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#1 (permalink) Old 04-07-2005, 09:51 PM
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Okay, well as of last week, my car has been making some strange scents that seem to be coming from the a/c. It only happens randomly, sometimes when I turn it on, other times when it has been running for a while. But I cant figure what it could be. Any help here? It's more of an annoyance than anythign, but summers coming and keeping the windows down doesnt help. Thanks for any info you guys can give me.
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#2 (permalink) Old 04-07-2005, 10:27 PM
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your filter is one of the first places i would look. second bmws have always have a small smell not bad though.

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#3 (permalink) Old 04-07-2005, 10:34 PM
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It is your a/c and your Bimmer dealer can fix it. Actually the guys that detail the cars are the ones to fix it. There is a special spray they use and replace your cabin filters.
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#4 (permalink) Old 04-07-2005, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rsn48@Apr 7 2005, 08:34 PM
It is your a/c and your Bimmer dealer can fix it. Actually the guys that detail the cars are the ones to fix it. There is a special spray they use and replace your cabin filters.
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How much would somethign like that cost? And I wouldnt be able to do it myself?

And yeah, my mom has commented about the smell before. I dont smell it but other people do
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#5 (permalink) Old 04-07-2005, 11:14 PM
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There is a good writeup on www.bmwtips.com concerning this.

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#6 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 01:17 AM
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do e39s have the heater core problem like e34s ?

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#7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 01:19 PM
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The smell is common to A/C units, not just Bimmer A/C. If I recall, I read the write up recommended above, but I think the procedure is long and involved. All the Bimmer guys did was spray in this stuff and run the motor for about half an hour with the heat on high - it worked.

PS: The way to avoid it is to leave your AC button on all the time. Your AC also acts as a dehumidifier so you will gain from that. About once a month, even if freezing outside, set your internal cabin temp to 16 celius (lowest temp, don't know what it is in F). This will kick on the air conditioning unit. The problem is that because of the moisture an A/C unit produces, crud can grow on it. It is this crud you are smelling. By running your A/C at least 10 minutes a month, the problem won't return once you have gotten rid of the smell. The lazy way is to just leave your AC button on all the time, which is what one of the sales guys taught me to do.
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#8 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 05:02 PM
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Yeah, I just read that writeup. And I am really not comfortable with doing all of that :\ How much did it cost you to get it fixed rsn48?
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#9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 08:21 PM
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I can't tell you the cost, and if I could it would be Canadian and thus higher. Here's the deal. I found this 97 528i for sale that I liked at my local Bimmer dealership. The car smelled bad when I sat in it so I commented on it. They said the smell could be gotten rid of and - as you can imagine - I was somewhat skeptically. So I said, here's the deal, I'll buy it if you can get rid of the smell. He said no problem that smell is dealt with all the time. So the detail guy got the car and he was the one who sprayed it and and changed the air filter. I don't think he spent more than an hour with the car, probably less.

So phone your Bimmer service department and get a cost to get rid of the smell. If it sounds to high, then ask what you can purchase commercially to get rid of the smell. Remember their cost will be 1) changing the two (I believe) cabin filters 2) the cost of the spray 3) the time involved to spray change the filters, etc - it shouldn't be much time.
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#10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 08:49 PM
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The real trick to avoiding the bacteria buildup on the evaporator is not as rsn said. The true way to avoid it is to turn off the ac 5 mins before you arrive at your destination but leave the blower fan on. This dries the evaporator. It is the condensation on the evaporator that allows molds and bacteria to grow. Nobody on a hot summer day really wants to do this however so I assume molds and bacteria shall live on.

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#11 (permalink) Old 04-08-2005, 08:57 PM
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Guys wait a minute:

First: if we talking a smell in the car (dirty/wet carpet/flooded car) then yes this is a detail man job; and yes the two fllter can be changed by anyone...but if you talking AC smell it can be "in vitro" bacterial/skummy build up inside the black box and right under your dash....to clean it; it involves some drilling in the sealed box itself and/or spraying......

second: to get rid of this potential build up (IN THE BOX) you don't turn the AC on all the time....it will produce more moisture THUS CREATING the ideal environment for mold/bacterial growth; so the proper recommended solution IS TO SHUT THE AC OFF not ON prior to reaching your final destination (even when it is 100 degrees outside) while keeping the blower on...the circulated dry air will help in DRYING out the moisture (at minimum reducing it)....Haven't you seen you BMW dripping condensated water right after you turn the engine off?...If you did then this is it...get it out and don't let it set in the box..think about it

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#12 (permalink) Old 04-09-2005, 01:37 AM
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yeah there is actually a service bulliten that pertains to this problem. you can spray products int ot eh air intake of the A/C and change the filters but this is kinda a temorary fix. as others have siad before it is due to the mold in the air box. the bulliten has the tech drilla hole in your air box and spray a high intansity mold cleaner into the box to get rid of the smell. but if you changed the filters and spray some sort of freshener into the intake and do the leave the heat on after your done driving i don't see why that wouldn't work uust as well, not tomention it is a lot cheaper. becasue if you turn the heat on that is actually stopping the mold before it can grow and alsmot seems like it might work better over a long period of time instead of even the fix as described in the bulliten.
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#13 (permalink) Old 04-09-2005, 03:18 AM
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I'm gonna call up Center BMW tomorrow to see how much that would cost. I cant really afford too much at the moment. I'll let you guys know what happens
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#14 (permalink) Old 04-09-2005, 04:18 PM
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Well, called them today. I called, asked for the service department, waited for 10 minutes, and then had the same girl who answered the call, say "thanks for calling Center BMW, how can I direct you?" soIask for service again, and 10 mins later, same girl, same question... I'm gonna try spraying some disenfectant directly into the AC intakes under the hood.
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#15 (permalink) Old 04-11-2005, 04:13 AM
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As previously stated this is a bacterial/mould problem.

For your info

Microbial contaminants (bacteria, mold, fungus) are naturally present in the air. Moisture, darkness, and warmth are the 3 key ingredients necessary for microbial growth to occur on surfaces. Moisture (condensation) forms on the evaporator as it cools the air. Some of this moisture drains out of the system, but some of this moisture remains in the dark plenum chamber. The naturally-occurring microbial contaminants utilize the moisture that does not drain out of the A/C system as a food source & breeding ground. Once the A/C system is shut off, the dark plenum chamber warms up to a temperature that stimulates and accellerates microbial growth. Air conditioning systems in an automobile may be especially vulnerable, because their smaller size leaves less room for air circulation inside the system once it is turned off. Once colonized by fungi, A/C systems may continually or sporadically emit noxious odors or sensitizing products that affect the occupants (Source: Fungal Colonization of Automobile Air Conditioning Systems).

Why all the advise about drilling holes and crap I don't know!!! and taking it to BMW wtf? When I first turned on my A/C after just buying the car it smelled terrible - a really strong odour - I simply stopped at Halfords and bought a can of A/C sanitiser for about 7. All you do (following the instructions on the can) is leave the engine running, turn the A/C on and the fan on FULL, set the unit to RECIRCULATE, then stand the aerosol on the passenger floor and press the button to let it do it's thing and shut the door, then wait for 10 mins. The aerosol will spray a heavy spray of antibacterial/fungicide into the air for about 2 minutes which then gets sucked through your A/C system and sanitises it. After the 10 mins are up simply remove the spent aerosol, mop up all the spray from your leather (the only downside) and enjoy a fresh smelling A/C system. It's just coming up to a year since I did mine and it still smells as fresh as a daisy.

Also, I won't swear to it but I have always heard the advice given by a member above for years - run your AC for at least 10 mins a month on as cold a setting as it can, or leave it on constantly. Yes, of course this creates more condensation BUT by constantly using the A/C you are constantly replacing the condensation so it doesn't have a chance (or has less of a chance) to get affected by bactera - Afterall A/C isn't just about cooling, the real design is to remove moisture from the air (condition it) - in the winter when you get into your car and the windows are misted up inside and you sit there while the blower tries to clear it, simply press the A/C button and see the difference it makes having DRY air blown onto them.
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