Dashboard foam insulation

I have a 2003 Accord EX that I purchased new. Have 130,000 miles. Recently, AC started blowing foam pieces out through the vents when blower fan is on - any speed Large pieces a nuisance, smaller particles could be a real health hazard - no way to avoid inhaling same when driving, Live in Florida, AC usually on 9 months of the year, especially during the summer. Help.

This is most likely caused by an airflow door gasket deteriorating with age. The fix is to remove the AC distribution box and replace the gaskets, but that’s a very involved process which will be really expensive if you have someone else do it, and take a very long time if you do it. Most of us with older cars just live with it. The small particles won’t cause any particular (heh) health hazard. They’re not made out of asbestos or anything like that.

I agree with Shadowfax.
Unless you want to spend a LOT of money to tear apart the workings of the HVAC system on your 10 year old car, I would advise you to just bear with the problem, which will resolve itself when all of the remaining foam gaskets come loose in a short period of time.

This is a situation that is exacerbated by high heat conditions and age, and a 10 year old car in Florida certainly meets both of those criteria.

As was said, there is nothing particularly toxic in those particles, and if you just bear with it until all of the degraded foam is broken off of the blend doors in the HVAC system and spewed out, the problem will have an end point.

I spent a couple of dollars at a car wash with their vacuum cleaner when I had this problem. Just close off all the vents except for the one where the vacuum hose is applied. Repeat for all the vents. It doesn’t get all of the old foam out but it gets a lot of it.

You could replace the whole cover. J C Whitney sells these (it’s called Crash Padding, not insulation). for around $500 or so. Then add the installation.

However, I agree with others that occasionally sucking out the loose stuff makes more sense.

Doc–With all due respect–How the heck would replacing the padding on the exterior surface of the dash have anything to do with material that is being spewed from inside the HVAC system?
I know exactly what the OP is talking about, because the same thing happened with my '92 Accord, and the problem lies in the ducts and blend doors of the HVAC system.

@VDCdriver Thanks for the clarification. I had trouble imagining insulation placed INSIDE the ducts and surmised a bad fit in assembly.


The problem to which the OP refers is one where the foam seals on blend doors and other internal parts of the HVAC ducting dry out and degrade as the car ages. Then, when the blower motor is turned on, particles of this degraded stuff spew out of the vents. It is not really noticeable in the winter when using the heater, but during the warmer months, the tiny black particles spewing out of the dash vents can be pretty annoying.

As I told the OP, there will be an end-point, once all of the degraded foam has blown away, but–of course–then there will be the problem of blend doors that don’t seal properly and/or ducts that have air leaks.

On a practical basis, there is no repair solution that is cheap enough to use on a 10 year old car.

Cheap repair solution, live with it.