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Rx330 Ac Stink


vegasrob
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2005 RX330 FWD 49k miles. This problem started about 2 years ago. When I accellerate on a freeway onramp, the AC produces a nasty stink. The best I can describe it as is the smell of a hair salon, specifically when a perm is being done. NASTY! This started happening at about 20k miles. Took it to the dealer, they said "replace the AC filter" to the tune of 100$, so I had them do it. They also sprayed ozium into the AC system, and said that condensation accumulates in the AC system, and to turn off the recirculate button whenever possible. Ok, fine. Did that. 10k miles later, same thing. Long story short, the system has been sprayed 5-6 times in the 3 years we've owned the car, we tried turning off the recirc button before shutting the car off (dealer recommended), the cabin filter has been replaced at least 3 times now, and it still stinks on accelleration. It doesn't happen all the time, and up until recently if we turned off the recirc button while getting on the freeway, it was ok. We have been turning off the recirc button everytime before shutting off the car (its been about 5 weeks since the filter was replaced and ozium sprayed by the dealer), and today when the wife got on the freeway (with the recirc button off), she got that same nasty stink. Anyone else have this problem? We have already spoken to the service manager once about this after like the 5th time bringing it in, but it's still a BIG problem. We're 1k away from the warranty expiring, and I want to get this fixed. I'm thinking it's about time to demand a replacement AC system, or call the lexus customer service line (if that'll do anything). HELP!!!!

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Try this - put AC on full with no recirculation. Pop the hood - under wiper arms you will find vents. Spray LOTS of anti-bacterial cleaner such as Dettox, Febreeze etc into vents. leave engine/AC running for 5 minutes.

This worked for me.

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2005 RX330 FWD 49k miles. This problem started about 2 years ago. When I accellerate on a freeway onramp, the AC produces a nasty stink. The best I can describe it as is the smell of a hair salon, specifically when a perm is being done. NASTY! This started happening at about 20k miles. Took it to the dealer, they said "replace the AC filter" to the tune of 100$, so I had them do it. They also sprayed ozium into the AC system, and said that condensation accumulates in the AC system, and to turn off the recirculate button whenever possible. Ok, fine. Did that. 10k miles later, same thing. Long story short, the system has been sprayed 5-6 times in the 3 years we've owned the car, we tried turning off the recirc button before shutting the car off (dealer recommended), the cabin filter has been replaced at least 3 times now, and it still stinks on accelleration. It doesn't happen all the time, and up until recently if we turned off the recirc button while getting on the freeway, it was ok. We have been turning off the recirc button everytime before shutting off the car (its been about 5 weeks since the filter was replaced and ozium sprayed by the dealer), and today when the wife got on the freeway (with the recirc button off), she got that same nasty stink. Anyone else have this problem? We have already spoken to the service manager once about this after like the 5th time bringing it in, but it's still a BIG problem. We're 1k away from the warranty expiring, and I want to get this fixed. I'm thinking it's about time to demand a replacement AC system, or call the lexus customer service line (if that'll do anything). HELP!!!!

The A/C odor of microbial "leavings" is most generally described as an old dirty gym sock odor, not the smell of a hair salon after a "perm". There is the additional question of the odor only occuring under acceleration.

As a side note I often notice that when I first start my RX300 the exhaust odor is not what I normally expect. Also, some years ago I noticed that my '92 LS400 under acceleration, uphill, the cabin would sometimes begin to smell.

My guess would be that somehow some of the exhaust gasses are geting into the cabin but are not really noticeable except under acceleration when the odor turns "weird", sort of like burning paint thinner.

Has anyone thought to check the EGR valve and return tube..??

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I don't know the Lexus setup on vacuum lines, but on acceleration, that is the lowest point of vacuum and if there is a leak or bad check valve, the A/C system will go to it's default settings. This could be "recircurlate".

As far as the odor, has anyone checked the drain tube that lets the condensation drip out of the condenser housing? I'm assuming that the Lexus has one.

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First, check the drain tube at the bottom of the car to ensure that water is draining out, as suggested. Secondly, why do you seem to run your recirc switch on so much? In my experience, I turn the recirc on only for a couple of minutes in really warm weather. That allows the car to cool down better. But, after a couple of minutes I turn the recirc off and use outside air. Keeping the recirc button on ensures that you will trap the most moisture in the air which could be a significant part of your problem.

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First, check the drain tube at the bottom of the car to ensure that water is draining out, as suggested. Secondly, why do you seem to run your recirc switch on so much? In my experience, I turn the recirc on only for a couple of minutes in really warm weather. That allows the car to cool down better. But, after a couple of minutes I turn the recirc off and use outside air. Keeping the recirc button on ensures that you will trap the most moisture in the air which could be a significant part of your problem.

While recirc definitely shouldn't be left on, I don't think it's true that it traps the most moisture in the air. Since AC removes moisture, air should get drier and drier with recirc (which lets in limited but sufficient amount of fresh) if the area in question is in the flow. But it doesn't allow system to breathe and does trap "nasties." Original poster said "tried turning off the recirc button before shutting the car off " but this is far from sufficient according to advice I have gotten in the past. One thing to try is, in addition to running it with fresh air most of time, is to turn off the AC entirely a few minutes before destination. Allows system to drain. I agree with above poster who says problem related to clogged drain and vacuum lines. "Doors" regulating outside air probably are vacuum activated, so acceleration may not only cause door to shut, but may create an air draw through clogged up condensation accumulator. Vacuum operated baffle door may even be mostly stuck shut full time. Look for cracked rubber on tube or baffle.

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While recirc definitely shouldn't be left on, I don't think it's true that it traps the most moisture in the air. Since AC removes moisture, air should get drier and drier with recirc (which lets in limited but sufficient amount of fresh) if the area in question is in the flow.

Generally I agree with your statement except that, even with the a/c on, you will most likely have an increase in moisture simply because human respiration releases a tremendous amount of moisture just in normal breathing. Add one or more persons and that is why you can have the foggy windows on buses and cars. I used to have this information but it is no where to be found. Besides, I don't run my a/c in the winter except on occasion to keep things working.

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While recirc definitely shouldn't be left on, I don't think it's true that it traps the most moisture in the air. Since AC removes moisture, air should get drier and drier with recirc (which lets in limited but sufficient amount of fresh) if the area in question is in the flow.

Generally I agree with your statement except that, even with the a/c on, you will most likely have an increase in moisture simply because human respiration releases a tremendous amount of moisture just in normal breathing. Add one or more persons and that is why you can have the foggy windows on buses and cars. I used to have this information but it is no where to be found. Besides, I don't run my a/c in the winter except on occasion to keep things working.

I checked with another dealership and they were kind enough to check the TSBs on the car, and apparently there is a TSB on the catalytic converter, where customers complain of a bad egg smell under accelleration. Since I'm not an expert in automobile plumbing, can someone explain how that could cause a problem with the AC smell? My understanding was that the EGR valve allowed spent exhaust gases to recirculate back into the engine for backpressure or constant temperature purposes, yada yada. Do the vents for fresh air ever fully close when recirc is on? Also, the reason I leave the recirc button on so much is because here in vegas we have an extraordinary level of dust and dirt being thrown up into the air by 18 wheelers hauling dirt and construction equipment. On the flip side I have an 01 silverado with 145000 miles on it - I can count on two hands how many times I've used fresh air. It always stays on recirc. and I have never had a problem with smells.

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2005 RX330 FWD 49k miles. This problem started about 2 years ago. When I accellerate on a freeway onramp, the AC produces a nasty stink. The best I can describe it as is the smell of a hair salon, specifically when a perm is being done. NASTY! This started happening at about 20k miles. Took it to the dealer, they said "replace the AC filter" to the tune of 100$, so I had them do it. They also sprayed ozium into the AC system, and said that condensation accumulates in the AC system, and to turn off the recirculate button whenever possible. Ok, fine. Did that. 10k miles later, same thing. Long story short, the system has been sprayed 5-6 times in the 3 years we've owned the car, we tried turning off the recirc button before shutting the car off (dealer recommended), the cabin filter has been replaced at least 3 times now, and it still stinks on accelleration. It doesn't happen all the time, and up until recently if we turned off the recirc button while getting on the freeway, it was ok. We have been turning off the recirc button everytime before shutting off the car (its been about 5 weeks since the filter was replaced and ozium sprayed by the dealer), and today when the wife got on the freeway (with the recirc button off), she got that same nasty stink. Anyone else have this problem? We have already spoken to the service manager once about this after like the 5th time bringing it in, but it's still a BIG problem. We're 1k away from the warranty expiring, and I want to get this fixed. I'm thinking it's about time to demand a replacement AC system, or call the lexus customer service line (if that'll do anything). HELP!!!!

AS some have stated the heater box holds the heater core and a/c evaporator core. When the drain tub clogs it holds water. Water creates mold mold creates smell. The best fix is check the drain tube if it is clear this is good. But the box also can collect leaves and other debris this also breaks down molds etc. If this continues you might have to pull the blower motor see if you can reach in can feel any debris in the heater box. You can also smell from there if there is a problem. I have seen where the boxes need to be removed and bleached clean the worst case scenario is to change out the box itself since the smell impregnates the plastic. Good luck.

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Hey folks, the described odor does NOT fit the traditional A/C mould and mildew odor, not even close. When the engine is under heavy load, acceleration, the exhaust manifold/pipe forward of the muffler is under an extraordinary level of pressure. If the EGR tube has failed, not an uncommon occurrance, it is highly likely the exhaust gasses will enter the cabin.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the EGR valve atop the rear of the engine closed, not allowing exhaust gasses to flow back into the intake manifold, during acceleration? That would increase the pressure in the EGR tube even to a greater level.

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Also, the reason I leave the recirc button on so much is because here in vegas we have an extraordinary level of dust and dirt being thrown up into the air by 18 wheelers hauling dirt and construction equipment. On the flip side I have an 01 silverado with 145000 miles on it - I can count on two hands how many times I've used fresh air. It always stays on recirc. and I have never had a problem with smells.

:o WOW! You leave it on all the time? Do what you think you need to do but, as I said, mine stays in recirc long enough for the car to start to cool down. Keeping dust and dirt out is the job of the cabin air filter.

Can't comment on the EGR valve or any blowback issues.

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