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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've checked into this over the summer and the dealer confirmed that in a 2010 GMC Terrain when you have the system in Recirculation mode -- No matter what the other settings are, -- that the A/C cycles on periodically because they were worried about moisture buildup.

I completely understand the AC cycling when I put it on defrost mode (Most cars I've ever had did that) but I can't understand why for Recirc?

Anyway, my question here is twofold.

1) when I first press the recirc button when I'm driving, there's a nasty smell that comes out that smells like I stepped in something. More than a moldy smell, or dirty sock smell, It smells like I'm driving by a refinery... I just had the air cabin filter replaced and I have observed water dripping from under the car after I've parked it, so I don't believe the filter is bad or the drain tube is blocked. Besides the other recommendations on this board to spray lysol inside the vents (not sure where the best spot to do that is, or if lysol affects leather or the rubber air vents?)

2) There was a section in the manual that I read that said not to use the Air Conditioning under a certain temperature or it can cause permanent damage to the compressor or Air Conditioning system. Now how would you suppose I do that if there's a bus that's driving in front of me blowing nasty black smoke, it's 10 degrees below zero and I put recirculation on? The AC compressor is going to cycle on to remove moisture from the inside of the car, and I don't want to have the AC system will break and then have to pay the dealer to fix it because I "turned the air on" during a cold day.

Btw - I did ask the dealer and they stated there is no way to disable the AC coming on when I put Recirculation on. I don't know of anyone else that wants to breathe bus fumes when driving, so please let me know what I can do for both of these questions!

Thanks.
 

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You generally get that smell because there is mold and mildew on the evaporator which generally comes from leaving the recirculate button on with the ac during the summer months. If you do drive around with the recirculate button on you should turn it to fresh air a few minutes before the end of your trip so the condensation can dry up. Once you got the smell it is really difficult to get rid of.
 

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If you have vehicle in recirculate mode, then restart car, it will default back to exterior air mode.


Edit...
i am wrong ...you can leave it in recirculate mode. I tried it. ::)

e You cant leave it in recirculate unless you manually turn it on everytime you start car.
You cant "Leave it on all summer" All your exhaled air would be staying in cabin. It would be most noticable in damp weather or when transporting several passengers.
If drain tube was blocked no water would drip from vehicle and you might be getting a wet floor inside. A brief bad smell can be normal but there are different ways to
deal with it if there is not a blockage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
nemesis04 said:
You generally get that smell because there is mold and mildew on the evaporator which generally comes from leaving the recirculate button on with the ac during the summer months.
I'm a little upset because I had to have two trips to the dealership for them to even tell me that the AC was running with the Recirc button on and the AC button OFF and the information console showing the AC was OFF. They tried telling me that it's cooler inside the car which is why it's blowing colder air when on recirc and it's drier air because it's on recirc. When I asked if the loud clicking noise that I hear when I press the button is the Compressor kicking on, they had to research it and then said - yes, the AC runs with recirc on.

Now with that said, I was almost all the way through the summer and the smell was here. There is nothing in the manual that I can find that states the AC runs with Recirc on - and I'm frustrated that the information display shows the AC OFF. (It says "AC OFF") when it's clearly running. I typically let the fan run for a few minutes after turning the normal AC off, but not realizing it was running with recirc on, now I have the smell.

Is there any real way to deal with this? Yes, the smell only occurs when you first turn the AC/recirc on during that trip. The longer you go in-between uses the worse the initial smell is. It's tougher to have the smell with recirc on btw.
 

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offto said:
I'm a little upset because I had to have two trips to the dealership for them to even tell me that the AC was running with the Recirc button on and the AC button OFF and the information console showing the AC was OFF. They tried telling me that it's cooler inside the car which is why it's blowing colder air when on recirc and it's drier air because it's on recirc. When I asked if the loud clicking noise that I hear when I press the button is the Compressor kicking on, they had to research it and then said - yes, the AC runs with recirc on.

Now with that said, I was almost all the way through the summer and the smell was here. There is nothing in the manual that I can find that states the AC runs with Recirc on - and I'm frustrated that the information display shows the AC OFF. (It says "AC OFF") when it's clearly running. I typically let the fan run for a few minutes after turning the normal AC off, but not realizing it was running with recirc on, now I have the smell.

Is there any real way to deal with this? Yes, the smell only occurs when you first turn the AC/recirc on during that trip. The longer you go in-between uses the worse the initial smell is. It's tougher to have the smell with recirc on btw.
You can use Klima-cleaner which is a foam that you spray into the center vents. It has a tube that you extend down and spray. Dealers offer this service but charge big bucks to do it. It will have a citrus smell initially but will subside with time. The smell is definitely coming from the evaporator.
 

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most cars- when sitting at idle in gear- lets say at a red light--
and the ac compressor comes on-- youll hear, feel a click... you may also see the tach needle slightly dip.
but yes- my 2003 trailblazer, 2007 Impala, and 2010 Traverse all run the compressor when recirculate is on.

if you dont want the bus exhaust smell...
you can temporarily turn off the fan- and hit the recirculate button.
this will in essence close the valve/blend door that allows air in from the outside.

but youll want to turn on the fan soon as I would think under certain temps youll fog up...

I was under the impression that GM cars- the AC compressor is set to NOT run when it reaches a certain low temp- so as not to damage the AC system.
 

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You generally get that smell because there is mold and mildew on the evaporator which generally comes from leaving the recirculate button on with the ac during the summer months. If you do drive around with the recirculate button on you should turn it to fresh air a few minutes before the end of your trip so the condensation can dry up. Once you got the smell it is really difficult to get rid of.
Which is very true. A friend on her Terrain experienced the same thing. We smelled something funny on the A/C vents when driving last around last summer. We took her Terrain to a GM Garage and we found molds and mildew on the A/C Evaporator[/color] area.
 

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Removal of the odor is covered by warranty. I would also ask the dealer to turn on the afterblower module. I had to do this on my malibu. The blower will come on for about 2-4 minutes after the engine has been shut off for 30 minutes, if the A/C was on. The idea is to clear out left over moisture in the HVAC case.

The A/C compressor will not come on if the evaporator temperature is less that 38° F.
 

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On my 09 Honda, one of my favorite DIY mods disabled the AC from automatically engaging on defrost. You just had to pop one of the center console access panels off, reach in with some long needle-nose pliers, and unplug a cable/connection. Was pretty easy to do. I wonder if there is a way to do this on the new Equinox/Terrain.....disable AC from the recirculate function. I would do this in a heartbeat.

The next time someone gets a peek at the back of the HVAC panel in these vehicles, see if there's an extra connector going to the recirc and defrost buttons.

Anyone have some schematics or Helms info regarding this?

Thanks.
 
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