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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last few days when I have kicked on my A/C a smell comes out of the vents that smells like someone puked in my engine bay for about the first 10 minutes. Is this from the filter, or in the A/C evaporator???
Anyone have this problem and if so how did you fix? A new filter?? The car only as 3K on it, too early for bad smells!!
 

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yikes! I am not sure what it is from, but on my jetta it would do that it the HOT HOT summer months. One thing I did was turn the air on full blast on all vents, go to the intake of the air vents and spray some lysol up there. Let it keep blowing for a while with the windows open. Got rid of my smell, but the lysol smell was really strong for the first week...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maybe. Kinda surprising b/c the car is garaged about 90% of the time. I do wash the engine every time I wash the car, so I'm sure I got water in there, but there is a drain at the bottom. It should not be plugged up with leaves b/c, like I said, the car is garaged most of the time.
 

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i think i would let the car run for 15 or 20 minutes with the vents on full blast. maybe rotate from defrost to vents after a few minutes.. try to dry up any water/condenstation and then let it just air out?

maybe run the heat.. not the ac, as the ac is prone to create condensation..
 

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This is probably bacteria growing on the evaporator fins. The thing to do is remove the cabin filter and spray some disinfectant on the fins. It needs to sit for awhile to be effective.

I haven't changed the cabin filter, so I don't know how accessible the evap coil is. There will be a heater core in there too. Hopefully evap is in front of the heater. But even so a spray disinfectant should penetrate both. I have not researched the options, but Lysol spray might do it. Let it soak for 20 minutes.

This problem is in no way unique to Saabs.

Based on this:
http://lib.bioinfo.pl/auth:Crow,SA
it looks like the problem will be difficult to permanently eliminate, so prepare for intermittent service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll try this. From my WIS DVD, looks like accessing the filter is really easy to do. I'll try some Lysol first.

On my Volvo they have an optional relay system that runs the cabin ventilation fan at low speed for 30-45 minutes after shutdown to try to dry out the evaporator to keep smells down. Haven't seen this for the Saab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, that abstract is really interesting:

J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Dec ;29 (6):373-5 12483481 Effects of anti-odor automobile air-conditioning system products on adherence of Serratia marcescens to aluminum. [My paper] G K Drago , R B Simmons , D L Price , S A Crow , D G Ahearn Sixteen commercial products for use in automobile air-conditioning systems (ACS), most designated for abatement of malodors presumably of microbial origin, were examined for their potential to inhibit attachment and to detach cells of the Gram-negative bacterium Serratia marcescens on aluminum sections. Numbers of attached cells were appreciably reduced (>60%) following immersion in three alcohol-type and two acrylic-coating-type products. Several products had essentially no effect on the attached cells. Most of the products indicated for alleviation of associated microbial odors from ACS provided only short-term effects. When products were coated onto aluminum prior to exposure to the cells, water-insoluble coatings appeared to provide more consistent inhibition of primary adherence of S. marcescens. The differences in degrees of primary adherence of a selected strain of S. marcescens to variously treated aluminum provided a rapid and reproducible assessment of potential antimicrobial efficacy of ACS products. Mesh-terms: Air Conditioning, instrumentation; Aluminum, metabolism; Anti-Bacterial Agents, pharmacology; Automobiles; Bacterial Adhesion, drug effects; Colony Count, Microbial; Deodorants, pharmacology; Odors, prevention & control; Serratia marcescens, drug effects; Serratia marcescens, physiology;
 

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Ive always run the interior fan on at least 2 on the 93s with MCC. Probably should be done on all. Mold happens with standing moisture.
 

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along with the lysol i suggested above, there is this product.

klima-cleaner, by einszett

look it up, for some reason I can't get the link to paste
 

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I think the most effective way to clean the fins is to spray them and scrub with a toothbrush, provided you can get to the evap coil. Don't mess with any metal tools around the evap coil. You don't want to cause a leak.

They also make fin brushes which are probably better than a toothbrush.
 

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In the warmer months, I often turn on the heat in order for the moisture from the AC to evaporate. Blowing the heat w/ the fan on high, cycling through all the various vents, keeps things relatively dry and stops bacteria from building.


My $0.02 worth
 

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The funniest thing has happened to me lately. My vomit smells like A/C. Hmmm...
 

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All Saab's shall henceforth be called "Vomit Comets"
 

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Mine smelled like a mix of stale vomit and sweat (for lack of a better olfactory description). I guess it was also sort of like a stale freezer smell if you can imagine that. Somehow, it's gone now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Funny, this problem seems to have gone away in the last couple of days. :roll:
 

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If you get leaves or other debris through the vent grids it could cause problems. Maybe a plugged drain.

The cabin air filter is replaced under warranty at 30K so I bet they would cover smells under warranty at 3K. Take it to a dealer if you have one close.
 
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