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  #1  
Old 02-15-2001, 05:48 PM
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Whenever it rains or is humid my car smells kind of musty and stale, like breath. Not bad breath, just a someone-standing-very-close-to-me-and-I-can-smell-him sort of breath.

I have removed the front and rear mats, as well as the front carpets over the metal floors, and washed them with Arm & Hammer laundry detergent which left them smelling clean and fresh. I have not yet put them back in the car.

I have swept and vacuumed the bare floors and rear carpet, and sprasyed with Lysol, but there is that lingering musty odor.

The A/C is off so I don't think it can be coming from there -- or can it? I have also removed and sniffed the rear seat but there is no smell there either.

Where else should I be looking?

Eric Silver
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2001, 06:13 PM
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How about the ceiling?
Just a guess.
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2001, 06:43 PM
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Have you tried spraying Lysol into the HVAC intake while it was running?

Kuan
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2001, 07:03 PM
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Where is the HVAC intake?? Would spraying a flamable vapor in there create a potential fire?
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2001, 07:12 PM
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Heating and Air Conditioning. I'm sorry, I just use lysol as a generic term for disinfectant. There's probably some kind of non aerosol type out there.

Kuan
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2001, 08:14 PM
Q Q is offline
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There are actually treatments out there for this very problem. You probably have mold/mildew in your ventilation system. Someone should have an idea of where to get the stuff specifically for cars. What you do is open the hood to provide the best access to the plastic grate just at the base of the windshield. With the fan on full, spray into the grate so as to ensure that it goes into every portion of it.

Lysol would probably work, but it has viral and bacterial killers in it, and is probably not as strong as the special stuff when it comes to mold and mildew.

Hey, maybe call an automotive A/C service place and inquire about it there.
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2001, 10:37 PM
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Sometimes when your car had a leak - either in the boot or to the front mats - it does have this kinda smell. I should know when my boot had a bad leak from the rear-lights.

I had this product of the supermkt shelves - "Febreze" and it cleans odour away from the fabric. It worked. On top of that, I stuck a couple of charcoal to absorb whatever smells there were - .

I had the a/c ducts cleaned too ... now the car smells good.

Its good to get to the root of the source and overpower it.
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2001, 10:38 PM
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You should get some stuff called X-19. It's available at most parts stores. Spray as Q suggested. If that doesn't work...try Scope or Listerine. (kidding)

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  #9  
Old 02-15-2001, 10:38 PM
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Hi Everyone,

I thought about the ceiling too but it is probably the cleanest part of the interior.

Having replaced the capets and scrubbed the seats, all that is really left is the A/C. I recall spraying an air freshener in the vents last summer, as well as some Clorox disinfectant spray, and that either helped or masked the smell for a while.

An ionizer might be a final solution. Sharper image has some small ones for cars, but I question how effective they are. One of their larger units, like the Ionic Breeze Quadra, plugged in overnight would definitely work.

Eric
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  #10  
Old 02-15-2001, 10:47 PM
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FOUL SWEET SMELL?

You didn't say the model or year of your car but by the description of the smell and misting/fog it sounds as you may have a leaking heater core. This is a typical sweet smell and some dripping on the carpets being more pronounced in the winter than in the summmer. Hate to shed bad news on your situation, but you asked!

Try having your cooling system pressure checked and see if there is a leakdown while checking inside the car for dripping or even a hissing sound. A good stop leak such as 'Bars' could remedy the leak for awhile but may not permanently. Give it a try.

Good luck,

TobiasMB
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PS: By the way, please inform the forum of what you find and your remedy to help others in the future. Thanx
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  #11  
Old 02-15-2001, 11:20 PM
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Vas Ist Schtinkin'?

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning is really what HVAC stands for, but in some cases it means "High Velocity Air Conditioning" like for buildings and such.

I would try the Febreze in the air inlet with the fan on high, and no one in the car, and even possibly spray under the floormats and under the back seat bottom...

In his first book, "Getting Even" by George Hayduke, he tells a story of a wife who found out that her husband was going off on a three week "business trip" with his sexy blonde secretary (who she had just found out was also his mistress). Right after "Daddy" parked his brand-new Mercedes at the airport's long-term parking garage, his loving wife installed some rancid roadkill (ein Skunken) in the glovebox to fester for the next three weeks.

He couldn't sell that car for any amount of money...

And anyone who wants to mess with me, be warned, I have copies of all four of George's "Getting Even" series!
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  #12  
Old 02-15-2001, 11:42 PM
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Reminds me of

the story about the bank customer that was irratated with the bank for not approving him for a loan so he got a safe deposit box and loaded it with some dead fish!! It took the bank quite a while to figure where the smell came from and an act of higher ups to get permission to have a specialist come in to drill the box open. He got even and then some!!

TobiasMB
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  #13  
Old 02-16-2001, 01:20 AM
dlswnfrd
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Fresh outside air

After reading the many replies, none addressed the smell problem, BREATH.
My 1987 300E does the same thing if I repeatedly use the recirculate mode. In this mode your exhaled breath is condensed on the evaporator coils and dripped off into the cool/heat housing during compressor cycle OFF.That's when you smell you.
If you aren't doing this then your fresh air door is not opening.
Check it out.
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  #14  
Old 02-16-2001, 03:16 AM
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Vas Ist Schtinkin' Part Swei...

Donald,

Do you mean to say, as the old joke goes, "What is that awful smell?" "I dunno, maybe yer smellin' yer upper lip?"

An interesting insight!

"Odorific Fumes Sniff Sniff From Oil Refinery Rich Texas"?
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  #15  
Old 02-16-2001, 07:22 AM
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It's not me....

I was worried that the blame would eventually get back to me!

I don't think it is the recirculate mode since I rarely use it. And to answer Tobias' question, it's an 89 260E, but the carpets are very dry with no sign of leakage. (Although the driver's side carpets and mats were pretty dirty. And the fact that this is a black/black car is not making it easy to visually determine how clean things are.)

However, since you mention it, the one area of the car that does gets wet is the left-side well in the trunk. Two years ago, that used to get quite flooded in the rain but now, at best, it just gets damp.

I'm focusing on that area and the HVAC and hope I'll find the cause eventually. (I've been on a winning streak fixing this past week's door lock, alarm disconnection, ignition disabling, and tranny problems, so maybe I'll finally conquer this one as well.) And if/when I do find a solution, I will definitely post it here.

Eric
89 260E
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