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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I constantly find myself using the recirculation feature on the HVAC in my Equinox because it seems as if even the slightest outside odors make it past the filtration and get into the cabin air. Wondering if I just have a bad filter or if the system in general performs poorly.

Also concerning the air filter....last week I had a stinky diesel driving in front of me and so I had the recirculate mode on (as usual, per above) and everything was working normally but when I set the vent to be the front windshield (wanted the AC on but not directly blowing on my face) within a few seconds I had the bad odor coming in the cabin, even though recirculate was still on. Within a few seconds of setting the vent back to face/feet the odor was gone. So does the front windshield setting bypass your settings for recirculation? Doesn't seem to be any other explanation...Again, wondering if this is something odd with just my vehicle or poor about the system in general.
 

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No cabin air filtration system is going to totally remove all strong odors coming into the car...they are designed mostly for dust and allergens. I have a sister who bought a loaded Mercedes E500 a couple years ago and she believed the salesman when he told her the cabin filtration meant that she would always have sweet smellign air coming into the car... well guess what. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
NoobNox said:
No cabin air filtration system is going to totally remove all strong odors coming into the car...they are designed mostly for dust and allergens. I have a sister who bought a loaded Mercedes E500 a couple years ago and she believed the salesman when he told her the cabin filtration meant that she would always have sweet smellign air coming into the car... well guess what. ;)
Maybe someday! :p
That said though, I bring it up because it's noticeably more pronounced than any of our other cars, which are recent GM's nonetheless...07 Caddy SRX, 09 Saturn Vue. It's not just a matter of occasionally putting it on recirculate because of a bad odor, but constantly because it seems like there is always either a stuffy or unpleasant odor. Could I be facing an early stage of that mold/mildew issue some have been having with the HVAC?
 

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vince730 said:
Maybe someday! :p
That said though, I bring it up because it's noticeably more pronounced than any of our other cars, which are recent GM's nonetheless...07 Caddy SRX, 09 Saturn Vue. It's not just a matter of occasionally putting it on recirculate because of a bad odor, but constantly because it seems like there is always either a stuffy or unpleasant odor. Could I be facing an early stage of that mold/mildew issue some have been having with the HVAC?
Or maybe it's just smellier out there :shrug: :D
 

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Plain paper filters aren't going to do anything for ordors. I put the HVAC on recirc and cuts most odors but sometimes it's too late once they enter the cabin. You have to remember too with cars once you open a door or window you replace almost all the air currently in the car. They aren't air tight either
 

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I understand the filter element was recently revised to include activated carbon. This may help with some, but not all, of the outside odors. Then new P/N is 20901295.
 

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when you use the regular air it opens the outside vents, recirc, closes it off. So if you rollup the windows and hit the recic no smells or anything will get in the car. Of course if you hit the button to late you get the smells. It doesn't have anything to do with the filter. When I run up on cars and trucks with the black exhaust I hurry and close of the vents so I don't have to deal with the smell and smoke. All the newer cars I have had work this way.
 

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nuclear1986 said:
I understand the filter element was recently revised to include activated carbon. This may help with some, but not all, of the outside odors. Then new P/N is 20901295.
The OEM part is expensive. Wonder if the price will be higher? ;D Other companies make them with Charcoal. I doubt any filter will work. The best thing is to hit the recirc button
 

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vince730 said:
I constantly find myself using the recirculation feature on the HVAC in my Equinox because it seems as if even the slightest outside odors make it past the filtration and get into the cabin air. Wondering if I just have a bad filter or if the system in general performs poorly.

Also concerning the air filter....last week I had a stinky diesel driving in front of me and so I had the recirculate mode on (as usual, per above) and everything was working normally but when I set the vent to be the front windshield (wanted the AC on but not directly blowing on my face) within a few seconds I had the bad odor coming in the cabin, even though recirculate was still on. Within a few seconds of setting the vent back to face/feet the odor was gone. So does the front windshield setting bypass your settings for recirculation? Doesn't seem to be any other explanation...Again, wondering if this is something odd with just my vehicle or poor about the system in general.
The recirculation mode cannot be used with floor, defrost, or defogging modes. If you try to select recirculation in one of those modes, the indicator will flash three times and turn off. You can also find this and more information in the owner's manual. Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions or concerns. Thank you.

Tricia, GM Customer Service.
 

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vince730 said:
Within a few seconds of setting the vent back to face/feet the odor was gone. So does the front windshield setting bypass your settings for recirculation?
^ That's the part I'm looking for someone to answer ;D
 

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To get an accurate answer vince730 will need to state...

Auto Climate Control Equipped

or

Manual (non-auto) Equipped
 

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Chevrolet Customer Svc said:
The recirculation mode cannot be used with floor, defrost, or defogging modes. If you try to select recirculation in one of those modes, the indicator will flash three times and turn off. You can also find this and more information in the owner's manual. Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions or concerns. Thank you.

Tricia, GM Customer Service.
What year, model, page and section of an owner manual did you find this information in please?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
MOCHANOX said:
To get an accurate answer vince730 will need to state...

Auto Climate Control Equipped

or

Manual (non-auto) Equipped
Manual Climate Control.

Chevrolet Customer Svc said:
The recirculation mode cannot be used with floor, defrost, or defogging modes. If you try to select recirculation in one of those modes, the indicator will flash three times and turn off. You can also find this and more information in the owner's manual. Please feel free to contact me if you have more questions or concerns. Thank you.

Tricia, GM Customer Service.
That would make sense, but is not what I experienced. I got no indication that the recirculate mode turned off when I set the vent to windshield. The indicator light on the recirculate button remained solid and the only way I knew recirculation had to have been turned off was I suddenly could smell the bad odor from outside (The AC had been on the "face" setting with recirculate before the change and no no odor was coming in the cabin).
 

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vince730 said:
Manual Climate Control.
Thanks

So far I am unable to verify what Tricia has posted...so...

We will have to wait for her to quote chapter and verse from an Equinox/Terrain Owner Manual Section which applies to Manual Climate Operation

If she is posting from some other Model's manual...I will agree...as I know that to be the case...but the flashing light DOES NOT OCCUR on my Nox

and there is no indication in MY manual...or...Chevy's Online manual...that suggests the operation works as she has posted

So we will see if she even responds...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
MOCHANOX said:
Thanks

So far I am unable to verify what Tricia has posted...so...

We will have to wait for her to quote chapter and verse from an Equinox/Terrain Owner Manual Section which applies to Manual Climate Operation

If she is posting from some other Model's manual...I will agree...as I know that to be the case...but the flashing light DOES NOT OCCUR on my Nox

and there is no indication in MY manual...or...Chevy's Online manual...that suggests the operation works as she has posted

So we will see if she even responds...
Are you aware of whether or not the flashing occurs in the higher end models with the auto climate control?


raxelgun said:
when you use the regular air it opens the outside vents, recirc, closes it off. So if you rollup the windows and hit the recic no smells or anything will get in the car. Of course if you hit the button to late you get the smells. It doesn't have anything to do with the filter. When I run up on cars and trucks with the black exhaust I hurry and close of the vents so I don't have to deal with the smell and smoke. All the newer cars I have had work this way.
I see what you're saying. However, in my case, I already had the A/C on with the vent set to face and recirculate on with no odors in the cabin before the truck was in front of me. However when I changed the vent setting to windshield (wanted A/C but not blowing directly on me) the odor quickly came into the cabin but was gone after I set the vent back to face (meaning recirculate had to have turned off). And contrary to what Tricia said, there was no indication telling me that recirculation turned off.
 

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vince730 said:
Within a few seconds of setting the vent back to face/feet the odor was gone. So does the front windshield setting bypass your settings for recirculation?
TerrainLem said:
^ That's the part I'm looking for someone to answer ;D
The answer is yes. Recirculation is only available if the defrost mode is not active. When the defrost mode is active, the recirculation actuator opens the recirculation flap and outside air is circulated to the windshield to reduce fogging. This is true with a manual or automatic HVAC system.
 

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vince730 said:
And contrary to what Tricia said, there was no indication telling me that recirculation turned off.
I'm not saying she is wrong, but I do not find that information in the Service Repair manual or the online owners manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
ChevyMgr said:
The answer is yes. Recirculation is only available if the defrost mode is not active. When the defrost mode is active, the recirculation actuator opens the recirculation flap and outside air is circulated to the windshield to reduce fogging. This is true with a manual or automatic HVAC system.
Makes sense, though confusing. When you set the vent to front defrost, the recirculate mode does turn off, BUT the system will let you turn recirculate back on once the defrost is on (that is to say all status/indicator lights tell you it is back on, even though it's technically not). Having the system do like Tricia said and give you a visual confirmation that recirculate won't work with defrost would make sense...so why doesn't it do it??
 

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MOCHANOX said:
What year, model, page and section of an owner manual did you find this information in please?
Looks like page 13 on the '11 Equinox, at least the PDF version. Haven't checked the glove box to see if its identical. But it says defrost and defog, doesn't say floor will not work.
 

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vince730 said:
Having the system do like Tricia said and give you a visual confirmation that recirculate won't work with defrost would make sense...so why doesn't it do it??
There is or was a chevy that did the light flashing. I can't remember which one it is right now.
 
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