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Foul Smell in Cabin From Vents / AC




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peterk9

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chop90

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The 17N03 program is a completely different issue. There are threads on that. This is not about carbon monoxide, which by the way is odourless. This has to do with something in the vents causing a bad smell.

Peter
They are the same. And basically the same procedure
 






79ford

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Interesting thread - I signed up just to tell of my experience with this issue. As it is very frustrating, it was comforting knowing that I'm not alone, sad for the fact anyone is going through this. NOTE: This is not the TSB issue. You can have the blower come on with out the engine running and the cat urine smell hits you square in the face for about 5-10 seconds immediately)
Here's the story:
We bought a 2015 Explorer Limited in 2016 with ~ 15k miles on it. It was in the fall so we did not get a chance to use the AC.
The following summer we began to notice the smell. Changed cabin filter, made sure drain was clear, and tried the shut the AC off a mile away trick. No joy
Took car in under warranty - at first they resisted, but when the manager almost puked from the odor, we got action. They tried every trick they could think of: Lysol, Evap core foaming, ozone, etc...
Finally the dealership replaced the evap core, the blower and housing, and ducts. Had to tear most of the dash, seats, and under hood HVAC items out. Smell was gone!!! The parts they removed were on a cart in the open and you literally could smell the odor from a foot or two away.
Unfortunately the following summer the smell returned. Since we were "early" this time, dealership went through all the original remedies. No joy,
After several trips (again), they finally replaced the entire evap core and blower housing and ducts. It worked!!! However, now the car had all sorts of interior rattles and mis-aligned interior parts, but the smell was gone.
Once again the smell was gone, but came back this summer. It was no longer under warranty, but the dealership was going to fix it under an issue they never resolved.
To that end, before we made it to the dealership, my wife fixed it permanently by totaling out the vehicle! Smell gone.
We now have a 2016 Sport with ~34k miles on it and the extended warranty does not cover this. Guess what is starting back - Yep, the smell. Same "punch you in the face with cat urine stench".
This weekend, I did the Kool-It evap flush. Then I pulled the cabin air filter and misted Lysol into the intake vents as the fan was running. I then let it dry for several hours, Next I misted Enviro Con (HVAC Mold/Mildew remover) into the intake with the blower running and let dry. I will let you know how this goes.
With all this done, my previous experience leads me to believe it is short term fix at best and there is a core issue that needs to be addressed.
I'm going to watch to see if water comes out the condensate drain when first started in the morning after running the AC the previous night. I read, and also suspect, there is a "low" spot where the condensate is not fully draining out from in the housing. If it is the other issue mentioned, recycled plastic that breeds mold and mildew, then replacing is the only option. Only to have it come back eventually.
Has there been any permanent fixes found for this?

While there is a ton of dealer bashing in these forums, I have to give kudos to Pat Milliken Ford in Redford Michigan for helping us with this issue. We didn't even purchase the vehicle from them, but they did everything possible to resolve the problem. Great customer service - especially in the face of a losing battle that just would not let go!

Dave
 






peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum.:wave:

Peter
 






hpad06

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I am trying to get rid of smell when using heat and floor vent, I suspect there is something around heater core towards the floor vent

I saw some videos people use kool it foam cleaner on car though drain hose by going to the bottom of the car, or going through blower motor, or through vent.

I tried to go under the car but found not doable at home as cannot go under without lifting the car

I tried blower motor but found not able to insert the tube from blower motor fin, the filter opening is too small

I then removed the centre vent/ audio so I can have proper access to front vent. When I use foam cleaner through it , and rinse with water in syringe I notice water dripping under the car , I assume it comes out from drain hose.

However I am not sure if the foam got into all the spots in evaporator or heater core, as the smell still there when I turn on heat.
 






Bobmbx

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I am trying to get rid of smell when using heat and floor vent, I suspect there is something around heater core towards the floor vent

I saw some videos people use kool it foam cleaner on car though drain hose by going to the bottom of the car, or going through blower motor, or through vent.

I tried to go under the car but found not doable at home as cannot go under without lifting the car

I tried blower motor but found not able to insert the tube from blower motor fin, the filter opening is too small

I then removed the centre vent/ audio so I can have proper access to front vent. When I use foam cleaner through it , and rinse with water in syringe I notice water dripping under the car , I assume it comes out from drain hose.

However I am not sure if the foam got into all the spots in evaporator or heater core, as the smell still there when I turn on heat.
What does it smell like?
 






hpad06

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I had a post regarding my issue below, it started Nov 2018, so been over a year.

smell when switch to floor vent


I am not able to describe the smell accurately as I have not smell thing like this in the past. After going through this thread, I finally gave this a try.

I took out the center vent cover which also included radio/fan buttons, I used a USB endoscope and inserted into it, from the camera I can see the center vent only links to AC coil, this explains why first try with foam cleaner did not help much.

Then I went to the button of the glove box, and removed 3 screws which took out the cover for blower motor. Blower motor is very easy to remove once exposed. I then used endoscope again, and notice this has access to AC coil on one side, and heater core on the other side.

I used Frost King AC coil foam cleaner ( $10 from Lowes.ca), then found a way to connect that to a soft tube so I can insert the tube in. I squeezed the cleaner inside, put the blower motor back, let it run for 20 seconds, then removed blower, squeezed more cleaner , then let blower run another 20 seconds. I was hoping this would help to push the foam cleaner through the vents deep.

After waiting for 10 mins, I used garden hose and insert into the opening, turned on water so small amount of water can flush coil and heater. I tired to gave more water, but the water ended flushing back, so the capacity there is small, and drain hole is too small to take lots of water.

I wiped out the excess water around blower motor, and put the blower motor back. Turn to fan, cold, low, then AC on for 5 minutes, then change to high heat for another 10 mins.

Now I can feel the air is much cleaner on the center vent, and much much better on the floor vent. There is still some smell from the floor vent only, but I would say 95% of the smell is gone.

Overall I am quite happy with the result, will try a few more times to flush more for the floor vent when weather getting better, as it's cold and snowing in Canada these days.
 






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