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Old 01-17-2003, 12:05 AM
Holson Adi's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,561
Question Bad odor from A/C and Refrigerant leakage

I know this is winter and I don't use my A/C at all. However I would love to tackle my A/C problem before summer.

When I bought my car my A/C wasn't working. However it did have some charge left in the system.

My mechanic looked at it, recharged it and it worked good from April til around mid June. Then it had lost some R12.

While I had A/C there was really bad odor whenever I turn the A/C on after stopping the car for a moderate length of time (having used the A/C prior to shutting it off). IF, however, the car was left overnight and the A/C turned on the next day there was no bad odor and it was all good. It also didn't do this if I switch off the A/C and turn it back on a few minutes later.

*By switching it/AC off I also mean shutting off the engine*

Then I installed my Euro headlights and me being me, I bought some really long screws and I saw that one of them had hit a part of the A/C condensor ................

However I don't see a hole.. but maybe I just can't see it.

The A/C still works great when there is enough freon in it. In fact even if the temperature outside was 98F it was still nice.

Am I really looking at a bad evaporator here (due to the bad odor) or could it be something else?

I know i Have to put dye in the system and find out. However I'd like to hear some opinions.

BTw, I did the Lysol trick and sprayed enough lysol into the air intakes to make my whole apartment smell good...

2008 BMW 335i Coupe
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Old 01-17-2003, 12:59 AM
The Godfather's Avatar
The ModFather
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Khalifonia.
Posts: 1,174
If you dont turn on the A/C every once in a while, you'll have condensation build up that 'll cause mold, and therefore the stinkyness
2003 E55 AMG
2007 FJ Cruiser
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Old 01-17-2003, 06:56 AM
Posts: n/a
Yes, the odor is most likely mold, mildew, etc.

The real issue here is the a/c leak. The best thing to do is add some UV dye to the system then use a black light to look for the leak. If you don't see a leak where the screw contacted the condensor, other common places for a leak would be fittings, compressor shaft seal and evaporator.

If you cannot find UV dye anywhere under the hood, try the expansion valve under the passenger side dash and then look at the condensation water that drains under the car. If there is UV dye in the condensation water, then the problem is a leaking evaporator. That is the worst situation because it is a big job to replace.

Leaking out from April to June indicates a significant leak that will easily be found using the UV dye method.

Best of luck,
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:51 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: central Texas
Posts: 17,281
You do need to address the leak... but even tight a/c systems can have mold problems... and odors.....
One method that has worked for me is, while it is on, find the intake (usually near your feet on one side) and spray a good shot of Lysol aerosol at it ... be sure the blower is on may take several applications over a couple of days... but it really works.... also had good results from spraying Fabreez into the air stream at the same place...
Be sure to clean out your condensation drip tube...and spray it also....and make sure it will let water out...
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Old 01-17-2003, 12:39 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: California
Posts: 6
I had the same problem. I took it down to the MB dealer, and they ran a dye test. Told me that my A/C compressor was leaking. Is there a way to fix this aside from putting a new compressor in?
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Old 01-17-2003, 02:00 PM
rdanz's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,158
Mite be something as minor as an O ring.
good luck

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