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How are you dealing with infamous AC smell issue on your GLE?

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How are you dealing with infamous AC smell issue on your GLE?

 
Old 05-15-2019, 08:27 PM
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How are you dealing with infamous AC smell issue on your GLE?

Background- A lot of owners Mercedes vehicle owners living in humid states must be already aware of this well known issue- Due to bad design of the air conditioning on various Mercedes models, these vehicles emit bad odor from the air conditioner vents. This issue is observed in humid regions (like the South) in summer. The reason is that the condensed vapors leave moisture on the evaporator, and it doesn't dry up quickly enough (as compared to other cars) due to design flaws. Prolonged existence of moisture results into mold and mildew more quickly. There is an on-going class action law suit but letís not get into that discussion. I am providing some links below for reference.

There are 2 options that I see various people suggest in the online forums to keep the air from car AC from smelling like mold/mildew-

1. Switch off the AC a few minutes before reaching the destination and let the fan alone run at a high setting to dry out the evaporator core (to get rid of the moisture on evaporator core and avoid forming of mold/mildew in the first place).

2. Run the car blower on full air with full heat setting for 15-20 mins with windows open, and not using the circulate setting (to burn out the mold/mildew already formed on the evaporator core) every now and then.

I recently purchased a CPO GLE350 2018 (it is my 1st Mercedes) and observed this issue and started doing online research. I went to the dealer and they did the AC cleanup/deodorizing/flush/filter change etc. free of charge but told me that this is not covered under warranty and falls under environmental factors. I will need to spend $340 plus tax going forward, if I go back to them with this issue. They said a lot of people get it done and the issue comes back in 1 year (although people in the online forums say it is back in a few months).

People have suggested the 2 options I listed above to avoid this issue. Also, is there any DIY steps/video to cleanup or deodorize GLE air conditioning to remove mold/milder so that one doesnít have to spend money at dealership and can do at home whatever the dealer does? I can see some YouTube videos exist for other cars and people use some can sprays or Lysol etc.



We canít do much- it is what it is, so we need to suck up and deal with the issue.



Reference links-
https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/Discus...55916_ds711183

https://www.lieffcabraser.com/defect...FcFehgodUxQPqA

https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2...-lawsuit.shtml

Last edited by southernsingh; 05-17-2019 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:06 AM
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First things 1st...

1. Run the car blower on full-heat/full-fan 20+ minutes - windows closed - air recirculation function "on"

2. Find a Auto setting that's comfortable for you - which is normally a few degree's above your home or office temp since the MB system has a effective dehumidifying circuit. Max Cool is to be used for just 5 minutes or so then switch back to Auto.
"Most" of the "dirty sock smell" repeat cases have been the result of three things: A. running at a too-low-manual-temp-too long B. Running Max Cool too long C. Running Auto at too-low-too-long - the Mercedes system is quite effective and any of those three things result in a evaporator that "frost's up" (think of the frost is a old style freezer) - and when the car is turned off that frost melts and that's what leads to the wet/mold conditions.Avoid the three causes and the issue goes away.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:09 AM
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Thanks, how frequently should I do the full heat/fan thing to avoid the issue? I usually don't use auto mode and keep the temp at 72 or 74 with fan at low or medium (its comfortable enough for me) while driving in summers.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fabbrisd1 View Post
First things 1st...

1. Run the car blower on full-heat/full-fan 20+ minutes - windows closed - air recirculation function "on"

2. Find a Auto setting that's comfortable for you - which is normally a few degree's above your home or office temp since the MB system has a effective dehumidifying circuit. Max Cool is to be used for just 5 minutes or so then switch back to Auto.
"Most" of the "dirty sock smell" repeat cases have been the result of three things: A. running at a too-low-manual-temp-too long B. Running Max Cool too long C. Running Auto at too-low-too-long - the Mercedes system is quite effective and any of those three things result in a evaporator that "frost's up" (think of the frost is a old style freezer) - and when the car is turned off that frost melts and that's what leads to the wet/mold conditions.Avoid the three causes and the issue goes away.
Thanks, how frequently should I do the full heat/fan thing to avoid the issue? I usually don't use auto mode and keep the temp at 72 or 74 with fan at low or medium (its comfortable enough for me) while driving in summers.
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by southernsingh View Post
Thanks, how frequently should I do the full heat/fan thing to avoid the issue? I usually don't use auto mode and keep the temp at 72 or 74 with fan at low or medium (its comfortable enough for me) while driving in summers.
This exactly will cause the internals to freeze.
Setting the climate control to auto will alleviate some of the issues.

The main thing to help will be to turn on the ac rest feature. This will blow air when the car is turned off and dry out the internals on its own.
No more stinky socks!

Also. Switching from the mb cabin filter to when mann makes the new frecious plus filter for your vehicle will help a lot.

My vehicle has been updated a couple timea for the climate control. Running the ac rest feature, using auto and the new frecious plus filter have been the trifexta that solved it for me.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by kombifan View Post
This exactly will cause the internals to freeze.
Setting the climate control to auto will alleviate some of the issues.

The main thing to help will be to turn on the ac rest feature. This will blow air when the car is turned off and dry out the internals on its own.
No more stinky socks!

Also. Switching from the mb cabin filter to when mann makes the new frecious plus filter for your vehicle will help a lot.

My vehicle has been updated a couple timea for the climate control. Running the ac rest feature, using auto and the new frecious plus filter have been the trifexta that solved it for me.
Thanks, there is no REST button in my GLE350.

Last edited by southernsingh; 05-17-2019 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by southernsingh View Post
Background- A lot of owners Mercedes vehicle owners living in humid states must be already aware of this well known issue- Due to bad design of the air conditioning on various Mercedes models, these vehicles emit bad odor from the air conditioner vents. This issue is observed in humid regions (like the South) in summer. The reason is that the condensed vapors leave moisture on the evaporator core and it results into mold and mildew.There is an on-going class action law suit but letís not get into that discussion. I am providing some links below for reference.l
The one I marked red is a big joke piece of information. , someone seems to forget high school physics.

Any evaporator in any air-cond be it in your car or in your home which we call as indoor unit, will "juice-out" moisture aka water vapor from the air and will be wet ...PERIOD.
Where will the water/moisture be ? At the aluminum fins of the evaporator. This is a natural process of dewpoint temperature being reached when warm humid air contacts with a cold surface.
https://www.lelong.com.my/mercedes-b...-08-Sale-P.htm

Find me a car where its evaporator coil does not : leave moisture on the evaporator core

Water alone can not create mold and mildew. Water is H20. Mold and mildew are fungi.
The less one uses his car, the more humid the region is, the more spores are in the air for the region, the dirtier the ambient air of the region = more problem with HVAC system.
Sue mother nature.

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Old 05-17-2019, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by S-Prihadi View Post
The one I marked red is a big joke piece of information. , someone seems to forget high school physics.

Any evaporator in any air-cond be it in your car or in your home which we call as indoor unit, will "juice-out" moisture aka water vapor from the air and will be wet ...PERIOD.
Where will the water/moisture be ? At the aluminum fins of the evaporator. This is a natural process of dewpoint temperature being reached when warm humid air contacts with a cold surface.
https://www.lelong.com.my/mercedes-b...-08-Sale-P.htm

Find me a car where its evaporator coil does not : leave moisture on the evaporator core

Water alone can not create mold and mildew. Water is H20. Mold and mildew are fungi.
The less one uses his car, the more humid the region is, the more spores are in the air for the region, the dirtier the ambient air of the region = more problem with HVAC system.
Sue mother nature.
I just updated the post. I was not clear enough, so please go through it again. I agree all air conditioner evaporator cores get wet when used.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:45 PM
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It's not as challenging as it sounds - (1) Burn it out with the heater - (2) then use Auto more .... if you need to hit it a bit more after the burn...it you can does with Nextzett Klima-Cleaner - thru the airbox intake and in/down thru the airvents... remember when you eliminate my #1-#2-#3 causes you won't have the problem

https://www.amazon.com/nextzett-96110515-Klima-Cleaner-Conditioner-Cleaner/dp/B0002Z2MKO/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Klima&qid=1558136601&refinements=p_89%3Anextzett&s=gateway&sr=8-1 https://www.amazon.com/nextzett-96110515-Klima-Cleaner-Conditioner-Cleaner/dp/B0002Z2MKO/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Klima&qid=1558136601&refinements=p_89%3Anextzett&s=gateway&sr=8-1
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:45 PM
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Well, me being in the tropics where it is always hot and always humid , aircond is something I can not live without in the car, at home or office or public building.

Aircond servicing by real physical cleaning of the evaporator and sometime evaporator removal if needed , is part of a car air-cond maintenance.
Today's car is more complex, people do removal of the evaporator less often than say 20 years ago.
Back then we can identify cars whose owner live close to the sea by looking at the evaporator condition.

Mercedes aircond design is not flawed, its auto fresh air vent opening at certain intervals is one healthy factor which actually contribute to more water condensate forming.
The more fresh but wet/humid ambient air being passing thru the evaporator, the more water condensate one gets.

If one comes from a car which the air-cond re-circulate mode can be locked as re-circulate permanently, the air will be drier and drier and evaporator will be less "wet", but stale air one gets on a long drive.

I agree with Kombi, install the FreciousPlus. Also do what fabbrisd1 suggested.


I been trying to source this FreciousPlus locally but cant get it yet. For W212 its order number has a unique left hand drive or right hand drive variant due to a 1 way air flow required by this filter.

The main problem is : internet and those ambulance chaser type lawyers.
One spent large sum of money on an MB and expect mold and mildew to NOT enter an MB car ? Come on....get real.


This below is my drinking cup, big stainless steel size. It is bottled/mineral water from a dispenser which cools the water to approx 10 Celcius. My room temperature is at 25C with humidity no better than 70% with
air-cond running but door opened always as I smoke like a train. Now observe, this is a vertical surface which in theory water should drip down 100% and be dry ? No way way.... it wont !!
Water has a natural adhesion called surface tension. Imagine that my cup is the evaporator of a car aircond. Will this amount of water eventually harbor mold and mildew ? Sure it will if given the opportunity.

dewpoint caused water vapor on cool Stainless Steel surface


Now again imagine multiple cooling fins of an evaporator to maximize cold transfer ( actually heat absorption ) of the air , what do we get ?
More water condensate on those cooling fins.

Can we avoid water condensate on those cooling fins ? No we can't, it is physics.

Now take your wet T-shirt you wore on a sweaty tennis game in a humid city and place it in a your waterproof sport bag.
Zip the bag close and allow just 2-3cm of zipper opening to simulate a car evaporator condensate drain hose.
Keep the bag for a 2 days in a dark, humid and warm cabinet... and then open up the bag and smell the heavenly smell within.
Whose fault will it be when you smell that disgusting odor ?

I guess best to use common sense when faced with a situation coming from mother nature.
.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:08 AM
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Read this entire thread. It may change your mind. There have been class action lawsuits over this. You shouldn't have to take all of these ridiculous measures to eradicate foul odors in your vehicle.

https://mbworld.org/forums/gle-class...yone-else.html

Last edited by GLE43_Sube; 05-18-2019 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:57 PM
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Generally - a 20-30 minute "burn off" with Full Heat - Reciculation On - usually takes care of the immediate issue.

Again - Find a Auto setting that's comfortable for you - which is normally a few degree's above your home or office temp since the MB system has a effective dehumidifying circuit. Max Cool is to be used for just 5 minutes or so - then switch back to Auto.

"Most" of the "dirty sock smell" repeat cases have been the result of three things:

A. running at a too-low-manual-temp-too long

B. Running Max Cool too long

C. Running Auto at too-low-too-long -

The Mercedes system is quite effective and any of those three things result in a evaporator that "frost's up" (think of the frost is a old style freezer) - and when the car is turned off that frost melts and that's what leads to the wet/mold conditions.Avoid the three causes and the issue goes away.
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Old 05-18-2019, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GLE43_Sube View Post
Read this entire thread. It may change your mind. There have been class action lawsuits over this. You shouldn't have to take all of these ridiculous measures to eradicate foul odors in your vehicle.

https://mbworld.org/forums/gle-class...yone-else.html
Another link to show failure of understanding high school physics ?


I understand air-conditioner very well, it is a simple system. Keep it clean and you are golden.

If say the water condensate drain did not allow water out after 1 year of ownership from brand new but was good 11 months prior and no kink or pinched on the condensate hose........ the aircond system must be dirty enough to cause blockage.
This is user profile and geography dependent because it is dirt that enter the system. Dirt can come from ambient outside air and also it come from how dirty/bad the user is in maintaining his car interior.

The more dust in a car interior due to lazy owners low hygiene level for interior, no proper vacuuming of the carpet and whatever other dirty habits of the owner, those dust will eventually get into the car's evaporator.
A cabin filter is only good if it is clean, if it gets dirty it will cause high vacuum suction pressure on the blower and unfiltered air may be introduced to the blower via other small opening and eventually the evaporator gets dirtier.
The dirtier a filter gets, the slower the air velocity running across the evaporator fins and icing will occur easier. When icing occurred you basically have more water when it melts later.

Condensate water + dirt = mold and mildew and slime

In my country we do not have issue with aircond smell on MB or any US$35K+ cars, albeit our pollution is high.
We have drivers/chauffer who will vacuum and wash the car everyday when needed. Labor is cheap.
Plenty of condensation at the evaporator is a given fact in my hot & humid climate 365 days a year.
In my other daily cars for wife and kids approx 15,000KM per year per car, the cabin air filter change is like twice a year at least.

My working room will have its aircond service 4 times a year, with high pressure water spray to clean the evaps + drain hose and also the outdoor unit.
If I fail to do this, the drain will clog and aircond efficiency drops a great deal. This is because I smoke a lot and I keep the door open all the time on purpose and the room is much more dusty than my bedroom.
My bedroom can get away with twice a year aircond service and it rarely have clogged drain. I don't smoke in my bedroom.
I am located at a shie-ty very polluted part of the city, no choice, it is a busy area.

There is no such thing as MB aircond system can't drain water condensate as well as other cars. If that is the case your whole aircond box housing the evap and blower will be full of water.
In 1 hour a typical MB size car, in a humid region, its water condensate volume is not small, few liters easy.
The more powerful the aircond system is, the more condensate it will produce.

.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by S-Prihadi View Post
Another link to show failure of understanding high school physics.
I'm not going to argue with someone who's an obvious MB loyalist. Hundreds of people are having this problem and you're blaming it on lazy owners who don't vacuum their cars? UFB! It's apparent your blind loyalty prevents you from even reading the details of the lawsuit. MB has already lost to an arbitration board in South Florida and they will eventually lose (or settle) this lawsuit as well. I guess the folks on that board didn't understand high school physics either. This is about more than just odors. There is mold growing in the HVAC system!

I commend MB when they get things right, but I'm not afraid to criticize them when they don't. What about the lawsuit against MB over fires started by their heated seats? I guess that was due to excess flatulence. Oh, that's right, MB settled that lawsuit. Of course, they denied there were any problems with the wiring or the heated seats. They claim their reason for settling was to avoid prolonged and costly litigation. Sounds like the real reason was to avoid further bad publicity. Some people will NEVER criticize MB for anything. Don't get me wrong. I love my car and have no regrets on purchasing it. I don't even have this problem. But at the end of the day, it's not some chariot of the Gods that descended from heaven. It's just another vehicle manufactured by mortal men/women. It's not perfect. It has flaws just like any other brand.

I'm not going to waste time trying to convince the inconvincible. For all of you other forum members, you can read the details here:

https://www.google.com/search?q=merc...hrome&ie=UTF-8

http://www.mercedesbenzseatheatersettlement.com/

Of course, I expect a retort, because some people just have to have the last word. So go ahead and prove me right.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:45 AM
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I don't have air-cond problem on all my current or previous cars, be it German cars or Japanese or Ford because I know how to maintain them.
Just because you or someone else have a problem with their aircond and you think it is a design flaw, while I don't have a problem and I have to agree with you ? Get real.

You wrote :
This is about more than just odors. There is mold growing in the HVAC system!
Where does the mold comes from ? Mold spores are all around us all the time, the more humid the air the easier for mold to flourish.
https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-course-chapter-2

That is why I said, be clean , keep car interior clean and this will help in prevention of mold.
Don't park your car in the sun, while kids leaving drinks or food in the car.
All of my cars at home is in a very well ventilated garage, no direct sunlight and with good airflow.

I am in a country where if I leave a fresh bread, due to 80% humidity all the time, mold grow fast on bread if left on the table and not in the fridge.
I can't sue the bread supplier, it is what it is in my climate.

I am not an MB fan boy. I like any comfortable cars and more so if 300HP and above. I am loyal to a great engine torque and great handling, which unfortunately my E400 handling is not that great.


You wrote :
Some people will NEVER criticize MB for anything
Maybe some people, but not me. I hate the ECO start stop and I hate the un-defeatable aircond auto-fresh air vent. I hate the numb steering of my E400 at 110MPH above but its okey when slower.

I will repeat to you again :
AirCond system is all about maintenance and personal + ambient cleanliness.
Maintenance can be as simple as turning off the compressor and blasting fan only at high speed ( or add heater function ) to dry the evap faster and get more water out of the condensate drain hose, its your call.
As I said in my first post, due to dewpoint temperature, there is no way to avoid water condensate at the evaporator fins when aircond is running in high humidity region and when immediately being shut down.

Let's not waste time arguing.
You and I have better things to do. You stick to what you believe, I stick to my good practice on aircond maintenance which I been doing since my first car in 1983.
I think 34 years of owning cars with air-cond without smell/mold in a country this humid is a good enough proof.

.
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:57 AM
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This is a mb issue. Ignoring it just because you don't have this issue right now doesn't mean its not a legitimate issue.

Blaming it on user error for not keeping cars clean is ridiculous.

The engineers mucked it up. If you designed it so that there is mold and musty smell in the ac system under norma operating conditions ...you haven't designed it properly.
A normal person shouldn't have to go tonthe overt lengths owners have to to keep it away.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:25 AM
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YOU ARE 100% CORRECT!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:30 AM
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Now the main things to help fix te issues we have to live with is
1.change the cabin filters every year.
2. If your gle or mb has the rest function. Let it run when you shut off the car. This was removed on us gle models. Still available on older us models and non us models.
3. Run the car ac on auto as frequently as possible.

4. Burn the mold by running th r heating for an hour.

5. Have the dealer run the cleaning process they have. Make sure they do this for free.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:38 AM
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Kombi,
I have 2 friends with GLE and 1 friend with older M-Class, which I believe is the older name of GLE.
They don't have smelly aircond issue.

If there is any difference with a right hand drive version vs left hand drive version car's aircond evap system, I don't know.
All I can say is, my GLE owner friends do not have issue.

MB cars are made all over the world.
My country MBs are locally assembled for most models, they come as complete-knock-down and some are imported fully assembled ready to use.
If there are any HVAC minor design differences due US GLE vs General Asian GLE vs specific locally assembled ones, it may play a part too.

Interior car cleanliness aside proper maintenance do matters on how trouble-free one's aircond would be in the long run, more so if re-circulation mode is always chosen.
This is aside from poor ambient air cleanliness of the region. Any air handling and conditioning equipment longevity and performance do rely on cleanliness of the input air.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:38 PM
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My gl has this issue since new. The newer gl I'm looking at buying has this issue

My ml has this issue.

I have friends who have other gl and gle/ml and they all have this issue.

By your logic though, you should be having the most problems because of the air pollution in your country...and I would know. I've been there many times for work.

Mercedes tell people to replace the cabin filter at really long extended intervals. Mann. The filter company recognises this is impossible and says to replace every single year. This coupled with how people normally use the system and the engineering of it is a hot bed for this mold stuff.
I hope the lawsuits are successful.


The only way I have kept this at bay is yearly cabin filters. I use the new generation mann frecious plus filter which is supposed to combat mold and allergens and bacteria. It's worked like a charm. The oe andercedes cabin filters are garbage.
Having mercedes clean the system once a long time ago. And paying a considerable amount of money for the software updates so that when the car shuts off the ac rest function runs automatically drying out the system.

And stop with the input air being clean. It's bs and infuriating because it is so clearly tone deaf to an issue that is so widespread and apparent.
My car is show room clean. It is detailed twice a year.
The air in dc around here is much cleaner thansmog filled Delhi or manila. The car is garage kept and has an unlimited wash plan (at the detriment of its paint, but I hope the ceramic pro coating helps)
Input air is not an issue plaguing our cars.

Last edited by kombifan; 05-19-2019 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:29 AM
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This is good info Kombi, thank you.

MB Indonesia could have done or modified their maintenance regime as what you explained, on their own, knowing we are a humid and polluted country.
3 years is the standard warranty.

MB service intervals are shortened here, example on my E400 oil change is 8,000KM / 5,000 miles only and software wise it is programmed as such.
At 4 years old and 10,000KM only when I bought my used E400 last year, I inspected the cabin air filter and its new and clean, even the blower motor is clean. Zero smell.
So previous owner thru her 3 years free service + 1 year paid service at the MB authorized workshop, has done a good job.

Cabin air filter is a fast consumable here, that is the accepted norm. Its a 20 minute job for W212 if I do it myself.
I been looking for FreciousPlus cabin air filter the past few months, the local Mann Hummel dealer do not carry it yet for 2019.
Right hand drive version one is different it is FP 29005/1 slash 1 is right hand drive. Without slash 1 is left hand drive.
I like good air filter system and will upgrade if I can buy the filter element locally.

I guess we don't have much issues here due to adjustment of the service intervals matching the severity of the city conditions.
Hopefully MB in 4 season countries can learn from MB in humid tropical countries when it comes to HVAC system mold/mildew menace.

Next time you come to Jakarta , take the Silver Bird taxi when off work.
They use E-class W212 and C class W204 about 500 of each , feel/smell their aircond. No GLE class though.
I often use their E-class if going to the airport for 6AM 1st flight.

My car paint work get detailed every 2 months exterior wise at a detailer shop. I don't like ceramic coatings.
Washing is a daily thing if rainy season or 3 times a week at least during dry season due to ambient dust is very high.
Interior wise my driver clean it daily , I have extra mat above the original MB one and that is being cleaned daily and overall interior vacuumed few times a week.
I don't like "slippery" interior, my driver detail the interior and those black rubber/plastic of exterior once a week with Meguiar stuff.

I don't play golf or soccer or any kind of activities where I may carry ground soil/dirt or grass into the car from my shoe be it kept at the trunk or while driving it.
What I do is diving and I use special dry box to keep the wet gear from wetting the trunk carpet.

The only contamination I do is smoking in the car, but only at speed and not while at bumper to bumper traffic because buses here produce disgusting black diesel smoke
due to poor maintenance and poor diesel quality they choose, it is cheaper and not the Euro 4 grade one.
Two windows I will open fully when I smoke , front where I sit and rear opposite end + the pano roof open sometimes 1/2 way and I set to outside fresh air intake.


Well, good luck with the US law suit for those on the bandwagon.
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Quick Reply: How are you dealing with infamous AC smell issue on your GLE?


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