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Old 04-08-2009, 11:43 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Info about air conditioner odor

What causes air conditioner odor? How can I prevent the odor from occurring?

From the Toyota website.

During air conditioner operation, cold refrigerant is pumped through the evaporator core by an engine-driven compressor. A fan then blows air through "fins" in the evaporator to cool the air. These fins also act as an air filter, trapping bacteria, spores, and dirt. These airborne particles are normally washed out a drain hole with condensation, but if they remain on a moist evaporator, they may collect and cause an unpleasant odor. This effect is more frequently found in humid climates where more condensate accumulates. This situation is not unique to Toyota; it is an industry-wide condition.

To prevent the odor, Toyota recommends the following:

  • Avoid parking under trees to reduce the possibility of leaves entering the air intake
  • Use the fresh air setting on your climate control rather than the recirculated air setting whenever possible to allow the evaporator to dry out
  • Drive on paved roads whenever feasible as dusty conditions may accelerate the condition
If the condition already exists, spraying a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water (1 to 5 ratio/mixture) or a disinfectant in the outside air intake may help reduce the smell. If these steps do not alleviate the odor, we encourage you to contact your local dealer for a thorough evaluation of the condition.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:44 AM   #2
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this happens also with residential heat pump/ac units in the mid to south east states.......we call it the dirty sock syndrome.....it is cause by bacteria getting on the evaporator coil.......it should cure itself eventually when the condensate actually washes the coil several times........
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:30 AM   #3
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while driving with the a/c on, a few minutes before arriving at your destination turn the ac off and just run the fan on a high setting. this will help to blow/dry up accumulated condensation out of the air paths so that build up will not occur
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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ac smell yeck!

I've read that checking the "drain tube on the AC box" is the thing to do to make sure water is ok to drain.

Where is the drain tube and where is the AC box?
Maybe dumb question but I'm too dumb to care about snide remarks.

Thanks! Gotta get rid of the smell before a hot date!

Cheers!
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:32 PM   #5
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I saw this while searching for something else, and I thought I'd add this. The Dodge/Plymouth Neon owner's website has a TSB on this, with a good procedure for eliminating A/C odor:

http://www.neons.org/neontsb/TSB/24/241197.htm

I know some people have used Lysol disinfectant spray instead of the specified "evaporator coil cleaner" and have had good results.
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:22 AM   #6
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Agree with old soul here... run the fan with A/C off before shutting your truck off.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:13 AM   #7
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I did the run A/C blower on high in out side air mode and spray shower cleaner (bleach) in the cowl intake to get rid of the smell. It did take two treatments to get the job done.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:18 AM   #8
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You wouldn't have this problem if you regularly replaced your cabin air filter. It protects your evaporator from exactly what they're talking about, JUST like the filter in your unit at home. Check and change them as often as necessary.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsds View Post
I've read that checking the "drain tube on the AC box" is the thing to do to make sure water is ok to drain.

Where is the drain tube and where is the AC box?
Maybe dumb question but I'm too dumb to care about snide remarks.

Thanks! Gotta get rid of the smell before a hot date!

Cheers!
If you open your hood, on the passenger side on the firewall will be a small rubber tube angled downward at about 45 degrees. That is your condensate drain.

The A/C box is located behind your glove compartment.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Soul View Post
while driving with the a/c on, a few minutes before arriving at your destination turn the ac off and just run the fan on a high setting. this will help to blow/dry up accumulated condensation out of the air paths so that build up will not occur
Good I didn't have to post it.

If its a hot rainy day (can't crack windows) I'll even turn the heat on when I enter the sub division. Help dry out that coil.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyScottETC View Post
You wouldn't have this problem if you regularly replaced your cabin air filter. It protects your evaporator from exactly what they're talking about, JUST like the filter in your unit at home. Check and change them as often as necessary.
Correct me if I am wrong - 1st GENs do not have in cabin filters. Good tip for 2nd GENs though.
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sxgt View Post
Correct me if I am wrong - 1st GENs do not have in cabin filters. Good tip for 2nd GENs though.
Some 2nd gens do not have cabin filters. I know the 2005 doesn't
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyScottETC View Post
You wouldn't have this problem if you regularly replaced your cabin air filter. It protects your evaporator from exactly what they're talking about, JUST like the filter in your unit at home. Check and change them as often as necessary.
True for those that have cabin filters. Alot of the trucks do not have them. I'm not sure what year Toyota started putting the cabin filters in the Tacoma's. Anyone know? Was it 2007 forward?
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genxer36 View Post
True for those that have cabin filters. Alot of the trucks do not have them. I'm not sure what year Toyota started putting the cabin filters in the Tacoma's. Anyone know? Was it 2007 forward?
My 2006 has a cabin air filter.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGXR View Post
My 2006 has a cabin air filter.
Did your truck come with one in it? Or just option to install.


I know alot of trucks that came with the space for one..but never had one.


Fuck paying $30 for a filter.
Another reason why I don't like 2nd Gens.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Soul View Post
while driving with the a/c on, a few minutes before arriving at your destination turn the ac off and just run the fan on a high setting. this will help to blow/dry up accumulated condensation out of the air paths so that build up will not occur
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wreckless_71 View Post
Agree with old soul here... run the fan with A/C off before shutting your truck off.
Yup. Works every time for me.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:27 PM   #17
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At some dealerships they use a foam that is sprayed in through the drain hole, it cleans the evaporator core. Corrosion and dirt can affect the ac's function and cause funk.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koco View Post
At some dealerships they use a foam that is sprayed in through the drain hole, it cleans the evaporator core. Corrosion and dirt can affect the ac's function and cause funk.
You can spray Lysol into the vent intake just below the windshield (on the outside of the windshield) with the A/C running, put the fan on full , & the windows down. The Lysol will kill the bacteria & mold in the system.
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