New Trailer Smell - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-14-2009, 02:29 PM   #1
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Name: Ray
Trailer: 21' Escape - former owner of 17' "other brand."
Posts: 699
My wife and I have been considering buying a Casita for several years and the time is about right, she finally joins me in retirement this summer. My only real concern is my wife is extremely scent sensitive, and to a somewhat smaller degree, so am I. I have been forced to leave a fabric store because of the formaldehyde smell and she will get an instant headache whenever anyone with cologne passes too closely. Our main concern is from all the carpet on the walls; is there much odor from the glue and carpet? I don't want to buy a used trailer since it looks like I can pick up a new one for not much more than what late-model used ones sell for, but I don't want my wife to get a headache every time she enters it either.
Thanks for any help you can give,
Ray N

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Old 04-14-2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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Doug Mager's Avatar
Trailer: 1975 13 ft Trillium
Posts: 2,535
Hi Ray, I think there are companys out there similar to carpet cleaning companys that do 'odor removal' as well as cleaning.
Even IF the trailer is NEW and you both suffer from this problem with odors, it might just pay you to take your new trailer (IF you end up with a new one) and have it cleaned and 'sanitized' ounce of prevention????

You would also do the same with a used model too!!

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Old 04-14-2009, 03:07 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
Posts: 970
Hi Ray,

Hope you can find something that will work for you.

Can't make any comments about a new Casita. Our new Scamp did not bother me at all and I too was worried. At the time I think there was some comment about having a new unit in the sun for several days, getting heated up inside and then airing it our. But I never had a problem and did not need to do anything like that.

Scamp has a marine type wall covering. I never noticed an odor. I have no idea what products Casita uses. What wood there is inside our Scamp also does not bother me. I have problems in the plywood/manufactured section of the lumber yard.

Why don't you visit a fiberglass gathering sometime and sit in someone's new Casita. Take a trip to the Casita factory and find out if they have some new ones on the lot. Sit inside with a book and see if you get sick. It woudn't take long for me to find out if I was sensitive to the products used.

You might want to reconsider a slightly used newer unit. It will have had time to gas out. Or, if you get a new one don't be too discouraged if at first it bothers you. Give the new baby time to be more agreeable. Good luck.

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Old 04-14-2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
Posts: 970
Doug gave me an idea. We have an ionizer that we use when *not* in residence to try to remove a previous smokers left over odor. I don't like using an ionizer but it does help when our vacation home is closed for some time. When we use the ionizer we stop it as soon as we arrive and open the place up and get out for awhile. The running ionizer almost bothers me as much as the closed up smell. We only use this thing once or twice a year for one week at a time.

I have no clue if an ionizer would help rid the new smells. It was another thing I was happy I didn't have to try in the new Scamp.

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Old 04-14-2009, 04:24 PM   #5
Name: Patty
Trailer: Casita 13 ft
Posts: 91
I can address this issue as both of our Casitas were purchased new. There is an odor in the beginning, no question about it and it probably is the glue used to hold the carpet in place. However, in our experience, the smell hasn't lasted very long. Living only an hour away from the factory certainly helped in our case because we had no plans to immediately camp after picking up our trailer. We brought it home, opened the windows and let it air out. The "new" smell was gone in a couple of weeks. When we got home, we got busy washing and waxing the camper, scotchgarding the cushions and carpet (be careful you'll set off the LP detector, I did!), spraying some air freshener to speed up the better smell process and a number of other things every day, keeping those windows open for airing out.

By the way, when we aren't using the Casita, we keep both a hanging air freshener in it as well as a de-humidifer (little styrofoam looking pellets that you can get at Walmart or the Container Store) to help keep mildew from forming inside the camper. While I like the look of the carpeted walls, I sort of wish they didn't have them because can you imagine anything worse than mold or mildrew getting behind the carpet? Holy Moly...just shoot me now... what a mess and hubby and I aren't handy-kinda people!

I didn't mean to digress... but I would say that if you and your wife are sensitive to odors, don't plan to camp in the trailer for several weeks.

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Old 04-14-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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Name: Anne
Trailer: Escape 17 ft 2006 / 2005 Honda Pilot
Posts: 467
I think the idea of hanging out in some new models to test it out is an excellent idea!!

I'm not especially sensitive to smells so my new trailer never bothered me - except after it had been closed up for several weeks in the middle of summer. Several times it was all I could do to get the fans on and windows open and then leave it to air out for several hours. The off-gassing from all sorts of glues and plastics can be pretty bad in new trailers. Once it was aired out, I had no problem camping in it. You might have to be diligent about keeping a window on and perhaps a fan until the smells can work their way out.
Anne H and Fay Wray, the cat | Portland, OR
en Plein Air (2016 19' Escape; 2016 Honda Pilot )
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:41 PM   #7
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Name: Frederick
Trailer: Fiber Stream
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I think the idea of hanging out in some new models to test it out is an excellent idea!!
Robert had this problem back in 2003 when we were shopping for a new Tow Vehicle. The international auto show comes to the San Diego Convention Center every December. We sat in every Minivan, and I was ready to go to a dealer to test drive a Dodge Caravan when Robert started having a bad reaction to the VOC's. We tried a Chrysler Town & Country with the same effect. We had to cross Chrysler Corporation off our short list, and pay the higher price for the Honda Odyssey whose VOC's did not affect Robert. The 2003 Toyota Sienna was smaller than it is today; they enlarged it the following year.

I might recommend a trip to Rice, Texas just to conduct such a test, if you wouldn't be overwhelmed in the factory.
Frederick - The Scaleman
1978 Fiber Stream 16 named "Eggstasy" & 1971 Compact Jr. named "Boomerang"
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:13 AM   #8
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Trailer: 2005 17 ft Escape ('Turtle')
Posts: 388
Heat is what really helps with off-gassing of glues, vinyl, carpeting of any kind, paints, etc. Alternating high heat in a closed area with good ventilation will accelerate the process.

I also have chemical sensitivities which is one reason we bought a perviously owned Escape. I would agree with the suggestion you consider a used Casita to assure that all the chemicals have off-gassed. Just be careful to find one that has been well cared for and has no mold, people with chemical sensitivities are often sensitive to mold also, perhaps that is the case with you or your wife.

Our Escape had a minor repair done at the factory and I used heat to clear out the odor, it took almost 2 weeks. We then discovered a leak and through the generosity of Reace at the Escape factory it went back for 'hospital' care - to get partially taken apart and dried out, then put back together, so I will once again help the glues to off-gas with heat and ventilation.

With a new trailer you are likely dealing with more than just glues. I would think the Casita factory could tell you what materials they use, but people who are not as sensitive are not always aware of the how strong certain chemicals can be.

If you want a new trailer another option would be to consider another make, especially a double walled trailer. The only new ones currently made that I am aware of is EggCamper and Oliver. Fiberglass would not have any off gassing so at least the walls would not be a problem, though there would still be glues in the cabinetry install and chemicals in the the foam and fabrics in the cushions.

Good luck in finding a healthy trailer for your retirement adventures!
"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Enjoy our travel photos at: Turtle Travels
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:05 AM   #9
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Name: Ray
Trailer: 21' Escape - former owner of 17' "other brand."
Posts: 699
Thanks for all the help. You have certainly given us some things to consider. I guess we could just let it air out for a few weeks, after all, we've waited for a few years as it is.
Ray N
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:47 PM   #10
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Name: Linda and Dale and Dallas the cat
Trailer: 1984 Fiber Stream
Posts: 700
When we went to Rice to get our trailer there was a trailer sitting open in the showroom. We asked about it and they told us that it was airing out for a lady who had bought it but wanted it to not bother her with the smells. We are very sensitive to smells like perfume but the trailer didn't bother us much. It was summer and we had the windows open a lot so maybe if it had been closed up it might have.

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