dommm

Horrible Smell Coming From Air Vents?

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I own a 2004 330 es & I have a horrible smell coming from my air vents. It doesn't matter if I have the heat on or the AC on. I can't explain the smell, but it is not like rotting eggs or rotting animals & it isn't like any petroleum product but it is a very strong putrid smell. Does anyone have any ideas on what it might be & how I can get rid of the smell? I have already driven for a few hours with the fan on full, but the smell does not seem to be getting any weaker. thanks

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Hi T and welcome to the Club!

There are a couple of things that may contribute to your odor problem.

First is a mouse who's made a home on the top of your engine and has been eating the insulation on your wiring. This happens more often than you might think. Secondly, it may be coming from the cabin air filter. This is supposed to be changed every so many miles. If the filter gets wet from a leak such as rain or other sources, it might have mold or some other contaminate. Also, anti freeze might have leaked. To me, that smells like rotten eggs or sulfer.

Those are my only ideas but someone else will chime in here with other suggestions.

Please come back and let us know how things are going.

Paul

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Hi T and welcome to the Club!

There are a couple of things that may contribute to your odor problem.

First is a mouse who's made a home on the top of your engine and has been eating the insulation on your wiring. This happens more often than you might think. Secondly, it may be coming from the cabin air filter. This is supposed to be changed every so many miles. If the filter gets wet from a leak such as rain or other sources, it might have mold or some other contaminate. Also, anti freeze might have leaked. To me, that smells like rotten eggs or sulfer.

Those are my only ideas but someone else will chime in here with other suggestions.

Please come back and let us know how things are going.

Hi Paul A. & thanks for your welcome. I have gone through the owners manual & I see there is an AC filter behind the glove box that I will take a look at tomorrow, but I don't see any reference in the owners manual to a cabin air filter? It is possible a mouse may have been under the hood at one time but there is no evidence of any mice at the moment that I can see. There has been no fluid stains under the car so I'm discounting any leaks unless they are small. Is it possible for a rodent to get inside the air ducts & then die & rot? Thanks

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Probably 'My Bad'.

The cabin filter is the same filter you have found behind your glove box. The air in the cabin circulates through this filter. This is true whether the climate control settings are on fresh air or recirculated.

Paul

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Probably 'My Bad'.

The cabin filter is the same filter you have found behind your glove box. The air in the cabin circulates through this filter. This is true whether the climate control settings are on fresh air or recirculated.

Paul

WOW Paul A., you were right on the money on this one. I removed the Cabin Air Filter & a nest (likely mouse) had been built on the top of the filter. The stench was unbearable. I have removed the filter that was completely clogged with who knows what & tried my best to vacuum the space that the filter inserts into. I then started the car with the filter out & fan on high & more stuff blew out from the ducts. I did not see any dead mice in any of the nest I pulled out. There is no way the mice entered from inside the car so their entry point would have been from some other point. Would you know of any possible entry points that I could check for holes & how I might be able to clean it? I am not sure I have completely cleaned out the problem because from the inside of the car, I can only see a very limited section of the vent/airduct. There is a possibly more nest is stuck further along the air duct that I can't get to from the inside but maybe from the outside. Thanks again

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Hi T.

It's nice to be right once and a while. LOL

I don't know of any other way to access the ducting involved. I would try using the search feature here for any information on cleaning or changing the filter. Also, you will find detailed information at TIS.com. That is "Toyota Information Services" This site covers everything technical for all Toyota, Lexus, and Scion products.

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Hi T.

It's nice to be right once and a while. LOL

I don't know of any other way to access the ducting involved. I would try using the search feature here for any information on cleaning or changing the filter. Also, you will find detailed information at TIS.com. That is "Toyota Information Services" This site covers everything technical for all Toyota, Lexus, and Scion products.

So after cleaning out the mess as best I could it still smells bad whenever the fan is on. I took it to a very good car detailer & explained my issue & he told me the only way to get rid of the smell was to completely remove the dashboard which is the only way to get to the air ducts. He suggested to take it to a Lexus dealer as they would have the knowledge for this. He said removing the dashboard is a big job. I'm not a happy camper!

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Removing the dash is not for the faint of heart. My suggestion is go to the dealer, explain you findings and get a quote for repairs. They may know a simpler and easier way to clean the duct.

Your only asking for an estimate, not a work order.

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Removing the dash is not for the faint of heart. My suggestion is go to the dealer, explain you findings and get a quote for repairs. They may know a simpler and easier way to clean the duct.

Your only asking for an estimate, not a work order.

Yes that sounds like it makes the most sense. Thanks

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I've had the similar smell of rotten eggs or mold from my vents. More than likely you need to change your air cabin filter (which is located behind the glove compartment). When I replace the filter it was very dirty and smelling bad (it look like it hadn't been replaced in years). I replace the filter and sprayed Lysol air freshener into the housing of the air cabin filter.

And the smell went away. You might notice your cars air recycle light is always on and does not go to fresh air - this is also due to old air cabin filter.

To learn how to replace your air cabin filter - you can search on the Lexus Club owner site or on YouTube for a video which shows you step by step.

I hope this helps.

P

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I've had the similar smell of rotten eggs or mold from my vents. More than likely you need to change your air cabin filter (which is located behind the glove compartment). When I replace the filter it was very dirty and smelling bad (it look like it hadn't been replaced in years). I replace the filter and sprayed Lysol air freshener into the housing of the air cabin filter.

And the smell went away. You might notice your cars air recycle light is always on and does not go to fresh air - this is also due to old air cabin filter.

To learn how to replace your air cabin filter - you can search on the Lexus Club owner site or on YouTube for a video which shows you step by step.

I hope this helps.

P

Hi Pupule7

Thanks for your reply. As I mentioned in post #5, at the suggestion of another member I did find & replace the cabin air filter but the smell while a lot better is still bad. I leave my car in a garage all winter while away & a family of mice (I'm guessing) made a home in the duct work & the urine & crap has penetrated stuff. I have no idea where they got entry to the ductwork. After cleaning out the cavity all around where the cabin air filter slides into, I put a new cabin air filter in & after driving for just an hour or so I then removed the hour new cabin air filter & it stunk like hell already. I will give your Lysol suggestion a try but at $30 a pop for a cabin air filter, I will not replace it again until I can stop the bad smell.

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The same thing happened to my ride and what I did was to replace the cabin air filter.

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The same thing happened to my ride and what I did was to replace the cabin air filter.

Thanks for your reply sadclown, as you can read in my above posts, I did give your suggestion a shot but the smell is still very strong. I'm guessing there is more nest somewhere in the ductwork.

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Hi Domm, did you issue ever get resolved?  I have a 2006 IS350 and I am experiencing the same problem.  Your description pretty much sums it up, very putrid just ratchet smell.  I had Lexus do a $250 Forced Foam H Vac cleaning followed by 3 days of Ionizing the air and nothing has worked, I am ready to sell it!!

Open to suggestions!

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