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Swamp smell when a/c on.

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
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rguzz
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Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by rguzz » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:47 am

850t 96, when on Auto smells like a swamp for a few minutes, then clears. Wondering what to clean, and how to get to it. Also, probably not related, exhaust smell in the cabin when on Auto. Thanks! BTW I should add doubt any drain lines are plugged up. Just cleaned and checked everything last spring while replacing heater core.



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WhatAmIDoing
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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by WhatAmIDoing » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:11 am

How old is your cabin air filter? I've noticed in humid areas they tend to get moldy with age. When I replaced my 2 year old filter, it got rid of the mildew smell when turning on A/C.


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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by rguzz » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:32 am

That would be the place to start, will take a look. It's a genuine Volvo I pinched from a salvage yard. Haven't dried it out recently, or ever replaced so that's an easy one. Anyone spray bleach, other cleaner through the ac fan opening? Or something...??



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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by WhatAmIDoing » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:10 pm

I feel like bleach would just end up making the air smell like bleach for months. Some places, especially really good detail shops, have equipment to flush out and deep clean automotive HVAC (for a hefty some I'm sure). Hopefully a new filter solves your problem though.


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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by abscate » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:24 am

You can remove the fan in about 30 minutes, and then you can look into the HVAC system for grunge. You can also remove the filter and look down into it for the same.

I borescoped SWMBOs E83 before I did her evap last summer, it was nasty green and slimy


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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by Rattnalle » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:52 am

New filter.

When that hasn't workedI've sprayed diluted chlorine into the outside air intake with the filter out and it's worked wonders. The bleach smell goes away quite quickly. Just make sure to actually keep the fan running for an hour with the doors open to air it out properly. And start the car with the door open the first few times.

Though this won't actually clean anything in there out. It'll just kill the smell.



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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by rguzz » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:57 am

New OEM filter enroute. What's the procedure for removing the fan if I need to do that? Can I get in there enough to actually clean? Never been in there (obviously).



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Re: Swamp smell when a/c on.

Post by Sommerfeldt » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:36 am

Removing the fan is easy. Get the access panel off, take the electrical contact off, remove three (four?) screws, then pull the whole unit with motor & fan out. 10 minute job, tops. Get it out, clean everything you can reach with a nice bleach solution to kill whatever's in there. Reassemble (another 10 minutes).

I wouldn't spray bleach in the vents, personally. I have a steam cleaner, and have pumped steam through my vents to disinfect, and removed what dust I could reach with a long brush (the ones with the bendable "stem) & microfiber cloth a few times. Be careful with the "doors" and their servos.

- S


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