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Old 09-03-2013, 02:55 AM
otto huber's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Alameda California
Posts: 954
How can you improve the cabin air quality in a 300SD?

I've been driving a rental car for the past week while working on my SD, and one of the first things I noticed was the difference in cabin air quality between the two vehicles. I don't have any water leaking into the SD, so I don't think that mold is an issue. I think that there is so much dirt and dust built up in the HVAC system that I'm just getting a lot of particulate matter floating through the air. I've seen stuff at the chain auto parts stores that you spray on your evaporator, and a mechanic once told me to spray Lysol through the vent cowls. Can anyone suggest a method that has worked for them. Unfortunately these cars didn't come with a cabin filter.

BTW, the rental car was a Chevy Cruz, and other than the 6 speed automatic transmission, I was pretty impressed. I hope that Chevy's diesel version of the car does well.

'81 300SD
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:35 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 3,740
Yeh I know, its called a lot of pine tree air filters hanging from the rear view mirror

I am not sure on an SD, but I know on the w123 they used untreated horsehair in the seats....when this rots it makes a lot of nasty particles and smells....I also know the same is true for a lot of the foam products they breaks down after so many years and becomes air born.....I have heard of people install cabin filters on these models but its not easy....then the only true way to rid the car of the particles and smells is to find and replace the items that are breaking down....this would also include cleaning the entire HVAC system...

So the easy answer in my no...
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:27 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Matthews, NC
Posts: 1,356
What I do on my 84 500 SEL. Just in front of the air intake is a fire wall that has a rubber seal on top of it. Pull the seal off where it passes the air intake grills. Take 3 Bounce dryer sheets and lay them over the air intake, overlapping each other, with the front edge of the sheets on top of the firewall. Push the rubber seal back on so it holds the sheets in place. The sheets act as filters and help with the smell in the car.
Is it a fix for the problem? No. Does it help some? Yes.

84 500 SEL (307,xxx miles)
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:52 PM
daw_two's Avatar
diesel enthusiast
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Germantown, TN
Posts: 5,444
extreme measures........

After removing the dash and center console, you can follow these steps to clean the airbox:
How To Disassemble A W123 Manual Airbox Photos by daw_two | Photobucket

Also, removing the seats, floor carpets and scrubbing with soap and water helps.
Germantown, TN

Current Car --- 05/2012 1984 300D Light Ivory, Red interior
Cluster Needles Paint
New Old Stock (NOS) parts

3/2008 1986 300SDL "Coda"
04/2010 1965 190D(c) "Ben"
& many more
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:21 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 7,515
Make sure there are no exhaust leaks, you can have a exhaust leak and not hear it. Look for black carbon at each joint.

Track down and repair any fuel leaks, even a small one can add smell.

Pull the seats then vac, spray clean the carpet.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:31 AM
pawoSD's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 15,308
The interior of my 420sel is clean and smells fine....just like older leather smell. Its all about keeping everything cleaned. I wash the windows, vacuum everywhere, and treat the seats with leather conditioner regularly. Can shampoo the carpets too.
-diesel is not just a fuel, its a way of life-
'15 GLK250 Bluetec 90k - mine - (OC-91,200)
'17 Metris(VITO!) - 17k - wifes (OC-17k)
'01 E320 Wagon - 160k - mine (OC-160,000)
'01 E320 - 180k - dad's (OC-182,500)
'07 E350 Wagon - 133k - dad's (OC-139,500)
'01 SL500 - 54k - dad's (OC-59,000)
'16 E400 4matic Sedan - 78k - Brothers (OC-80,000)
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:02 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Lutz (Just north of Tampa) FL, USA
Posts: 327
I find that smoking cigars in the car really helps you not to be able to notice all of the other smells.

'82 300D - Light Ivory, 2nd Owner (Back in the wind April 2013!)

'95 E300D - White, grey interior. (Suffering from stuck/broken glow plugs)

Deuteronomy 22:4-
"Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again."
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