Mold in air ducts - 2002 LW200

Discussion in 'Saturn L-series' started by Pocket Rocket, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Whenever the A/C is running, either for cooling or defrosting, the most
    appalling mold smell comes out of the ducts. It includes spores, etc.,
    because it just about makes me want to pull over and get out of the car when
    it happens. It is not just a smell, it makes us sneeze and our eyes get

    Anyone else out there experiencing problems like this on the L series cars?
    Pocket Rocket, Dec 31, 2003
  2. Many vehicles are susceptible to mold/mildew growing on the A/C evaporator
    core because of the moisture that condenses on it. One thing that will
    probably help is turning the A/C off and keeping the blower on for a few
    minutes before you stop the vehicle, to help dry it out.

    GM actually makes a kit that can be installed on vehicles with repeated
    problems with this, it includes a device that runs the blower for a few
    minutes at a time at certain intervals after the vehicle is shut off to dry
    out the evaporator core. However, I think the more usual solution is a
    disinfecting spray on the evaporator core - I think this also includes some
    kind of coating to help keep the mold from regrowing.
    Robert Hancock, Dec 31, 2003
  3. Pocket Rocket

    Skid Guest

    Don't leave the re-circulation button on all the time, and I always shut the
    A/C off 5 minutes before stopping, while leaving the fan on to allow it to
    warm up, and dry out.
    Skid, Dec 31, 2003
  4. Pocket Rocket

    Joe Dufu Guest

    Some have given good advice on how to avoid it... Now I'll give good advice
    on how to kill the nastiness that is in there already...

    Get yourself a can of Lysol (preferably a scent you don't mind too much
    because you will be smelling it for a few days...)

    Start the car
    Put the AC on high and let it suck fresh air from outside...
    Get out of the car
    Spray the lysol CAREFULLY into the air intake vents which are usually under
    the hood near the windshield or just between the hood and the windshield...
    I'm not familiar with the layout on your car.
    Empty the can.....
    Let the car run for 10 minutes or so like that...
    Shut off the AC
    Shut off the car with the windows open
    Let car sit for a while to air out - it WILL smell like Lysol.
    Enjoy a sanitized car. :)

    Joe - V#8013 - '86 VN750 - joe @ yunx .com
    Ask me about "The Ride" on July 31, '04:
    Joe Dufu, Dec 31, 2003
  5. Pocket Rocket

    Rudy Garcia Guest

    Another dose of prevention is to turn on the heater full blast (not the
    fan, the temperature), just before you arrive to your destination and
    then shut off the engine. The heat from the hot water will help to
    evaporate the condensation more quickly.
    Rudy Garcia, Dec 31, 2003
  6. Pocket Rocket

    MR Guest

    Good advice Joe. I would like to add one other procedure to yours
    since I have had this condition on both of my SL's. I usually use the
    large cans of Lysol and split the contents between the outside intakes
    and the recirc. intake inside the car. Do as Joe mentioned and then
    put the blower on recirc., locate your intake which is usually on the
    passenger side floor/firewall area, take a deep breath and let it rip
    into the intake. Works great.
    MR, Dec 31, 2003
  7. Pocket Rocket

    Oppie Guest

    So far, no problem here. On other cars, have seen a blockage in the
    evaporator drain that causes a buildup of condensed water in the area and
    contributes to mold and fungus growth.

    I'm new to Saturn and don't yet know how the models all equate to one
    another. My '01 LW300 is supposed to have a passenger cabin air filter. Not
    sure if this gets scmutched up, if it could be also a source of mold.

    If everything else fails, do the Lysol thing as previously recommended by


    For correct response address, remove -nospam-
    Oppie, Dec 31, 2003
  8. I'm not familiar with your L-Series.

    I've got an older S series and have had the dealer perform the $125
    disinfect (they put in a nozzle in the ductwork ahead of the evaporator and
    then discharge a can of cleaner - the stuff I got is called DWD2, Supposedly they leave the nozzle in and so I could
    buy a can of the stuff later and do it myself - when I couldn't find the
    nozzle they said they plugged the hole. No telling what they did (in

    One of the guys (ex Saturn tech) that used to post here described another
    system that was quite a process - I don't remember the details.

    It (the dealer performed cleaning) was great for a while. Then the smell
    came back and I've done a home-job on it by pulling the blower motor (3
    screws and an electrical connection) and squirted about a half bottle of
    antibacterial Windex in the duct towards the evaporator (until it drips onto
    the driveway from the evaporator drains). It's due again.

    All the tips the guys have offered are good advice.
    Jonnie Santos, Dec 31, 2003
  9. Pocket Rocket

    MR Guest

    Also, I would guess that if this condition were to go on long enough,
    it could produce the infamous legionnaire's disease. It seems to grow
    in AC systems.
    MR, Jan 1, 2004
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