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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 07-28-2013, 10:41 PM
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Question Plastic/Chemical odor inside car

I know my car is close to 6 years old and I donít expect the interior to have that new BMW smell anymore, but it has a plastic/chemical odor to it. It is more pronounced when I run the air. I brought it to the dealer and they told me that there isnít a problem with the car, but it may be the all-weather (rubber) mats that I have inside. I took the mats out, but the odor is still there.

If anyone has insight into this issue, it would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2013, 01:51 PM
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I went to the dealer today and was told that it is mildew building up on the condenser (or something like that) and that I need to do an a/c service for $285. I passed on the service for now. I am not sure how mildew can have a chemical-like smell though. The SA did say running the heat will dry it up, but I don't get much chance to use heat in the summer here.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:01 PM
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Why don't you turn your car on (at home), and let it run with the heater on? Come back 20-30 minutes later
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:38 PM
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Not a bad idea. When I get it back from the dealer for my ongoing brake pedal issue, I will try that. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:38 PM
Pilgrim Pilgrim is offline
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How about turning the AC on full bore, then spraying tons of Lysol into the air intake to kill the mildew?

Perhaps followed by Febreze to make it smell purdy.
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:58 PM
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clean air act

here in the swamp the rubber/plastic mats sweat a great deal.....they can get very pongy......good to take them out for a few days and let the undersides air/dry out.....we also spray the back of them with lysol or jomax
same products for the air ducts .....gotta get a good running fan and all windows open on the car .......slip out the air filter and let er rip .....it will need to gas off for a good few hours.....we've seen the jomax and bleach trick kill dense mildew/black mold ....be very careful to keep it from blowing onto sensitive interior surfaces .....we cover the vents with red rags
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:04 PM
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It's weird because it doesn't smell musty or like mildew, but perhaps I don't know what mildew smells like. I suppose I just need to take the dealer's word that it is mildew
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BMW4Lee View Post
Not a bad idea. When I get it back from the dealer for my ongoing brake pedal issue, I will try that. Thanks for the suggestion.
As BMW specifically recommends against idling the car, I'd opt for driving it with the heat on instead. Lower the top, put the fan on minimum and aim the small amount of heated air that comes out at the windshield.

Tom
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:15 PM
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I did not know that. Thank you for your input.

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As BMW specifically recommends against idling the car, I'd opt for driving it with the heat on instead. Lower the top, put the fan on minimum and aim the small amount of heated air that comes out at the windshield.

Tom
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW4Lee View Post
I went to the dealer today and was told that it is mildew building up on the condenser (or something like that) and that I need to do an a/c service for $285. I passed on the service for now. I am not sure how mildew can have a chemical-like smell though. The SA did say running the heat will dry it up, but I don't get much chance to use heat in the summer here.
You have the standard E9x "gym sock / barnyard / Yeti foot syndrome.

Three things you can do:

1) when parked, be sure to set the recirc to "off"; this allows the condensate to drain better, according to my SA.

2) 10 minutes out from home, switch off the AC. This allows dry air to pass over the coils, drying them, inhibiting fungus growth.

If neither of the above work, I heartily recommend this product, applied specifically according to the instructions:

http://www.amazon.com/automotive/dp/B0002Z2MKO

"Klima-Cleaner is a professional air conditioner cleaner that effectively removes odors caused by mold, fungus, pollen, nicotine and dust. While other products mask odors, Klima-Cleaner uses active foam to directly clean and remove odor causing agents from the evaporator core of the air conditioner system for fresh and clean air that lasts for months. For best results, apply every 3-6 months. Klima-Cleaner is water-based and does not contain any harsh chemicals. Caution: Recommended for professional application only. On certain vehicle makes, damage may occur if product is not applied properly. If uncertain about application, have a certified mechanic apply product. In some cases, a screen behind the air vents may prevent tube from being inserted. Check vents with a flashlight to see if there is a screen. If any of these cases apply to you, we suggest you use einszett 911104 Klima-Cleaner Easy-To-Use (ETU)."

This stuff really works, I've used it on my E92 and it completely eliminated my odor problem.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW4Lee View Post
I know my car is close to 6 years old and I donít expect the interior to have that new BMW smell anymore, but it has a plastic/chemical odor to it. It is more pronounced when I run the air. I brought it to the dealer and they told me that there isnít a problem with the car, but it may be the all-weather (rubber) mats that I have inside. I took the mats out, but the odor is still there.

If anyone has insight into this issue, it would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
How long have you owned the car? Did the odor start recently or has it been there a while? My 335 cab has always had a strong plastic/chemical-like odor. I've always believed it is from the leather and plastics in the car as I have smelled it in other BMWs.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:44 PM
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It doesn't smell like that though. It really is more of a plastic/chemical-like odor that is stronger when the A/C is on. Perhaps the reason my car still smells like that when the car is off is because after I turn off the A/C and the car, it sits closed up in a garage for a week or so (it is not my daily driver). Can mildew smell like plastic or chemicals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMME30W View Post
You have the standard E9x "gym sock / barnyard / Yeti foot syndrome.

I have owned the car since it was new (close to six years). The odor started a few years ago, but has gotten worse. When the dealership took me home today in a new X5, I thought to myself, "That is what my car used to smell like."

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Originally Posted by Otherbmw View Post
How long have you owned the car? Did the odor start recently or has it been there a while? My 335 cab has always had a strong plastic/chemical-like odor. I've always believed it is from the leather and plastics in the car as I have smelled it in other BMWs.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:03 AM
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Your evaporator core is starting to leak.. When the AC stops working that will confirm it.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:23 AM
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Would I notice any leaks under the car? The dealer tells me it is mildew, so I don't think they will investigate it as an evaporator core leak without some other evidence.


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Your evaporator core is starting to leak.. When the AC stops working that will confirm it.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:44 AM
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You will not see a leak. You can go to napa and ask to smell the refrigerant oil used in 134ac. If it is what you are smelling in the car, evaporator has a pinhole leak.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:39 AM
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Plastic/Chemical odor inside car

Hm ya that does not sound like fungus.

Have you taken it to a good Indy AC shop?


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Old 07-31-2013, 10:44 AM
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Many times, the leak is so small that the refrigerant sniffer/detectors will not pick it up. even if you have a dye in the system, you cant get to the core to look for a leak.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:00 PM
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If that is the case, I don't have much of a chance of getting the dealer to do anything about it. Additionally, I have read that the whole dashboard needs to be removed to get to the evaporator core

Quote:
Originally Posted by David1 View Post
Many times, the leak is so small that the refrigerant sniffer/detectors will not pick it up. even if you have a dye in the system, you cant get to the core to look for a leak.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:32 PM
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If that is the case, I don't have much of a chance of getting the dealer to do anything about it. Additionally, I have read that the whole dashboard needs to be removed to get to the evaporator core
That would be true for most cars today.
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Old 10-18-2014, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BMW4Lee View Post
If that is the case, I don't have much of a chance of getting the dealer to do anything about it. Additionally, I have read that the whole dashboard needs to be removed to get to the evaporator core
What was the outcome of the odor issue?
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Old 10-18-2014, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BMW4Lee View Post
It's weird because it doesn't smell musty or like mildew, but perhaps I don't know what mildew smells like. I suppose I just need to take the dealer's word that it is mildew

Can be any number of bio agents floatin' around in Summer air. There's a fog of bacteria & fungi at ground level, and plenty of food - just add water. Enter: Your AC condensor! Drippin' with life-giving dihyrogen oxide, the liquid snags both organisms and tasty food; provides medium for growth.

Good Bimmerfesters DIY clean with Lysol, or quaternary amine, then maybe enjoy the waft of Potpourri, a treat for the senses! 'Which scents to sniff?' you say....I'm glad you asked....what's your pleasure?

But wait...WAIT...what if it's THIS?!?!?!


Click image for larger version

Name:	Monkey BIG [25].jpg
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Hang on. Is this thread, like, OLD?


.

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Old 10-18-2014, 09:01 AM
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The issue has surfaced again and I have been posting on another thread, but I will update here as well.

I have been experiencing a plastic/rubber type smell -- almost like Band-Aids -- coming out of my vents for close to 2 years now. The smell is faint when you get in the car, but when you turn on the A/C and put your face to the vent, it is quite strong. I have no problem with the cooling or volume. When I have brought the car in in the past, I have been told various things: no leaks, mildew, floor mats, etc. -- basically no resolution. I don't drive the car often (it is a 2008 with 15,000 miles), so the A/C is used infrequently.

Last week, they did something called a "Wynn" treatment (fog-like treatment for the vents) as well as changing the cabin filter. The treatment only masked the smell -- I could still smell it, but it was mixed with the treatment smell. The other day, I drove the car with the A/C on and it gave me a headache.

At first they did not want to do any additional testing, but armed with another thread from Bimmerfest [http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?t=736924], they contacted the factory representative again. They decided to do further testing as the preliminary tests did not find a leak. Unfortunately, further testing requires removal of the dashboard to get to the evaporator. I was told that even if a leak is not found, they are going to replace the evaporator under warranty.

While I was there, I was speaking to the technician working on my car. He let me smell some used evaporator oil that was evacuated from another car. It was a very strong, chemical-like smell. I couldn't say that it was exactly what I am smelling in my car, but that may be because it was so concentrated and mine is diffused through my vents.

I really hope this solves the problem because I don't know what other options I will have after the evaporator replacement.
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Departed Bremerhaven: 11/13/07 on the Hojin
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Cleared customs: 12/14/07
Redelivery: 12/17/07






Last edited by BMW4Lee; 10-18-2014 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 10-20-2014, 06:23 PM
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I got the car back today. I was told that oil had leaked from the evaporator. The evaporator was replaced and the case was cleaned. My car smells like a BMW again.
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