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Foul Smell in Cabin From Vents / AC

cwescapexlt4x4

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This is something not unique to Ford, the Explorer. Many vehicles this happens to and often a little "work" on your end will help. At least in the drier AZ air, if I have been driving for a while a few blocks from home i take the A/C OFF of Recirc to allow outside air to pass thru the system allowing it to be "open" and then when I park in the garage I leave the windows down some or entirely. This really helps to reduce the smell from happening. In humid areas, it's a greater challenge for sure.
 



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JDF123

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I actually tried this. I tried many things. Unfortunately...the very humid heat/air we have in Ohio just makes it worse. I have had many other vehicles...most of them Fords... and just traded in a 2012 F-150...and never had any issues. This is the first I have ever experienced!
 






jmr061

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I thought there was a tsb about PTU fluid odor entering the cabin?
 






Seditious Jerk

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I have a 2013 Explorer Sport with 30k miles on it. Just recently I started having the mildewy smell enter my cabin. I had my cabin filter replaced not too long ago as part of the standard mile maintenance that's done to the car. I stumbled upon this thread from searching for the problem.

I cannot *BELIEVE* there are 12 pages that center around this problem and not a single person appears to have been able to find a smoking gun from working with their dealerships. That's incredibly disheartening. I haven't gone into the dealership yet because there doesn't seem to be any evidence, from other people's experiences here, that they're going to be able to fix the problem.

Pretty bummed out about this and it is definitely going to be a factor when my lease is up and it's time to buy something new.
 






veloduffer

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I have a 2013 Explorer Sport with 30k miles on it. Just recently I started having the mildewy smell enter my cabin. I had my cabin filter replaced not too long ago as part of the standard mile maintenance that's done to the car. I stumbled upon this thread from searching for the problem.

I cannot *BELIEVE* there are 12 pages that center around this problem and not a single person appears to have been able to find a smoking gun from working with their dealerships. That's incredibly disheartening. I haven't gone into the dealership yet because there doesn't seem to be any evidence, from other people's experiences here, that they're going to be able to fix the problem.

Pretty bummed out about this and it is definitely going to be a factor when my lease is up and it's time to buy something new.

This issue isn't limited to Ford, as I had the same problem with a Highlander. I sprayed Lysol at the intakes and now shut the A/C down about 1/2 mile before I park to get rid of any condensation. This stopped the stink issue.
 






LukerDooker

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I have been driving around with AC and vents closed all summer, and so far really do need ac daily.
-when turning on car and ac begins, no smell at all, day after day.
-I dont manually turn off ac and leave vents open to dry vent system.
-air is so humid that it would take driving with vents open of at least 15 minutes and possibly would not really dry out.

-so far internal air is enough & car is cold even with 3 or 4 people,
-even if car was parked outside & hot.
-i try not to do this, always try for shade and window shade always in car.

-slight musty smell when vents open if using ac this way.
-lingers for 10/15 minutes.
-if using ac & vents open all the time it lingers a while, too long for sure.

-cant help but wonder about drain tubes, assume that with vents open-drainage is a lot more due to very humid external air, than vents closed.

-probably vent tubing is untreated plastic and has pond scum on it in the air path, if there is any etching or lines in it from forming then for sure its got something growing on it....
 






IT.Dave

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Our issue, same description ended up being the TPU for the front drive system.

I just bought a 2013 Ford Explorer last week and I am having an issue with a strong odor coming through the vents. It happens when the recirculator is off and the vents are open. It almost smells like exhaust. When the recirculator is on the smell is not present. I currently have 600 miles on the car. The dealer checked it out and said it's the stickers burning off of the engine and/or the coating they use underneath the car...which I do not believe. I took it to my local mechanic and he thinks that the A/C discharge tube is clogged because it's not producing any condensation on the ground when turned on and stagnant water is causing the smell. The smell is strongest after the car is warmed up and and not moving, while the vents are open. The smell is overwhelming in the cabin and the dealer/Ford Motor Company is unwilling to help, which is very frustrating, since I just bought the car. They keep telling me that the smell should go away after the car is broken in. I'm not real excited about breathing this in for another couple months. Has anyone else encountered this?

Our issue, same description ended up being the TPU for the front drive system. It was apparently leaking enough to cause the Exhaust smell (foul smelling gear oil, getting hot) and eventually it kept getting worse until it was getting so hot that it boiled more and more out and the TPU had to be replaced. Even though we complained numerous times about the issue, right after the warranty expired, a service technician found the leak, and as soon as I put my finger on it and smelled it I knew that is what it was. When the TPU was replaced, the issue was resolved. I am still upset it took so long and that it did not end up getting covered under the warranty. :/
 






dco43054

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And the dealer says this is normal and not a warranty issue.

I hate this vehicle and this company more and more each day.

Summertime? Moisture in AC system? It happens.

With as hot as it's gotten recently, mine sometimes has a brief musty smell on startup. Goes away in a second.

It's not been a big deal to me.
 






roosterz

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2011 Expllorer Bad Vent Odor

I purchase this vehicle used and the lady that owned the vehicle propr to me had a very large dog. When I get in the car and crank it up there is a bad odor when the systems start. I have a freagrent type deal on my vent now and wondered if there is a filter that needs cleaning or replaced in the HVAC SYSTEM or do I just have to live with it? Thank you for your help.:usa:
 






patsy1099

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need more info to truly determine your problem. there are various threads on here regarding odors in the air conditioning. just do a quick search.
 






scarpi

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I'd start by changing the cabin air filter. That might help, but may not be the primary cause of the problem. The owners manual will tell you how to change that or a Ford dealer can do that.
 






1995E

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I purchase this vehicle used and the lady that owned the vehicle propr to me had a very large dog. When I get in the car and crank it up there is a bad odor when the systems start. I have a freagrent type deal on my vent now and wondered if there is a filter that needs cleaning or replaced in the HVAC SYSTEM or do I just have to live with it? Thank you for your help.:usa:

Change the cabin filter. What I did when I had a mold smell in my car was that I blasted the heat to max for everything, front and rear, and drove on it for a good 30 minutes and the smell was gone.
 






roosterz

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scarpi. I tried that and I believe that is going to solve my problem. The cabin filter was a off brand cheap filter and it was loaded with crud. I really appreciate the help!
 






scarpi

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scarpi. I tried that and I believe that is going to solve my problem. The cabin filter was a off brand cheap filter and it was loaded with crud. I really appreciate the help!

Thanks, my simple mind always looks for the easy solution first. Also if you have cloth seats you might use a carpet shampoo machine with an attachment to shampoo the seats and carpets. Take care.
 












peterk9

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I thought there was a tsb about PTU fluid odor entering the cabin?
Someone posted that that was the issue they were having but I'm not aware of any TSB related to it.

Peter
 






jmr061

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If there was, I would like to know about it!

Thank you

All TSB with ODOR in it:

TSB
13-9-18 3.5L TI-VCT - FOUL ODOR FROM COOLING SYSTEM - BUILT ON OR BEFORE 7/9/2012

Publication Date: September 20, 2013

FORD: 2012-2013 Explorer


The article supersedes TSB 12-8-8 to update Service Procedure and Part List.

ISSUE:
Some 2012-2013 Explorer vehicles equipped with a 3.5L Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) engine and built on or before 7/9/2012 may exhibit a foul, rotten-egg type odor coming from the cooling system or components, typically after coming to a stop with the climate control recirculation door in the fresh air mode.




TSB 15-0096 2.0L ECOBOOST - FUEL ODOR
Publication Date: June 10, 2015

FORD: 2013-2014 Edge
2013-2015 Escape, Explorer, Focus, Fusion

LINCOLN: 2013-2015 MKZ
2015 MKC


ISSUE:
Some 2013-2015 Escape, Fusion, Explorer, MKZ, Focus ST and 2013-2014 Edge and 2015 MKC vehicles equipped with 2.0L EcoBoost engines may exhibit fuel odor originating from the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) hose.




SSM 45053 - 2007-2015 Various Vehicles Equipped With All Wheel Drive - Propane, Or Natural Gas Odor During Idle Or Low Speed Driving
Some 2013-2015 MKZ vehicles equipped with a 3.7L, 2007-2014 Edge, 2007-2015 MKX, 2011-2015 Explorer, 2009-2015 Flex, 2010-2015 MKT, 2008-2015 Taurus, 2008-2009Taurus X, 2009-2015 MKS, 2007-2012 Fusion/MKZ, and 2007-2011 Milan vehicles equipped with a PTU may exhibit a propane, or natural gas odor from the HVAC systemafter driving the vehicle for 20-45 minutes. This odor, if present, is most noticeable while idling or during low speed driving. Inspect the PTU for fluid leaks and repair any leaks per Workshop Manual Section 308-07B. If odor is still present after the leak repair and cleaning, replace the PTU and vent hose, if equipped. For vehicles with no leaks and odor present, replace the PTU along with thePTU vent hose, if equipped. Refer to Section 7 of the SLTS manual for the appropriate labor operations.



TSB 14-0130 EXHAUST ODOR IN VEHICLE
Publication Date: July 22, 2014

FORD: 2011-2015 Explorer


This article supersedes TSB 12-12-4 to update the vehicle model years and Service Procedure.

ISSUE:
Some 2011-2015 Explorer vehicles may exhibit an exhaust odor in the vehicle with the auxiliary climate control system on. Customers may indicate the odor smells like sulfur.
 






RSmail

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Me too! Help!~

Hello! 3 weeks ago, under pouring rain, I jumped into my explorer all wet, and drove home. The day after when I started up the vehicle, I noticed that a mildew smell came out of the A/C for about 10 seconds.. Ever since then, every time the vehicle rests for about 4 or more hours, a mildew smell comes from the A/C when I start it up. It doesn't matter whether the air recirculation is on or not.

Seats are non-perforated leather, and the vehicle has been through 2 ozone treatments. It does not otherwise smell bad at all. Only when I turn it on, and for about 10 seconds.

I read somewhere that older epxlorers had collector boxes behind the dash, and leftover water could accumulate there. Maybe that's where I should look?

Any advice?

Rick, I have the same exact issue with my current 2014 Ford Explorer. I need help! Every morning when I go to take the kids to school, as soon as I start it a horrible smell comes out of the vents that smells like vomit. Ugh! Please let me know if you got answers or have suggestions. THANKS!
 






peterk9

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Rick, I have the same exact issue with my current 2014 Ford Explorer. I need help! Every morning when I go to take the kids to school, as soon as I start it a horrible smell comes out of the vents that smells like vomit. Ugh! Please let me know if you got answers or have suggestions. THANKS!
Welcome to the Forum.:wavey:
Please add the 'model' of your Explorer to your profile so it always shows in the margin. Thanks.

Peter
 



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