Author Topic: Old car smell  (Read 360 times)

raueda1

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Old car smell
« on: 14 March 2019, 03:23 PM »
You know, that kind of vaguely mildewy smell that seems to be a feature in old German cars (and maybe others too, I dunno).  It's not strong or exactly unpleasant but quite distinct.  Interior is absolutely dry, it's not mildew from any recent leakage.  Is there a cure? 
-Dave
Now:  '76 6.9 Euro
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

irvine

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #1 on: 14 March 2019, 06:23 PM »
DONT get rid of the old car smell....

Best smell in the world apart from e85 and going through a big power engine. Most car enthusiasts I know work hard to keep that old car smell.

Neil.

TJ 450

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #2 on: 14 March 2019, 09:31 PM »
They always smell like that no matter what you do, it’s a combination of all the materials used including the leather and seat materials.

Tim
1976 450SEL 6.9 1432
1969 300SEL 6.3 1394

Diesel 617

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #3 on: 14 March 2019, 10:19 PM »
Here is what I was planning to try in the 280SE, first stop water getting in, otherwise a deep clean will have been good practice. The other important part to replace is the horsehair. It gets brittle and makes a dusty mess and carries its own distinct scent.

Seal front and rear windshield corners on outside with silicone under gasket, across entire bottom.
Remove floor carpets and deep clean/ steam clean
Deep clean glued carpets, re-glue if needed
scrape off old flaking paint, then soap and water wash, hand dry
Reseal with por-15
Reinstall cleaned floor carpet.

The trunk will need the same procedure, in addition to replacing the trunk seal and tail light seals (still available)
1980 300SD Retired
1979 280SE Euro Spec Import Crank Windows and Cloth Seats


Inventory Price
1980 450SEL/SE 722.004 Trans 150kmi ($50)
1978-1980 300SD Trans 260k mi $50
-2 450 Pairs + 300SD pair bad boots Axles $25/45
-3.07 450/300SD Differential $30

Peter

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #4 on: 15 March 2019, 04:56 PM »
The smell reminds me of my Grandmother  :D

nathan

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #5 on: 15 March 2019, 05:27 PM »
unless your carpets are filthy, id be careful with the steam clean. I had my excellent condition carpets steam cleaned as I had the interior out to replace a console. they went crunchy and completely lost their soft feel.  in the end I replaced the whole carpet interior as it was so unpleasant to me!
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ptashek

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #6 on: 16 March 2019, 09:11 AM »
They always smell like that no matter what you do

No, they don't. It's all the felt insulation that soaked up moisture over the years that causes these smells. Best way is to either get rid of it, like I did in my W116, or use an ozone generator to "fumigate" the car like I did with my W124.

Ozone generators are commonly used to sterilise AC systems. After 10 mins with an ozone generator in the cabin, my 280TE no longer smells like an old, wet dog.

Do it once a year, and life's good.
1993 "Pearl Blue" W124 280TE
1979 "Icon Gold" W116 450SE (history, resto)
1977 "Milan Brown" W116 350SE (parted out)

raueda1

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #7 on: 16 March 2019, 11:25 AM »
They always smell like that no matter what you do

No, they don't. It's all the felt insulation that soaked up moisture over the years that causes these smells. Best way is to either get rid of it, like I did in my W116, or use an ozone generator to "fumigate" the car like I did with my W124.

Ozone generators are commonly used to sterilise AC systems. After 10 mins with an ozone generator in the cabin, my 280TE no longer smells like an old, wet dog.

Do it once a year, and life's good.
Hmmmm...    Can you elaborate on which felt insulation exactly?  The pads under the floormats are dry as a bone and floor mats have been fully steamed cleaned.  Thx,
-Dave
Now:  '76 6.9 Euro
Before that:  1966 230S, 1964 220SE coupe, 1977 Carrera 3.0

daantjie

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #8 on: 16 March 2019, 12:03 PM »
This stuff, Damprid works pretty good, you can leave one in the trunk and one on the floor in the cabin  Just  make sure to keep it secure and upright:

https://www.amazon.com/DampRid-Moisture-Absorber-Activated-Charcoal/dp/B01B6N3SP8/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=damprid&qid=1552762885&s=gateway&sr=8-9

Daniel
1977 450 SEL 6.9 - Astralsilber

ptashek

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #9 on: 16 March 2019, 12:38 PM »
Quote
Hmmmm...    Can you elaborate on which felt insulation exactly?  The pads under the floormats are dry as a bone and floor mats have been fully steamed cleaned.  Thx,

The large felt pad under the rear seat, and the pads under the centre console, along the driveshaft tunnel. The horsehair pads in the seats are also major moisture and mildew trap.

Daniel' suggestion of an activated charcoal dehumidifier/purifier might work long-term as well, as the mildew/mold spores will get trapped as the air circulates around it. The fungus itself won't be killed, only the spores.

I think ozone can also kill the live fungus, as it's just a highly reactive form of oxygen and will penetrate deeply. Probably a question for a microbiologist though :)
1993 "Pearl Blue" W124 280TE
1979 "Icon Gold" W116 450SE (history, resto)
1977 "Milan Brown" W116 350SE (parted out)

Diesel 617

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Re: Old car smell
« Reply #10 on: 17 March 2019, 03:01 PM »
In addition to everyone else input, another great tool I use is called Ozium. https://www.amazon.com/Ozium-Air-Sanitizer-Original-3-5/dp/B000CSWCAG

Just don't breath it in, spray one burst into the car before you park it for the night or however long.
1980 300SD Retired
1979 280SE Euro Spec Import Crank Windows and Cloth Seats


Inventory Price
1980 450SEL/SE 722.004 Trans 150kmi ($50)
1978-1980 300SD Trans 260k mi $50
-2 450 Pairs + 300SD pair bad boots Axles $25/45
-3.07 450/300SD Differential $30