Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Maintenance, accessories, operation. Anything to do with making your erg work.
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buckyswider
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Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by buckyswider » March 7th, 2013, 8:18 am

Hi guys, the prior owner of my new-to-me model D was a heavy smoker. Didn't think it would matter much, but even on the drive home I could smell it in my car. When I unloaded it, the smell was pretty strong up near the fan assemble. Rut ro. I'm very concerned that if I spin it up in my basement that I'll smell up the entire house. Anybody have any idea on how I might try to cleanse this, besides just shooing fabreze into the fan?? Should I take it apart and brush-clean the impeller?? Is there anything to worry about when disassembling the assembly? I'd hate to render my machine useless before using it at all...

Thanks!

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Yankeerunner
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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by Yankeerunner » March 7th, 2013, 11:24 am

The proverbial good news/bad news situation. Is it possible to keep it in a garage or someplace out of the house for a while and use it there to blow it out of the fan area? That and a good wiping down of the rest of it with damp rags that have been dipped in something like Spic & Span would probably work.

If nothing works, sell it to cheap. I have no sense of smell and could use a good deal. :mrgreen:

rowbike
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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by rowbike » March 7th, 2013, 11:54 am

Wipe it down well with pure white vinegar, including inside the fan assembly. Vinegar is supposed to work well to remove smoke odor. There shouldn't be much about the erg that is porus so the smoke residue should be on the surface and neutralized by the vinegar, unlike carpets, fabrics, etc. I'd bet that most of the smell is due to smoke residue in any dust accumulated in the fan. There might be a vinegar smell after using it to clean, but you can use some sort of mild cleaner to remove that once the smoke smell is gone.

buckyswider
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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by buckyswider » March 7th, 2013, 12:11 pm

Thanks guys. I won't mind a vinegar smell at all. I used to be an amateur photographer, so it always reminds me of darkroom work.

"I love the smell of stop bath in the morning. Smells like...black and white"

I thought about using my barn for a bit, but it's too cold right now. I'm a wimp when it comes to cold; elseI'd be outside on my bicycle year-round. Indoor Rowing is my winter fitness.

Can I mess up my fan assembly by taking it apart while not knowing what I'm doing?? Or is it fairly simple to tear apart and put back together??

I just did a short one minute run. I actually came back upstairs a little dizzy. I'm not sure if it's because of the smell, or that I would always be that dizzy after one minute, since I normally wouldn't stop at that point.

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by Bob S. » March 7th, 2013, 12:21 pm

buckyswider wrote:.

Can I mess up my fan assembly by taking it apart while not knowing what I'm doing?? Or is it fairly simple to tear apart and put back together??
You don't have to mess with the fan itself, other than wipe the dust off - if any. Its the cage that you have to remove. I found it tricky to put back on, but it is just a matter of being careful to details, making sure that you have the correct alignment.

Bob S.

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by rowbike » March 7th, 2013, 12:48 pm

Sorry, I had meant just the cage rather than taking apart the entire fan. The fan blades probably have some smoke residue on them too since it is tar like, so I'd think that would be good to wipe down as well. This should explain how to take apart and clean the flywheel cage.

http://www.concept2.com/files/pdf/us/in ... eaning.pdf
http://www.concept2.com/service/indoor- ... schematics

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by buckyswider » March 7th, 2013, 12:58 pm

Thanks guys. No problem, I knew exactly what you meant- I should have said "cage" instead of "assembly".

I just blew some Fabreze through it while pulling with the other hand. Will give it a one workout shot to see how that holds up. Will definitely wipe down the exterior, though. With as clean as this thing is, I tend to think it got wiped down very often, though. The card said 7M+ meters, but the PM3 says 3M. I'm thinking the PM3 is right- hypothesizing that since there were two cards, that she had a Mod C or something with a PM2 before this one, and the miles are cumulative over both the machines. Else I don't know how she did 7M miles in less than 3 years!! I guess I might've hooked it up to the PC to check it before I erased the card, but too late now....

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by Citroen » March 7th, 2013, 4:48 pm

buckyswider wrote: Else I don't know how she did 7M miles in less than 3 years!!
7,000,000 miles is 11,263,000,000 metres it'd take longer than three years to row that on your own.

Dave Holby took 934 days to row 40,075,000 metres.

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by buckyswider » March 7th, 2013, 6:34 pm

haha oops of course meant meters!!!

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by Ergmeister » March 7th, 2013, 11:20 pm

I would expect that 90% of the stink is coming from cigarette smoke embedded dust on the flywheel,in the bungee, and in the flywheel assembly housing embedded dust. The idea that an ERG and a smoker are in the same location is somewhat startling but...

Depending upon your comfort level, if you remove the four stovebolts securing the flywheel cover half, and expose the flywheel, you can then use the appropriate spanner or socket to remove the nut holding the flywheel on the axle. They are nearly impossible to clean while still on the Erg due to access and pulling the flywheel will save a lot of contortionist work.

I use Simple Green brand cleaner, a toothbrush, a baby diaper, and, a small bucket of water to dip the toothbrush and then rinse diaper as I go along. I carefully handle the flywheel paying attention to not move or otherwise disturb any of the clip on balance weights on the fan blades and lightly spritz each section of the flywheel with a little Simple Green, and then use the toothbrush to clean both sides of each blade of the fan. Use a laundry sink or bathtub to contain the runoff slops.

It's tedious and requires some patience but when you're done you will have removed all the dust that is likely trapping the cigarette stink and your erg will perform much better. Also, since the bungee is fabric, it too will trap the smoke stink so I'd replace the bungee cord. Then wipe the whole thing down with the Simple Green, and then rinse it with the diaper and clean water changing the water when it's soapy or really dirty. After you clean and hand wipe the entire flywheel completely on both sides (Be careful to not get ANY water or cleaner into the exposed center bearing assembly!), then vacuum and clean the inside and outside of the cage and flywheel housing.

This is the method that I use when I rebuild an Erg and it works great. it takes me about an hour to clean only the flywheel and to get to all the crevices and corners etc, and another hour or so clean the whole remaining cage and Erg. Patience and care are important to avoid contaminating the bearing in the flywheel center, or knocking weights off or out of position so do not just attack it with a hose or squirter.

I'd be careful about using vinegar since it is an acid and unless you neutralize it following application, it might lead to corrosion of the mechanical and electronic systems exposed to it.

If that fails to remove the cigarette stink which I seriously doubt, then try to get some 4x8 or similar sized granular activated carbon. Put it in a nylon stocking and then take a heavy plastic trash bag and seal the erg and the carbon filled stocking together in the bag. Seal it up with tape and leave it for a week or two. GAC is an odor scavenger and will definitely remove a lot of the odor and you can buy it from residential water treatment companies and off the web. It's expensive but a few pounds is enough to suck up the stink in the Erg if you go that route. When you've completed the odor removal, seal the carbon up tightly in an airtight container and you can reuse it for another project. This would be the least effort but would require time, patience, and alone it might not be 100% effective, but will go along way to fixing the problem.

Ultimately, cleaning it is the answer in my experience, but if you are not comfortable with the process suggested, then get a big bag and some GAC and seal them up together.

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by rowbike » March 8th, 2013, 4:11 am

White vinegar is used to remove corrosion and rust from metals by soaking, so I doubt it would create any corrosion on a rower, unless it was submerged in it for a long period of time. Wiping down with a rag moistened with white vinegar, or vinegar/water blend, would only be enough to remove and neutralize surface contaminants like smoke residue, not enough to degrade the metal before evaporation and being wiped away. I use white vinegar on the rail every day and it still looks just like new.

I was suggesting using the vinegar to wipe down areas of the fan cage and blades where obvious dust had accumulated and smoke residue may still exist since it is tarlike and might not come away by just vacuuming. Just a general fan cage cleaning with the added step of the wipe down, not a full scale overhaul and detailing with vinegar. Something like Simple Green would certainly be more appropriate for that.

You would not want to use any liquid on the electrical contacts beyond a damp cloth for wiping away dirt that won't come away otherwise, and even then avoid if not necessary.

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by buckyswider » March 8th, 2013, 5:19 pm

Thanks for the detailed description, Mr. Meister. I have ordered the bungee and it will be here Tuesday and I'll carve out some time for the operation. I'll see if it will be helpful to photograph the weights before starting just in case any slip off. I think I'll even use my electric toothbrush to do a stellar job. AND, probably overkill, but I'll do three passes- vinegar, stupid green, then water. Want to be as conservative as possible here because this thing really stinks. On my workouts so far I think I've gotten used to it, but it takes a good while. And when I go downstairs to the unit, you can smell it when it's just sitting there.

Maybe I'll sell it on ebay and just buy a brand new one...they're going for $850 there!!! :wink:

It is sort of amazing that the prior owner was such a fitness nut and also a heavy smoker. 7M "meters" on the card. There's another card- I think for grins and tickles I'm gonna see if there's any data on that. They also gave me a heft ziploc bag with a cleaning cloth and a couple other things, including the C2 USB cable that was still in its own sealed plastic bag. I opened the bag, ripped open the USB cable bag, and even within two layers of plastic (one of them sealed from day one!) the USB cable itself reeks of smoke. Unbelievable!

Oh, and responding to some upthread comments- I think plastic is semi-porous and is subject to absorbing odors. A google search will reveal a lot of suggestions for eliminating smell from plastic things like toys and tupperware. If I don't have a great improvement from this hand-cleaning, I think I'll go the GAC route. Biking season is imminent and I'll be abandoning the rower (except for rain days) for most of the summer season, so I'll have plenty of time to leave the parts bagged.

Thanks again all, great conversation that I really appreciate.

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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by Bob S. » March 8th, 2013, 5:33 pm

A couple of comments on the last post. There should be some magnets (3?) set in the flywheel. Make sure that they stay in place. The most common plastic used for bags is polyethylene and nicotine vapor should go right through that. So it is not surprising that the contents should have that odor. I would suspect that the cleaning cloth would reek of it.

Bob S.

buckyswider
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Re: Removing tobacco smoke smell from Model D

Post by buckyswider » March 8th, 2013, 6:42 pm

mind:blown

now what to i put stuff in to keep them non-smelly?? :(

will keep an eye out for the magnets, thanks!!

and you're right- the "cleaning" cloth is now adorning the bottom of the trash can. Hardly worth it to even try to run in through the washing machine I think, what with the plethora of microfiber cloths i have lying around here.

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