OT ? Foul odor emanating from my car air conditioner


This may not really be OT in AHR, after all, my car is parked in my garage, part of my home. Maybe this is stretching it? :-). I don't know where else to ask.
I drive a 1993 Chevy Lumina with 100,000 miles. Runs better than new.
Lately, when I turn on my air blower in any mode, such as heating, air conditioning, vent, it produces a blast of foul smelling air. After a minute, the bad smell disappears.
Googling for this misbehavior points to mold produced by stagnant water in the a/c evaporator.
I have tried disinfectant spray in the air-intake vent but now the car smells of perfumed dirty socks.
Does anyone know of a simple way to get rid of this stink without tearing the car apart?? Seems to be a common problem and thus of common interest.
Thanks, and my apologies.
--
Walter
www.rationality.net
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Walter R. wrote:

Have you cleared the evaporator drain? if you haven't done that then anything else you do will be pointless
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

In case that doesn't mean anything to you, what he is referring to is a little tube that comes out to daylight somewhere to the rear of the right front wheel well. If you are lucky, applying compressed air to it will result in all the stagnant water flowing out. Note that 'out' may be the carpet of the front passenger seat, so lay some old towels out first. DAMHIKT.
Hey, it ain't too different from a fubar'd dishwasher or washing machine drain, and we talk about those all the time on here.
-- aem sends...
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applying compressed air to a blocked tube may result in the plastic hose splitting and needing replacement.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

So what is the alternative solution? Clip the end off a bicycle brake cable and thread it up there? Serious question- the answer I always see in the books and hear on 'Car Talk' is to blow it out with air. I agree you probably want to start with the lowest pressure you can rig up.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

i usually shove a piece of THHN or whatever similar that I have handy up the tube rather than resort to the air. Also good for clearing sunroof drains on old VWs...
nate
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If the tube is some what rigid, use a shopvac. Maybe vacuum the clog out.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

I clear AC drain lines all the time with a shopvac. It's a lot less messy than blowing them out. Never underestimate the power of something that sucks. *snicker*
TDD
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My 03 Sentra SpecV's air vent smells like an ashtray,the cabin air filter is missing,too.
--
Jim Yanik
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Try sticking a piece of wire up the AC drain hose, does trapped water drain out? Get a Turkey Baister and squirt water up the hose and see if it all drains back out, then fill it full of denatured alcohol and squirt it up the AC hose, clamping closed the hose with vise grips for maybe 60 minutes will help the alcohol to to work. Bleach kills mold- mildew quicker, in minutes, but now your vent system will stink for a month+ like bleach, alcohol doesnt leave much of a smell for real long, but I dont know how really effective it is. Bleach makes the system unuaseable for days in summer, I know, once I poured it into the vents. Now that its cold it could be unusable for a week or more. There are chemical poisons to kill mold , but you will also breath them driving.
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From all your comments, it looks like the evaporator drain pipe is the culprit.
Trouble is I cannot find the darned pipe, for love or money. It does not even show up on the car manual.
Any clues anyone can share for finding the drain pipe?
Thanks, again
--
Walter
www.rationality.net
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Hearken back to the day when the a/c condensate (water) dripped out onto the ground, try to remember where the wet spot wound up when you parked the car.
Above that spot is the place to look.
cheers Bob
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on 10/10/2009 3:22 PM (ET) Walter R. wrote the following:

You might be better off looking for it in the passenger compartment. Look for a rubber tube passing from the heater ductwork to the firewall. It may be obvious or may be hidden behind the ductwork. In my Nissan PU, it is just to the right of the center hump, and I can remove it from the inside without going under the hood.
Bill In Hamptonburgh, NY In the original Orange County. Est. 1683 To email, remove the double zeroes after @
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As others have said, step #1 is to find and clear the evaporator drain.
Step #2 is something called "Frigi-fresh" spray... designed to kill the nasties growing in there, and it actually works! Google for where to buy it, and follow the directions on the can for use.
Eric Law
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On 10/13/2009 12:16 PM, Eric wrote:

I remember that nasty smell in an old car I had many years ago. The solution that worked for me was to turn off the A/C, but leave the blower fan running in vent mode, a couple of minutes before turning off the car. That seemed to dry out the evaporator enough so the mold wouldn't grow while the car sat there.
I got in the habit of doing that a couple of blocks away from wherever I was going.
- Alan
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What "disinfectant" spray did you use? Try a mild solution of fresh bleach water (bleach has an expiration date). Spray that into the inlets (should be near wiper blades) on various settings with fan on full.
Report back.
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