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Model 3 AC Smell Update...

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,780
5,694
this is design issue. no way to fix it permanently. both of my 2012 and 2009 golf made same smell. my the 2019 golf never has such issue because VW fixed it in design.
Do you know what actually changed?
The only thing I found related is the an intake cover in the earlier Golf being flimsy and possibly letting water directly drip into the cabin filter if it was warped a bit:

That is not the issue with the Model 3 it seems though, because the cases don't typically have to do with outside water dripping into the cabin filter.
 
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Brock-WI

Member
Aug 4, 2020
76
59
Green Bay, WI
I would like to buy the plastic rivet clip that goes under the glove box.
As stated earlier, there are holes for 4 of them, my 2021 had only 3.
Does anyone know the Tesla part number or who have bought the right size plastic rivet clip?
Not sure if you found them or if they might be in this box, but I bought one similar to this one for all the missing clips and have good luck finding one close enough so far. I have used far too many in the past few years :)

 

Willy’sEV

Member
Mar 29, 2021
186
108
NY Metro
Not sure if you found them or if they might be in this box, but I bought one similar to this one for all the missing clips and have good luck finding one close enough so far. I have used far too many in the past few years :)

Have not found it yet.
I saw that on Amazon and it is an option.
I may wait until my tires need rotation and have them do it at my home and ask the tech for the rivet piece.
 

dduffey

Member
Aug 26, 2015
242
140
Austin, TX
Do you know what actually changed?
The only thing I found related is the an intake cover in the earlier Golf being flimsy and possibly letting water directly drip into the cabin filter if it was warped a bit:

That is not the issue with the Model 3 it seems though, because the cases don't typically have to do with outside water dripping into the cabin filter.

Here is another example, Toyota warranty repair. It's the only other vehicle we had with this problem (Stinky AC), it includes the part numbers: http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/johnduh/2010-04-02_042552_T-SB-0378-09.pdf

Someone can probably get access to the part diagrams.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,780
5,694
Here is another example, Toyota warranty repair. It's the only other vehicle we had with this problem (Stinky AC), it includes the part numbers: http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/johnduh/2010-04-02_042552_T-SB-0378-09.pdf

Someone can probably get access to the part diagrams.
Thanks for the link. That's a TSB, not a recall by the way, which means it is optional for Toyota to do and if you are out of warranty Toyota does not have to do it even if requested.
Also people complaining about the smell seem to say even with a VIN with the new evaporator, the same issue remains.
HVAC Odor TSB 0378-09

It seems they just replaced the evaporator core 88501-02220 vs 88501-02221, but I couldn't find any actual pictures of either model, only generic pictures where it's not possible to see what really was changed.
 
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WhiteWi

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 21, 2021
427
173
Somewhere in Universe
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dduffey

Member
Aug 26, 2015
242
140
Austin, TX
Thanks for the link. That's a TSB, not a recall by the way, which means it is optional for Toyota to do and if you are out of warranty Toyota does not have to do it even if requested.
Also people complaining about the smell seem to say even with a VIN with the new evaporator, the same issue remains.
HVAC Odor TSB 0378-09

It seems they just replaced the evaporator core 88501-02220 vs 88501-02221, but I couldn't find any actual pictures of either model, only generic pictures where it's not possible to see what really was changed.

Yes, as I stated it is a warranty repair. That thread documents the level of work for the repair, it was not insignificant.

Also there where two people that complained in that thread, the first was complaining about a sulfer smell while driving. That's a completely different problem. The AC stink is a different smell (usually described as vinegar/sweet/sweaty feet and time (when turning on the AC, it goes away after the initial blast of stink).

They second was not conclusive at all. All the other comments where regarding that it did fix their issues and even if it was "just the EVAP core" required major labor and tear down.

In short it was a real problem, required a new design, required major work, and was warranty covered.

As having been an owner of a 2008 RAV4, 2018 Model 3, and 2021 Model Y they all have the exact same summer smell (not sulfer).

None of our other dozen or so vehicles have. I find that hard to believe it's "just by chance" that the M3/MY have this problem "by chance" every single summer without fail.
 

stopcrazypp

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2007
10,780
5,694
Yes, as I stated it is a warranty repair. That thread documents the level of work for the repair, it was not insignificant.

Also there where two people that complained in that thread, the first was complaining about a sulfer smell while driving. That's a completely different problem. The AC stink is a different smell (usually described as vinegar/sweet/sweaty feet and time (when turning on the AC, it goes away after the initial blast of stink).

They second was not conclusive at all. All the other comments where regarding that it did fix their issues and even if it was "just the EVAP core" required major labor and tear down.

In short it was a real problem, required a new design, required major work, and was warranty covered.

As having been an owner of a 2008 RAV4, 2018 Model 3, and 2021 Model Y they all have the exact same summer smell (not sulfer).

None of our other dozen or so vehicles have. I find that hard to believe it's "just by chance" that the M3/MY have this problem "by chance" every single summer without fail.
I don't think it's completely solved in Toyota's case. The Prius and various hybrids had a similar TSB in 2009, but they later issued other TSBs that said the smell was not able to be eliminated (and it suggested the same thing of regular carbon impregnated filter changes and coil cleaning as necessary).
Toyota Air Conditioner Smells Like Mold

This TSB was just from 2020:
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2020/MC-10172826-9999.pdf

You can see in Prius forums the same complaints for models well after the Prius evaporator was revised in 2009, so that didn't appear to solve the issue.
A/C startup vinegar aroma?
 

dduffey

Member
Aug 26, 2015
242
140
Austin, TX
I don't think it's completely solved in Toyota's case. The Prius and various hybrids had a similar TSB in 2009, but they later issued other TSBs that said the smell was not able to be eliminated (and it suggested the same thing of regular carbon impregnated filter changes and coil cleaning as necessary).
Toyota Air Conditioner Smells Like Mold

This TSB was just from 2020:
https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2020/MC-10172826-9999.pdf

You can see in Prius forums the same complaints for models well after the Prius evaporator was revised in 2009, so that didn't appear to solve the issue.
A/C startup vinegar aroma?

That's not a warranty repair. I have also owned Toyota Camera, Celica, MR2, and Sienna (same house / environment). I am familiar with the occasional stink and time to replace the cabin filters.

The RAV4 issue was different.

In those threads you linked to most solutions were "change the filter", one off, or things Tesla already does (turn off recirc when finished driving). Some where also complaining about different issues like smells during cool weather? I tried all those things with the RAV4 including sprays and ozone treatments. None ever lasted, until the warranty repair. Same as the Tesla... I have tired ALL of the tricks. This year I did a clean and replace at the beginning of the summer and the stink still came back by the end of the summer.

I'm glad most people don't have this problem, I have no clue why we have it consistently and ONLY (for us) on the Teslas and the pre-repaired RAV4.

If this happened every other summer on every other Tesla .. okay I get it ... But twice a year on two different cars? Hmmm..

I would gladly try anything ... I have tried about everything I can think of. A treatment and filter change does temporarily fix it and except for this year would last through the summer months.
 

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