Interior Odor - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Question Interior Odor

2004 C240 4-matic

The latest in a long list of issues since first week of purchase from dealer is an ever wosening nauseating odor inside the car. The air filter has been changed many times with no relief. After months of guess work, cleaning, shampooing, etc. it seems the odor is coming from the thin foam layer backing of loose mats. There appears to be an air duct on floor on each side under front seats facing the back which must be pulling the odor from the floor into the air circulator and sending it back out to interior of car. The odor is nauseating; possibly smells like melted crayons and is getting worse as time goes by. Perhaps the foam breaks down over time or with sunlight and emits this horrible odor. Anyone who rides in the car notices it. Cannot ride with windows up! Does anyone have similar problem and/or advice on this?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 03:48 PM
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From a "percentage" point of view it's about 0.1% that it's a Mercedes problem and about 99.9% it's some external cause, i.e. spilled food, dead animal, etc.

Kent Christensen
'07 GL320CDI
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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That's sheer mathematical genius considering you have no idea how I use or care for my car. Truly remarkable!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 10:29 PM
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Hi, are you talking about the air ducts that are not "under the front seats" but instead to the front of the front seats, in the centre walls of the leg area? Honestly I started to hesitate on those even if I've played many times installing and uninstalling the hoses (on my W211), those must be the hoses that blow air to the leg area instead of pulling air. Now that I think of it, I've never figured out where the air circulation mode pulls air but if you do not have air circulation on, it can't be those ducts that you described (if I understood correctly). There are ducts below the front seat too but those blow air to the rear seat area (and at least do not pull air). It should be easy to test which duct is pulling and which is blowing air.

Anyway, you seem to conclude that the heater/air conditioning system pulls air from an area of the car that smells. That should not be the case (again assuming air circulation mode switched off).

Would your odor actually come from inside of the heater core, bacteria smelling as those tend to grow from the condensed water from AC. There are posts on the W211 of this problem as I understand early models having a small design issue, condensed water not getting all out of the system when car stopped or something like that). If it is this one, then your car could be treated with some stuff that kills these bacteria, see the W211 forum, should work for a year or so. I guess this is more of a problem if you live in a humid climate where AC is frequently used and a lot of condensed water appears. (Unfortunately I live in an area where this is not too much of a problem ;-)

If the smell really comes from the foam layer behind the loose mats, I would easily conclude that there is some water leak or the user has spilled some stuff to the car (which I understand is not the case if you have taken good care of the car).

PS. I don't think Ikchris intended to be offensive, at least I took it more as a request for more info because the conclusion otherwise would be "a user fault". Experts might respond if they don't get a feeling their response might not be appreciated.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply. Right now the car still smells like Woolite Rug cleaner so I will have to wait a bit to see if the odor returns. The odor was there whether the air vents are open or not - but seemed stronger when they're open. I did mean the air ducts directly under the (rear part of) front seats, but i don't know for sure if they pull air or put out - I figured they pulled since the heat and a/c air comes out of the small vent in center/console that faces back seats, but could be that they also send out air - Will try to determine.

If is is a water build-up in condenser or a/c apparatus, wouldn't it smell like mold?

Yes, I may have been a little off-base with the first reply. However, it sounded a lot like the guys at the MB dealer who are so quick to blame the owner. When they couldn't figure out why the 'check engine' light kept coming on, (it was lighting right after purchase), they disengaged it. How do I know? The light doesn't come on if the gas cap is left off and that is something it was designed to do. Then at 1 month, the car began sputtering upon accelerating. After three visits to the dealer for this problem - now totalling six dealer visits in less than 2 mos. of ownership - they finally determined it needed a new transfer case and a few other things. They had the car more than I did. They are quick to blame the owner and/or say the problem doesn't exist until at least the third visit AND my husband getting inivolved. Hence, my reaction to the first reply.

Sorry, KC.

Thanks much, DB. Will post here if it does get resolved.
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