Recently I have been noticing a musty smell both in the front cabin and the rear passenger area.

Posted on November 1, 2006 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

Good Morning Dr. Limo,

I have a 2004 H2 Hummer stretched to 200 inches. Recently I have been noticing a musty smell both in the front cabin and the rear passenger area. I have checked the drain hoses on the ice buckets and non are clogged or malfunctioning. The vehicle does not leak when in the car wash or when it’s raining. No water is coming from underneath the dashboard, the carpets are dry. No one has left a window open during a rain. I've looked for a wet towel under the seats with no luck. The funny thing is that I have a second H2 Hummer that is developing the same symptoms. I've checked back with the coach builder and he has never had anyone with this problem. When I leave the windows open for a few minutes the odor dissipates. This problem is driving me bonkers. Any thoughts?

John Erbis, President Five Towns Limousine Cedarhurst, NY 11516 Phone 516-374-2545

John, Do you clean your carpets with a machine? Do you store the car with the windows up? Limousines are subjected to a lot more moisture than other cars. When you have 5-15 people and a driver inside, the water vapor that is breathed out is huge. add to this several AC units that are inside the car and the condensation from the bottom of the ice bins and the spilled drinks, and the car stays wet inside, leading to an odor issue. If you clean your carets with a machine, however strong the suction is, it will leave the carpet underlayment wet. The companies I service in my area leave the windows down when the cars are stored. This allows the car to air out and helps keep things dry. I don’t know if you have used an ozone generator inside the cars, but I have found those do a very good job of eliminating odors. You did not say if you had checked the drain hoses for the AC units, but these can clog and let water get under the carpet as well. Let me know what you find.

Dr. Limo, I have a 1999 Lincoln 120" stretch. I have noticed a noise coming from the rear of the limo, at speeds between 40-60, when I have 7 or more passengers. It sounds like a vibrating noise. The air suspension seems to be working okay. I have brought it to a couple of repair shops but they cannot find anything wrong simply because there is no weight in the back when it is in the shop.

Also, I have heard a lot of horror stories about rear air suspensions. Can the rear shocks be replaced with air shocks to assist the rear air suspension?

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!

Pat Duren Limo Express 952-334-4754

Pat, I suspect that you could have a bad rear wheel bearing or universal joint. I have had 4 98-01 Town Cars that have had wheel bearing issues. In each of those, there was a residue on the inside of the wheel from the gear lube, so I would look for that. Another way you can check the car is to take it to a Jiffy lube or something like that with a pit, and have a few of the employees sit in the car while the mechanic looks for clearance issues on the driveshaft and exhaust. Make sure the driveshaft is not touching the floor when the vehicle is loaded. I had one car that the weld had broken on the floor seam and the rear seat would sag when loaded and actually touch the driveshaft of the car and make a noise. Let me know what your inspection finds.

As for the air ride system, the system is bulletproof. I have 37 cars that I service and have been working on the systems for 10 years. I have only had one airbag deploy, and it had been leaking for a while and the fleet manager of the company had not said anything to me about it. He has since revamped his preventative maintenance routine. If you have a car that starts to leak down overnight or over a two or three day period, replace both airbags at the same time as they are the same age and if one is leaking, the other one is not far behind. They are only about $150 each at the Ford dealership and usually last 100K or so. I know 300 seems high and you can replace only one if times are tight but I advise against it for reasons above. I hope this helped.

Dr. Limo, What is the expert’s word on the street regarding the reliability of the newer 120-130” Chrysler stretches vs. the regular Lincoln’s ?

I’m thinking of upgrading.

Thx, Gene

Gene, the Chrysler has only been out for a short time compared to the Lincoln Town Car, but I have only had one person that had any problems with one. His was a driveline issue and I suspect that the driveshaft either was balanced improperly, or was damaged when the car was transported. A new driveshaft section solved his issue and as far as I know he has had no other ones. I have no reason to vote against the Chrysler. Anything else I have heard has been positive. Good luck in your upgrade and let me know if I can be of assistance.

Dear Dr. Limo I just started a limo business in Ventura County. I've just been told by my insurance agent that there's an age cap for insurance and that is anywhere between 65 to 69. Would you please validate this for me? Thank you.

Respectfully, Jerry Meyer Santa Barbara Wine Tours....your designated driver! 805-985-Wines [9463] www.SBWineTour.com

Jerry, as far as I know and have been able to find out, that is correct. The ages are from 35 to 65. Any lower and the premiums are HUGE, and the same above that age. I'm sure you could insure someone older, but it would be prohibitively expensive.

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