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$4000 bike - two bit legs
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought a third car last September (Mini Cooper). Because of the third car, our minivan sits in the driveway rarely driven. We only use it for family outings, when hauling spring stuff, etc.... What we've noticed is that the longer it sits, the more the venting system stinks. I mean stinks bad. Really bad. Like an animal crawled in there and died. I'm not kidding on the dead animal smell. The smell has been an escalating problem the whole winter. Now that we need the car, it's a real problem.

The car doesn't stink until the vent/AC/heat it turned on. After driving the car, with the vents on for an hour or so, the stink dissappates or we get used to it. My wife has given me an ultimatum: figure it out and fix it myself or she'll take the van to a shop which will cost me a fortune. I'd rather spend my money on bike stuff I don't need.

Any ideas what causes this?? What I can do to remedy the stench???
 

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To help your bike slush fund, don't run the AC. - No AC in the Ohio Valley, it is wonderful. :D

Well, in all seriousnes, are there any filters or anything that might need to be changed.

Does the smell change if the vent is changed from circulating inside air to pulling in new outside air, or vice versa?
 

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Years ago I encountered a dead animal smell in my car- couldn't find anything. It kept getting worse and worse. After a long weekend of sitting out in the August sun, I found a three pound package of raw hamburger left over from a work barbecue sitting on the rear deck- (70s car)- in what looked like a balloon - that is how much gas that thing produced, stretching the shrinkwrap to impossible dimensions. I don't know how I missed it so many days- considering how it was in plain sight. Truly rank!
 

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$4000 bike - two bit legs
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dead fish

filtersweep said:
Years ago I encountered a dead animal smell in my car- couldn't find anything. It kept getting worse and worse. After a long weekend of sitting out in the August sun, I found a three pound package of raw hamburger left over from a work barbecue sitting on the rear deck- (70s car)- in what looked like a balloon - that is how much gas that thing produced, stretching the shrinkwrap to impossible dimensions. I don't know how I missed it so many days- considering how it was in plain sight. Truly rank!
One of my best friends did the same thing except with a fish. He bought a whole fish, wrapped in paper, left sitting on the floor of his car. He had to just run into his house for something, forgot about it. He ended up driving his SUV the next few weeks due to snow. When he finally got around to opening his car, he almost fell over with the stink. I think he sold the car. Never could get the stink out.......
 

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Palm trees & sunshine!
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One of the best ways to "get" someone you don't like is to pour a small container of milk down the defroster vent. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

Is it possible that something spilled down your vents?
 

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gazing from the shadows
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The cause can be many things.

You can have a mechanic deodorize the heating/cooling system. That might work, or at least knock back the problem. But if there is something rotting in there somewhere, it won't help. Check what you can check first. Is one of the vents more rotten than another?
 

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$4000 bike - two bit legs
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
something is just wrong with that picture

lousylegs said:
Man, Hoo, that is mean, telling him to sniff the stinky vents in search of the worst. :D
Vent sniffing?? A new sport.
 

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Motorator
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PaulCL said:
The car doesn't stink until the vent/AC/heat it turned on. My wife has given me an ultimatum: figure it out and fix it myself or she'll take the van to a shop which will cost me a fortune. I'd rather spend my money on bike stuff I don't need.

Any ideas what causes this?? What I can do to remedy the stench???
Get a can of Lysol and liberally spray it into your vent intake. Repeat for a week or two or until smell disappears. Be patient - anything organic that found its way into your system will rot away to dust over time.
 

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PaulCL said:
Vent sniffing?? A new sport.
Hey, I am going to patent that. Maybe make a whole empire of new sniffing games, like "Pit Sniffer" - where the point is to identify different arm pit smells.

well, maybe not, that is just gross.
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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lousylegs said:
Hey, I am going to patent that. Maybe make a whole empire of new sniffing games, like "Pit Sniffer" - where the point is to identify different arm pit smells.

well, maybe not, that is just gross.
You could be big in France, they just love their BO. You'd have to market it in French of course: "Sniffez l'armpitte" or something. :)
 

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Misfit Toy
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Starliner said:
Get a can of Lysol and liberally spray it into your vent intake. Repeat for a week or two or until smell disappears. Be patient - anything organic that found its way into your system will rot away to dust over time.
Yup, that's what I was gonna say. Had the same problem in the Suby - smelled like week old B.O.:eek: Suby guy said I had mildew.
 

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Small rodents can crawl into your intake in some vehicles, and they can get stuck and die.

First thing is to get out and open your hood and verify whether or not you can smell it under the hood. If the smell is even stronger outside your car then you likely have a dead rodent.
 

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Wait, wait...I almost remember something from Car Talk

This comes up occasionally on Car Talk on NPR, and there are a couple of things they always suggest...if only I could remember what they are.
The dead animal option is a possibility. I dunno how the ducts run on anything but my own cars, but you may be able to pull things apart and use a mirror and flashlight to inspect most of the ductwork, and something like a bottle brush or rag on a piece of stiff wire to clean things out. How you fish out the dead mouse is up to you.
Some cars also have low areas where water can pool, providing a place for mold and mildew to grow. Running for awhile should dry that out, though. I park under trees, and my vents are forever getting clogged--when I turn the air on in summer, if I don't remember, I get blasted with little pieces of last October's leaves. As a deodorizer, they suggested whole coffee beans, but I forget where you put them.
 
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