'03 Taurus 3.0 OHV wagon antifreeze vent smell, defog not working

I have had an occasional antifreeze smell coming from the vent in my subject mentioned wagon, but today the smell became overwhelming and the defog/ defrost doesn't work. Would appreciate thoughts on what to test/
look for. Thanks.
Also, thought I would mention this as it may or may not be related.... the AC in the Summertime has difficulty retaining charge. I usually have to recharge 2x a Summer to retain AC cooling capability.
Thank you, Bill
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On Fri, 11 Dec 2015 12:17:51 -0500, Bill Baxter

Yhe two issues are likely unrelated - but the fact you are loosing refrigerant and havig defrost problems points to 2 problems in the same area. Your AC evaporator is leaking, and oil from the AC has likely soaked around both it and the heater core, trapping dirt which has also trapped moisture and rotted out your heater core. Get them both replaced. This is one occaision where "stop leak" products will NOT solve your problems.
Heater core and evaporator are both in the heater housing, so doing both at once will save you some labour.
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On 12/11/2015 01:36 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Wow, how much is this likely to cost? How would I know if it's one or both problems? I just watched a video where a gentleman replaced his heater core on the same car as mine, and I think I could tackle that job. If the evap is right there, I could do that too, but what about recharging/ bleeding/ purging the AC? I'll be it's not as simple as a gauged charging can after evap replacement.
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On Fri, 11 Dec 2015 15:00:29 -0500, Bill Baxter

You may be able to handle the physical replacement, but I would strongly reccomend having an expert evacuate, test, and recharge the AC.
How do we know you have both problems? Well - the heater core is obviously leaking if you get the sweet smell and fogging on the windsheild - particularly if the windsheild gets a sticky, oily type of film on the glass. The AC is also loosing charge - and one of the most common causes of that is a leaky evaporator. To be sure you would need to have a freon detector stuffed into the heater box, or UV die put into the AC system and run for a while so you could detect the leak by UV light when you open the heater box. The Vulcon 3.0 iron head engine is bad for rusting up they system, causing core problems.
See
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6b1GaRQAJY
for the best tutorial I've ever seen for the heater core.. At about 7:34 you can see to the right of the heater core is the upright evaporator case that needs to be removed. I have not found a tutorial for that - but while you have it apart to replace the heater core is the time to replace the evaporator as well. The part in the USA is available for less than $60. - actually both the heater core and the evaporator are about the same price. The heater core is a couple hours of work. A couple more hours are required to do the evaporator., and all of the labour required to do the heater core is duplicated if you need to replace the evaporator afterwards.
I can almost guarantee when you get it apart the evaporator will be oily and dirty, and the heater core will have anyifreeze stains on it - and the foam around the core will be saturated. The dirt sticks to the oil that is circulated with the refrigerant and leaks out with it.
You will also want to replace the receiver drier when you replace the evaporator but that needs to be done immediately before vacuuming the system and recharging it to prevent it from absorbing moisture. It is another $60 part. All "O" rings should also be replaced as they also have a habit of leaking on these vehicles (there are "O" rings on all of the "quick-release" fittings.
Having a shop do the whole job will be $1500 or more. You can save yourself up to $1000 if you are mechanically inclined and take your time to do it right. (That's 10 hours at $100 shop rate).
The job will also require a small bottle of ester refrigeration oil (you use it to lubricate all of the "O" rings, and the technician adds it to the system when recharging) I think the original oil is POE, but I would use ester for replacement
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On 12/11/2015 11:17 AM, Bill Baxter wrote:

Before you get carried away inside the car, look under the hood when you smell the smells and see what it smells like there. There are tons of places for coolant to leak under the hood too. The degas tanks can crack causing intermittent leaks. Coolant hoses and T's can leak. water pump can leak. radiator seems can leak.
make sure its NOT under the hood and the fumes getting sucked inside the car.
bob
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