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Old 20th June 2007, 09:32   #1
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Default Bad smell after starting the car (NHC-2004)

Hello,

I need help to diagnose the following problem:
I have NHC2004, done 46000KM.
When I start the car, a really bad smell comes. I don't know how to describe the smell - something similar to that of burning rubber (not exactly, but as bad or toxic as that) or rotten eggs (I don't eat eggs, this is what a friend of mine described) or "similar" to the smell of dead rat.

I tried to carefully analyse, it does not come from the exhaust. I mean, I can smell it sometimes right at the drivers seat - if windows are open and if I take my nose closer to the front wheels. The smell seems to go away after some time (some driving, may be). I opened the bonnet when I got the smell - but no smell in the bonnet. So it may be coming from under the engne bay....

Also, smell comes even if I do not use clutch or brakes at all (I am in neutral, with handbrake engaged, I just switch on the ignition and wait...after a few seconds I get the smell)....

Also, abolutely no smoke from the exhaust.



I have done the 40K service a couple of months ago. So oil, filters, spark plugs are replaced, ijectors have been cleaned.

No drop in FE, no engine ober/under heating...

Has anyone experienced this?
Friends, can you help me solve the problem.
Please help.

I don't want to take it to Deccan Honda for the following reasons:
1. They are 25KM away from my house. By the time I reach there, the smell would have gone away and looking at their technical skills it will be hard to explain to them what's the problem.
2. They will ask me to leave the car there (this is their golden solution to all the problems in the world)
3. They will try to loot me (as always).

***NOTE*** The description of the smell may or may not be accurate as I have not smelled anything similar before, except for a couple of times when I am walking towards the office parking and someone take out their car and drive past me, I remember getting similar smell. Again very vague memory...


...HELP HELP HELP...

Mods: I searched all exisitng threads for "smell" but they were targeted at different problems. hence, please allow this thread to live and help me solve the problem.

Thanks,
Anand

Last edited by anandpadhye : 20th June 2007 at 09:35. Reason: Trying to describe the smell as accurately as possible...
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Old 20th June 2007, 09:58   #2
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check your exhaust for leak, sound like the cat con smell which is usual with mpfi cars. ensure that you dont enjoy too much of that smell and plug leaks (if any)
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Old 20th June 2007, 10:02   #3
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Could it be the AC? In case you have not cleaned out the filter? Or if there is a leak in the outlet pipe that leaves the carpet damp and the smell gets pronouned when you get into a closed car?
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Old 20th June 2007, 10:12   #4
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kumar also got a point, if so shut the blower and down the window and see.
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Old 20th June 2007, 10:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
When I start the car, a really bad smell comes. I don't know how to describe the smell - "similar" to the smell of dead rat.
I agree with Kumar, it sounds like its from the AC
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Old 20th June 2007, 10:31   #6
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Quote:
When I start the car, a really bad smell comes. I don't know how to describe the smell - "similar" to the smell of dead rat.
It actually could be a dead rat! I had a similar "smelly" problem once. Opened the hood to find a dead rat.
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:42   #7
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Thanks all.

Will investiage as you guys have suggested.

Just a couple of points:
To rule out the AC, I always shut off the AC and the blower while investigating. The problem persists. So must be something other than the AC.

About having a dead rat in the hood - in that case smell should be felt irrespective of whether the car is running or not. Isn't it?

About the cat con:

If there is a leak, the smell should persist even after a lot driving, isn't it?
Or do the leaks become less problematic once the cat con heats up to the required temperature?

NHC has a warning light for exhaust system problem. This light is not coming up at all.

Anyways, I will take this up on priority.

How to check for leaks?

And can the leaks be filled or need replacement?

What's the general life span of cat con? Can it develop problems after say 46K KM/3years (which is my case)?


Any way to confirm this myself (so that I can make an "educated" visit to Deccan Honda? - I really want to avoid the visit but...)?
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:52   #8
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burning+rotting smell, sure sign of friction maetrial (asbestos) burning off, may be clutch is wearing off, or pressure plate not ok...just a guess
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Old 20th June 2007, 12:54   #9
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Just a couple of points:
To rule out the AC, I always shut off the AC and the blower while investigating. The problem persists. So must be something other than the AC.

Yup

About having a dead rat in the hood - in that case smell should be felt irrespective of whether the car is running or not. Isn't it?

Yup

About the cat con:

If there is a leak, the smell should persist even after a lot driving, isn't it?
Or do the leaks become less problematic once the cat con heats up to the required temperature?

After warm up the smell might change, easy thing is to stand near exhaust at idle and can identify the smell fast

NHC has a warning light for exhaust system problem. This light is not coming up at all.

Anyways, I will take this up on priority.

How to check for leaks?

cover your hand with a thick rug and block the exhaust tip at idle, ensure this is done soon after your start to avoid heat/burn the car will start coughing which means the pipe is holding pressure or you will be able to hear the exhaust leak at some point

And can the leaks be filled or need replacement?

can be filled, but replacement is ideal

What's the general life span of cat con? Can it develop problems after say 46K KM/3years (which is my case)?

it will last a life time unless badly adulterated fuel was used

Any way to confirm this myself (so that I can make an "educated" visit to Deccan Honda? - I really want to avoid the visit but...)?
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Old 20th June 2007, 14:02   #10
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We had this problem with one of the Mondeos we bought for use in Bahrain. The smell was disgusting and never went away. It used to go away for a while everytime we had the a/c system cleaned (especially filters) but it NEVER ever went away. Ford tried everything, but we finally found a temp solution by getting a can of carpet freshener powder and sprinkling it liberally on the car's carpets.
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Old 20th June 2007, 15:12   #11
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Just spoke to Deccan Honda...we discussed the problem that by the time I reach their place, smell would have gone away.

Nevertheless, i am going tomorrow morning. Let's see if I can make them "smell" it.

Any thoughts on how I can make this happen?

BTW, while discussing on the phone, I asked him he suspects this to be a cat con problem.

The reply was: "nahi si, catalytic convertor ka problem rahega to ganda smell nahi aata".............
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Old 20th June 2007, 15:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
We had this problem with one of the Mondeos we bought for use in Bahrain. The smell was disgusting and never went away. It used to go away for a while everytime we had the a/c system cleaned (especially filters) but it NEVER ever went away. Ford tried everything, but we finally found a temp solution by getting a can of carpet freshener powder and sprinkling it liberally on the car's carpets.
Thanks for this.

I would have been a bit relieved if it was about the A/C or the passenger cabin.

The smell is felt OUTSIDE the car and even when the AC or even for that matter the blower is off and that car is in neutral (no clutch/brake operated at all).

No smell when engine if OFF even if blower is ON.
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Old 20th June 2007, 16:04   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anandpadhye View Post
The smell is felt OUTSIDE the car and even when the AC or even for that matter the blower is off and that car is in neutral (no clutch/brake operated at all).

No smell when engine if OFF even if blower is ON.

i think its cat con smell only, change your brand of fuel and see usually this helps
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Old 20th June 2007, 16:12   #14
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It is a burning wire or a cable somewhere below the dash!!
could be because of a loose connection/sparking or excess load on the start switch because of a starter problem!!
from what i've understood its goota be a wire insulation smelling due to melting!!
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Old 20th June 2007, 16:18   #15
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Hmm...another angle to look at!
Thanks.

My battery is now almost 3 years (46K KM) old. I mean came with the car and may be approaching it's end of life. Though no signs of problem yet...

Will this matter?

Thanks for all the help.
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