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2007 FJ
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Discussion Starter #1
First off, let me just say that I've already done a search in this site and seem to be the only FJ owner on the planet with this problem. LOL

Whenever I switch the ventilation controls on to any position which allows the a/c compressor to run, I get a 1-2 minute blast of this disgusting smell. I can't describe it because it's an odor in and unto itself. After a minute or two, the smell dissipates. It seems to be worse when the compressor hasn't kicked in for a day or more.

I suspect that the odor is caused by a chemical reaction on the exterior of the evaporator. Any ideas?
 

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I know the Toyota dealerships in my area have an AC system cleaning/disinfecting service they provide at an additional fee during major periodic maintenance. I had it done once and noticed an immediate improvement in the smell coming from the vents. I'm sure FJ FunJunkie's suggestion is a reasonable alternative as well. DIY is rarely a bad thing.
 

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This is a common problem with most modern vehicles. The condenser is working all the time, pulling moisture from the cabin, then it drains out the tube under the car. The problem is it never driers out. It's helpful to turn off the a/c control about 10 minutes before arriving at your destination but leave the blower on to dry out the condenser. If you get in this habit, the a/c won't smell as much. The a/c compressor also works when defrost is used. turn it off defrost for about 10 minutes before arriving, with that too
 

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First off, let me just say that I've already done a search in this site and seem to be the only FJ owner on the planet with this problem. LOL

Whenever I switch the ventilation controls on to any position which allows the a/c compressor to run, I get a 1-2 minute blast of this disgusting smell. I can't describe it because it's an odor in and unto itself. After a minute or two, the smell dissipates. It seems to be worse when the compressor hasn't kicked in for a day or more.

I suspect that the odor is caused by a chemical reaction on the exterior of the evaporator. Any ideas?
i get the same smell , every time you get done using the ac turn it off and just run the fan on full blast for a few minutes before turning off the car for me it wont smell the next time i turn it on
 

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i get the same smell , every time you get done using the ac turn it off and just run the fan on full blast for a few minutes before turning off the car for me it wont smell the next time i turn it on
^ this
 

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The last time I had a putrid smell coming from the vents is when there was a nest of dead mice babies all curled up on top of my cabin filter. The mom must have went out for food and a fox or a cat got her and the babies in the nest died. It smelled REALLY bad.

DEWFPO
 

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I also had this problem. first thing I did was replace my in cabin filter. then I took a hose and let it run in each vent on top next to the wipers. with no pressure, and then with some pressure. Then I too and sprayed the hose under the hood into that little rubber hose that sticks out on the passenger side under the hood on the firewall , a lot of mud and gunk came out of these places. I also took the top plastic covers off of the fenders under neath the hood and sprayed them out. I also let it sit and run for a while with the defroster on hi, with the temp all the way to warm. after a while the smell went away. hope a few of these ideas may help resolve your problem.
 

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Yeah check for dead critters in your vent pipes.
 

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This is a common problem with most modern vehicles. The condenser is working all the time, pulling moisture from the cabin, then it drains out the tube under the car. The problem is it never driers out. It's helpful to turn off the a/c control about 10 minutes before arriving at your destination but leave the blower on to dry out the condenser. If you get in this habit, the a/c won't smell as much. The a/c compressor also works when defrost is used. turn it off defrost for about 10 minutes before arriving, with that too
This is all you need to do. Unless you do have something dead in there. My parents cars used to get this smell because they had automatic climate control systems in their cars and it just ran the A/C the entire time the car was running, every single time. They weren't worried about gas mileage I guess.

Every car I've owned, I avoid using the A/C in hot weather and the defrost in cold weather as much as possible. Just run the fan by itself. Never had the smallest hint of a weird smell.

Get rid of your A/C system completely, it'll save gas and weight ;) (not that I'm going to do that)
 

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the cleaner spray is nice, but I bet you lysol would work too. pop open the glove compartment, turn the AC on Full blast in Recirc, then spray a couple 5 second blasts of it in. Kill off any molds or bacteria growing in corners. Absolutely need to spray out the hood vents too. forgot about that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all very much for the replies. Nice to see I'm not the only one who's experienced this.

Not sure I buy the "moisture build-up in the evap section", simply because the a/c system can't create all that much water to begin with up here in Canada during the winter. And I rarely leave my controls on defrost/defrost- floor, so I'm sure that any slight condensation which may have been created by the HVAC syste has already had a chance to evaporate. I usually put it on defrost for 10-15 minutes max and then switch back to "floor" position.
But for lack of any better solution, I will try running the fan full blast for 5-10 minutes and see if the smell's back the following day.

I've already replaced the cabin filter this past summer. And I'm guessing that these "hood vents" that some people are referring to are the air-inlet grilles just below the windshield under the hood, right? I'll try washing those out with a hose as mentioned, and maybe blast the evap with Lysol as suggested. Will post back my findings.

Again, thanks to all for the quick responses :rocker:
 

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Hey................it's February, why in the heck are you turning your AC on?? You don't need to do that for another couple of months. It's too early in the year for the AC, that's why you're getting that smell. Wait till at least April and all will be OK. :bigthumb:
 

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Hey................it's February, why in the heck are you turning your AC on?? You don't need to do that for another couple of months. It's too early in the year for the AC, that's why you're getting that smell. Wait till at least April and all will be OK. :bigthumb:
The A/C Runs when you have your defroster on. That is something people use in the winter :badrazz:
 

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I'm glad this post is here, even if it's old. Even one looks at me like I'm crazy when i say there's a smell that comes from my vents when I turn the fan on. It's like old sweat socks and jocks that went to die.

Did any of these handy dandy things work? THe dealer said they didnt smell anything...OF COURSE!

I'm about to get some of those vent clips or something.
 

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Funny story along these lines. I got my wife a new car a couple years ago and it had this problem bad. The design of the a/c system was worse than most and it held a lot of condensation which made it smell musty all the time. Apparently it was complained about so much that the manufacturer put out a TSB - A software update to run the cabin air fan periodically when the car was turned off to try to dry the ducts out. It didn't work. It actually caused another problem making the car hard to start if it sat for a few days because the battery was drained. We traded the car in on another FJ last year and haven't had nearly as much of a stink problem with either of them.
 

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I had this issue when I parked my FJ downwind of a grassfire and I was a little too busy to notice it was parked RIGHT in the smoke.
For the better part of the next week it smelled awful.... but it eventually got better.
I changed out the in-cabin filter that same day but it seemed to be actually in the a/c canister or something and just needed to thaw and dry out a few times.
:cheers:
 

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I dated a girl who once had a mouse eat its way into the AC duct of her Pathfinder and die. When she would turn on the AC, it smelled like a baked turd. It was terrible because it was during a particularly hot summer where we kept driving to far-off places. It was like you had to choose between sweating to death and sticking to vinyl seats or turn on the AC and marinate in the fart cloud of doom. I'm glad I broke up with her.
 

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Common issue on Toyotas...

You need an AC evaporator cleaning kit , if the parts guy at your dealer is cool he might sell you the kit Toyota uses. Its a really easy job to to.

Look up "BG FRIGI-CLEAN", "BG FRIGI-Fresh" , or "Petro A/C power foam".


the cleaner spray is nice, but I bet you lysol would work too. pop open the glove compartment, turn the AC on Full blast in Recirc, then spray a couple 5 second blasts of it in. Kill off any molds or bacteria growing in corners. Absolutely need to spray out the hood vents too. forgot about that.
This would probably work temporarily , you're definitely going to want to pull the cabin filter before you do this.
 

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Update , talked to my friend who's a parts guy.

P/N 00289-acrkt "Toyota AC refresher kit" , costs like $20 bucks comes with the everything you need. Cleaner, and refresher, and hoses/fittings.
 
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