Camry 2004, refrigerant smell?

Hi all:
The smell in passenger compartment is like cat urine. It causes me bitter taste and tingling feeling on my tongue and headache.
I opened all doors to let fresh air in and then closed the doors. Then, 10 minutes later, the smell came back (the engine was off all the time). To eliminate the heater core as a source of the smell, I bypassed the heater core and flushed the heater core with tap water. The smell persists.
Can it be the leaking refrigerant R134? Thanks, Madison18
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dont let cats in your car or maybe your friends a peein, isnt this the fifth time you asked this question..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
testOn Thu, 30 Mar 2006 22:27:22 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Madison18 wrote:

All the tips you've been given should have covered any smell you're getting. Refrigerant shouldn't have a smell to it and if you were leaking you should see a difference in the AC and/or defrost. I think one of the tips you got before from someone about something getting in the car from a previous owner is the answer to your problem. I suggest you take it to a detailer and let them do a thorough cleaning. Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Dave:
I did dome research and found that R134a (the refrigerant) does have an ether-like odor (i.e., like urine smell). So, ,my cooling system is OK (the smell persisting even with cooling system using only pure water indicates the the smell does not come from cooling system).
I now switch my attention to AC system. I will use 2 steps: First, run the AC for awhile and hope that the spome leaking seals (if any) will work again. If the first step fails, the second step will be AC system sealer.
Madison18
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Madison18 wrote:

According to the r134a MSDS (http://refrigerant.itri.org.tw/Refprop/forane134a.pdf ) you are correct, there is a "faint" ether-like smell. If you associate that with a cat urine smell then I agree. However, the MSDS states it takes a high concentration to be irritating to eyes, respritory system and etc. It also states under these conditions the adverse effects may be long-term harmful. If you truly believe this is the problem then you need a professional diagnosis rather than a process of elimination or by trial and error. As I said before, I suspect if you were leaking enough refrigerant to warrant a high concentration in the cabin then you would have noticed the difference in the cooling and/or defrost system(s). But, to err on the side of caution, you need to get your AC system checked by a professional before you proceed any farther. If they find no problems, you can also talk with them about the different odors an AC/heating system can produce and the products available to quench them. This may help solve your problem. Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi davidj92 and all:
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Try taking a bath.
Reb

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There was a Seinfeld episode where a car got a smell they could not get rid of. A used car, so you have no idea what happened inside. Ive heard of dead people, squirrels, and mice and the smell never goes away. Maybe its in the doors! take it all apart! you will find it someday. Or get the thing professionaly cleaned.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm glad you posted this. As far as I know, the refrigerant has little odor. BUT the oil that is present in the refrigerant certainly could.
To me, polyalkyleneglycol fluids do not smell like cat urine, but they can have a sharp odor.
Polyalkyleneglycols may be used as refrigerant lubricants, and they are also used as brake fluids. (Not the same ones, but same generic chemistry.)
Recently, I noticed the smell in my Dodge van, and immediately suspected the brake booster or master cylinder was leaking. I performed the traditional tests for the brake booster, and checked the master cylinder, but everything was okay.
The brake fluid did not have a strong PAG smell anyway.
Now, I have noticed my airconditioner is no longer working. Refrigerant has leaked out. And what I was smelling HAD to have been the refrigerant lubricant.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.