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Old 02-03-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
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Musty smell from defroster vents


'05 Highlander
'06 Rav4

Getting some musty smell coming out of the defroster vents when I run it. The center air vents are ok. I change my air filter/cabin air filter when needed as instructed by my manual.

This happens in winter and summer.

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Old 02-03-2012, 10:42 PM   #2
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Musty smell from defroster vents


I had a Volkswagen that would do this. It had a "condensation tray" that caught moisture off the AC. The tray had a "seep hole" that sometimes got plugged up, and the water would sit in that tray and get nasty.

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Old 02-03-2012, 11:41 PM   #3
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Musty smell from defroster vents


The condenser housing has mold in it. Some people say pour Lysol or pine sol down the intake vent below the windshield (outside). The proper way is to drill a hole in the condenser housing, then eject a chemical into the housing to kill the mold. The link explains in great detail

http://autorepair.about.com/cs/heati.../aa071601a.htm

Writer’s information is for discussion purpose only and should be confirmed by an independent source.

Last edited by Hardway; 02-03-2012 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:46 PM   #4
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Musty smell from defroster vents


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardway View Post
The condenser housing has mold in it. Some people say pour Lysol or pine sol down the intake vent below the windshield (outside). The proper way is to drill a hole in the condenser housing, then eject a chemical into the housing to kill the mold. The link explains in great detail

http://autorepair.about.com/cs/heati.../aa071601a.htm

Writer’s information is for discussion purpose only and should be confirmed by an independent source.
drill a hole? how do you mean? I wouldn't be comfortable drilling holes on my suv.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:51 PM   #5
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
drill a hole? how do you mean? I wouldn't be comfortable drilling holes on my suv.

read the link
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by Hardway View Post
read the link
my question is where do you spray the Lysol, into what air intake?

I don't use the A/C in the winter time so should I turn off my heater 1 mile before coming home?

"One is to keep a spray can of Lysol in the car and spray it into the air intake one a week. That will keep the problem under control. Another is to shut the air conditioning off about a mile or so before you get to where you're going and allow the evaporator to dry out."
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:09 AM   #7
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Musty smell from defroster vents


Quote:
Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
I don't use the A/C in the winter time so should I turn off my heater 1 mile before coming home?
Actually, on most vehicles, any time you're running the defroster your AC is running.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by Hardway

read the link
I found some info on this. Again I am not going to drill any holes though. Any work around I can try?

i. Drill a ˝” hole in the plenum chamber between the blower motor and the evaporator
(fig. 2). (CAUTION: Keep drill clear of evaporator core and fan).

ii. With the vents closed and heat fan on HIGH, insert the tool into the hole and spray
AC Odor Shield into the airstream toward the evaporator.

iii. Use a manufacturer-approved RTV sealant to plug the hole.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:38 AM   #9
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Musty smell from defroster vents


There is a drain tube for the A/C which usually comes out on the passenger's side in the engine compartment.

On many cars you can see this just above where the carpeting ends inside the car on the passenger side - foot area. Looking up.

If that drain tube gets clogged, the water can't drain out!

Here is one...

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Old 02-04-2012, 12:07 PM   #10
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Musty smell from defroster vents


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob
There is a drain tube for the A/C which usually comes out on the passenger's side in the engine compartment.

On many cars you can see this just above where the carpeting ends inside the car on the passenger side - foot area. Looking up.

If that drain tube gets clogged, the water can't drain out!

Here is one...
I have to find out if mine is plugged. What's next if it is?
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:12 PM   #11
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
I have to find out if mine is plugged. What's next if it is?
On my old VW, the problem was that the sound-proofing insulation over the drain nipple - located on the firewall in the engine bay - had been bumped & pinched the drain nipple shut.

Hopefully you find something like that.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:14 PM   #12
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by DrHicks
On my old VW, the problem was that the sound-proofing insulation over the drain nipple - located on the firewall in the engine bay - had been bumped & pinched the drain nipple shut.

Hopefully you find something like that.
If not then I suppose I need to spray vinegar from the outside
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
If not then I suppose I need to spray vinegar from the outside
I'm not following you on this one, sorry...

Most vehicles have a drain that - from the outside - looks something like this (center of the picture). I'm thinking that yours is, somehow, plugged. Get it opened and you've probably solved your problem.

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Old 02-04-2012, 12:23 PM   #14
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Musty smell from defroster vents


Quote:
Originally Posted by DrHicks
I'm not following you on this one, sorry...

Most vehicles have a drain that - from the outside - looks something like this (center of the picture). I'm thinking that yours is, somehow, plugged. Get it opened and you've probably solved your problem.
I hit that part. But shouldn't I spray something from the outside vent to eliminate the smell.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:28 PM   #15
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Musty smell from defroster vents


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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
I hit that part. But shouldn't I spray something from the outside vent to eliminate the smell.
I really don't know, honestly. They're all built a little differently, so I don't know whether you'd get anything in to where it'd do any good.

On my old VW, I actually took the tray out - partly because at the time I had no idea what I was looking for. Turned out to be fairly easy, and I cleaned it thoroughly when I had it apart.

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