AC Stinks and not so cold

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Apr 12, 2003
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Recently the AC in my '96 has developed a strange odor, smells kind of like a mixture of coolant and some sort of epoxy (not pleasant). Also the temperature of the air has gone up even when set to the coldest level.

Anyone have any ideas as to where I should look to diagnose this? I have zero experience with AC systems.
 

Gumby

Supamod
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If the condensation drain isn't working properly you can get mold growing in the evaperator box. Nasty smell, but not like antifreeze. I'm hoping you don't have a heater core leak, but that's what it kind of sounds like.
 
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Sep 9, 2003
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My T100 has that smell. I have to fill it with R-134a about twice a summer because I have a pin hole in the core somewhere. I think the smell is the refrigerant. Mine only smells when it gets low and the a/c begins to quit cooling. I keep a themometer in the vent and when it comes off 40 -50 on high it's loosing charge and the smell starts. Hope I'm not hurting the whole system too bad but I can't replace the a/c right now. :-\
 
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I have a 94 which the drain clogged up, real nasty smell, mold all over the evap. The problem is the box is VERY difficult to take apart w/o draining the coolant and tearing completely apart. I was almost able to remove the lower half of the box but couldnt get access to back screws and clips. Of course you have to be a contorsionist to bend your body to work on it. The plastic box was flexible enough for me to pull the mold growing in side and clean. I suggest everyone to make sure the drain is free and drips.
Still smells a bit! :mad:
Chris
 
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Mar 28, 2003
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:(You have to evacuate the refrigerant before disconnecting the the suction and discharge to remove the core. The r-12/r134a does not have an odor, even in high conc. The smell of coolant may indicate your heater valve is shot. Only about a 50$ part. Search the archives for posts on this. Make sure you check the sight glass on the drier and review the troubleshooting per the FSM before throwing parts at it. A/C problems are usually VERY simple or a major PITA, no in between. :-\
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2003
Messages
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Thanks for replies. I checked out the sight glass for the refrigerant - but I'm not sure what it indicates. I see a milky substances flowing through the glass (to about 3/4 of the way to the top of the glass) when the AC is on, and it is clear when the ac is off. I assume this is refrigerant. The FSM describles "bubbles in the sight glass". I dont think I see bubbles, unless they mean that the refrigereant does not fill the entire sight glass... not sure.
Am I low on refrigerant b/c the sight glass is not full when the ac is running?
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
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If you see ANYTHING in the sight glass,you stil have freon. The "bubbles" are more turbulence unless you have a pristine sight glass. It can be hard to determine. Another thing to be aware of is frreezing the core. This happens when you run the A/C with the fan on the lowest setting for extended periods which doesn't allow for sufficient air flow over the core and cuase it to get coverd in ice. This freezing and thawing can damage the core over time and lead to mold and mildew build up that causes plugged drains and stench. Try adjusting the t-stat instead of running the fan on low. I would guess that if the smell is more like hot coolant than mildew, than too much hot water/coolant is getting to the core which would indicate a bad heater/water valve. Hope that helps.
 

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