Cabin smell

Kidd-7

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96 Cougar 4.6L
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I had a musty kind of chemical smell in the cabin this morning. It bothered my sinuses some on the way to work. I've noticed a smell intermittently over the past few months, but this morning was really intense. I've had a similar smell when I replace my motor mounts and had then engine propped up for days, I think I tweaked one of the A/C connections and leaked some R134a; that has been years ago though.

I don't have any moisture in the cabin, the carpet has been dry, etc.

I'm thinking my evaporator may be leaking and looking for some troubleshooting advice. Hooking up gauges won't definitively tell me how the charge is in the system unless it's extremely low, plus it's still cool out.

If I use a black light would I be able to see the evaporator and connections under the dash?

Anything else to look for? Any other thoughts?
 
Use the blacklight to look at the evaporator drain hole that is in the engine bay on the firewall. It is on the right side towards the bottom of the firewall. Sometimes if you have a leak dye will make it's way there. Not a foolproof technique. But it does work if it's leaked enough in a system with dye. You can blacklight under the dash but I think you will have a harder time finding anything. But it is worth a try.
 
No dice on anything glowing in the engine bay including on the firewall. I’ll have to look around the dash area when I have a chance.
I ran to the store today and the smell was bad with feeling off, not quite sick but just feeling like I’m breathing in stuff I shouldn’t ya know.

Anything else that would cause a smell like that? The R134a is the only thing I can think of.

I’m thinking of having it evacuated to see what happens.

Any other thoughts?
 
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Well horse shit I do not have. So that points more towards the mildew suggested above.
 
There was not a store near me that had that spray in stock, not anything similar.
I used my shop vac, a paint brush, soapy water and my phone. Got some debris out of those coils and it smells much better.
 
Have you considered that it may be coolant from the heater core?
 
There was not a store near me that had that spray in stock, not anything similar.
I used my shop vac, a paint brush, soapy water and my phone. Got some debris out of those coils and it smells much better.

Doesn’t need to be that specific brand, that’s just the stuff my HD has in stock, but any coil cleaner will do. Soapy water is good too, I like the coil cleaner mainly because the foaming effect seems to be more effective getting deep in the coils.
 
Rotting wet dog smell is what I would describe the evaporator smell as; mine had leaves and other organic crap in it. Shopvac, lysol, and409 cleaner got rid of it.That wasn't the cougar, but an older subaru, but it's awful.
 
Doesn’t need to be that specific brand, that’s just the stuff my HD has in stock, but any coil cleaner will do. Soapy water is good too, I like the coil cleaner mainly because the foaming effect seems to be more effective getting deep in the coils.
Yeah, there was no foaming cleaner in stock anywhere near me.
 
I'll keep searching. At the time I searched there was nothing in stock locally and the stuff I found online was double the price. And I was trying to work on it that day.
 
Found some simple green brand foam in stock at HD. I went back in today, foamed up the coil really well then sprayed it off with water once the foam dissipated. She'll probably be sitting till Monday morning so I wanted to dry it out. I started the car and let her run for a while with the fan on high and the heat on, there was a nice little puddle under her from the condensation drain.

Best of all the air coming out of the vents smelled like..... well air.

:monk::znanner:
 

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