2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

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Old 17 Mar 2006, 12:51 am   #1 (permalink)
Madison18
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Default 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

Hi all:

This is my second car that has smell problem in the cabin giving me
bitter taste in mouth and headache right at the first breathing in.
This smell is kind of sweet (I initially thought it was air freshener)
and is present even without any driving or engine idling. If I open
all four doors for a while to make sure the air is fresh in the cabin,
then close all doors, then 30 minutes later, the smell appears in the
cabin. This means that the source of the smell is somewhere in the
cabin and not in the engine compartment.

I theorized that the smell comes from a pin hole leaking heater core
because the car is not losing coolant.

To test that theory, I bypassed the heater core and flowed tap water
through it until the water coming out the heater core became clear.
But the smell persists in the cabin.

I then theorized that some coolant having leaked out of the heater core
before the flushing of the heater core remained between the fins of the
heater core. But two days passed and the smell persisted.

Then, freezing temperatures returned, so I had to reconnect the heater
core to the cooling system.

I regret that I did not turn on the fan/blower to max to blow air
through the fins of the heater core to evaporate the leaking coolant.
Next week, temperatures will go above freezing again. Then, I will
test my theory of coolant reamaining between heater core fins again.

What do you think? Can the smell in the cabin come from leaking
refrigerant? Or any other sources?

Thanks,
Madison18

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Old 17 Mar 2006, 01:16 am   #2 (permalink)
m Ransley
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Default Re: 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passengercompartment

Maybe mold, maybe its you, your Second car? get a friend to smell it to.
Maybe an exaust leak, antifreeze shouldnt give a headache but exaust
will. Try a Co detector.

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Old 17 Mar 2006, 09:51 pm   #3 (permalink)
MUADIB
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Default Re: 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

OK,...........lets go with the smell, let the headache alone for a few
thoughts.

The circulation of cabin air or fresh air, in order to become
conditioned by the heater core or the evaporator (AC, and yes, this is
why theycall it an air conditioner system), the air has to go through
the fins of either piece. as the air is circulated, it carries with it
all the dust, dirt, and other contaminants with it.
Now, consider that you may he hyper-sensitive to some smells, or maybe
not. The previous owner/s may have had a habit or a perfume, or an air
freshener or some such thing, that doesn't agree with your system.
This would still be in the car with that dust, dirt, hair, or what
have you, that has lodged in the fins of the heater core, or AC
evaporator core.
This would indicate that having the heater core removed and cleaned,
and the evap core removed and cleaned, may be the cure for your smell.
Seems a bit extreme but may truly be the only answer. Typically
evrything in the vehicle gets a good soaking of whatever it could be
in the aroma kingdom, that is annoying you. Carpet, seats, cushions,
door panels...
I work on new and old cars. Mostly outdoors. The ones with the air
fresheners are pretty much a headache maker for me in the hot weather
and are typically very sweet smelling. Sometimes they even burn my
eyes. I have seen those thick paper like air fresheners tucked into
some pretty odd places and would likely never be found by a person
just cleaning and vaccuming. Some under carpet, some stuck to backs of
glove boxes, some stuck to the buttom of seats, some stuffed under the
fabric seat covers. All kinds of creative stuff.
If you ever find the culprit, just getting rid of it may not cure the
ailment either. I have heard of odd things like quartering an apple
and putting the pieces under the seats of the car until they dry up
and they will soak up the smells. I have even tried a whole bottle of
Febreeze to no avail. Of course I know what I am trying to cover/rid.
Mine is MOTHBALLS that have apparently been crushed up and swept nito
the carpet of the Suburban I recently bought. I will be removeing the
carpets and water blasting them this summer one day to get all the
podered moth balls out of them. Then maybe the smell will go away.

I know this may not help, but I do understand how this smell must be
making you feel terrible, in more than one way.

Good luck.

Do you know what you have when you have two moth balls about 6 inches
apart??????
Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply

MUADIBŪ

http://www.angelfire.com/retro/sster...IN%20PAGE.html

If A Quiz is Quizzical,
What is a test?

The Peacemaking Meeting scheduled for today has been
cancelled due to a conflict.
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Old 18 Mar 2006, 10:40 am   #4 (permalink)
davidj92
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Default Re: 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

MUADIB wrote:
snip
> Do you know what you have when you have two moth balls about 6 inches
> apart??????
> Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply
>
> MUADIBŪ
>


The world's biggest moth? :-D


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Old 20 Mar 2006, 08:33 pm   #5 (permalink)
MUADIB
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Default Re: 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

On Sat, 18 Mar 2006 10:40:43 -0600, "davidj92"
<davidj92REMOVE@sigecom.net> wrote:

>MUADIB wrote:
>snip
>> Do you know what you have when you have two moth balls about 6 inches
>> apart??????
>> Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply
>>
>> MUADIBŪ
>>

>
>The world's biggest moth? :-D
>

A Very Large one anyway....LOL


Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply

MUADIBŪ

http://www.angelfire.com/retro/sster...IN%20PAGE.html

If A Quiz is Quizzical,
What is a test?

The Peacemaking Meeting scheduled for today has been
cancelled due to a conflict.
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 08:50 pm   #6 (permalink)
Madison18
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Default Re: 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

Hi all:

Update:

Hi All:

Update:

I did dome research and found that R134a (the refrigerant) does have an
ether-like odor (i.e., like sweet cat urine smell which may be mistaken
for antiffeeze smell). So, my cooling system is OK (the smell
persisting even with cooling system using only pure water indicates
that the smell does not come from cooling system).

I now switch my attention to AC system. I will use 2 steps: First
step, run the AC for awhile and hope that the some leaking seals (if
any) will work again. If the first step fails, the second step will be
AC system sealer.

I will let you know the results soon.

Madison18

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Old 03 Apr 2006, 10:30 pm   #7 (permalink)
Madison18
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Default Re: 2002 Toyota Camry smell/odor in cabin cabin/passenger compartment

Hi all:

Hurrahh! I found the source of the smell in my cabin!

After two months of intensive labor and thinking and elimination of one
possible smell source after another, last weekend, I finally found the
source the cat-urine smell in my Camry 2002 passenger compartment
(cabin)! Guess what? It is the leaking AC chemical (i.e., refrigerant
R-134a + oil). Unbelievable huh!

I can't believe it myself. Before the discovery, a mechanic even
gave me a chance to smell some R-134a to prove to me that the cat-urine
smell in my cabin does not come from leaking refrigerant R-134a. It
turns out that refrigerant R-134a does not smell like cat urine at all.
But I insisted that the refrigerant in my AC system be removed
(because that's the only smell source left). To my relief, after the
refrigerant removal, the cat urine smell in cabin stopped.

So, I theorize that R-134a is kind of chemically active. When escaping
from the portion of AC system behind the firewall (e.g., from the
evaporator core), the refrigerant may chemically react with some stuff
in the evaporator case and create all kinds of smells (cat urine in my
case). You may have heard a lot about mold and other stuff in
evaporator case. I think those stuffs are ready to react with leaking
R-134a to create all kinds of odors you never expect.

Thank you all for your supports and suggestions. I will let you know
if my solutions for the leaks work.

Bye now.
Madison18.

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