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Funny smell in VW Cali and we are supposed to sleep in it tonight


Tim Clement

T5 SE 174
Quite urgent if any one can help?
We are away in our 2007 Cali and this evening there has been a horrid smell at the back of the van - where I should be sleeping!
We rinsed out the water tank before we left and haven’t used it because the pump has stopped working. The sink doesn’t smell, nor does the fridge. We have taken the gas bottle out as a precaution. It has been smelling since we stopped so don’t think it is air conditioning ( have searched for previous threads on here) or the engine. It isn’t us or the dog.
We have a CO detector too.
Any ideas please...
Us in a cold Cornwall!!
This isn’t a joke. Check for a dead mouse. Our cat brings them in alot, and it’s a very distinctive smell if they have been sat for a while.
Thanks for a reply. I don’t really want to sleep in it tonight! Would it make it smell in the back? It is v def coming from the back cupboard. The area where the water tank is - it feels warm. The pump hasn’t worked on this trip - it did at home before we left. I don’t know if that could keep trying to work even though the tap isn’t on. It doesn’t sound like it is on and trying to work. Not sure what to do now really!
This isn’t a joke. Check for a dead mouse. Our cat brings them in alot, and it’s a very distinctive smell if they have been sat for a while.
Hmmmm we did have a mouse in it a couple of years ago and when it went for its service we asked them to check for any signs of chewing etc
Didn’t think it might be a mouse.
The housing where the water pump is is warm. I don’t make a habit of feeling it normally but it hasn’t been on and it is warm.
Or it smells a bit like a boat and warm plastic ...
So is it an electrical smell? if so disconnect pump !!!!
Ok - just undone leisure battery panel in boot and the battery is hot. How do we disconnect it?
Check your fuses and pull the one for the pump
Thanks that is great - our fuse box is under the dash board by the gear stick but will give it a go.
The camp site owner has been really helpful - not!!
We will look in to it a bit more in the morning. We have unploughed from the mains and the leisure battery isn’t as warm as it was and the area near the water pump isn’t as warm either. And not sure about the smell yet as we have had all of the doors open for the last hour. Fingers crossed for the morning...
Just wondering if there could be a fault with the electric hook up and it was providing too much power whihc was causing the leisure battery to overheat- any thoughts? Now we are unplugged it has all cooled down and the smell is much better- phew - still worried about going to sleep ....
If the battery was hot, it sounds like a battery issue rather than an issue with the hook up. We had to have the leisure battery in the rear compartment replaced because it had failed. It wouldn't hold a charge and it became very hot (almost too hot to touch, but not quite) when on hook up. It didn't smell however. I guess if you have an electrical short in the battery it may well have fried some of the internals of the battery which could be causing the smell
Your battery is knackered: remove it immediately as the gas is toxic and go and source a new one somewhere but you should ideally replace both.
I am the least technically capable person on this forum, possibly on the planet but:

When I had overheating problems with Charger and battery .... (Hot weather, fridge going flat out, charger located under fridge) I would occasionally get a pungent electrical smell wafting through from the wardrobe area.

Problem solved by new charger and batteries.
As above, or remove the Negative, black, cable and insulate it from contact with anything else using insulating tape etc: or a rubber glove.
Then you can reconnect the mains hookup. You will still have the front battery under passenger seat. Check its temperature occasionally. If OK then good to go but you will have limited Off Mains capacity. Both batteries can then be replaced when home.