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  #1  
Old 02-12-2003, 10:51 PM
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My air smells like old socks - help! 94 E420

When I turn on the blower, the air that comes out of the vents smells like old socks. Most noticeable when the A/C is off. Is this related to the air filter? If so, is this something I replace myself? I'm no professional, but pretty handy mechanically. Any advise greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2003, 02:06 AM
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I believe the "old sock smell" is due to mildew in the A/C evaporator...it may be due to the fact that the A/C drain hose is not clear...if you have your A/C running, do you see water dripping from the bottom of your car? I heard spraying some lysol or disinfectant spray into the vents will help...
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Last edited by DuckMuck; 02-13-2003 at 02:16 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2003, 11:54 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I'll look for water dropping out when the air is on. The smell is noticeable only when the A/C is off, though, and I'm just blowing heat or fresh air. I'll try the Lysol fix to see if that helps.
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2003, 12:07 AM
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Air Filter

Not sure, but your car may have an airfilter (hepa or something like it) that filters the inlet air to your HVAC system.

Some cars have them under the hood up near the windshield. If you have such a filter maybe it's time to replace it.

Good luck,
Joel
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Old 02-15-2003, 01:47 AM
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Don't you like the smell of mildew that smells like old socks?

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Old 02-15-2003, 01:57 AM
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Do you run your A/C frequently? Usually, when the A/C is ran frequently, you don't have this problem, since it is due to moisture just sitting in the evaporator/ducts...running the A/C regularly basically dries it all out...I have never experienced this problem personally, but when I am in the hardware store, I see many products to deal with mildew in car A/C evaporators...I did a search on google and found this:
http://www.bgprod.com/autoair.html

Some of those sprays may be useful...I do not know what is effective though...I am sure there are a lot of similar products if you have a look at your local hardware store...

When I was in Ithaca, NY, I had a close friend with an Accord, and the A/C was broken...and after a while, it developed that "old sock smell"...it was simply terrible...it was also in the middle of winter, and we had the fan at full blast with the heat up...and it just added to that wet, terrible smell...I don't know if it is that bad in your car, but if it is...I TRULY sympathize with you...
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2003, 02:07 AM
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I have the same problem in my '89 300E. and also, the smell only occours when i have the heater on (since its winter i dont use the ac). I think that if you use the heater often you wont have the problem. I dont use my heater or ac often, but when i do ive sorta noticed the problem going away.
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Old 02-15-2003, 11:49 AM
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Thanks, guys. I'll try running the heat and using the air more....hopefully this will dry things out. I'll let you know if I'm successful. I'm reluctant to inject anything into my evaporator - been scared by that in my car already. Thanks again. If anyone else has any other suggestions, please let me know!
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2003, 07:58 AM
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Check with the Pros...

Jerry, go to

http://www.aircondition.com/wwwboard/index.htm

and post your question there.. or do an archive search there. I've used this auto A/C board for years... the guys there are real Pros on all manner of auto A/C issues and are extremely helpful.
Your problem is not uncommon... its bacteria living in your A/C-heat system... these guys can tell you how to get rid of it.
KenP
1996 S500 Coupe
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2003, 01:11 AM
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Problem cured (I think). I ran the heater on high for the past couple of days, and the smell is gone for now. I live in Arizona, so heat is not something we normally use down here. Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. If the smell comes back again, I'll try the Lysol fix.
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  #11  
Old 02-18-2003, 04:35 PM
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Your car has two cabin filters

Under the hood (under the windshield wiper arm to be precise) these two filters (different from your regular engine air filters) need to be changed every 15-20k or so. They basically filter the air entering the cabin when you run your air circulation. for the long run, this is what you will need to replace. call any MB dealer and they can give you the part number and cost estimate. you could buy them much cheaper here at the parts shop. Or at www.************************. Also search this forum for air cabin filter for more details. Good luck!
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2003, 03:15 PM
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Thanks for the link to Bosch. I tried following their directions to remove the plastic peices that cover the filters, but couldn't budge them. I removed 4 screws (two on the side and two hidden under the rubber molding at the bottom of the windscreen). Didn't use too much force for fear of breaking anything. Anyone know what I am doing wrong, or are there better directions I can download from somewhere? Thanks.
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