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06 RL Vent Vinegar Smell on Turns, Hills, Fast Brake

 
Old 05-16-2019, 10:29 AM
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06 RL Vent Vinegar Smell on Turns, Hills, Fast Brake

Hi, All! 2006 RL owner. I've read up on all the vent smell fixes, have had the cabin filter changed and, of course, the repair shop's vent treatment for funky smells. I've sprayed Concrobium, Lysol and Oust into the exterior intake while car ran on Vent (did not yet take off the wipers/cover to get to the direct intake as shop treated from the inside). I have, for years, run the AC on vent and not recirculate to avoid moldy evap, etc. Before I took it in for the new cabin filter and vent treatment, it was a very strong vinegar smell at the start of the AC season, worse on the driver's side, even with the residual air coming in through the vents with the fan OFF. I got a sore throat from driving with the odor with the fan off, even with the windows cracked. It was tolerable on recirculate but awful on Vent. Much worse if I made a sharp left or right turn, went up/down hills or did a hard stop. Now, after all the "fixes," it still has a residual smell AND it comes back strong with the turns, hills, and hard stops. Shop said the drain pan is draining properly (I confirmed it is draining) and it can't be nasty water sloshing in the pan.
I did find wet leaves blocking what appears to be the exterior window drain under the hood by the driver's side. I'm expecting this might have forced water into what seems to be the adjacent small air intake vent. I haven't found a good diagram of the vent system (yes, I googled) to know how its duct is configured but I'm suspicious that it might be full of funky water that releases the stench when it sloshes. ?? Any thoughts, ideas or experience with this problem? (Please no snark. I have used "search" for years on this site to fix my car without having to post so if I missed a post on point, you have my sincere apologies.)

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by RL2006gal View Post
Hi, All! 2006 RL owner. I've read up on all the vent smell fixes, have had the cabin filter changed and, of course, the repair shop's vent treatment for funky smells. I've sprayed Concrobium, Lysol and Oust into the exterior intake while car ran on Vent (did not yet take off the wipers/cover to get to the direct intake as shop treated from the inside). I have, for years, run the AC on vent and not recirculate to avoid moldy evap, etc. Before I took it in for the new cabin filter and vent treatment, it was a very strong vinegar smell at the start of the AC season, worse on the driver's side, even with the residual air coming in through the vents with the fan OFF. I got a sore throat from driving with the odor with the fan off, even with the windows cracked. It was tolerable on recirculate but awful on Vent. Much worse if I made a sharp left or right turn, went up/down hills or did a hard stop. Now, after all the "fixes," it still has a residual smell AND it comes back strong with the turns, hills, and hard stops. Shop said the drain pan is draining properly (I confirmed it is draining) and it can't be nasty water sloshing in the pan.
I did find wet leaves blocking what appears to be the exterior window drain under the hood by the driver's side. I'm expecting this might have forced water into what seems to be the adjacent small air intake vent. I haven't found a good diagram of the vent system (yes, I googled) to know how its duct is configured but I'm suspicious that it might be full of funky water that releases the stench when it sloshes. ?? Any thoughts, ideas or experience with this problem? (Please no snark. I have used "search" for years on this site to fix my car without having to post so if I missed a post on point, you have my sincere apologies.)

Thanks in advance!!
I agree you've done the right things, but the stench is the proof you still need to do one more. I see no reason not to follow your hunch. You do know not every RL stinks like that, and your theory makes as much sense as any.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:13 PM
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I agree with your hunch. You'll want to force that water and mold out (carefully). I'd start with something mild like lysol.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:53 PM
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Thanks, Ken1997TL and TonyCD, for the encouragement to follow this hunch. I have sprayed about a third of a can of Lysol into that small intake with Vent blowing again today and poured (yes, scary) about half a cup of Lysol Complete Clean into the vent with the car off. I drove the car around the block and leaned on the turns to "mix" the cleaner with whatever is trapped in that vent. I've decided that there isn't much water trapped in there but it gets condensate in it and then the odor spikes (after about 10 mins of driving). I smelled NO funk on the way around the block and the car had just been driven with lots of funky odor pouring out. I could smell the Lysol Complete Clean very strongly though, as I drove, so it must be where it needs to be. Not sure if this is a permanent fix or a temporary one. Would love to take out that duct and scrub it. Not likely to happen though.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:24 PM
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Did you try an engine wash?

If an animal got stuck in there or something.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RL09 View Post
Did you try an engine wash?

If an animal got stuck in there or something.
I have not but I will ask for that. Thank you! The Lysol Complete Care in the exterior corner vent seems to have worked to a great extent but there is still a slight funk on hills and turns so not done trying to sort this out yet!
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Old 05-25-2019, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by RL2006gal View Post
I have not but I will ask for that. Thank you! The Lysol Complete Care in the exterior corner vent seems to have worked to a great extent but there is still a slight funk on hills and turns so not done trying to sort this out yet!
If Lysol in a vent did improvement but smell is still there, it can mean it is masking a smell coming from the input into the vent at the source. I dunno where those vents lead, but a cleaning there may be good. altho it may be a bitch to take that apart.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by RL09 View Post
If Lysol in a vent did improvement but smell is still there, it can mean it is masking a smell coming from the input into the vent at the source. I dunno where those vents lead, but a cleaning there may be good. altho it may be a bitch to take that apart.
Thank you. You are right -- it is just masking. I drove the car for a couple of days and got the vicious sore throat again. I've been trying to reach the garage that replaced the cabin filter when the smell started to be sure the guy also checked the duct work when he was in there. If he didn't, I'm starting with him and getting the blower checked too. Also posting in neighborhood FB groups for recommendations for car duct work cleaning gurus in my area.
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