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Foul Smell in Cabin From Vents / AC

peterk9

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I have the same problem, the dealership said there was the TSB issue and after I paid $1,300 to get everything replaced including the cabin air filter it still happens. In fact just drove it to work and it smelled again. Seriously thinking about putting the vehicle up for sale and tell the dealership to go stick it in their ear. Their service used to be good, main reason why I bought the new Explorer with them, they have gone down hill fast. Is there a Ford recall on this??? IS there any warranty that I can get any of my money back. I mean I spent $1,300 for nothing, same problem.
Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
There is no recall on this issue. Just the TSB which I gather has been performed. I don't believe there is any warranty on the work that was done unless a replaced part failed as attempts to cure a problem don't usually come with a guaranty that it will. The dealer just followed the TSB that was issued for the issue so they did what they could in that regard. The work done under a TSB is only done at no charge as long as the vehicle is under the factory or an ESP warranty.
The Ford reps are no longer monitoring the Forum but you could always try calling the 1-800 number shown in the FordService post. Good luck.

Peter
 



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16maglimited

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Hey guys my wife's 16 Explorer has a bad musty smell coming from the vents when you turn the air on. When A/C is engaged it smells fine but otherwise it's really bad. I just replaced the cabin filter. Still problem exists. Im sure it's bacteria/mold somewhere in the unit. I'm wonder if anyone has ever been successful cleaning or removing the smell?
Thanks
 






NicoleM

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I have a 2016 Explorer Sport and I have this NASTY smell too! I really wish Ford would fix it!
 






peterk9

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I have a 2016 Explorer Sport and I have this NASTY smell too! I really wish Ford would fix it!
Welcome to the Forum Nicole.:wave:
FYI, I never had that issue on my 2011 nor do I have it on my 2017. I'm not sure what Ford can do to resolve this. It doesn't appear to be a widespread issue.

Peter
 






NicoleM

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Welcome to the Forum Nicole.:wave:
FYI, I never had that issue on my 2011 nor do I have it on my 2017. I'm not sure what Ford can do to resolve this. It doesn't appear to be a widespread issue.

Peter
Thanks Peter! It literally just started last week! I bought my Sport new (with 33 miles) and have had it a year (19,XXX miles later) and the smell from the vents is horrible. Previously, I had a 2013 XLT and it had that problem too but it had the leak problem with the back hatch. My husband found where the manufactured welds were not welded all the way and he put clear silicone on it and it never leaked again. I have checked my Sport for that as well and luckily, there isn't a problem. That's what lead me on this forum today. I thought purchasing my Sport new, I wouldn't have had this problem but apparently that isn't the case :( I do LOVE my Sport though :)
 






XLT16

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Think the issue happens in warm climates most. I had one vehicle in the past a GM product that this happened to but the Ford has been fine so far. One thing that can really create an issues is if the drain tube is plugged on your a/c's evaporator, you should hear the dripping of condensation or pools of water under the car when the A/C has been in use, this would indicate it is draining properly. Picked this off the web, might work to eliminate the smell as the root cause is the buildup of bacteria and mold in the system....

There are a few things you can do to eliminate the problem.

  1. Starting now, turn off the A/C at least 2 minutes before you shut off your vehicle - preferably 5 minutes - but leave the fan on. Just get in the habit of shutting your A/C off at a certain point on your commute. This way, your system will dry quite a bit before you shut off.
  2. Buy a bottle of lysol antiseptic spray. Start your car, turn on the A/C system full blast, and make sure it's set to pull air from the outside (the recirculate button should be off). Finally, roll down all the windows. Then, start spraying the lysol into the exterior air vents between your hood and your windshield. I'd spray for 20-30 seconds, wait a minute, then repeat until about 10 minutes have gone by. Then I would let the air conditioner run with the windows down for at least another 10 minutes before shutting down.
  3. If step #2 doesn't work (and it won't always work), your dealership can try a foaming system cleaner sold by BG products. While some people say that this stuff is no better than lysol, I have seen it work when lysol didn't.
  4. Worst case, you can ask your dealer to remove the smell by replacing the evaporator core, condenser, drain pan, etc. However, this is rarely necessary as steps 2 and 3 usually take care of the problem.

Having said all of this, step #1 is key - if you don't start shutting the A/C off (but leaving the fan on) a couple of minutes before you park your car, the mold, fungus, and/or bacteria will just come back stronger than ever.
 






NicoleM

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Think the issue happens in warm climates most. I had one vehicle in the past a GM product that this happened to but the Ford has been fine so far. One thing that can really create an issues is if the drain tube is plugged on your a/c's evaporator, you should hear the dripping of condensation or pools of water under the car when the A/C has been in use, this would indicate it is draining properly. Picked this off the web, might work to eliminate the smell as the root cause is the buildup of bacteria and mold in the system....

There are a few things you can do to eliminate the problem.

  1. Starting now, turn off the A/C at least 2 minutes before you shut off your vehicle - preferably 5 minutes - but leave the fan on. Just get in the habit of shutting your A/C off at a certain point on your commute. This way, your system will dry quite a bit before you shut off.
  2. Buy a bottle of lysol antiseptic spray. Start your car, turn on the A/C system full blast, and make sure it's set to pull air from the outside (the recirculate button should be off). Finally, roll down all the windows. Then, start spraying the lysol into the exterior air vents between your hood and your windshield. I'd spray for 20-30 seconds, wait a minute, then repeat until about 10 minutes have gone by. Then I would let the air conditioner run with the windows down for at least another 10 minutes before shutting down.
  3. If step #2 doesn't work (and it won't always work), your dealership can try a foaming system cleaner sold by BG products. While some people say that this stuff is no better than lysol, I have seen it work when lysol didn't.
  4. Worst case, you can ask your dealer to remove the smell by replacing the evaporator core, condenser, drain pan, etc. However, this is rarely necessary as steps 2 and 3 usually take care of the problem.

Having said all of this, step #1 is key - if you don't start shutting the A/C off (but leaving the fan on) a couple of minutes before you park your car, the mold, fungus, and/or bacteria will just come back stronger than ever.


I live in Texas so it is very hot here! It's been a hit or miss it seems. I've tried the Lysol but not to the extent you stated. I will definitely try it! Cross my fingers it works. It's has just now gotten to the point where I have to use the heater in the car (this week) so I haven't had the smell.
 






Gaterdog

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I only have front vents, no defrost and no floor air. Will change on the control panel, but still only blows out the front vents
 






peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
Sounds like a problem with the blend door actuators.

Peter
 






r1lukasz

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Any update on fix? my 17 explorer sport got bad smell for first 30 seconds then go away, I also notice when ac is off it smell bad but when I turn ac an smell go away, so far I change cabin filter but that did nothing to help
 






peterk9

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Any update on fix? my 17 explorer sport got bad smell for first 30 seconds then go away, I also notice when ac is off it smell bad but when I turn ac an smell go away, so far I change cabin filter but that did nothing to help
Are you referring to a "fix" from Ford? If so, I doubt that you will see one. I don't think the issue is that common considering the number of Explorers that have been sold. My 2011 didn't have it and neither does my 2017. Have you tried the suggestions posted in this thread?

Peter
 






r1lukasz

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my explorer have 9k miles got it new last year, I was just wonder whats the issue and if there is fix for it since its under warranty, suggestions posted here about turning ac off 2 min before parking everytime wont work with me, I rather trade it in for x5, also mine smell when ac is off and smell go away when I turn ac on
 






peterk9

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my explorer have 9k miles got it new last year, I was just wonder whats the issue and if there is fix for it since its under warranty, suggestions posted here about turning ac off 2 min before parking everytime wont work with me, I rather trade it in for x5, also mine smell when ac is off and smell go away when I turn ac on
You can take it in to the dealer but I doubt that they can do anything that lasts. I think that is what several members did if I recall. Did you try the Lysol tip?

Peter
 






r1lukasz

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I did try Lysol tip but that only worked to mask a smell for few days, I also notice when I drive my Ex with the ac on there is no smell but as soon I turn off ac the smell is there
 






Big71nick

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Just got a 2015 Explorer and the smeel coming out the vents was good for 2 or 3 weeks. Now the smell is bad. Smells like old water build up or something. I understand why this happens but I don't know how to fix it. Any suggestions on cleaning refreshing and deodorizering?
 






peterk9

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Just got a 2015 Explorer and the smeel coming out the vents was good for 2 or 3 weeks. Now the smell is bad. Smells like old water build up or something. I understand why this happens but I don't know how to fix it. Any suggestions on cleaning refreshing and deodorizering?
Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
Your thread was moved to this existing one found using the Forum's "search' feature in the upper right. Good luck.

Peter
 






edwx

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Air conditioning smells a bit. I notice it sometimes, but by wife and son notice it more. We live in a warm and humid climate, and the truck is parked outside in the shade. Is there a fix for this? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks, Ed
 






peterk9

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Air conditioning smells a bit. I notice it sometimes, but by wife and son notice it more. We live in a warm and humid climate, and the truck is parked outside in the shade. Is there a fix for this? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks, Ed
Your thread was merged with this one found with the 'Search' feature.

Peter
 






RedXLTlove

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Any update on fix? my 17 explorer sport got bad smell for first 30 seconds then go away, I also notice when ac is off it smell bad but when I turn ac an smell go away, so far I change cabin filter but that did nothing to help
Mine does the exact same thing and it seems to have just started this past few months(had the car since new) so I will be watching to see what others have done or will do to remedy this.
 



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chop90

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