The Most Unusual Job of the Year

This was a weird one. I’m not entirely sure how to describe everything about this one, but if anything fits the name Mechanical Malarkey, it was this job. Let’s start with the original customer complaint.


According to the customer there is a bad smell inside the car, the blower motor is noisy, and fish food may have gotten into the HVAC system. How does fish food get into the HVAC system? My only guess is that it was in an open container inside the glove box and fell out the back and dumped into the recirculation intake.


I basically just started removing as much of HVAC system as I could. I pulled the blower motor out and found a couple of the fins had been broken. After removing the blower case I found some small dry pellets that I’m guessing are fish food, but those didn’t seem to be the cause of the smell.


As I removed more of the system I found why the car smelled so bad. There was some sort of blown sludge in the bottom of the HVAC unit. What it was or how it got in there, I have no idea, but I had to clean as much out as I could. To fully clean everything I would’ve had to remove the dashboard so I could pull the main HVAC unit, but that would be an all day job. Instead I just removed the side of the unit and cleaned as far into it as I could. There was some I couldn’t reach, but I got most of it out.


After thoroughly cleaning everything and drying it all off, I put it all back together and then ran the system with a tool inside the car that diffuses a liquid that’s supposed to help with smells. I don’t think this car is ever going to smell right again, but I did as much as I could without pulling the whole dashboard.

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