Strange smell with air recirculation on -no ac- - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 21 Old 11-01-16 Thread Starter
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Strange smell with air recirculation on -no ac-

After i changed the pollen filter I've noticed a weird smell that occurs when the air recirculating is turned on. The smell reminds me of petrol, plastic, white spirit or something like that. I've not used my AC at all as it's cold winter here.
What could it be?
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What is your engine type???...
For 22JTS where exist well known place for petrol leak.
For 19JTDM DPF regeneration smell may be really nasty. It comes from wet outer lining smolder. Same for 24JTDM.
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(Post Link) post #3 of 21 Old 11-01-16 Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply.
It's a 1.9 8v jtdm. What does "wet outer lining smolder" mean? Where is it located and why is it only present when recirculation is active? What can be done to fix this?
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(Post Link) post #4 of 21 Old 11-01-16 Thread Starter
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Just to clear, the smell is always present when the recirculation gets turned on. I usually leave it in auto, and when the red circle gets lit, the smell occurs.
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Any other suggestions on this topic?
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It could be the fan controller. it is mounted down beside the passenger footwell. The smell, to me, is like TCP. It is caused because the plug connection becomes loose, gets hot and starts to melt the plastic which then smells as I have described.

In the passenger footwell below the glove box is a piece of hard backed carpet held in by two thumb screws. Remove he thumb screws and that releases the carpet. That reveals the heater blower; at the front and between the blower and transmission tunnel is the resistor. It has two cables attached and is held in by two 5.5mm hex headed screws (5mm is to small and 6mm to large) so make sure you have the right size socket before starting.
Remove the connectors and then the screws. When you drop the screw behind the carpet a standard self taping screw or similar will suffice to replace it!
Now on my wife's car the heater had smelt of burning for a while but I did not need to renew the resistor. It seems that a poor contact between the black cable large connector and the connector spade on the resistor was the problem. A careful bend on connector improved the contact and and voila all working and no TCP smell! 20mins job done.
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(Post Link) post #7 of 21 Old 18-01-16 Thread Starter
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OK, thank you. I'm not familiar with TCP so I can't say if that's the same smell. I'll investigate a bit further, but I can't figure why the smell occurs when recycling is turned on.
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I thought that I would add a few pics to the threads on heater blowers not working or strange burning / disinfectant smells when it is switched on.

These show where the component is, how it is held in (I dropped a screw down behind the carpet the previous time I attended to this so the cross head screw replaces the normal 5.5mm hex headed screw.)

Under the glove box on passenger side the carpet is held in place by two large plastic nuts that are undone with your fingers, remove these and the carpet under the glove box pulls down and out towards you to reveal what is in the photos. Front right is the item that must be removed. In the early photos (due to poor light) it looks almost black but it is actually blue. Remove this, clean and close the connectors and refit.

Note1: some are so badly burnt that they can't be repaired this way.
Note2: this blue item has a heat sink built into the other side (note shown in the pictures) and that will get hot enough to burn your hands if you run your heater with it out.
Note3: the original hex headed screws are 5.5mm. 5mm is too small and 6mm is too big. 5.5mm or 7/32" if you have one!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandlbarrett View Post
I thought that I would add a few pics to the threads on heater blowers not working or strange burning / disinfectant smells when it is switched on.

These show where the component is, how it is held in (I dropped a screw down behind the carpet the previous time I attended to this so the cross head screw replaces the normal 5.5mm hex headed screw.)

Under the glove box on passenger side the carpet is held in place by two large plastic nuts that are undone with your fingers, remove these and the carpet under the glove box pulls down and out towards you to reveal what is in the photos. Front right is the item that must be removed. In the early photos (due to poor light) it looks almost black but it is actually blue. Remove this, clean and close the connectors and refit.

Note1: some are so badly burnt that they can't be repaired this way.
Note2: this blue item has a heat sink built into the other side (note shown in the pictures) and that will get hot enough to burn your hands if you run your heater with it out.
Note3: the original hex headed screws are 5.5mm. 5mm is too small and 6mm is too big. 5.5mm or 7/32" if you have one!
Hi kandlbarrett, many, many thanks for your description and photos. The resistor on my 159 sportwagon died on Christmas Day, but is now up and working.

As a note, I used the identical but much cheaper and easier to find Renault Laguna II unit. It's made by Hellux with a part number 100093 (or the Renault part number is 7701206541).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuonGiorno View Post
What is your engine type???...
For 22JTS where exist well known place for petrol leak.
For 19JTDM DPF regeneration smell may be really nasty. It comes from wet outer lining smolder. Same for 24JTDM.
Hi BuonGiorno, i see that this post is quite old, but i have decided to try my luck

Where is that well known place for petrol leak on 2.2 JTS? Im looking over the internet, and cant find any post. I have petrol fumes smell in my cabin while stationary and with heater on. Driving at low speed or high speed doesnt, dont have this isssue.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandlbarrett View Post
I thought that I would add a few pics to the threads on heater blowers not working or strange burning / disinfectant smells when it is switched on.

These show where the component is, how it is held in (I dropped a screw down behind the carpet the previous time I attended to this so the cross head screw replaces the normal 5.5mm hex headed screw.)

Note3: the original hex headed screws are 5.5mm. 5mm is too small and 6mm is too big. 5.5mm or 7/32" if you have one!
Hey Kandlbarrett, this is so valuable and it's crystal clear where to find it and how to remove it. Many thanks for your guide!

However, I am not able to remove the large black connector from the resistor - as you've done it in the last picture. I tried to pull but only moves like ~1mm and doesn't come out. Is there any clip that needs to be pushed in order to release the connector from the slot? I cannot figure it out.
I am thinking that if it moves ~1mm, then it's not really melted together with the resistor.

The bad smell started like 1 week ago and after 4 days the fan stopped working... so after reading your posts I manged to reach the connector and just moved it a little bit and then the fan started working again.
But now I'm worried that this is just a temporary fix and there will be more damage soon, if I cannot remove and clean the area, eventually reworking the connector contacts.

@Everyone:
- I am suspecting that this might have something to do with the battery. I replaced my old dead battery of 70Ah/640A with a slightly more powerful one: 78Ah/760A right the day before the smell started to come out during driving to work.
Do you think this could be a valid reason? My car is a saloon 159 2.4JTDm 200PS - 2006

Thank you all!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandlbarrett View Post
I thought that I would add a few pics to the threads on heater blowers not working or strange burning / disinfectant smells when it is switched on.

These show where the component is, how it is held in (I dropped a screw down behind the carpet the previous time I attended to this so the cross head screw replaces the normal 5.5mm hex headed screw.)

Under the glove box on passenger side the carpet is held in place by two large plastic nuts that are undone with your fingers, remove these and the carpet under the glove box pulls down and out towards you to reveal what is in the photos. Front right is the item that must be removed. In the early photos (due to poor light) it looks almost black but it is actually blue. Remove this, clean and close the connectors and refit.
Hi Kandlbarrett, Many thanks for the useful guide with photos. My air-flow started smelling one week ago and after 4 days the fan didn't work anymore -> but your post helped me identify and make it work again by moving a little bit the large connector.

However, I'm convinced this is just a temporary workaround and I'm afraid tomorrow it will start smelling again and then stop. So I tried to remove the connectors and take out the resistor in order to clean all contacts and have a proper fix.

But I cannot remove the large connector. How have you done it? Is there a clip to be pressed or some other trick?


Thanks in advance for your valuable help!
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There will be a clip to press on the side where there is a cut out,however if you have the electrical arcing going on the terminal is probably welded to the resistor so might take some force to pull if off.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhelan View Post

As a note, I used the identical but much cheaper and easier to find Renault Laguna II unit. It's made by Hellux with a part number 100093 (or the Renault part number is 7701206541).
This whole thread has been terribly useful. Thank you. Mine died last summer and I had a rather expensive Alfa one refitted. Within a couple of months it started to fail and has now stopped altogether. I fiannly removed it today following this thread. The Neg terminal is black and the blue plastic has been melted. The plug connector is totally carbonised probably dating back to the old resistor that gave up the ghost. I've ordered the Laguna resistor but also managed to find the loom on eBay so I can replace the plug with a new one: the part number for this is HR71WIR. I hope that might be useful for others
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I had that odd disinfectant smell on and off for quite a while before the wiring finally completely melted and shorted out.

The problem turned out to be that the fan motor had gone tight causing it to draw too much current which in turn eventually damaged both the wiring and "resistor". So it's always worth checking that the fan runs freely before replacing the wiring loom and or "resistor", especially if you get that strange smell.
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Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
I had that odd disinfectant smell on and off for quite a while before the wiring finally completely melted and shorted out.

The problem turned out to be that the fan motor had gone tight causing it to draw too much current which in turn eventually damaged both the wiring and "resistor". So it's always worth checking that the fan runs freely before replacing the wiring loom and or "resistor", especially if you get that strange smell.
Thanks - I have checked by running spider wires from the connections to the resistor spades and the motor runs fine - it's all held together with duct tape and a wedge for now until the new plug arrives. At least I can demist my windscreen in this rainy weather now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandlbarrett View Post
I thought that I would add a few pics to the threads on heater blowers not working or strange burning / disinfectant smells when it is switched on.

These show where the component is, how it is held in (I dropped a screw down behind the carpet the previous time I attended to this so the cross head screw replaces the normal 5.5mm hex headed screw.)

Under the glove box on passenger side the carpet is held in place by two large plastic nuts that are undone with your fingers, remove these and the carpet under the glove box pulls down and out towards you to reveal what is in the photos. Front right is the item that must be removed. In the early photos (due to poor light) it looks almost black but it is actually blue. Remove this, clean and close the connectors and refit.

Note1: some are so badly burnt that they can't be repaired this way.
Note2: this blue item has a heat sink built into the other side (note shown in the pictures) and that will get hot enough to burn your hands if you run your heater with it out.
Note3: the original hex headed screws are 5.5mm. 5mm is too small and 6mm is too big. 5.5mm
or 7/32" if you have one!
Thanks, for your such valuable advice & support regarding this issue, I have just saved 300, thanks to your good self.
After reading your report, did exactly this, replaced the part, only 30 ( eBay) came in 24 hrs,
All working.
So called Alfa / Fiat specialists in CF, absolutely dreadful service,& so rude wanted 400 fitted!!

Just go's to show.....
Thanks again to Alfaowner.com & all of your members, Amazing.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandlbarrett View Post
It could be the fan controller. it is mounted down beside the passenger footwell. The smell, to me, is like TCP. It is caused because the plug connection becomes loose, gets hot and starts to melt the plastic which then smells as I have described.

In the passenger footwell below the glove box is a piece of hard backed carpet held in by two thumb screws. Remove he thumb screws and that releases the carpet. That reveals the heater blower; at the front and between the blower and transmission tunnel is the resistor. It has two cables attached and is held in by two 5.5mm hex headed screws (5mm is to small and 6mm to large) so make sure you have the right size socket before starting.
Remove the connectors and then the screws. When you drop the screw behind the carpet a standard self taping screw or similar will suffice to replace it!
Now on my wife's car the heater had smelt of burning for a while but I did not need to renew the resistor. It seems that a poor contact between the black cable large connector and the connector spade on the resistor was the problem. A careful bend on connector improved the contact and and voila all working and no TCP smell! 20mins job done.
Thanks for the pics but how do you release the connectors from the resistor pack?
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Originally Posted by Maurio Brazzi View Post
Thanks, for your such valuable advice & support regarding this issue, I have just saved 300, thanks to your good self.
After reading your report, did exactly this, replaced the part, only 30 ( eBay) came in 24 hrs,
All working.
So called Alfa / Fiat specialists in CF, absolutely dreadful service,& so rude wanted 400 fitted!!

Just go's to show.....
Thanks again to Alfaowner.com & all of your members, Amazing.
Thanks for the pics but how do you release the connectors from the resistor pack?
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(Post Link) post #20 of 21 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Thanks for the pics but how do you release the connectors from the resistor pack?
I tried for ages with the resistor in situ and didn't succeed. Once I had it off and in sight I got it off I seem to remember that it had a plastic tag that you push in with a small blade screwdriver and then it pulls off. I still have the old ones at home and will look - if they are photographable I will upload something. I had to give them a pretty hard pull as they had melted and fused to the spades in the end
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurio Brazzi View Post
Thanks, for your such valuable advice & support regarding this issue, I have just saved 300, thanks to your good self.
After reading your report, did exactly this, replaced the part, only 30 ( eBay) came in 24 hrs,
All working.
So called Alfa / Fiat specialists in CF, absolutely dreadful service,& so rude wanted 400 fitted!!

Just go's to show.....
Thanks again to Alfaowner.com & all of your members, Amazing.
Thanks for the pics but how do you release the connectors from the resistor pack?
It's quite simple,
With unit undone and hanging out, use a torch & slip a screwdriver in the clips , ( the push tight style)
Once unlocked, a small pair of thin plyers to pry out of fan body.
These obviously have been there since life of vehicle, so will be tight to pry of , once done , it's simple how new unit fits ,
Just ask if you get stuck,
This is THE Place 👍
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