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2008 Outback Wagon LL Bean Limited 2.5i
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835 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This morning i was startled when i saw small plumes white smoke coming from the driver and passenger side front vents for the AC/Heater. The ones located on the dash. There was no smoke coming from the center vents or none that i noticed. I immediately stopped, fearing something was on fire in the engine compartment. Popped the hood, and didn't notice anything. I then got back in started to drive and switched the AC controller to recycle the cabin air. No smoke, and then i switched it back to outside air no smoke. Car is a 2008 LL bean Limited

1. Where is the air inlet for the cabin located?

2. what could have caused the smoke? It didn't have a distinctive smell. Water vapor?

3. Why did the smoke only come out of the drivers and passenger vents? Is there a pic showing how the ducts are routed somewhere?

Thanks all for any help
 

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'13 2.5 Premium
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2,398 Posts
I think the fresh air intakes are generally at the base of the windshield, below the wiper blades.


Are you sure it was smoke and not water vapor/condensation from the A/C and very humid air?


Not sure how the vent system is configured, different vent selections open and close airflow to different outlets.
 

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2005 Outback R LL Bean 3.0 H6 w/ 5 speed sport shift
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597 Posts
This is from another thread titled below:

Vent expelling vapor when AC ON

My right center vent on an '05 intermittently expels a visible cloud of what seems to be water vapor when the AC is on. Does anyone have any experience with this type of thing?

Looks like this is somewhat common. You may want to read all the comments on the thread....
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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952 Posts
If it's sweet smelling, it's probably a leak in the heater core [bad]. No scent is probably condensation [not bad] although most of that should simply drain down the vent. Maybe in a super humid environment like MD, it can form a cloud which will be expelled when the fan is turned on. The telltale clue would be the odor or lack of it.

Do you typically keep your air selector on fresh or recirculating?
 

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2008 Outback Wagon LL Bean Limited 2.5i
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835 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
If it's sweet smelling, it's probably a leak in the heater core [bad]. No scent is probably condensation [not bad] although most of that should simply drain down the vent. Maybe in a super humid environment like MD, it can form a cloud which will be expelled when the fan is turned on. The telltale clue would be the odor or lack of it.

Do you typically keep your air selector on fresh or recirculating?

I keep it on auto but that translates to fresh usually for this car. I prefer recirculating. It did rain alot last night so it might explain the condensation. There was no detectable odor.
 

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2007 2.5 L Obsidian Black Outback XTL
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603 Posts
It could just be fog.. The air coming out of the vents can be 40-50 F and if the inside of the car is hot and humid (like a dew point >70F as it has been across large areas of the US this last week) then you will get fog. Just like opening the door on a freezer and the cold cloud comes out.

But to answer the question regarding where the air comes in to the car, it is on the passenger side, right in front of the windshield, where the windshield wiper parks.. Down in that grilled area there is a vent that has a cover over it, the air goes downwards and in to the top of the heater core/ evaporator cores for the HVAC system.

On some models that has caused problems because water can sometimes get in to the car from that area. Normally any drips or leaks will go straight through to a drain tray that has a hose attached to it that runs down along the transmission hump and to under the car. If that drain gets plugged you can get a water leak in to the passenger footwell.
 
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