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Old 08-18-2003, 08:44 PM   #1
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Default AC Condensate Leaking into Car

I had a problem last winter where a furry critter hauled in half the state'* sun flower seed crop into my '92'* heater/AC fan blower housing and up in front of the heater radiator core. (Ok, I admit, I didn't have the seed in a rodent proof container.) He never got into the car. However, an occasional seed would get blown out of the floor and AC vents. I cleaned out the blower housing by removing the fan and up in front of the heater core by removing blower motor resistors(?). (This was all accessed from the engine compartment.) There must be debris on the other side because my AC condensate now drips into the passenger compartment getting the carpet wet. I suspect the drain is plugged.
I assume the AC evaporator is right behind the heater core? Where can I access that drain hole to blow air through it and unplug it? Can I disassemble the air duct on the inside under the dash and clean it out? What'* the best way to get in there and clean it out?
How did he get into the blower area and could he have gotten on the other side of the heater core? On my wife'* care the little bugger filled the dirty side of the air cleaner half full.
The kid'* are starting to complain that the car smells like a wet dog and I'm afraid I'll have sunflowers sprouting out of the vents.
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Old 08-18-2003, 09:04 PM   #2
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Ask AcgSSEi about that.
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Old 08-18-2003, 11:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuddyduddy121
Ask AcgSSEi about that.
Hello!

Quote:
I cleaned out the blower housing by removing the fan and up in front of the heater core by removing blower motor resistors(?).
Yes, resistors...

Quote:
There must be debris on the other side because my AC condensate now drips into the passenger compartment getting the carpet wet. I suspect the drain is plugged.
Agreed...

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I assume the AC evaporator is right behind the heater core? Where can I access that drain hole to blow air through it and unplug it?
In actual fact, the finned assembly you can see through the opening where you removed the blower resistor pack _is_ the A/C evaporator core. The heater core is behind that.

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Can I disassemble the air duct on the inside under the dash and clean it out? What'* the best way to get in there and clean it out?
How did he get into the blower area and could he have gotten on the other side of the heater core?
I agree that the critters have almost certainly corked up the drain with seed shells. Unfortunately I can't think of an easy way to clear it out because I think you've got way more than the usual amount of crud in there. I mean, we're not talking a little debris that blew in over the years; _you_ had yours _delivered_.

I guess at this point you have nothing to lose by locating the drain from below the car, behind the front right wheel, and probing with a thin wire or something to see if you can dislodge the gunk and wash it out; this is the usual procedure for clearing a clogged evaporator drain. To be honest, I can't say exactly where the drain is since I've never had to look for mine; maybe someone else can help.

If that doesn't clear it out, you're going to have to operate. I don't think you're going to find any useful access from the dash side, unless the critter got in that way.

It would help if you could figure out how he got in, since that will tell us what areas he had access to. From what I remember of the engine side of the firewall, there isn't a whole lot of access through to the interior. The evaporator core is a really snug fit in the housing, and the heater core is behind that. There is a mixing door that maybe the mouse could get through... if he went in through the floor duct from inside... I dunno.

Well, find the outside drain duct, see if you can poke it clear and hope for the best. Tell us if you can find out anything more. I have photos I need to put together for a TechInfo item on replacing the evaporator core, but if you have to open it up that far, you will have to evacuate the A/C system and dismantle it, so you'll really want to avoid having to go that far if possible.
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Old 08-23-2003, 05:54 PM   #4
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ok. I was able to fish a wire up into the drain and did get a lot of gunk out. However, I'm afraid there is more there. I don't like the thought of a complete disassembly, $$$!

I noticed the drain hole is part of a plastic housing that attaches to the firewall and supports another housing that has the blower, etc. (The section with the drain hole is a triangular shaped section.) Two small screws (near the drain hole) help hold that front housing into this triangular shaped piece. Here'* my question: What would stop me from drilling additional holes adjacent to the drain hole? Or, better yet, cut out that bottom triangular section and really expose the area? I could remove the the two screws and cut out the section back to the firewall. Are both the AC and heater cores directly above this section? How much space between the bottom of the cores and the section with the drain hole? What other trouble would I get into? What do I have to lose?
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Old 08-25-2003, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone76
Are both the AC and heater cores directly above this section? How much space between the bottom of the cores and the section with the drain hole? What other trouble would I get into? What do I have to lose?
About $186.00, plus labor...

It'* like this: from your description, if I'm following you on that, it sounds like you're right under the A/C evaporator, and drilling another hole upwards may well go right into the bottom of it. If you miss that and hit the heater core instead, even better: you'll have to evacuate and dismantle the A/C in order to get to the heater core, I think. (Haven't had the pleasure of replacing the heater core, only the evaporator, so I may be wrong on the details, but basically you don't want to be doing the replacement as a result of trying to drill holes in your car.)

The evaporator does not sit parallel to the firewall or perpendicular to it; it'* sort of angled inwards slightly, with the pressure lines going in the outer end, and the inner end angled inwards towards the driver'* seat. The heater core is more-or-less parallel to that, an inch or two behind it. The back of the evaporator has (or should have) a plastic mesh screen like a piece of humidifier belt clipped to it which wicks condensation off the fins and lets it drain down, so the upper end of the factory drain hole is probably very close by.

So the bottom line is, don't go drilling holes at random up there; the results could range from pointless to disastrous, depending on where you are. If you're able to pull gunk out of the drain tube, great; just keep doing that. It'* not like there is a limitless supply of gunk to pull out; sooner or later you should be able to get rinse water coming out, and that should carry the rest of the crud with it. Good luck...
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Old 08-26-2003, 12:01 AM   #6
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"...and drilling another hole upwards may well go right into the bottom of it..."

That'* definitely a key. How much space between the bottom of the evaporator and housing with the drain hole? Can't imagine it would sit right on it. Looks like this area sits below the blower duct work and would never get any air across it.

"The heater core is more-or-less parallel to that, an inch or two behind it."

This is usefull information. I suspect this space has the gunk in it.

I'm now getting condensate dripping out of the drain hole. Hopefully it'* enough so it will stop leaking into the passenger area. I'll periodically keep cleaning it out.

I'm tempted to take a Dremmel tool and cut that bottom seciton to expose that whole are. However, as long as it works, I'll resist.
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Old 08-26-2003, 11:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone76
How much space between the bottom of the evaporator and housing with the drain hole? Can't imagine it would sit right on it.
No, and I wish I'd spotted where the upper end of the drain hole was while I had everything apart, but I'm reasonably certain it'* behind the evaporator (since the water separation screen attaches to the back of the evaporator) but in front of the heater core (since when heater cores spring leaks, they tend to pee all over your floor rather than drain out through the condensate drain tube).

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This is useful information. I suspect this space has the gunk in it.
Agreed.

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I'm now getting condensate dripping out of the drain hole. Hopefully it'* enough so it will stop leaking into the passenger area. I'll periodically keep cleaning it out.
Actually I think now that you've got liquid coming down the tube, it should flush itself out from here on. Just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't clog up again in the short term.

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I'm tempted to take a Dremel tool and cut that bottom section to expose that whole area. However, as long as it works, I'll resist.
Yes, it needs to stay reasonably air-tight if you want to get good air flow inside, and if the drain tube stays clear there is nothing else you need to do anyway. In addition, the outer cover is rubber, but there is an inner sheet-metal housing as well; a Dremel tool would really get a workout if you needed to cut that thing. (It does unbolt from the firewall for removal if needed, although a lot of other disassembly has to get done first.)
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Old 08-26-2003, 05:15 PM   #8
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Where exactly does the drain tube discharge to? If the water drips out where does it land... Does it land on the exhaust manifold?
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Old 08-26-2003, 05:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuddyduddy121
Where exactly does the drain tube discharge to? If the water drips out where does it land... Does it land on the exhaust manifold?
No, it just drains right out to the ground, behind the right front wheel. Practically any car that'* idling with the A/C running will leave a puddle of water in that spot. Watch any car stuck in traffic on a hot day (at least any of those with the windows rolled up ) and you'll see it dripping out there.
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Old 08-26-2003, 06:18 PM   #10
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Oh, I always thought that was from the accumulator, but that makes sense.

Over the last week, I developed a freon leak somewhere. When I started the car, I had something burn off from around the exhaust manifold area on the back of the engine. It didn't have an odor. I'm wondering if that was refrigerant oil from the source of my leak?

Anyway, I have so much going on the next two weeks that I think I am going to have the A/C serviced by an A/C tech. I don't have leak testing equipment.
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