DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.
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2008-2013 Cadillac CTS General Discussion Discussion, DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change. in Cadillac CTS Second Generation Forum - 2008-2013; Before I start I would like give thanks for the many threads in the past that have shared their info ...
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    OMG's Avatar
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    DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Before I start I would like give thanks for the many threads in the past that have shared their info along with a video in one of them even showing how to change the cabin filter. Kudos to everyone.

    The reason I am posting this is since my CTS is higher mileage (just broke 78k mi) and is officially past 5 years old now the moldy A/C smell has been noticeable in the car since I purchasd it in march. But now that it's summer I was using it constantly, even on nice days, I don't like my interior getting dirty. Top it off the Cabin filter was just sitting there for 2 months.

    Notes:
    I have also waited 3 weeks after doing this to see if the smell would come back and it still has not!
    My car was not reeking bad mildew but it definitly had that musty smell when you turn on the A/C. If your car smells like a flooded basement...this probably won't help you.
    Finally do at your own risk! I am not a professional mechanic or anything of the sort.

    Let's get started!

    Things you'll need:


    Now I for the mildew killer, I got this idea from the old can of lysol trick, but reading about it from others people say it didn't work and when I was at the store I check out the cans none of the lysol products actually kill mildew. And a quick search on the interwebs I find that that the Lysol mildew killer is bleach based. I did not want bleach flying around my interior. So after searching around I found this dirty jobs which kills and prevents growth of mildew. So for the $6.98 it was worth a try.

    As for the Fram filter. It had a rebate on rockauto and was nice and cheap. My take on it was that it is indeed high quality. Another forum member noted that it had less pleats then the OEM one. Which it did however the material was completely different. Whereas the OEM was paper based which made it thin allowing them to make more folds than the Fram is a really THICK foam/cotton fiber so it would not be able to able to fold as much anyways. It has considerable heft. With that said, I will not be buying again for this car. The heft and the material makes it very hard to work with in our car something I cover later.

    Step 1: Remove the 3 bolts and pull back the side weather stripping. It is not necessary to completly remove it.


    Step 2: Pull back the weatherstripping about halfway across the hood. If you have larger hands and arms or do not have access to a more petite set (wife/gf/mistress) then pull it all the way off to the other side or at least 3/4's of the way off.


    Step 3: Now simply remove the debris shield.


    OPTIONAL STEPS: If you have large hands and arms this may or may not be hard for you depending on the filter you get. I am not by any means large but I had a very hard time getting the the filter IN. Mainly because of the filter I chose. The materials it was made of it made it "floppy" instead of rigid and if you're not careful it will not properly slide into the two "notches" at the bottom of the air box that guide the filter in.





    As you can see if one goes in one side the other one doesn't and as you play around with it the filter gets softer and even hard to work with and since you can't actually get your hands past the opening you can't guide the filter down yourself.

    So I took a few extra steps to make the opening larger so I could get my hands down there to get fix the problem. If you have regular hands and have an OEM filter this shouldn't be a problem then skip these steps.

    Optional 1: Remove these two bolts.


    Optional 2: Remove these two bolts you will need a deep socket. They are attached to the firewall to the left of the air filter (your left)


    Optional 3: Finally you will need to remove these two bolts they are attached to the passenger side fender it is the bracket assembly for the heated washer fluid I believe. Apologies for the bad picture was kind of last minute.


    Optional 4: After you remove the two bolts there is a notch/piece that holds it preventing you from taking it out easily. But wiggle it out.


    This will open up the gap between between the the airbox and the shroud you can remove it compeltely too but I think that would take too much time and be unnecessary.

    Ok back on course:

    Now with your Air filter removed you can inspect it!




    New filter:



    Make note of the air flow:


    But first to kill the mildew!

    Step 4: Turn on the car (you don't have to turn the engine on set it to on so the fans will blow) and set the A/C and fans to MAX. Open all your windows and sunroof if available. You should feel a pretty good suction force coming from the airbox.



    Step 5: Now I procceeded to spray the crap out of the box probably didn't matter but I did a side to side motion. I did 30 second bursts waited 2 minutes inbetween to let the can cool down and the stuff to spread out a little bit. I felt I put A LOT into the system. But the can would never seem to get light. So not sure how much I used. The I could smell it pretty well sticking my head into the cabin. It actually kinda smelled kinda pleasent.



    I did about 10-15 bursts. On the last burst I unloaded a ton of the stuff and immediatly turned off the car to let the stuff sit overnight. Hopes that it would kill the built up stuff on the A/C coil itself.

    I have to say the results have made me very happy. The A/C had the smell of the stuff for about 3 days and finally went away and hasn't come back since for 3 weeks now and the air coming in always smells fresh. Pretty awesome and totally worth the time invested.

    Sorry if this seems long and drawn out guys but it honestly wouldn't have taken so long if I didn't have problems putting it back in, the whole process probaby wouldn't take more then 30 mins if I didn't run into the snag of putting the filter back in. I had to remove some pictures because of the 15 pics limit. Also if I did anything wrong our if you know of an easier way to do something please point it out! I'm all for constructive criticisim! Have a good one!
    lvdw55 likes this.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Great write up!

    Thanks, Marv

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    GM has a specific Hvac system safe odor eliminator that is used similar to how you used that other product.
    I posted the info and directions of use in this post

    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...m-product.html

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Quote Originally Posted by CTSCHICK View Post
    GM has a specific Hvac system safe odor eliminator that is used similar to how you used that other product.
    I posted the info and directions of use in this post

    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...m-product.html
    Yes I saw that but none of the local dealers had it and I wasn't about to call every dealer in town and the internet it's not widely available either. And that sunday it was so beautiful I had to do it then. I'm really suprised by the results there is no residual smell after a few days and it's been consistently fresh air smell, part of it probably because of the carbon filter. But I am very happy and it was available at walmart/menards/home depot.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Yeh it is getting harder and harder for me to find
    For future reference any GM service/parts counter computer can tell you what dealer has it and doesn't have it, They can tell which dealer has it, how many they have in stock and print that out for you along with the name of the Dealer/address/phone number and how many miles away from the dealer printing it out

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Yes, they did look but didn't find one locally. And I wasn't driving to the city to get it lol.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    I have used the Fram filter in the past but its hard to find in stores. Where did you buy the Fresh Breeze filter? I dont recalll seeing a directional flow indicator when I put mine in but that was a couple of years ago in my 08 CTS. Maybe I missed it.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Quote Originally Posted by jghiller View Post
    I have used the Fram filter in the past but its hard to find in stores. Where did you buy the Fresh Breeze filter? I dont recalll seeing a directional flow indicator when I put mine in but that was a couple of years ago in my 08 CTS. Maybe I missed it.
    All my local wally-world's have it but they want like $28 for it. Rockauto has it for $15.35 before the 5% coupon and there's a $3 MIR going on for it now too. Shipping is neligible because we do this once every 2 years and just order all our air, oil and cabin filters in bulk and save quite a bit of money on all of our cars.

    I would have completly missed it too if it wasn't for the fact that I forgot to look how it was oriented before I pulled the old one out. It was hell hidden because of th carbon pellets.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    OMG - I dont have my set of socket wrenches with me while up north this summer. What size were the screws to remove the screen? I picked up a nice set of sockets for this and future use but be damned, there isnt a standard or metric socket small enough - looks like its a 1/4 inch as my open end 5/16 wrench wont fit the screw. Thanks.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    It was 7mm which is slightly larger then 1/4" where are you located? I can mail you a spare if you need and have time.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    I exchanged my $30 set for a 1/4 inch drive set of smaller 20 pc sockets(std/metric) for $10 and found a 9/32inch that fit OK. I will check the mm size tomorrow when I do the install. Found the filters at Advanced auto nearby. Thanks again.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Will you be doing just a filter change or a mildew cleaning too? I can't imagine your '12 having any being so new.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Quote Originally Posted by OMG View Post
    Will you be doing just a filter change or a mildew cleaning too? I can't imagine your '12 having any being so new.
    No - just changing filter at a little over 10K miles and after the going through a terrific tree pollen outbreak this past spring. Talked too soon about getting filter - for some reason none of the nationwide auto parts stores carry the Fram filters. Advanced Auto would order them so I wound up getting one from a Walmart that wasnt too far off using the 'ship to store' and it worked. Of course someone had partially opened the bag the filter was in but no damage seen. I have the new GM spray cleaner and have used it often inside our cars. Still smoking. Seems to work well. No problems with odors other than that.
    Got mine done with no issues. However in my 12 Coupe, in addition to the side guide notches to keep filter in position, there are 2 curved guides at the bottom that allow the bottom of the filter to slide down into proper position. Of course after getting everything screwed back on and reattaching the molding, there's the top cover/clamp sitting on top of my engine. Damn I hate when I do that. So had to undo everything and reattach the top piece over the filter and snap it on, then I finally finished refitting the screen and molding. And yes I made sure arrow was pointing rearward. OEM filter removed had no such requirement, I guess because it didnt have charcoal and baking soda applied to filter.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    I didn't notice you updated your post about finishing the install but the two curved guides on the bottom of the box was what I was refering to in the optional steps.They are quite handy for the stiffer OEM filter but the 'floppier' Fram one tendsto get missed by the guides. Agreed on the charcoaland baking soda not sure I want that flying into the HVAC clogging stuff up. For those wondering if the charcaol is wort, absolutely' it greatly reduces smells from coming into the cabin. Most noticeably car exhaust fumes. Even the smelliest diesal trucks - nothing. Now if only they can do something about dead skunks on the road smells. Can't seem to block those. Yuck.

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    Re: DIY Moldy A/C smell removal + Cabin Air Filter change.

    Mods. How anyway I can re-edit the original post I had to move the pics around the account so the pics are no longer working.

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