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  #1  
Old 09-15-2020, 01:45 PM
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2003 X5 E53 smells like glue on start

The blowers smell like glue when I start the car for the first several minutes, after some time it goes away. I did notice a drip/crack in my washer nozzle, but I have fixed that but the smell is still there. Coolant level is perfect and full. Not sure what else, nothing is leaking and wiper fluid in the tank is not leaking. I wonder if my cabin filter is decomposing, but when I take it out it doesnt smell or look abnormal. any thoughts?

I put a good amount of money into this car this year... hoping this is an easy fix. I need to get a few more years out my sweet girl!
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2020, 02:14 AM
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Does it smell stronger on one side more than the other? If so it be from a leak in the A-pillar drain on that side or if from center console rear vent a broken seal for shifter linkage or spillage from cupholder there.

That's all the odd or abnormal ones I can think of if it's not coolant pinhole leak.

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Old 09-16-2020, 07:28 AM
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It's definitely coming from the front center vents. Odd. Doesnt seem to be much about this online. I dont think it's my heater core bc no coolant lose at all.
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:59 AM
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Does it smell moldy? Use the AC a lot? Is the condensate water from the evaporator core draining away properly?
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:00 AM
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It's most likely the A/C evaporator or heater core leaking. You won't notice the drop in coolant level. Most shops that work with this type of thing will recognize the smell right away. You might try checking the A/C drains under the car for clues.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:38 AM
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No definitely not moldy. I smells like glue... like some sort of adhesive. I have been using the av all summer, but that's just about over. I will see soon if the heat is working. Maybe I can deal with it by not using the blower for first few minutes of driving. To let the smell dissipate. This all only started back in April when the car was sitting due to covid. Seems to be getting worse a little though.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:40 PM
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A/C refrigerant (R134a) smells a bit like butane.

Just sayin'...
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Old 09-16-2020, 06:28 PM
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When R12 was no longer available as an automotive refrigerant, people were using a cocktail mix of Butane as refrigerant to get back AC into their cars.
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BMW 525IT Sold
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:12 PM
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So today I got it. Blower off, drove like 5 minutes. Turned on fan and it smelled, so the short drive didn't flush it out. I think I had the setting to allow external air come in. Hmmm regarding the refrigerant. That could possibly be. My system was low and I filled it higher about 6 weeks ago and the car smells a lit since then. I didn't connect the two so not sure about exact timing if these are connected. Maybe I will evac the system and see if the smell goes away. Think my evap coil is leaking? I'll put some 134 in a bag and see what it smells like. Maybe it's a gas leaking out into the vent system while the car 8s sitting.
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:09 PM
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R134a is heavier than air, so a leak can leave pockets of it sitting in the footwells, deep in the vent systems etc. When you turn on the blower, it gets moved about. It dissipates pretty quickly and once it's gone, the leak is possibly too slow to leave a detectable smell. Until it sits again....
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