smelly air conditioner

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by poppy, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. poppy

    poppy Guest

    My wife's 2000 Dogde van has an odor when the air conditioner is turned on. Sort of a moldy musty smell to me. Whatever it is, she is sensitive to all odors and it gives her a headache. Any simple suggestions to try and get rid of it?
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    Make sure that the condensate line is dripping when the AC is on. If this line is plugged, moisture can build up inside the AC ductwork which causes mold.

    If the drip line is functioning properly, try driving around for a few hours with both the heater and AC on. This should dry out any mold in the AC ductwork and stop most of the odor. Parking your van in the garage and running the AC for a few hours every month (regarless of temps) will help keep the problem from reoccurring in the future.

  3. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    i'd imagine the line that drains out the condensed water is Cabin said. There is a tray underneath the evaporator (it looks like a little radiator and it's usually under the glove box on the passenger side). When the air conditioner is on, it condenses water and the water drips down onto the tray. There is a hole in the botom of the tray with a tube attached to it. The water runs down the tube. the tube extends out the bottom of the car and the water drips on the ground. Something has likely plugged the hole. It's usually an insect or a thingy that fell through the top of the dashboard. The little pool of stagnant water can grow some pretty foul stuff. Look under the passenger side of the dashboard, find the tube, pull it off the bottom of the tray and see if there is anything inside the tube or lying on the bottom of the tray. Be prepared for stinky water to pour out...try to catch it in a basin. If you can't find the tube, run the air conditioner and look under the car for dripping about where the front passenger's feet would rest. Find the end of the tube that way and run a coat hanger up there with a hooked end to try to pull the obstruction out or suck on the end of the hose with a wet/dry shop vac.
    Try to get the thing unplugged without having to open up that whole system if possible..opening those things up can get pretty involved.
  4. Clifford

    Clifford Love it, or leave it...

    Aug 14, 2004
    Wausau, Wisconsin
    I had a similar problem with an 98 Ford Windstar. I pulled out the console, and the lower units of the duct system and guess what I found...? A nest (mice) made up of natural materials with a few moldy deceased mooses.

    Cleaned that out with some disenfectant, etc., and never had a problem again (Never did tell the wife what caused that smell)....

    It really wasn't that difficult to dissassemble; you just have to have three arms and be somewhat of a contortionist.
  5. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

    Aug 25, 2002
    Southern Ontario CANADA
    They do sell a "deodorizer" product for the ductwork in a car - you spray into the ducting intake under the hood with the A/C or heat running on full (instruction on bottle). Not sure if it kills mold... but the stuff I had most likely contained perfumes (not so great for someone who is sensitive to smells). It worked very well.

  6. jefferson

    jefferson fuzzball in the Cascades

    Nov 11, 2004
    State of Jefferson
    Is you parking spot level? You might try backing in and parking. May be a small build up due to improper drain caused by your space.