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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bad smell from A/C - still there after new cabin filter!

I've got that famous stinky feet or bad body odor smell from my A/C. It usually comes when I start up the car but kind of goes away after a couple of minutes. Or maybe my nose gets used to it.
At first I thought that it was my daughter who left some food or snacks sitting under the seats for some weeks.

Anyway, I found information that it is probably due to mold and mildew buildup in the A/C system and that products like Frigi Fresh etc can help to remove the bacteria that causes the smell.
However, someone also mentioned that if you do not fix the root cause of the problem, the odor killing spray will just be a temporary solution. For instance the A/C drain might be clogged and water and dirt might build up there promoting more bacteria to grow.

Now, before I go ahead with the Frigi Fresh spray I should maybe check the drain at least. Where do I find this? Is it easy to clean this out myself or do I need to let a service place do this? Are there any manuals out there how to do this?

What other reasons could there be for this smell?

Please help, this odor is killing me.


Modified by andersh67 at 7:21 PM 3-28-2009

Modified by andersh67 at 7:22 PM 3-28-2009
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

I had this problem with my T5 - turned out all sorts of leaved and s!#t were jammed up in the intake and filter for the HVAC. I literally popped the bottom hatch off and mother nature spilled onto my passenger carpet. Once I cleared that crap out and put a new filter in - smelled nice and fresh.

Have you replaced your cabin filter lately?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (mrapczynski)

Quote, originally posted by mrapczynski »
...I literally popped the bottom hatch off and mother nature spilled onto my passenger carpet. ...

Where do I find that?
 

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If you don't have IAQS you will have a paper filter in the slot that is closest to the passenger seat.

Systems with IAQS have a charcoal filter. You can use said charcoal in your car but you must place it in the slot that is closest to the engine, and Do Not Use Both Filters, you will kill your blower if you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

So far I got no replies regarding the A/C drain. Can I ignore that this should be the problem? Should I start to check or change the cabin filter, maybe together with Frigi Fresh?

If that does not help, where do I find the A/C drain to see if there's built up water there?
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

Quote, originally posted by andersh67 »
So far I got no replies regarding the A/C drain. Can I ignore that this should be the problem? Should I start to check or change the cabin filter, maybe together with Frigi Fresh?

If that does not help, where do I find the A/C drain to see if there's built up water there?

Sorry I don't know about the AC drain thingy, but you have an '06 and my bet is its the filter starting to smell. My '06 had a slight smell and once the filter was out and swapped for a charcoal unit, all was good.

I would hold off on the Frigi Fresh juice, at least till you find out what is exactly making the smell.
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (vlvman)

Quote, originally posted by vlvman »
Check and see if afterblow function is working as well. 50 Minutes after shutting engine off climate control fan should run for a few minutes.
Afterblow probably isn't enabled by default, at least mine wasn't. I had to ask for it to be enabled, and it's been quite helpful.
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (vlvman)

Quote, originally posted by vlvman »
Check and see if afterblow function is working as well. 50 Minutes after shutting engine off climate control fan should run for a few minutes.

Only if the humidity and temperature dictate. This is not an "every time" function.
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

Quick check - pull up your driver's side floor mat and feel the carpet. My condensation hose came detached a couple years ago (behind the CCM/radio), and it leaked onto the driver's side floor. I have rubber mats, so I didn't notice right away.
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

Drain is a small rubber tube that on my 2005 V70R is approximately under the accelerator pedal location, under the car of course. Look for a puddle of condensate after driving your car, and track where it is coming from. I have not heard of too many issues with them clogged, but if so, stick a wire coat hanger up the tube to clear it out.

Activating after-blow was a real issue for 2003-2006. Bottom line is, just because VIDA says it is activated is no proof that it is. Refer dealer to TNN 87-53, dated 11/21/2005.

To confirm you really have after-blow enabled, drive the car with A/C on for a reasonable distance and check 50 minutes later and your cabin fan should be running at full speed, for 5-7 minutes. There are no other "conditions" to be met, it either works or it does not. There is no humidistat in any part of the system. The only thing that will inhibit after-blow is if the compressor run cycles are too few,( not likely), or if the battery voltage is sensed to be too low, and then it can shorten run duration. There is no sensor that detects moisture!

If you are going to use FrigiFresh, Lysol spray, etc., than remove the filter first and put the filter cover back on, (the four screws). Than run the system, ingesting the spray at the cowl, stepping through the three distribution outlet locations, foot, mid, top. (Make sure you are not in recirc). Then open the access and put in the filters. Doing it with the filters in place defeats your objective of getting the spray in the system, if the filter is doing it's job. It also lowers air velocity in the system, when you want it spread.

I should caution that my reseach on this was confined to 20004, 2005 models, but I can not imagine that changes were made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

OK, I have now gone through all the suggestions I've got here. I took out the cabin filter - not much dirt in there. With the filter out I put the cover on, turned on the air section by section blowing full and at the same time spraying in Lysol. I then put back the old filter, because my new filter had not yet arrived. At first is smelled OK for some hours, but the next day the bad feet and body odor was back. I put my last hope on the new filter that arrived a couple of days later. I have now changed the filter. I turned on the air and there it was again - the same bad odor. In other words - the new filter did not do a thing to change this.

What do I do next?

Modified by andersh67 at 6:31 PM 3-28-2009
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

Did you confirm that the drain is clear? When the car is parked after running, do you see the condensate (water) on the ground?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (rogersampson)

Quote, originally posted by rogersampson »
Did you confirm that the drain is clear? When the car is parked after running, do you see the condensate (water) on the ground?

No, I have not checked this yet. If the drain is clogged, can that be where the smell comes from? And if I get it unclogged myself, will the smell go away then?
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

Yes this is the primarly source of the odor, if the drain is not clear. Incoming dust particles and other contaminants are trapped in the condensate, as the evaporator removes heat from the incoming air. Easy for bacteria to grow here. If the drain is not clear water runs off the evaporator and stays in the bottom of the housing.

Find the drain, use a wire coat hanger or the like to insert in the drain tube. Don't be too aggressive with the coat hanger, a nylon electrical snake would be even better if you have it available. If the drain tube is pinched at the top, this can involve some dissassembly, so try the bottom first. If you see puddles of water under the car after running, than this is probably not your problem, conversly if you are not seeing water puddles, this is almost certainly the source of odor.

Once you are convinced the drain is OK, than you can work on things like evaporator "afterblow" to keep the odor down.

Modified by rogersampson at 10:12 AM 3-29-2009
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I asked the question in another thread if anyone know about a place where I can rent a service pit since I need to lift my car up to check my A/C drain outlet, but there is no way I can get in there unless I lift the car up.

I got the following answer from Oceans60R:
Its much easier to pull the passenger side center console lower cover and check it there. A lift would do you no good as there are heat shields covering the underside where the drain comes out of the body.

Since this is more to relate to this thread I am moving the discussion over here.

New followup question from me:
Do I need to take off more than the cover I took off for changing the cabin filter? After this where do I find the drain or access to it from behind the console?

Are there any threads out there with instructions and pictures?
 

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Re: Bad smell from A/C - Is it easy to clean the A/C drain? (andersh67)

If you are coming at this from the inside of the car, it is on the driver side, it is not located where you changed the filter. It is just above the accelerator pedal.

To get to it, remove the left console side cover. There is a half turn screw at the back of it, move the seat up and back to get to the half turn screw, which will be between the console and the lower seat cushion. Remove the screw, and slide the cover to the rear to disengage hooks. Next, remove the under dash cover, under the steering column. This will be two Torx 25. You can leave it connected at the outside, you just need to get to the console side.

Look directly above the accelerator pedal and you will see a small black hose about 1/2 inch in dimeter. It will be connected to a white box, that contains the evaporator. This is the drain. Before you do anything, just examine the area to see if it has been leaking here. Next you need to determine where the clog is. I would first see if the hose is clogged. remove it from the nippple on the evaporator box. Just use compressed air, or if you want to confirm first that it is the clog, than try putting water down it via a funnel. It should just dump water on the floor under the car. If the clog is from the evaporator side, I would use compressed air, perhaps some type of probe, like welding rod, wire coat hanger, etc. Be careful as the evaporator is soft aluminum and can be damaged, and worst case you are just trying to move some dirt or even a leaf particle.



I should point out the pictures and description are from a 2005 V70R, 6 speed manual. I can not imagine it is diffferent but others may know better.

Modified by rogersampson at 7:32 PM 4-3-2009
 
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