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#1 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 11:34 AM
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odor from air vents

I have a odor from my air vents only when the air conditioner is on.
It burns the eyes.
If i change my microfilter will this help?
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#2 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 12:54 PM
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Changing the microfilter will help, but that's not the cause of the smell (usually).

If you run your A/C and then just shut the car off when you arrive at your destination, there is residual humidity / condensation in your vents. This molds, and that's the smell. This is particularly prevalent in high-humidity enviroments.

There is one solution: about 5 minutes before you get to wherever you're going, just shut the a/c off, and leave the fan on. That should help dry out the condensation in your ductwork.

Hope that helps!
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#3 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 01:02 PM
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odor from vents

Thanks for the advise.
It doesn't smell like mold, it smells like fumes or something getting hot only when the air is on.

can the filters be cleaned?
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#4 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 01:07 PM
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I can only say on the e36, as I don't know what kind of filter they use on the e46. The e36 is a paper filter, so no cleaning. However, the filter is only ~$13 so cleaning isn't really necessary.


If you're getting acrid fumes from your vents, that might not be mold... How long has it been doing this? What does it smell like?
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#5 (permalink) Old 09-23-2007, 01:18 PM
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odor from vents

Its been doing it all summer.
It smells like some type chemical...........its hard to explain.
It gives a you slight headache after awhile.

The odd thing that gets me is it only does it when the air is turned on.
I will change the filter and see if it helps.
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#6 (permalink) Old 09-24-2007, 11:11 PM
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I wonder if maybe the final stage is getting really hot and melting plastic or something. id pull it out and inspect it. the microfilters probably wont make that type of smell but if theyve never been replaced its a good idea to just replace them anyway. you didnt say what model you have.. e39?

www.540i6.com - Final Stage Unit Replacement

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#7 (permalink) Old 09-27-2007, 09:21 AM
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Thanks so much for the reply.
My car is a 2000 323ci.

Does this final stage unit you mentioned come in contact with the air in the duct.

The smell seems to be coming from the vents.......also it is worst on very hot days.

Thanks for the info you sent .
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#8 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 09:48 PM
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it doesnt exactly contact the air vent but its mounted to the heater box so the smell could definitely come out the vents. The final stage units definitely get pretty hot even under normal conditions so if there was a problem with it it could get really hot. I cant say thats the problem but its definitely worth taking a peek at. If you find it is the older non-improved version you may wanna replace it irregardless.
take care,

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