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Smelly A/C - how to clean?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by gregd, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. gregd

    gregd Member

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    A quick search didn't net anything, but I'm guessing I'm not the first to have this problem.

    With summer here it's time to be using the air conditioner... Unfortunately, mine seems to have developed a mold or some other kind of slime problem, where it starts smelling rather bad when the A/C is running. With just the fan, or with heat last winter, not a problem, but when the evaporator gets cold and presumably wet, things get smelly.

    Is there something I can spray into a vent somewhere to kill whatever is growing in there, or do I need to take half the car apart to get at the fins to clean them properly?
     
  2. Stefan T

    Stefan T Member

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    I had same problem
    But after use it for time it stop to smell
    I put it on with windows down and full speed on fan and on AC on and driving home from work (30min) did really good
     
  3. L-P-G

    L-P-G Member

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    The problem is condensation gets trapped inside the evaporator and you get that smell, whenever possible try using the A/C without recirculate enabled, when you park the car make sure you leave the A/C in outside air so the water can evaporate and is not sealed.

    if that doesn't help then you may have to get the evaporator cleaned.

    Source: Used to be a mechanic, also had the same issue with my Infiniti
     
  4. MileHighMotoring

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  5. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Ok, yeah, that's what I was thinking of. Where do I squirt it? Just turn on the fan and blow it in from the front, or do I need to be more precise on its delivery?

    I almost never use recirc... Kind of pointless with a car that's that drafty :)
     
  6. L-P-G

    L-P-G Member

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    Evaporator drain tube under the car (where the water comes from when the A/C is on)
     
  7. AB4EJ

    AB4EJ Member

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    There are numerous discussions of smelly A/C and how to fix in NPR's Car Talk - see this link
     
  8. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Ok, so obvious next dumb question... Where's the drain tube?

    I don't recall seeing any water on the ground (which may indicate the real problem - a plugged tube). Just ran the A/C for a bit in the garage; nothing dripping...

    Just looking under from the side, all I see is flat sheet metal. Where did they put the thing?
     
  9. MileHighMotoring

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    #9 MileHighMotoring, Jun 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016
    You insert it into the air vents on the dash and spray for 10-20 seconds. It includes a really long tube to get way deep in there.
     
  10. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    The drain tube comes out of the chassis. It is located where the right front lower arm is attached at the rear. Look into the square tube part of the chassis and you will see the little black drain tube.
     
  11. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Ha! There it is. Thanks!

    I pushed a piece of 1/8" drip line hose up through the drain pipe. It came out with some water drops on it, but no gush of fluid so not likely plugged. I wouldn't expect a pipe that size to plug anyway. The drain on my other cars are about 1/4", and one did tend to plug up from time to time. Ew. Never did smell much, though.

    Sprayed the stuff into the two grills in the front. Made a bit of a mess, but we'll see if it helps in a few days when the weather gets hot again. Thanks for the help!
     
  12. tstorm

    tstorm Member

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    I had the same problem -smelled pretty bad. Replaced the cabin filters and sprayed the anti something spray and eventually smell went away. I read somewhere that if you take the car through a carwash that you should shut off the HVAC. It might suck moisture into the system. I do that now and no more smell!
     
  13. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Cabin filters? I didn't know the Roadsters had them...

    By way of an update, the spray didn't seem to do much good. I don't think I really got much of it into where it needed to go. But eventually by running the system when it was warm out, even if I didn't absolutely have to, the smell seemed to dissipate. Maybe it just took time to suck the spray into the system, but I think it simply dried out. Winter's set in now, so we'll see what happens next spring.
     
  14. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #14 wiztecy, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
    Roadster don't have any cabin filters, most likely a stray post we get here once in a while from the S forum...
     
  15. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    I had a smelly AC last week due to someone throwing their cigarette out on the freeway which got sucked up into my car. Windows down with AC on full for several hours didn't fully get rid of the smell, so I think i'll have to try out some of that AC cleaner.
     
  16. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Surprised that it would actually go into the vent system. My car has a mesh screen over the two duct intakes behind the front grill. Are yours not screened? Worst case I'd expect it might have gotten stuck on the screen, but you should be able to see that when looking into the front of the car.
     

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