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Old 08-21-2003, 06:42 PM   #1
ForceFed4
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Question Stinky A/C question

Maybe this belongs in one of the technical forums, but I couldn't really see which one.

My problem is this; lately my A/C stinks. It's cold and everything, but the air coming out of it just smells bad, like there's mold or bacteria growing somewhere in the system.

Is there a filter to replace somewhere, or another solution to this?

It's not a huge complaint, but it is kinda gross.
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Old 08-21-2003, 07:17 PM   #2
Mulder
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You probably have mildew in the evaporator. You can spray Lysol into the outside air intake with the fan running to help clean it up, there are also products made specifically for this purpose that you can buy at the parts store, these may be more effective.
To prevent recurrence of this, avoid running the A/C on recirculate and use the outside air setting as much as possible. Also don't turn the A/C off at the same time you turn off the car as this will leave moisture in the evaporator which will promote mildew and other gross stuff. Turn off the A/C at least a few blocks before you reach your destination and park, and leave the fan running. This will allow the evaporator to drain excess water and dry out before you stop.
If your car is equipped with the cabin air filter and it hasn't been changed in a while (or ever) it wouldn't be a bad idea to service it, but this won't really affect the mildew problem since the filter is external to the evaporator. Of course it is possible that something nasty got into the filter so it wouldn't hurt to look. The filter, if you have it, is behind a trap door that you have to remove the glovebox to access.
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Old 08-21-2003, 09:22 PM   #3
bclee
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I had this problem with another car, with it I kind of wondered if the drain was clogged.

Lysol would clear it up for a while, but it would return. (And it was hard to decide which was worse, the mold smell or the Lysol smell.) What finally killed it off was parking the car outside, in the sun, in the middle of summer. We'd parked it in a garage since the problem started, then had to park outside for a week, and it went away.

The car is always parked outside now (the WRX gets the garage!) and it has not returned.
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Old 08-22-2003, 12:40 AM   #4
ForceFed4
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Well, the mildew idea certainly sounds like my issue. The car is always parked outside, so that's not enough to kill it in my case.

Lysol seems like a temporary solution, so I'll try to see if I can find something in one of the local auto stores.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-22-2003, 08:11 AM   #5
2.5 RRRRS
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It is mold in the evaporator. It is a common problem because of the nature of the part--lots of moisture and dark. You can avoid this by getting into the habit of turning off AC before you get to your destination and blasting the fan on high. This will help dry the condensation that's in the evaporator.

Another thing you could try is turning the AC ON and the temp to the hottest setting to try to burn the mold out of the evaporator.
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Old 08-22-2003, 08:13 AM   #6
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Just read mulder's post....said pretty much what I said...oops.
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Old 08-22-2003, 10:37 AM   #7
ForceFed4
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Quote:
Originally posted by mulder
Also don't turn the A/C off at the same time you turn off the car as this will leave moisture in the evaporator which will promote mildew and other gross stuff. Turn off the A/C at least a few blocks before you reach your destination and park, and leave the fan running. This will allow the evaporator to drain excess water and dry out before you stop.
I think this is the cause of it for me. I've been running my A/C a lot this summer, without being careful to turn it off a couple minutes before I turn the car off. Well, live and learn I guess.
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Old 08-22-2003, 01:49 PM   #8
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The proper way to disinfect the evap. core, according to AC service industry, is to spray directly, with the fan off (a plastic bottle with a straw from PepBoys worked for me). But not to say you can't do it differently.
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