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Unpleasant sweet smell in salon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ras737, Jan 13, 2021 at 2:17 PM.

  1. ras737

    ras737 New Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    2008 44 Sundancer
    I own a 2008 44 Sundancer that has had this ongoing problem since last spring. It seems to be the strongest in the compartment where the salon AC is, in fact when that AC unit is on it intensifies the odor. I have tried just about everything. Bilges and sumps are spotless, there is no sign of water or mold. This issue has plagued me the whole entire season. The boat has been out of water since early October and still has this odor. Since it's below freezing here in the Northeast I suspect that this is not organic. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated? Also, has anyone else had this sweet odor? It's not your typical boat smell. It's not musty or foul like from a bad waste hose. Thanks.
  2. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI Gen VI with V drives
    sdarc, northern and dtfeld like this.
  3. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Fiberglass resin is often described as having a sweet smell. Has there been any recent glass work done on your boat, perhaps just prior to your purchase?

    Personally I enjoy that smell but I'm sure it's up to the nose of the beholder.
  4. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Active Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    1991 250 Sundancer & Goplus 7.5' / 2.6hp outboard.
    Previous: 180BR, 220DA, 268DA, 250DA, 268DA
    7.4 Bravo 1
    Wife using new fabric softener on the bedding? Happened to me but I figured it out the first day so maybe not obvious. Some of that stuff can gag you.
  5. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Check the pan under the AC unit. Could be stale condensate.
  6. Tacoma290

    Tacoma290 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 5, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    340 Sundancer 2007
    Twin 8.1 V-drives
    Check the filter on the heat pump. Some filters can be scented.
  7. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Active Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    1991 250 Sundancer & Goplus 7.5' / 2.6hp outboard.
    Previous: 180BR, 220DA, 268DA, 250DA, 268DA
    7.4 Bravo 1
    Then again if it smells like a French brothel, you could re-decorate the boat in red and black . Don’t ask me how I know.
  8. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    Recently sold and currently buying a 2000 Carver 506
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    How about a dead mouse in the ducting some where? Usually it fades faster but if it's humid and mild the smell can linger a long time.
  9. ras737

    ras737 New Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    2008 44 Sundancer
    I want to thank everyone for their input. My first thought was the nontoxic antifreeze that we all use for the potable water system. Unfortunately I could not find any signs of it despite having checked just about every nook and cranny that was accessible. I even used a flexible borescope to get to hard to see places. No signs of water, moisture, mold or antifreeze. Keep in mind this smell is completely isolated to the salon area. Engine room is not affected. Forward stateroom is only affected if I keep door open. My focus now is what I think might be a stringer that runs along the area adjacent to the water manifold which is located under TV in the aft cabin. Approximately 5 feet forward of the manifold appears to be three factory drilled holes. Could these be drain holes? If so where do they drain to? Please see attached photo. I tried unsuccessfully to get borescope into that area. I will try again later this week. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021 at 1:31 AM
  10. endless seas

    endless seas Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2008
    1997 450 DA
    Cat 420
    Have you used simple green for cleaning?
  11. joeyleggz

    joeyleggz Active Member

    Jan 15, 2013
    long island
    current boat: 1997 sea ray 330 express cruiser
    twin 454's efi
    Those three holes through the stringer I believe are just pass through drain holes from another section that might hold water allowing it to get to the lowest point and drain off at the bilge pump‘s they look spotless like no water has ever passed through them I think you were on the right track regarding the AC unit .have you had an opportunity to check the vents? If the smell was stronger when the AC was running there might’ve been a good chance it was coming through the AC? Have you checked the AC filter? I feel your pain that would drive me crazy to
  12. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    Here are a couple of ideas -
    Odor can migrate up the HVAC condensate pan drain line and sucked right through air return - a little Clorox down that line does wonders.
    Odor may be in the galley and the AC system moving it. Look to the refer condensate pan and drain line.
    Garbage can area in the galley - that area is closed and can hold odors also.
    Galley sink drain...
    Last but not least - move all of the solon cushions and any other loose items to the stateroom and close the door to see what happens.
  13. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    Run an ozone generator in it for several hours. Should get rid of all your odors.
    nealtrombley likes this.
  14. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Here is one strictly from left field, but I've seen it done and experienced the sweet odor in an isolated area just as you described.

    A few years ago I flew to South Florida to look at several boats that a friend was considering........a 55 Viking Cov. a 50 Viking Conv., a Hatteras Sport fish, a newish Bertram, and a Whiticar. All shown by one zrokerwho was a very professional guy and quick to see that I wasn't a customer that he could B.S. After the second boat with "that smell" he admitted that on most used boats they put a dryer sheet inside the return air filter mount to hide any unpleasant odors. The first week it is pretty strong but after a week or so, the odor goes away and isn't so bad. The Bounce fabric softener sheet will kill the stale, mildewy odor on a used boat.

    Now, I'm not familiar with your boat, but in your photo there apprears to be a plastic box with a sheet of paper in it placed up in the side wall of the boat.........tou might want to check that out, before going all MacGyver on the construction searching for the odor.

    Good luck with it..........


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