Fan odour

Submitted: Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 11:58
ThreadID: 139329 Views:8965 Replies:9 FollowUps:6
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Hey Forum,
I have a semi new prado and have noticed a really bad odour smell when I first turn the car on or if I just use the fan with no AC or recycle.
As soon as I press AC or put recycle on it goes.
I have changed the pollen filter and it’s still there.
Would anyone know what it could be caused by?
I do always use my AC and on recycle mode and park in a garage over night so should be more conscious of tuning off before stopping but don’t.
I was going to spray disinfectant in the vents but thought I would get Toyota todo the air conditioning treatment which they said should flush it out.
Has other had this problem on a new car with 20,0000 km and if so what is the best way to remove smell.
Thanks heaps
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Reply By: qldcamper - Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 13:07

Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 13:07
A lot of ac shops use an ozone generator inside the car with the ac running to kill bacteria in the evaporator and ducting, it is fairly common.
AnswerID: 628684

Reply By: Member - 2208mate - Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 13:14

Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 13:14
'Some one's' put a kipper in your air plenum...(don't ask me how I know hehe)
AnswerID: 628685

Reply By: RMD - Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 14:31

Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 14:31
If you always use recycle mode then you are never making fresh air travel through the evaporator, cool bit and making the problem worse and worse. That dries you out too and makes you less alert especially in hot weather.
Try spraying GLEN 20 into the entry to the recirc system under the glove box. The Glen 20 even kills horrible odours/smells left from school students on long overnight 24 hr interstate trips in busses/coaches. We used to use it regularly to kill influenza/colds and those horrible odours created by humans. It works. I wonder what Toyota do, they probably don't flush it as such, just administer some bug killer. Glen 20 is cheap and always keep a can in the vehicle. "Simples".

Too much RECIRC is NOT healthy for anyone.
Just an after thought, if the AC drain is blocked and not draining, irrespective of being new or not, it would retain moisture to STEW while parked and cause bugs to grow. When the aircon is running does the water drips from inside LHF wheel/beside engine happen as normal???? Maybe a wasp has built a nest in the short drain hose facing downward..
Turning off the AC before stopping or leaving it active will not make a scrap of difference to your problem cause.
AnswerID: 628686

Follow Up By: Brent N2 - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 12:02

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 12:02
Thanks for advice I will not run on recycle from now on.
FollowupID: 903156

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 15:37

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 15:37
RMD back around the mid 90" they supposedly stopped the recirc setting on vehicles from not letting fresh air enter the vehicle so unless things have changed you will always get a percentage of fresh air in whether you want it or not. From memory it had part to do with drivers getting tired from the build up of carbon dioxide in the cabin I think they figured it can take as little as 40mins for a driver to feel the effects.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 18:40

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 18:40
I agree, if on recycle all the time and no fresh or partial fresh the occupants get drowsy because of stale air and if ac is on it dehumidifies the air, used for demise in winter, it dries out people and they feel dried. Not quite freeze dried but close. “You are feeling sleepy”.
FollowupID: 903173

Reply By: mountainman - Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 15:12

Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 at 15:12
I have a mate who bought a fairly new hilux a few years back off a private seller.
The seller was a smoker and somehow hid the smell of cigarettes in the car unbeknown to my friend.
Sadly once bought he realised his problem.
Long story short of it is.
Car detailers can get rid of the smell as well as in the ac ducts these days.
Ask around
No idea on cost.
But i certainly couldn't pick it.
And i hate cigarettes! !
AnswerID: 628687

Reply By: tonysmc - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 10:06

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 10:06
As its happening more when not on recycle (or on fresh air), it sounds like you have either had something die down the grill in the air intake or a cat may have peed in there. I have had both happen and it is not pleasant. Neighbours cat took up to peeing on my windscreen for some reason and the smell coming in the vents was horrendous. I ended up trapping it, but that's another story.
Try giving the inlet a good flush with a hose, making sure the drains are not blocked. you may find a frog, lizard and just debris rotting on there. It doesn't hurt to give the inlet and drains a good flush every now and again to make sure they are draining.
AnswerID: 628691

Follow Up By: Brent N2 - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 12:04

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 12:04
Mmm it’s garaged most the time so will try the water flushing when I clean tonight. Is the air inlet on the left (passenger) side just under the front windscreen
FollowupID: 903157

Reply By: HKB Electronics - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 21:11

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 21:11
Is it a chemical smell, you only need a slight amount of coolant seepage to cause quite a stink in the car. I have this with a KIA, doesn't use any water but each time you turn the heater on there is stink of coolant for 30 seconds or so. Has done it ever since I have had the car.

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Reply By: Member - Warren H - Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 22:23

Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 at 22:23
The fact that the smell goes away with the AC on without recycle or with no AC and recycle points to it being carried in water vapour external to the heat exchanger as it appears condensing the water vapour with the AC on removes the smell. This points to what others have suggested of something wet and rotting upstream of the heat exchanger and recirculate 'baffle'.
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AnswerID: 628699

Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 01:45

Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 01:45
Also if it's a new car with only 20,000k's I would have taken it back for warranty before going to a forum.
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 10:03

Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 10:03
Brent, there's a product called Nilodor which is very effective at removing smells, even animal urine smells.

I would have to agree that the cat piss scenario is quite likely, cats are very curious and will get into garages even through small openings.
I've often found cat paw prints on our garaged car, on the bonnet, and on top of the doors, along the ledge at the bottom of the side windows - and we don't own a cat.

Rodents are also notorious for pissing on things, and it could even be a dead mouse in the bulkhead vent area.

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Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 628763

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 12:56

Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 12:56
Ah Ron, let me tell you a true story about mice in the car.

Roz's 94y.o. uncle, (Yep, he died in his 100th year and was still driving!) had a python living in the garage which kept the mice down. Unfortunately, the python got tangled in the roller door and was killed, so the mice thrived and invaded the car's ventilation system causing a stink.
Unc tried a number of remedies but success wasn't until he had a really bright idea. He shoved a length of garden hose up the exhaust pipe and into the car window!!! It was a great success until the dead mice decomposed and caused a much worse stink.

So Unc prevailed upon his long-time garage mechanic to deal with it. Was not a popular nor cheap job but did the trick. But for the life of me I cannot remember how he kept the mice from re-invading. Maybe the mechanic installed some steel mesh in the AC intake.

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Reply By: tim_c - Monday, Dec 02, 2019 at 14:25

Monday, Dec 02, 2019 at 14:25
Try turning off the a/c a minute or two before you shut the car down will usually reduce the odour you'll get next time you start the car.

Not sure of the reasons, but I think this warms the heat exchanger reducing condensation prior to shutting down the car, and dries out remaining condensation in the exchanger. Leaving the a/c on until you shut down the car leaves the heat exchanger very cold and subject to condensation and when the fan stops, there is no air moving past it to dry the condensation, and therefore you get water that sits in your a/c system, potentially going 'bad'.
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