Bad smell coming out of the air conditioner

Tiny
ROBINS2489
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 FORD EXPEDITION
  • 5.0L
  • V8
  • AWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 141,000 MILES
So I started smelling like a fishy ish smell coming out of the air conditioner and it gets worse if you leave it on. But it still has the smell coming from it even with it off, and we noticed that something is leaking onto the wheel well and dripping making a puddle. And it smells like the same smell. What is my problem here?
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 AT 8:02 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sounds like the heater core is leaking and you have "embittered" antifreeze. I can't smell so I don't know what the embittered stuff smells like, but that came around in the mid '90s to keep animals from drinking it.

Look under the hood on the passenger side of the firewall, near the bottom, for a black 4" long rubber hose with a 90 degree bend hanging down. That's where the water from the air conditioner drains from and makes a puddle on the ground. If you see engine coolant dripping from that hose, the heater core is leaking and must be replaced.

If you're not losing coolant too, you might just be seeing the "condensate" making the puddle, The evaporator in the dash is what gets cold when the air conditioner is running. The humidity in the air condenses on that and is collected in a drip pan, then it drains onto the ground from that hose, typically just to the left of the right front tire. That hose can become blocked with leaves and other debris. If that water stands in that pan for a while, mold can start to grow, and you'll smell that. Dealerships and most auto parts stores have a sanitizer with an odor killer that can be sprayed into the ducts to address that.
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Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 AT 8:51 PM
Tiny
ROBINS2489
  • MEMBER
The liquid is like a yellow ish color and it's oily, it's coming out of the drivers side though not t
he passenger. Plus the car isn't overheating or anything could the heater core be the issue still if the car doesn't overheat?
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Thursday, May 28th, 2015 AT 7:33 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It's not the leaking heater core that causes overheating. It's the low coolant level that is caused by the leak.

You might be seeing power steering fluid but that normally doesn't have an unusual smell associated with it. You need to have a live person look at the fluid and crawl underneath to see where it's coming from.
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Thursday, May 28th, 2015 AT 2:58 PM

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