heaters on your boat? There is a sacrificial anode tube in water heaters that will give off that rotten egg smell when its time to replace.

      We always called it egg fart smell. Its only a guess but that might be the culprit.
      Dan
      Frostbite Falls, Minnesota
      Claudia V. III
      1988 - 3218
      Gas Drives

      Comment


        #4
        When was the last time the waste lines were replaced ?? And with what kind of hose??...my guess is a leaky waste line or lines are saturated.also using salt water to flush will cause that "Rotten Egg" smell if the water sits in the lines.

        Just remember your nose is not as sensitive as a women's, my Admarial tell me that a lot .

        Good luck Brad
        Brad & Sharon
        Lady Jake
        1985 4550 EH 700TI /Twin Disc 502
        Anacortes/La Conner, Wa.

        Comment


          #5
          I'd bet the waste lines are permeated. I had the same problem with my boat in 2011 when I bought it. No amount of cleaning anything and everything helped. I read about permeated waste lines here on BOC, so I installed new ones. Bingo! No more stink, except the old lines in the driveway, until trash day.
          Jeff & Tara (And Ginger too)
          Lake Havasu City, AZ
          |
          Current: 2008 Playcraft 2400 MCM 350 Mag B3
          2000 Bayliner 3388 Cummins 4bta 250s (SOLD 2020)
          2000 Bayliner 2858 MCM 7.4 MPI B3 (SOLD 2018)
          2007 Bayliner 305 MCM twin 350 Mag B3s (SOLD 2012)
          2008 Bayliner 289 MCM 350 Mag Sea Core B3 (SOLD 2009)
          And 12 others...
          In memory of Shadow, the best boat dog ever. Rest in peace, girl. 7-2-10

          Comment


            #6
            I was thinking waste lines until Beans said sometimes it stinks and sometimes it doesn't. In my case as I'm sure many others will agree once hoses become permeated the boat will take on a constant aroma. When is the last time the potable water system was sanitized?
            Dan
            Frostbite Falls, Minnesota
            Claudia V. III
            1988 - 3218
            Gas Drives

            Comment


              #7
              Hmmm...can't say I have ever experienced the smell of rotting onions but it sure doesn't sound like it is coming from the holding tank or from permeated lines.

              Prior to our 4788, we owned a 2000 3258 that developed a heavy mold buildup on the underside of the plywood that the water tank was sitting on. The plywood had begun to rot so I cut the water tank into pieces to remove it, cut out the plywood and replaced it and installed a plastimo bladder tank. I don't recall that it was all that smelly but there was certainly an odor. The culprit was air-conditioning condensate draining directly into the bilge -- essentially this is the softest water you can possibly have in your bilge and wood will soak it up like crazy. Re-routed the AC condensate lines into the shower sump (which became the ABYC standard sometime in the mid-2000s). AC condensate drip pans can get VERY smelly, especially the old powder-coated steel ones when they start to rust. I bought some little blue tablets to put in the condensate pan that didn't help much. Smell went away when I replaced the AC unit with a newer model with a stainless steel pan.

              If it doesn't smell like poop, it's very probably not poop, but it is absolutely something you want to track down. One thing I have experienced is a 'rotten-egg' smell and other foul odor when the toilets are using sea-water for flushing. I have smelled this on my boats in both seawater and fresh water. Another place to check is your shower sump...
              RiverGuy's Fleet:

              2001 Bayliner 4788
              2003 Mainship 390 (available for Charter)
              2000 Bayliner 3258 (just sold!)

              Comment


                #8
                One more thought comes to mind...the more I think about this I begin to suspect you may be smelling wet 'treated' plywood. When that stuff gets wet it starts leeching out some ugly brown water and the glue that holds the plys together also gets smelly when wet. So I guess I would put wet plywood high on the list of likely suspects...
                RiverGuy's Fleet:

                2001 Bayliner 4788
                2003 Mainship 390 (available for Charter)
                2000 Bayliner 3258 (just sold!)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Could it be from the holding tank/s? Do several flushes & pump out with fresh water. Then add a good enzyme treatment, NoFlex or similar. Make sure the tank vent line isn't blocked. Shower sumps can really stink if not cleaned regularly. Pour some white vinegar down sump/s and sink drains. If all that makes no impression change out the hoses as others have mentioned. How are the bilges, good clean and wash with Lysol or similar. Any damp carpet, that can really stink?

                  Machog
                  1996 4087 Lazy Days
                  2011 11’ West Marine Rib 350 Lazy Mac
                  2011 Porsche Cayman
                  2010 Lexus IS 250C
                  2008 Honda Ridgeline

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I guess what tipped me off to think of something else away from the holding tank was when Beans said sometimes the smell is there and sometimes it isn't. If the hoses are permeated the stink is there all the time. If it doesn't stink like the holding tank then I'd look for something else.
                    Dan
                    Frostbite Falls, Minnesota
                    Claudia V. III
                    1988 - 3218
                    Gas Drives

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Many thanks for all the suggestions!

                      The chunk of carpet under the guest bathroom cabinet is damp. It reaches to under the toilet platform. Can this be removed? The cabin carpets are not wet, though they are old (but not original) and humidity tends to make things sticky and might bring out some stink?

                      Today's project was to pump, rinse, and shop vac out the holding tank. Tomorrow I'm going to start removing/replacing lines. I've bleached and scrubbed the bilge under the forward berth and around the holding tank as best as possible. I did that a couple months ago and it seemed to help, then it's back to normal. The short line going to the macerator is green and black on the outside, so it might be bad lol. The macerator is coming out as is the "y-valve". I'm going to run a single 1" line from the guest head around to the forward head to Y into it and then to the tank. Probably move the pump out line to the top if I have the room. May or may not be "the smell"...or maybe it contributes to something else that stinks and gives me this weird odor?

                      Next project will probably cut an access hatch to the area under the guest room floor that is between the 2 stringers. Maybe a window leak could collect nasty water in there? Either way, good storage area to be able to access! I'll also check the floor underneath for nasty crap that might be growing...

                      The only part of the bilge I can't scrub is under the water tank. But I've rinsed a lot of bleach thru there. The rest of my bilges are clean enough to ladle soup out of to feed to homeless children

                      The shower sump I haven't really messed with. It is an ancient diaphragm style pump and no actual sump. Pump sucks straight from the shower drain and then over the side. I will dump some bleach down it unless there is a better way?

                      Yall are the best! Thanks!
                      . . .It places the lotion in the Basket. . .and that basket happens to be in a 1987 Bayliner 3870 w/ Hino 175's

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Do you have a sump box for a shower or sink to pump grey water overboard.

                        If so, they need to be cleaned regularly or they will emit an odor. There is usually a screen to stop hair etc. that needs to be cleaned.
                        2001 Bayliner 4788, Cummins 370's
                        Zodiac Yachtline 380, Yamaha 25hp
                        Sanger wakeboard boat
                        volunteer CA Delta tour guide

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Our black water lines are original. They were really smelly when we bought out boat in 2014. I started using Noflex treatment for the holding tank. It helped a lot and it works well. Start with a tank that you have flushed really well. Use no other chemicals. Make sure your tank vent is clear and breathing. Our heads are vaccuflush with fresh water. I put about a tablespoon of Noflex down each head every other day alternating, even forward, odd aft if that makes sense. If it smells, use more.

                          Another cleaning tip is to mix some Noflex with water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the hoses and let it sit. It could also probably be used on other surfaces like the bilge, etc. the Noflex seems to react with organic material to neutralize it.

                          We started also using a complimentary product called Biotol. It was recommended by Marine Sanitation out of Seattle. It works well for cleaning the heads. It also works well to clean other organic. We have started using it to clean the sinks, countertops, showers, floors in heads. It keeps things smelling nice. It does have a mild perfume which is not objectionable.

                          We still get a little odor from time to time coming from behind the glass sliding doors in the hall. I am trying to avoid replacing the black water hoses if I can keep the odors under control. My admiral can smell a fly fart from a 100 yards so it is an uphill battle. So far so good!
                          2000 4788 w Cummins 370's, underhulls, swim step hull extension
                          12' Rendova center console with 40HP Yamaha
                          MV Kia Orana
                          Currently Enjoying the PNW

                          Comment


                            #14
                            "Cool Beans" post=827023 wrote:
                            Many thanks for all the suggestions!

                            The chunk of carpet under the guest bathroom cabinet is damp. It reaches to under the toilet platform. Can this be removed? The cabin carpets are not wet, though they are old (but not original) and humidity tends to make things sticky and might bring out some stink?

                            Today's project was to pump, rinse, and shop vac out the holding tank. Tomorrow I'm going to start removing/replacing lines. I've bleached and scrubbed the bilge under the forward berth and around the holding tank as best as possible. I did that a couple months ago and it seemed to help, then it's back to normal. The short line going to the macerator is green and black on the outside, so it might be bad lol. The macerator is coming out as is the "y-valve". I'm going to run a single 1" line from the guest head around to the forward head to Y into it and then to the tank. Probably move the pump out line to the top if I have the room. May or may not be "the smell"...or maybe it contributes to something else that stinks and gives me this weird odor?

                            Next project will probably cut an access hatch to the area under the guest room floor that is between the 2 stringers. Maybe a window leak could collect nasty water in there? Either way, good storage area to be able to access! I'll also check the floor underneath for nasty crap that might be growing...

                            The only part of the bilge I can't scrub is under the water tank. But I've rinsed a lot of bleach thru there. The rest of my bilges are clean enough to ladle soup out of to feed to homeless children

                            The shower sump I haven't really messed with. It is an ancient diaphragm style pump and no actual sump. Pump sucks straight from the shower drain and then over the side. I will dump some bleach down it unless there is a better way?

                            Yall are the best! Thanks!
                            Don't forget to replace the holding tank vent with marine sanitation hose. Bayliner often used clear vinyl tubing on vents and it can be a source of smell. Inadequate venting can also be source of smells. While you are at it, get rid of the standard vent thru-hull and replace it with a plastic, straight through thru hull. Not only will it vent better, but it will allow you to clear the vent line with a water hose.

                            As you surmised, rotten wood can also smell. My previous boat had a non-structural piece of wood that served as a base for a bilge pump fiberglassed to the bilge. The wood was not completely encapsulated. It was rotting and it smelled badly. Since I could not get to it without pulling the engine I poured a strong water/bleach solution in the bilge and let it sit for an hour before rinsing it out. This stopped the smell.
                            1999 3788, Cummins 270 "Freedom"
                            2013 Boston Whaler 130 SS
                            Anacortes, WA
                            Isla Verde, PR

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I replaced the bulk of my sanitary hoses with schedule 40 pvc pipe as recommended by Marine Sanitation and Fisheries Supply in Seattle. Deleting the Y valve left a through hull available to use as a vent so I kept the 5/8 line and added the inch and a half as an additional vent so that there is in and out circulation.
                              P/C Pete
                              Edmonds Yacht Club (Commodore 1993)
                              1988 3818 "GLAUBEN”
                              Hino EH700 175 Onan MDKD Genset
                              MMSI 367770440

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