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Old 03-20-2019, 09:31 AM
Clarity Clarity is offline
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Unhappy Mold/Rust - is it a little or a big deal? Common? Would you buy and fix, or walk away

Hi,

We've been looking for TM's for the past year and found one nearby-ish. When we went to view it, there was a strong smell reminiscent of dust and wet paint (though there was no wet paint anywhere) when we walked into the door. The furnace was on, so my husband thought maybe that was what we were smelling. I didn't sense moisture, but when we pulled up the flaps around the edges of the interior of the TM, we found what looked like faint mold markings. Then, there was rust on a few bots on the outside and all around the wheel well. There was also, I'm pretty sure, some mold around a bolt on the bed that would fold down over the wheel well, and the seals. I'm going to post a picture. Is this a normal occurrence in TrailManors and something that we'd be likely to see in any older one (2005-2008ish)? Is this something that can be cleaned easily, diy, or inexpensively? Or is this something we should go ahead and look the other way on? If it were any other trailer and not a TM, my inclination would be to shrug my shoulders and say "not for us, not worth the risk", but I find myself concerned that I won't find another trail manor this season. Thoughts from your experiences with your own TMs, shopping for TMs, or trailer/RVing in general?

Thanks so much for anything you're able to share with us first-timers!
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2019, 09:50 AM
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Bill Bill is offline
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I'm not inclined to see big problems in your pictures. They look like simple condensation. RVs and trailers in general (not just TMs) generate a lot of airborne moisture in their limited amount of living space. Think showers, especially if you don't run the exhaust fan. Cooking (steam from food as it cooks). The stove and oven (when propane burns, the products are CO2 and a lot of water). Simply breathing puts a lot of water in the air, especially if several people are inside. And a generally humid climate in the air - you didn't mention where you live. Many people find a humid atmosphere inside the trailer to be uncomfortable, and run the exhaust fan in the ceiling - but not everyone does this. Simple long-term storage, especially outside in the rain, can produce a humid interior.

By 2005, all TMs had aluminum framing in the shells, so you are not worried about wood rot in the shells. If there was a leak, and water got into the walls, it could mold and smell, of course. You can do a quick check (though not exhaustive) by shining a flashlight up into the pocket stop pockets - look for posts and pictures on that topic by Larryjb. If there was standing water on the floor, it could smell, too. Look for lifting floor tiles or discolored carpet.

Look around and sniff under the sinks, both kitchen and bathroom. The fittings on these drain pipes pipes can loosen and leak, but they are easily tightened and generally don't cause a big problem.

Lift the mattress. What do you see/smell under there? Does it simply smell stale (you may want to wash the mattress and cover), or is there any sign of massive mold and standing water.

The furnace is vented outside, and so should not make a smell - unless it has not been run in a long time. If that is the case, a bit of dust will have settled on the unit, and as the dust is heated and burns off, it could generate a bit of a burned smell. This is normal. But I don't think the furnace would generate a paint smell.

The paint smell is odd. The owner might simply have wanted to improve the appearance by touching up some interior wear marks (TMs generally have several of them), and that's OK. Remember, you are looking at a trailer that is 10-15 years old. Or he could have scrubbed it down for the same reason, using some strong-smelling cleaner. And that's OK, too. Or, if I put on my conspiracy hat, he could have been using something like Kilz sealer to cover something more sinister. You need to look around closely, to find paint that is fresh, even if it is not wet. If you don't find any fresh paint, then the smell is likely something else. BTW, it is perfectly OK to ask the owner about the paint smell. He should be honest, and it could explain the smell.

In other words, if you do a comprehensive interior inspection, and your pictures illustrate the worst things you find, I think you're OK. But you need to use your eyes especially, and examine more thoroughly. Again, a closer examination should be part of any RV inspection, not just this TM.

Bill
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:15 AM
Larryjb Larryjb is online now
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As Bill said, the rust could be from condensation. There could be a leak as well, but being aluminum framed, any rot issues are limited to wood strips for the bag seals which are replaceable if necessary. I replaced one on mine.

As for the rust you see, it could be a leak from any of the openings on the roof. You can remove the trim plates from the inside and check for moisture if it has rained recently. The sealant can look good from the outside, but I found that unless you actually lift the vents and apply sealant at each screw hole and put a bead of sealant underneath the flap of the vent, it may still leak. This isn't hard to do, but it is time consuming.

If the leak is coming from the antenna, it's most likely coming from screw holes. Remove each screw, place a little sealant into each hole and replace the screw.

There is a wood panel in the kitchen area. I did have a leak which got behind the wood panel and rotted it out. I pulled it off and replace it. Again, time consuming, but not hard if you are handy.

Again, as Bill said, the rust you see could just be condensation. But if it is a leak, they are easy to fix and won't cause permanent irreparable damage. You could try removing one of the screws from the window frame nearest that rusted bolt and you may get an idea.

I wouldn't walk away, but if I find that the screws are rusted on the inside, I'd use that as a negotiating tool.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:28 AM
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Just FYI - if you buy the trailer, and are still worried about the stale smell, I have found that a good move is to go to WalMart (or elsewhere) and buy a bucket of DampRid (about $10). Open it, set it on the floor, and go away for a few days. You may come back and find that the stale smell is gone. I like this approach much better than just spraying Febreeze around, which (IMO) simply covers the odor.

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Old 03-20-2019, 06:28 PM
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When we leave now for the summer to cooler climate, we put paper plates of charcoal briquets about 4 per plat in each room. Just don't buy the matchlite stuff that has lighter fluid in it it does remove odors it is charcoal
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:33 AM
Clarity Clarity is offline
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Hi all,

Thanks so much for your amazingly swift replies and great experience and ideas shared! So useful! We're following your suggestions and taking a closer look, with an eye towards the things you pointed out. Thanks again! We'll update...
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