Exhaust soot embedded in headliner

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3labs

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New Hampshire
Hi all,

Does anyone know how to successfully clean diesel exhaust soot that is embedded in the fabric headliner of our motorcoach?  I've tried to vacuum it but that didn't help.  Any ideas?

Thanks,

Tarra
 

Jackliz

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3labs said:
Hi all,

Does anyone know how to successfully clean diesel exhaust soot that is embedded in the fabric headliner of our motorcoach?  I've tried to vacuum it but that didn't help.  Any ideas?

Thanks,

Tarra

Howdy, Tarra.
What brand of motorhome do you have?  I am going to assume that your fabric headliner is Ozite.  Is that correct?

Regards,
Liz
 

3labs

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Hi Liz,

We have a 1996 Country Coach Intrigue.  I'm not sure what the fabric is and to be honest I've never heard of the headliner product you mentioned. ???  Most of the black exhaust soot is located in the bedroom (the engine is under the bed) and hallway leading to the front of the coach.

We just purchased this coach and we knew it had an exhaust leak in the motor before we bought it.  My husband just repaired it so I was all ready to clean up the old soot problem but was hoping it would have been easier than this.  Any advice you could give me would be appreciated. :D  Thanks!

Tarra

 

Terry A. Brewer

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Tarra

Try brake cleaning fluid, it works like dry cleaning at a laundry.....Make sure you try a small area in an inconspicuous area.
 

Shayne

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Make sure you are in a well ventilated unit tho.  Fumes could overcome you.  Open windows and use house fans,
 

Rex

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Tarra, this works on water stains on the Cloth type ceilings.  Give it a try in a small area and see if it will clean your ceiling for you.

Use plain bleach on a sponge and dab the area with the bleach until the stain disappears. During this time don?t let the bleach get on anything else. When the stain is gone spray white vinegar on the area, which will neutralize the bleach and then dry with a clean terry cloth towel. This we did on our 2003 35E after a water leak and the stain disappears. Others have tried this and they can?t believe the results.
 

Karl

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Tarra,
I contacted Fleetwood to find out what can/cannot be used to clean a fabric ceiling. They said any rug/upholstery cleaner, but stay away from solvents (paint thinner, toluene, acetone, brake cleaner, etc.) as it could soften the glue used to hold it up there. You can get a Little Green Machine (Bissel) for about $65 that has a hose that makes cleaning overhead a breeze. Also great for spot cleaning, but not too good for large areas because the cleaning nozzle is only about 4" wide. Personally, I'd stay away from bleach; it won't touch diesel soot and may leave blotchy areas or light and dark.
 

3labs

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Thanks for all your tips!  I own a little steam cleaner and will try that suggestion first as it seems to be the least toxic to my health, however; if my husband had his way he would definitely use the brake cleaner method, he just loves that stuff and uses it on everything!  ;)

Thanks all!
 

Jim Dick

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Karl,

Whenever using brake cleaner you do not want to soak the area too much. As you said, it can loosen the glue. I can't believe the stuff we've removed from rugs, etc with brake cleaner. Ventilation is a key as mentioned.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Brake fluid will also dissolve some plastics and acrylics, so be very careful. It also does a nice job of removing paint and varnishes.

Are you sure its diesel soot?  How is it getting inside the coach and onto the ceiling?  If the dirty area is in the hallway as well, it sounds like it may be getting sucked from the front of the coach toward the air conditioner air intake, rather than coming up from the engine area. If som it probably is not soot.

Diesel is oily and needs a grease-remover type of detergent or maybe a strong solvent.  Other types of dirt are probably not oily and will succomb to other, less dangerous, cleaning techniques.
 

Jackliz

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3labs said:
Hi Liz,

We have a 1996 Country Coach Intrigue.  I'm not sure what the fabric is and to be honest I've never heard of the headliner product you mentioned. ???  Most of the black exhaust soot is located in the bedroom (the engine is under the bed) and hallway leading to the front of the coach.

Tarra, you could try what I used for removing stains and soot. The headliner fabric might be Ozite. I used Tilex Mildew Stain Remover. Dab it on a small spot with a cotton ball to see if it will work. Blot it with a clean white cloth to see if the soot comes off. Protect your clothing and don't let this stuff get on anything. Open the windows. After you clean a spot, spray or dab it with a little water to stop the bleaching action. Now, I tried staight chlorine bleach BUT that never worked as well for me as this Tilex product.

Another resource is Service Master. This firm has a service that will clean up damage from fire, smoke, water, etc. They might have a product that you could use. Good luck in your clean-up.  :)

Regards,
Liz
 

Jim Dick

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Gary,

Country Coach had a problem with the insulation in the engine compartment where the cap attaches to the coach. Just above the engine hatch opening the insulation would separate and allow soot to enter between the cap and inside wall. Eventually it migrated onto the ceiling. Not sure if that is the current problem but certainly a place to look for an opening. I had to reseal mine when we had the Intrigue.
 

3labs

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Jim,

Thanks for the info regarding the insulation problem in the engine compartment.  The bulk of the soot is in the bedroom area.  When you lift up the bed there is a black outline of soot around the engine compartment cover on the underside of the bed.  No doubt this sounds like the same problem you had with your coach.  Unfortunately for us the previous owners never addressed the problem when they saw it so there are many years of soot build up in the bedroom/hallway that will take countless hours to clean.

With that said, I sure would hate to have to clean this problem more than once, so I will need to ask my husband fix it.  What did you use for an insulation material for your coach?  Was it a door/window type of weather stripping or did Country Coach suggest a fix for you?

I haven't had a chance to try any of the posted suggestions yet, but I think I'm starting to like Liz's last suggestion the best....call Service Master!  ;D

Tarra
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Tarra,

The problem I was describing was not from under the bed. It is just inside the engine compartment above the access door. I used a foam insulation that you spray into the voids. If you have soot around the access hatch under the bed that is another problem. I believe there is a large rubber gasket that surrounds the cover. I know it was difficult trying to lift the cover off. It took two people. I never had a leak there. I'd remove the cover and see if the gasket is damaged or missing.
 

3labs

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Jim Dick said:
The problem I was describing was not from under the bed. It is just inside the engine compartment above the access door. I used a foam insulation that you spray into the voids. If you have soot around the access hatch under the bed that is another problem. I believe there is a large rubber gasket that surrounds the cover. I know it was difficult trying to lift the cover off. It took two people. I never had a leak there. I'd remove the cover and see if the gasket is damaged or missing.

I can see this is going to take some investigative work.  I will ask my husband to take a look at both areas today and will report back our findings.  Thanks!
 

3labs

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Location
New Hampshire
Jim, you were right!

We discovered we have the same insulation separation between the coach and the engine compartment that you had.  My husband said he could see all the way up into the wall cavity.  There is a large gap (around 1/2" wide) that has formed between the foam insulation and the back of the coach that we'll need to fix.  The crack extends across the entire width of the motor coach (102").

In addition, we checked the gasket at the engine compartment under the bed.  Looks like we'll need to replace that as well.

So, it looks like it'll be a little while until I have the opportunity to try out some of the recommended cleaning methods on the headliner, but better late than never.

Thanks again to everyone for all their assistance.  If it wasn't for all the generous help we received we would have never discovered the engine compartment leak as well!  :D

Tarra

 

Jim Dick

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Hi Tarra,

Glad to hear you found the problem. I'm sure fixing it will eliminate the soot you are experiencing. Let us know how you make out on cleaning up the mess.
 

3labs

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Posts
57
Location
New Hampshire
Jim Dick said:
Glad to hear you found the problem. I'm sure fixing it will eliminate the soot you are experiencing. Let us know how you make out on cleaning up the mess.

Will do!  Thanks again for everyone's help!!

Tarra
 
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