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      04-11-2013, 10:01 PM   #1
1chanc3
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Question Funny sour smell when air is on

Sometimes when I turn on the air or AC, there's this distinct sour vinegar smell.
Doesn't always happen, but I've noticed it multiple times. Smell goes away after a couple minutes of the air on.

Anyone have an idea as to what is causing it? Thanks in advanced.
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      04-11-2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1chanc3 View Post
Sometimes when I turn on the air or AC, there's this distinct sour vinegar smell.
Doesn't always happen, but I've noticed it multiple times. Smell goes away after a couple minutes of the air on.

Anyone have an idea as to what is causing it? Thanks in advanced.
Probably due to someone smoking in car? Maybe... If not take look at your cabin filter and replace it while replacing it spray lysol into openings behind cabin filter with car running and blower fan all the way up. This should take care of the smell.
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      04-11-2013, 10:40 PM   #3
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unscented lysol sprayed on and in the microfilter housing will kill it most likely.
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      04-11-2013, 10:42 PM   #4
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I use the scented stuff just cause I like the smell but thats just me. I also like mentioned make sure hit the blower fan little too while doing it, Atleast on 330i you can see if when you remove the cabin filter.
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      04-11-2013, 11:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shata View Post
Probably due to someone smoking in car? Maybe... If not take look at your cabin filter and replace it while replacing it spray lysol into openings behind cabin filter with car running and blower fan all the way up. This should take care of the smell.
Thinking about changing the cabin filter if it's dirty. I'm looking at 2 filters from Mann. CU 8430 and CUK 8430. The CUK has charcoal in it.

Which one is preferred?
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      04-11-2013, 11:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1chanc3 View Post
Thinking about changing the cabin filter if it's dirty. I'm looking at 2 filters from Mann. CU 8430 and CUK 8430. The CUK has charcoal in it.

Which one is preferred?
Charcoal is one you will get at dealer, The CU one is cheap one. Its really up to you I just run the normal CU one. I guess CUK filters better.

Filter alone is probly not gona take care of smell, You can try it though.
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      04-11-2013, 11:22 PM   #7
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The charcoal filter's purpose is to reduce odors from the air that passes through it.
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      04-11-2013, 11:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shata View Post
I use the scented stuff just cause I like the smell but thats just me. I also like mentioned make sure hit the blower fan little too while doing it, Atleast on 330i you can see if when you remove the cabin filter.
Might not change the filter after all since I'm still under maintenance and they usually change it.

Back to your original post, so I can just lightly spray over the filter and the opening vents with the air on full blast? It won't hurt anything right? sorry for the noobish questions.
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      04-11-2013, 11:59 PM   #9
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Ya just spray filter and into the vents also hitting the blower fan with filter out and it will be fine. Next time your in for service just mention you get like damp smell or whatever out of vents with a/c on.
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      04-12-2013, 12:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shata View Post
Ya just spray filter and into the vents also hitting the blower fan with filter out and it will be fine. Next time your in for service just mention you get like damp smell or whatever out of vents with a/c on.
Awesome. Thanks for your help. Will buy a can of Lysol tomorrow and open up the cabin. BTW, what Lysol smell do you use? I'm thinking the lemon one
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      04-12-2013, 12:03 AM   #11
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Sour smell? Like panda express, orange chicken sour sauce smell? lol JK!!
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      04-12-2013, 12:50 AM   #12
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I've used Einszett Klima Cleaner before with great results.

http://www.1z-usa.com/einszett_klima_cleaner.html

It is a little hard to figure out how to get the hose properly inserted in the vents, but once you do it works great. I believe I had to turn the AC on first then insert the hose in the middle vents and the turn off the car and spray the whole can down the vents. If you don't do that the interior vents "flappers" will be closed and you won't be able to insert the hose.

If you do use it I recommend using it outside and not in the garage as the foam will drip from under the car. I didn't notice any staining from it on my driveway or anything, but it does make a mess.


They also now make a new one that just came out that kind of works like a bug bomb.

http://www.1z-usa.com/Klima-Cleaner-...o-Use-ETU.html

They call it their Easy-To-Use version. I haven't tried that one, but I guess you just turn on the AC in recirculate mode with all the windows closed and set the thing off. It then gets sucked into the AC system automatically. I don't know if I would try that one because I can see it getting sprayed all over the dashboard and interior.

I believe they are both available on Amazon, as well as some of the detail sites.

As for using Lysol that is one smell I can't stand no matter what scent. I have heard it works OK though.

EDIT: I just found This Review of the ETU version and it doesn't sound like it makes too much of a mess. Someone from Einszett does mention the original version does work a little better though.

Last edited by triger716; 04-12-2013 at 01:05 AM.
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      04-12-2013, 07:44 AM   #13
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I had that issue with my '09 right before the a/c condenser went out. The timing was likely coincidental but thought I would share.
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      04-12-2013, 07:52 AM   #14
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There are a ton of threads on this topic. Seems like there is an issue with a/c condensation that results in mold/mildew buildup related to the cabin filter. Some people have tips on how to avoid it, but it's hit or miss.

Funny Smell Once in Awhile

AWFUL AWFUL SMELL coming out of my Vents!!!

ventilation smell

My ac smells like ass

Odd smell - Vinegar

When i get into my car, it smells bad

Help: Stinky AC

Cabin Air Filter Replacement
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      04-12-2013, 08:30 AM   #15
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I turn off the A/C button for the last 1-2 minutes of my drive. No more issues since.

I found that if you blast the heat for about 30 seconds, it'll get rid of any residual smell too
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      04-12-2013, 03:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallseafishie View Post
I turn off the A/C button for the last 1-2 minutes of my drive. No more issues since.

I found that if you blast the heat for about 30 seconds, it'll get rid of any residual smell too
Ya it has to do with odor caused I think partly by condensation. I have noticed same that if I turn off A/C for last couple min of drive it kind of dries out everything so its not wierd smelling next time.

Do the lysol once in while and that and you should be fine.
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      04-12-2013, 03:54 PM   #17
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yeah its like others mentioned, due to the a/c condensation. u need to start shutting down the ac a few mins before u shut off the car, but i find it can be a pain in the ass on hot days. there's a product called frigi-clean that comes in a can, u remove the cabin filter and spray the product as u let the ac run. i prefer that over the klima stuff u let drip in yer vents.
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      04-12-2013, 04:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob.g View Post
yeah its like others mentioned, due to the a/c condensation. u need to start shutting down the ac a few mins before u shut off the car, but i find it can be a pain in the ass on hot days. there's a product called frigi-clean that comes in a can, u remove the cabin filter and spray the product as u let the ac run. i prefer that over the klima stuff u let drip in yer vents.
Have u tried this frigi-clean product?
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