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Old 05-01-2013, 01:10 PM
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smell coming from the ac

My JKU is about a year old, and as of yesterday, there is a sour smell that comes from the ac when I turn it on. It smells like clothes that is left in the washing machine too long.

It is only noticeable when the ac is on, and the odor goes away when its turned off. Anyone else have an experience with anything like this?
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:18 PM   #2
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Common issue in a lot of vehicles. I've owned three other vehicles with cabin air filters and all of them gave off a nasty (sweaty feet) smell when running the air conditioner. Most of the fixes included, running the air conditioner full blast, but that doesn't help much, changing the cabin filter (gets expensive), and using a drier sheet with the cabin air filter. For the most part, I had to put up with the smell when first running the air conditioner. It took about 4 or 5 minutes to get rid of the smell. The other vehicles were Toyotas, but this is a very common complaint from all manufacturers who put cabin air filters in their vehicles.

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Old 05-02-2013, 12:06 AM   #3
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check to see if you have moisture under your front floor mats.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieljh View Post
My JKU is about a year old, and as of yesterday, there is a sour smell that comes from the ac when I turn it on. It smells like clothes that is left in the washing machine too long.

It is only noticeable when the ac is on, and the odor goes away when its turned off. Anyone else have an experience with anything like this?
Pour laundry detergent down your vents to remove the smell of mildewed clothes from your AC system.*







*Disclaimer: don't actually do this. Check your cabin filter.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:52 AM   #5
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Don't leave it on recirculate when you park. This seals off outside air from the system. The plenum box can't dry out and mildew forms.

There are several products available online or at the auto parts store that you can spray into the plenum that will clean it and kill the mildew.

Make sure to follow the instructions. You won't believe what nasty crap comes out.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:56 AM   #6
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I read the title of the thread too fast and thought you said "sac" not "AC"...thank god the smell was just from your "AC".
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:32 AM
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i have also noticed about once a day for the past three or four days that the ac will just shut down for a period of 3 to 4 seconds and then come back on...
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:23 PM   #8
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This is the product that I use and have had great results with removing ventilation odors.



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Old 06-09-2014, 11:12 PM   #9
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I recently encountered the same issue with the ventilation in my 2013 JKU. Will check the cabin air filter. Where do you spray the AC duct cleaner?
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulBordelon View Post
I recently encountered the same issue with the ventilation in my 2013 JKU. Will check the cabin air filter. Where do you spray the AC duct cleaner?
What do the directions say on the cleaner? My guess would be to spray right down into the AC ducts. After all, they connect directly to the place where the smell is originating --- that would be the evaporator core/ box assembly.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:48 AM   #11
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I dont believe most JK's come from the factory with a cabin air filter unless you get the model with the fancy dials and climate control doodads.

mine smells like a creek, probably because I drove through a creek.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:26 AM   #12
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my 2014 with climate control has started spewing that towel left in the gym locker smell when the air is first kicked on.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:44 AM   #13
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The cabin air filter is for dust and will not control the smell at all. Lysol is quick and cheap as it kills bacteria on the evaporator. I fight with this problem every spring at the dealership I work at.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKBrad View Post
Don't leave it on recirculate when you park. This seals off outside air from the system. The plenum box can't dry out and mildew forms.

There are several products available online or at the auto parts store that you can spray into the plenum that will clean it and kill the mildew.

Make sure to follow the instructions. You won't believe what nasty crap comes out.
+1 .. not supposed to run inside air (recirculate) for very long. The only time I turn that on is when I'm behind a bus or some old car spewing toxic emissions through my HVAC system.

The owners manual indicates not to operate on recirculate during winter months.

Best advice... only run outside air.

.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:39 AM   #15
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I remember reading that this issue is generally caused by a clogged drain line. The water can't escape the system so it grows mold. As truthiness said, see if you have water on the passenger side floor, I believe that's where it generally backs up. I'm no expert on this though.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:40 AM   #16
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I have the same problem on my '12. I found that by pressing the fan speed button to place it in recirc mode and then back to fresh air mode, the smell goes away. It's almost like even though the light is off for RECIRC, it starts in RECIRC mode.

Works for me.

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Old 06-10-2014, 11:21 AM   #17
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I was also reading up online and it seems that you shouldn't drive with your AC in Recirculation mode all the time. Supposedly driving in Fresh Air mode for a while will help prevent mold buildup on the evaporator. A quick way to check to see if the drain tube is plugged is see if condensation drips from underneath Jeep when AC is on (I think everyone knows that). If not, spray a can of compressed air up the drain tube.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:32 PM   #18
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Just to add to the last post...the drain line is on top of my auto trans.
I would pull the glove box, remove cabin filters, spray down toward e-vap with ac on with the cleaner, all doors open (strong stuff) shoot about half a can.
Also, pick up two new cabin filters at rockauto.com, best price I have found.
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Old 06-10-2014, 01:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieljh View Post
My JKU is about a year old, and as of yesterday, there is a sour smell that comes from the ac when I turn it on. It smells like clothes that is left in the washing machine too long.

It is only noticeable when the ac is on, and the odor goes away when its turned off. Anyone else have an experience with anything like this?
In every vehicle I have ever owned.

For me it is only present when the AC is set to recirculate which I always avoid. The problem is that many newer vehicles run in recirculation mode automatically when the outside temperature reaches a certain level. In my Ram that is 75 degrees. If I press the recirculate button nothing happens but the light will come on indicating recirculation mode. If I press it again it will turn off and the smell goes away.

I have also heard that many systems will activate the AC with or without the recirculation once in a while to help with removing unwanted moisture.

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Old 06-10-2014, 03:10 PM   #20
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:39 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrong Way Hal View Post
I have the same problem on my '12. I found that by pressing the fan speed button to place it in recirc mode and then back to fresh air mode, the smell goes away. It's almost like even though the light is off for RECIRC, it starts in RECIRC mode.

Works for me.

Regards,
I have noticed this on my 2013 JKUR. I took the glove box off and watched. My jeep goes into recirculation mode even if the light is off. I have to turn recirc on and then off for it to actually come out of the mode. And then after a few minutes of driving, it goes right back into recirculation even though the light isn't on. Because of this, I keep getting the sour smell out of my AC too. Last year I sprayed Lysol down into it and the smell did go away. I would love to know the answer of why the Jeep keeps going into recirculation mode.
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Old 08-01-2015, 05:09 PM   #22
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We run into this all the time at my dealer. If you run with max ac all the time it builds up mildew in the hvac box. Our fix for it is a new cabin air filter and we spray it with an active enzyme that eats the bacteria and gets rid of the smell. Couldn't tell you what it's called but try googling for something like that. BTW you can run a filter on the newer jeeps 12 and up I believe. Your jeep came with a filter if you have automatic climate and if not they use the same air box you just buy a filter for your year and look up a video on install. I chose a wix for my own.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:33 PM   #23
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When I worked on cars and we had that smell, we would run the heater as hot as we could. Don't stay in jeep doing this on a hot day.. Turn the heat off after about 15 minutes. It dries out the ac box. Then turn on the ac on recirculation, we spray ozium in the passenger foot well area. Let that run about 10 minutes. Smell is gone and vehicle smells alot better.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:55 PM   #24
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Another thing to help is to never just turn off your AC when you arrive at your destination. Before shutting down the engine turn off the AC but let the fan run for a few minutes, I usually do this a few minutes before I get to my destination. The air is usually still cool and this reduces moisture build up and smell.
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Old 08-02-2015, 09:29 AM   #25
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above is exactly what I try to do, leave the fan on, but turn off the AC a couple miles from my destination.

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