smoke coming from air conditioner vents? - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
 
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#1 Old 10-06-2010, 01:46 PM
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smoke coming from air conditioner vents?

yesterday i was driving to work and i noticed what looked like a little bit of smoke coming out of the middle air conditioning vent. the system wasnt on in any mode (heat a/c or vent) i dont know for sure that it is smoke and i could be refrigerant or maybe even vapor from the heater core though i doubt it. (it was about 45 or 50 degrees out and the smoke didnt start until the truck was at operating temp. but there wasnt any coolant smell to the vapor). has anyone else had this happen? does refrigerant have a sort of acidic smell when it gets released?
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#2 Old 10-06-2010, 04:49 PM
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You mentioned it was cool out. Was it humid also? If there wasn't any smell it could have possibly been humid air passing the warm heater core. I've had cars in the past that did that.

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'73 Challenger 5.7 727,
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#3 Old 10-06-2010, 04:58 PM
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it was cool out. i guess if there was condensation on the heater core and it was vaporized it could create a misty vapor when it hit the cooler air of the cabin. the only think is it has a somewhat acidic smell too it. not sweet like antifreeze, so i dont think it is a leak in the heater core but i cant figure out where the acidic smell would come from.
after i posted i saw a couple of "related links" and one of them described a similar condition but there was not a diffinitive cause... the poster only indicated that it went away when the fan was turned on and the post seemed to die there.
i guess i will watch and see if it keeps happening. i havent been on a long enough drive to see if it goes away once the car gets a little warmer.
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#4 Old 10-07-2010, 05:04 PM
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ok. i ran it longer this morning to see if the smoke dissipated when the cabin got warmer. as usual the smoke started about 5 minutes after the truck was started. after about 20 more minutes of running, and slightly warmer temps this morning, the smoke seemed to stop coming out. i tried to see if i could get any condensation to form from the smoke with a very cold piece of metal in the smoke, but no luck. it really does smell more like smoke than vapor, but the fact that it stops once the cabin is warm definitely supports the vapor theory.
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#5 Old 10-07-2010, 05:21 PM
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It's kind of a long shot but there is a drain hole in the heater box. If it were clogged (bee's, mouse nest?) the condensation would accumulate in the box and get musty (the smell?). The water could be condensating creating the smoke until warmed up. Check the drain. It's in the firewall, engine side, lower passenger side. If it were freon it would have all leaked out by now. If it were antifreeze you'd recognize the smell. That's all I can think of.

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#6 Old 10-12-2010, 06:36 AM
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More than likely it's the heater core going.

99 Durango 5.9, FT 4x4, IP stage III w/ K&N air hat, M1, MOPAR PCM, Fastman TB, 1.7 RR, JBA headers, Borla cat back, Martin Saine valve body, Hotchkis swaybars, Blistein shocks, lowered 2" Black Rhino Kenya wheels, 246. 7 RWHP, 319 TQ
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#7 Old 10-12-2010, 02:39 PM
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ok. i checked the drain hole and there isnt anything clogging the area. also, when i drove it later in the day after it was about 75 degrees outside for a while. there was no visible smoke, but the same smell started to come out of the vents and the area seemed unusually warm considering that the heater (or the rest of the ac system) was not on. it really does smell like burning electronics. kinda like the smell a running home stereo amplifier makes when you smell the top of it.... but stronger!
is there anything inside the air distribution system that has an exposed resistor or something that would be activated even when the system is entirely turned off? otherwise i guess i will just have to wait until a fuse blows!
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#8 Old 10-12-2010, 03:09 PM
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Again, heater core........

99 Durango 5.9, FT 4x4, IP stage III w/ K&N air hat, M1, MOPAR PCM, Fastman TB, 1.7 RR, JBA headers, Borla cat back, Martin Saine valve body, Hotchkis swaybars, Blistein shocks, lowered 2" Black Rhino Kenya wheels, 246. 7 RWHP, 319 TQ
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#9 Old 10-12-2010, 03:16 PM
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after reading about how hard that sucker is to replace i sure hope you are wrong!!!!!!
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#10 Old 10-12-2010, 11:07 PM
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I've gone thru THREE resistors and the last one is going - only have 2 speeds & one blower motor (2002 4.7 'D'). Didn't get smoke but sure got the burning smell your describing. It's not too hard to pull the plug on the resistor (passenger side under the glove box - you'll have to contort yourself to look up under the dash to find it)to see if it looks burnt (mine did) and then two 10 MM bolts to take the resistor out and smell it. IF the blower motor is starting to go then you may get smoke from the dying motor OR from the resistor heating up to much feeding too may AMPS to the motor.
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#11 Old 10-13-2010, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil F. View Post
Again, heater core........
I with you on this.

That's the way it starts.... just a tease... a little puff here and there.. then BLAM

I'm on my 4th one!

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Loaded - gray leather interior
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Owned since January 2003
PAID FOR!!

Factory Tow Package, Limited Slip, Factory Running Boards (removed), Clear Corner Lenses, Cold Air Intake, Monroe sensa-traks, Firestone Destination AT's (2nd set), Moog ball joints, Wheel skins, Slotted-Drilled rotors

Items fixed/replaced: ball joints (twice), PCM, 2 lock actuators, battery, heater core (3 times!), HVAC vent door, wheel bearings (twice), all speakers, rebuilt transmission, starter, intake gasket, rear drums, u-joints, front 1/2 axle, Intermediate steering shaft, Speed sensor, Pinion seal, Water Pump, coil, fuel pump, New rear differential, CV Joint, Radiator, Throttle Position Sensor
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#12 Old 10-13-2010, 10:16 AM
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Do a search on the blower resistor. lots of info here. and the simplest of the 2 fixes, does your blower fan still work?

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#13 Old 10-21-2010, 10:12 AM
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i have a sneaking suspicion it is the heater core just because it only happens in the morning when it is cool and it only starts happening once the water temp is about 1/4 of the way up the gauge. since warm afternoons produce nothing i am guessing it is more a vapor issue than a smoke issue.

if it is the heater core, i have to say that i am disappointed in the quality of the oem heater core unit. i have three other cars that are between 26 and 20 years old and with at least 200k miles on all of them and they ALL have their original heater cores! this truck is 10 years old and has 110K. Needless to say i will NOT be buying a dodge replacement part. does anyone have any advice on who makes a QUALITY heater core replacement?

however, i will definitely check the resistor if it can possibly me from taking my whole freaking truck apart! would the blower resistor smoke even wen the a/c system is fully in the off position?
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#14 Old 10-21-2010, 10:20 AM
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Heater core failure is not uncommon across many vehicles. It's not a Chrysler issue.

The resistor is utilized to control the fan speed. It's not just the AC. There is no power going to it if the fan is off.

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#15 Old 10-21-2010, 10:49 AM
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The blower motor is always on, even when you switch is off. Manufacturers learned that leaving them off causes mold buildup inside ducting, leaving the fan on (while key is on, started) allows the circulation of system, since there always coolant flowing thru heater core or high humidity areas.

How is the level in your coolant reservoir? you been needing to top it off every week?

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#16 Old 10-25-2010, 10:07 AM
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dizzy,

interesting note on the blower and resistor. i will check that out. it doesnt seem like there is any flow coming to the ducts though. is there a bypass door in the system somewhere that allows the fan to run without putting pressure in the ducts? the smoke/ vapor is very wispy when it comes out and doesnt look like it is being pushed in any way.

as for the coolant level, i checked it this week and it is normal. no significant loss to note. given that the amount of vapor is see is relatively small i dont know that it would make a difference in the coolant level for this short a time though.
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#17 Old 11-01-2010, 10:31 AM
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it was the heater core! i bypassed the core this weekend and the smoke/ smell disappeared. guess its time to schedule a dashboard removal!
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#18 Old 11-01-2010, 10:38 AM
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Glad you worked it out.
Thanks for the update.

'86 D150 5.7 545RFE,
'73 Challenger 5.7 727,
'73 Cuda 5.7 727,
'72 Charger 5.7 904
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