2002 RSX-S Musty Smell

Hey guys. Seems like my cabin smells musty at times. It smells the worst when I turn the A/C on, but a lingering "musty-and-leather" unpleasant odor
seems to be present more often than not. I have cleaned out the cabin (powerwashed the damp floormats) and I vacuumed out the 2 cabin filters (they do need to be replaced and were dusty and gross, but I don't think this accounts for the smell... plus I Lysoled them...). Anybody have any ideas? I'm currently masking the smell with an air freshener... I have heard that A/C evaporator cores can get fungusy or drain hoses can get plugged... where are these located on the RSX? Thanks, Paul
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Sometime back in the alt.autos.volvo group one of the regulars posted his solution to the common problem of musty odor in A/Cs. The first step was to ensure the drain hose was clear (it normally drains the evaporator housing to someplace just in front of the passenger), then to turn the A/C on full cold and to spray a mixture into the cabin air intake. I don't recall the exact mixture, but the main ingredient was rubbing alcohol and I think it included Lysol. The spray would condense on the evaporator and kill mold on the surface, then run down into the drain pan and the drain hose.
Mike
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Once the drain tubes are clear, this is the remedy one of the regulars in the alt.autos.volvo group just reposted:
************************************************** Non-toxic A/C System Cleaner
Mold, mildew and fungus growth in automotive A/C systems is a common problem, especially when the air intake control is regularly set to "recirculate" or "Max A/C". There are commercial cleaners available that can control the problem, but I have yet to locate one that isn't both moderately toxic and strong-smelling. Since I'm somewhat sensitive to noxious odors and to chemicals like ammonia, I have developed an easy to mix, non-toxic alternative that, for me at least, works as well as or better than the commercial products. In the interest of a less-toxic environment and as a public service, I am posting it.
Materials Needed:
Clean adjustable spray bottle, preferably 24oz or smaller.
Cheap vodka
Apple cider vinegar
It is probably possible to use white wine vinegar, but I haven't tried it. Feel free to experiment, at your own risk. Mix the two ingredients in the bottle: three or four parts vodka to one part cider vinegar.
Application:
With the recirculate control set to "fresh", the ventilation fan on medium, all windows open ,and the engine and A/C running, spray generous amounts of the mixture into all of the outside air intakes. These intakes are usually located at the base of the windshield. If the system is already seriously moldy, wait a minute, set the air intake control to "recirculate" or "Max A/C", and spray the mixture into the air recirculate intake, usually located above the front passenger footwell, or sometimes behind the glovebox. Let the A/C and fan run for another minute or two, then switch off first the A/C, then the engine. The car will smell strongly of vinegar for an hour or two, but I find this to be both far preferable to the smell of the commercial cleaners and shorter-lived. Leave the windows open a little when finished, if possible. Like commercial cleaners, one application may not be enough, so I suggest weekly applications until the problem is gone, then preventative treatment once a month during warm weather.
Precautions:
This formula is non-toxic, but not completely harmless. Use common sense when applying it. That means not getting the spray in eyes, nose or open wounds, and not applying it with people or animals in the vehicle. Depending on the proportions (and again like some commercial products) the mixture may be flammable, so don't apply it while smoking or near any combustion source.
As with the commercial cleaners, remove any residue from painted and/or plastic surfaces after application, as it may harm the finish.
Finally, don't drive the vehicle until the vapor has dissipated; not only is there a slight potential for intoxication, there is also the possibility that this cleaner can produce a false positive on a police breath alcohol analyzer.
Copyright 2001, by Michael Cerkowski. Distribute freely, but do not modify.
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"Paul S" wrote:

unpleasant
or
Spraying the cabin filters with a wet Lysol spray probably did nothing more than bring out that Earth smell. Lysol will never truly clean the smell off.
http://home.comcast.net/~teh534/filter2.JPG
Honda Cabin Air Filter - 80292-S5D-A01 (Honda $20 Ea/2)
http://www.students.yorku.ca/~mvelic/hondainst.jpg
Take out the two tab stops on the glove box and swing it down. Then remove the gray cap cover on the right above the fan box. Be sure to look for clumps of debris built up inside. Might want to use a vacuum attachment.
Buy new cabin filters from www.hondacuraworld.com for less than the dealer. If you decide to go to the dealer, they have an outstanding leather cleaner spray. Buy the 3 can detailing kit in the black box with the NSX on the front. The spray smell is strong but will bring back the new leather smell in your RSX. The aerosol cleaner is much better than the pump bottle.
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