Getting the Stink Out

Did you spend time in the Pacific Northwest this summer? If so, you too likely have an odor problem. Our van smelled like a campfire after 10 days in the Cascades! 

 Brian with rag dirtied cleaning the van fan.

Brian with rag dirtied cleaning the van fan.

Most of the clean up is straightforward. Take the down comforter to a laundromat and wash. Clean the fan.  Wipe down all surfaces with Simple Green. Put an open container of baking soda in the living space. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. 

Given the persistence and severity of the smoky air, we also decided to replace the cabin air filter. This took a little research, which itself didn't yield clear answers. Is there even a cabin air filter in this van? If there is, where is it? And what, precisely, is "it"? I wanted part numbers and diagrams.

Well, turns out a part number and a few photos would have been sufficient. It's a simple DIY service task, and you get to pop the hood to complete it!

We found the part (Mopar 6816 9308AA) on Amazon, and it arrived in just under a week. I popped the hood, and lo and behold there was the filter: top left, behind the radiator fluid reservoir and under the windshield. 

Because I often tease Brian when he purchases special purpose tools, I will also seize this opportunity to recognize that the right angle screw driver was critical for this job. That specialized tool was a completely necessary purchase. The two screws holding the filter in the bay are accessed from the top, under the van's frame and partially obscured by the black rubber gasket surround the bay and another surrounding the engine compartment. With a standard screw driver, I couldn't find an angle that wasn't likely to strip the screws. (The red arrow in the photo below points to the bottom of the right screw.)

The good news is that all this summer cleaning worked. The van smells great now, i.e. like slightly sweaty hikers walking through a cedar forest.