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Went to an auction in New Hampshire and scored a 2005 Xterra Off-Road model with 90,000 miles on it for $3000 bucks. All it needed to be street worthy was an O2 sensor.

HOWEVER, the previous owners smoked in it. When I hit the AC it smelled like a combination of A$$ and cigarettes.

I got to the cabin filter, pulled it out and it was covered in leaves and pine needles soaked in cigarette smell. I took out the cabin filters, cleaned the housing, and stuck a shop VAV as far down as possible. Replaced with arm and hammer cabin filters. Thought that would be the end of it. Hit the fan, and though better, still smells like A$$.

I think that since the underside of the cabin filter was jammed up with leaves and pine needles that its probably 1) open somehow to the outside elements. 2) probably has some more cigarette infused pine needles and leaves somewhere further up that the shop vac could not get to.

Anyone hear no where outside air comes into the cabin? What is between the cabin filter and where outside air comes in? And how do I get to it so I can clean it out and
enjoy the summer free of the smell of A$$.

Thank you!
 

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Smoke based smells are not easy to remove, and there are no easy fixes.
The smoke absorbs into everything and the tar base allows it to stick to all surfaces.

I would remove the new cabin air filters and the blower fan motor.
Clean the fan blades on the blower motor.

Clean the region which you removed the fan motor with Dawn dish detergent and water.

Insert shop towels into the slot for the cabin filter and as a backup a few more into the cavity from which the fan motor resides. (This will catch some of the wetness from the next step)

Pick up a couple cans of AC cleaner and saturate each of your ducts.
Repeat

choose a good carpet and upholstery shampoo and clean as directed
Repeat a couple times ( dont forget to clean under your seats)

Follow up with a odor eliminating spray.
I like the Chemical Guys Leather odor elliminator spray which can be purchased at Walmart, advance auto and other retailers.

I would use this product on your headliner, carpet, and ducts.

Reinstall your cabin filters after a spritz of the CG spray and do the same with your fan motor.

Even with all this work your probably going to notice some smells for a while afterwards, but it should improve as you use your vehicle
 

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What 'Just A Hunter' said. We cleaned my son's truck from top to bottom and everywhere in between. We cleaned all of the plastic and glass with a vinegar solution. Several applications of baking soda in the carpets and upholstery. We also ordered a product called Ozium and used it a few times. It still took about 6 months for it to be gone. Smoke is a bad thing. And to think what it does to your lungs.

You'll also want to spray a cleaner/odor eliminator in the air intake in the windshield cowl. That will help with the duct work. But be careful as to what you use so as not to discolor or damage the cowl itself.
 

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You might also consider some new seat covers. Odors like BO tend to stay in the upholstery and are hard to get out. The sun heating them up can release the odors something awful. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Smoke based smells are not easy to remove, and there are no easy fixes.
The smoke absorbs into everything and the tar base allows it to stick to all surfaces.

I would remove the new cabin air filters and the blower fan motor.
Clean the fan blades on the blower motor.

Clean the region which you removed the fan motor with Dawn dish detergent and water.

Insert shop towels into the slot for the cabin filter and as a backup a few more into the cavity from which the fan motor resides. (This will catch some of the wetness from the next step)

Pick up a couple cans of AC cleaner and saturate each of your ducts.
Repeat

choose a good carpet and upholstery shampoo and clean as directed
Repeat a couple times ( dont forget to clean under your seats)

Follow up with a odor eliminating spray.
I like the Chemical Guys Leather odor elliminator spray which can be purchased at Walmart, advance auto and other retailers.

I would use this product on your headliner, carpet, and ducts.

Reinstall your cabin filters after a spritz of the CG spray and do the same with your fan motor.

Even with all this work your probably going to notice some smells for a while afterwards, but it should improve as you use your vehicle
Thanks man, I really appreciate it. I have all the smell out of the carpets and interior, just smell it when I hit turn on the fan and AC, I'm going to take your advice and clean out the fan motor with
dawn and spray some AC cleaner in the ducts.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What 'Just A Hunter' said. We cleaned my son's truck from top to bottom and everywhere in between. We cleaned all of the plastic and glass with a vinegar solution. Several applications of baking soda in the carpets and upholstery. We also ordered a product called Ozium and used it a few times. It still took about 6 months for it to be gone. Smoke is a bad thing. And to think what it does to your lungs.

You'll also want to spray a cleaner/odor eliminator in the air intake in the windshield cowl. That will help with the duct work. But be careful as to what you use so as not to discolor or damage the cowl itself.
Thank you, I am going to follow Just a Hunters advice, will also take your advice clean out the windshield cowl.

Thanks again!
 

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Not envious..... But lots of good suggestions above, especially Just a Hunter's post.

BarefootXterra's suggestions of using vinegar and baking soda are excellent. If you slop too much or do not manage to wipe it all up afterwards, the risks of damage are minimal if not non-existent.

In recent years, researchers have been looking at the third hand health effects of tobacco smoking, the tobacco that gets stuck in clothing, wall surfaces, and furniture.

It is a nasty drug, the most deadly in human history and if panel studies of US high schools have any validity and if there is such a thing as a gateway drug, it is tobacco. Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed that people can still smoke tobacco and drive. The police keep telling us that distractions cause accidents and I do not believe that they are lying.

It is too bad that tobacco is still viewed as a familiar, family-friendly way folks hurt themselves and others.

I was in my mid-20s when I ran out of fingers and toes to count all the family friends that had died from tobacco, with alcohol providing a supporting role in a few cases.
 

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PS: One of my favorite carpet cleaners is FOLEX.
You can purchase a 32oz spray bottle at lowes for apx $6.00 or a gallon for $15.28.

This stuff works so well they could sell it on TV for $19.99

I've used it on the carpet of my home and xterra with excellent results.
 

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I have seen small ozone generators for just this purpose. Thinking of getting one to zap the winter mobile home. Set timer according to size and leave.
Dawn and vineger has been my go to. Excellent for mold removal
 

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One of my first jobs was detailing cars at a used car lot.
We tried one of the ozone odor removers and at first it seemed to work.

However, after a day or two the smell of old cigarettes would come back. (X2 in the heat of summer)
There is no easy fix.
 

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When I was shopping in 2017 for my Xterra - I found great deal - opened the drivers door- and a strong whiff of cigarettes hit me in the face. I walked away. Cleaning that out is damn near imossible. The smoke absorbs into othe plastic ducts/ vents/ carpet...it is just stunning.
 

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Went to an auction in New Hampshire and scored a 2005 Xterra Off-Road model with 90,000 miles on it for $3000 bucks. All it needed to be street worthy was an O2 sensor.

HOWEVER, the previous owners smoked in it. When I hit the AC it smelled like a combination of A$$ and cigarettes.

I got to the cabin filter, pulled it out and it was covered in leaves and pine needles soaked in cigarette smell. I took out the cabin filters, cleaned the housing, and stuck a shop VAV as far down as possible. Replaced with arm and hammer cabin filters. Thought that would be the end of it. Hit the fan, and though better, still smells like A$$.

I think that since the underside of the cabin filter was jammed up with leaves and pine needles that its probably 1) open somehow to the outside elements. 2) probably has some more cigarette infused pine needles and leaves somewhere further up that the shop vac could not get to.

Anyone hear no where outside air comes into the cabin? What is between the cabin filter and where outside air comes in? And how do I get to it so I can clean it out and
enjoy the summer free of the smell of A$$.

Thank you!
Hi I have had the same problem and cigarette smell is the hardest to get rid of.
There is one thing that gets rid of all smells with O3.
I put a link to amazon this will get rid of the smell !!


 

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Not envious..... But lots of good suggestions above, especially Just a Hunter's post.

BarefootXterra's suggestions of using vinegar and baking soda are excellent. If you slop too much or do not manage to wipe it all up afterwards, the risks of damage are minimal if not non-existent.

In recent years, researchers have been looking at the third hand health effects of tobacco smoking, the tobacco that gets stuck in clothing, wall surfaces, and furniture.

It is a nasty drug, the most deadly in human history and if panel studies of US high schools have any validity and if there is such a thing as a gateway drug, it is tobacco. Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed that people can still smoke tobacco and drive. The police keep telling us that distractions cause accidents and I do not believe that they are lying.

It is too bad that tobacco is still viewed as a familiar, family-friendly way folks hurt themselves and others.

I was in my mid-20s when I ran out of fingers and toes to count all the family friends that had died from tobacco, with alcohol providing a supporting role in a few cases.
I know this isn't the appropriate forum for my opinion, but here it is anyway:
If you still smoke in this day and age with what we know about the damage to lungs and risk of cancer, COPD, emphysema, and hardening of the arteries, you just might be an idiot.
 

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Take it to a detail shop and tell them to get rid of the smell.
Curious. What can a detail shop do that most of us cannot do given all the suggestions above?
 

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Curious. What can a detail shop do that most of us cannot do given all the suggestions above?
Think about it. They do it for a living. They know what works, what doesn't, and what is a waste of time. There is no experimenting for them. They want to get paid by a dealership and not have to worry about having to come back to do it again.

Notice you used the word "suggestions". Detail shops don't need suggestions. Time is money.

I'm a bit surprised that no one has suggested ground coffee or charcoal. Both absorb odors.
 

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x2 on the detail shop - if you are willing to pay. Not only do they know how - they have the equipment - like steam cleaners and such.

Also mentioned but not specifically highlighted - the [email protected]@ smell is likely mold in the intake plenum or A/C coils. You need to spray something in the cowl with it running and cycle between full heat and full AC to get the cleaner on the proper coils. I have used a bleach water mix - but I am sure there are better things that don't have the risk of discoloring things.
 

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Think about it. They do it for a living. They know what works, what doesn't, and what is a waste of time. There is no experimenting for them. They want to get paid by a dealership and not have to worry about having to come back to do it again.

Notice you used the word "suggestions". Detail shops don't need suggestions. Time is money.

I'm a bit surprised that no one has suggested ground coffee or charcoal. Both absorb odors.
Thank you for inviting me to think about it Brunnie. And thank you for not answering my question.
 
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