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  1. #1
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    Burning smell????!!!

    Got a 1.9 roadster and it has started to produce a burning smell. The car only has to be driven for a few minutes and the smell starts. With the roof down and at traffic lights with the wind in the wrong way its bad. Have checked for anything stupid like things being left on the engine, got no oil leaks etc. but what is it? I think it may be the clutch but what do you guys think?? Has anyone else experienced this issue?

    Thanks in advance


  2. #2
    Terry - Highwayman II
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    Re: Burning smell????!!!

    I think you are probably guessing correctly.

    Possibilities are:

    Burning wiring...very distinct smell, and smoke.
    Oil leaked onto manifold or somewhere...distinct smell, possibly not visible location.

    CAT problem? You didn't mention any CEL.

    Any telltale white smoke from exhaust?

    Clutch...seems a good bet, but again, burning clutch has pretty unique odor.

    ANY other out of the ordinary symptoms?

    Terry

  3. #3
    Francois
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    Re: Burning smell????!!!

    I had one of my break calipers start to bind, and that would create a burning smell.

    The way to verify this, is to drive around a little and then compare the heat coming off the four wheels. If one is noticeably hotter than the others, then you probably need a new break caliper on that wheel.

  4. #4
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    Re: Burning smell????!!!

    You mentioned you didn't see any leaks - I assume you mean from looking at the engine/transmission from above. I found on my 318ti that the transmission was leaking where the shift linkage goes in and was seeping/dripping onto the catalytic converter. Fluid had also saturated the sound shield material on the tunnel above the tranny, and the shield was drooping because of the extra weight of the fluid and consequently was touching the converter (just a pencil eraser-size piece of material, but touching nonetheless). Needless to say I took care of the sagging shield to prevent a fire by cutting off a large piece of it and resecuring it to the tunnel. I intend to replace it when I take the tranny out to replace the seal.

    Note that I did not notice any oil spots on the driveway under the tranny: I noticed the leak while under the car doing an oil/tranny fluid/differential fluid change. The tranny doesn't leak enough to worry about losing too much for tranny operation. The rear end, on the other hand (well, that's another story for another day).

    Good luck, let us know what you find out.

    Ernie Peters
    2000 steel grey 2.3 5spd
    1996 318ti arctic silver 5spd
    1963 Avanti R1 pale yellow automatic
    1956 Chevy 150 big block hot rod black automatic

  5. #5
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    You'd better be careful about that....

    I once rebuilt the transmission to our shop Mazda B2000. It seems the transmission had a slow leak that no one noticed untill it burned up and spun one of the bearings. Manual tranny's will run on next to no oil untill they burn out. better keep a close eye on it now that you know.

    Ja_

    A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood!
    My Auto Page

  6. #6
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    Don't forget those plastic bags blowing....

    ...across the road. They wrap around the exhaust system, melt on to
    it and smell for days.L'Supreemo
    CEO of the Upper East Side Locos - the Kinder, Gentler Gang

  7. #7
    CodyR
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    Happend to my wife's 325 one time. (m)

    I found that a plastic cover that held some wires in place on the top side of the fire-wall had come off and fallen down onto the exhaust. I removed the remains of the plastic and chipped the melted portion off the pipe to remedy the smelly problem.
    I was surprised and relieved to find that piece of plastic on the exhaust because it smelled very much like electrical wires burning. I was relieved that I was not facing a bigger problem. I hope you're as lucky as I was.

  8. #8
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    You are absolutely correct, thank you. (m)

    In 3,000 miles (the time between oil changes and tranny/diff fluid checks), the tranny leaks to about 1/4 inch below the fill plug. Not too rapid a loss, but it's always in the back of my mind. I just don't have the desire to pull the tranny at this point. I have a new engine (454 cu in) for my hot rod Chevy waiting at the machine shop and am trying to focus on collecting the remaining parts I need for the assembly and installation.

    The differential, on the other hand, has begun to leak almost 1/2 the fluid out between oil changes. I replaced the worst seal yesterday (passenger side) but had a hard time removing the driver side output flange. There's circlips that hold the output flanges in place, and the driver side is hanging up on its circlip. It can wait until I can get it on a lift later this month and have more room to work on it - it just seeps a little bit, nothing like the passenger side did. I don't want to ruin the limited slip differential because of a lack of fluid, but I think the worst of the leak is fixed.

    By the way, the ti has 118,000 miles on it. I hope the Z3 holds up as well. If it needs work, I will probably already have practiced on the ti, it's a very similar car and in many respects the same. I've completed the instrument cluster bulb replacement, handbrake adjustment, and replaced one of the rear output flange seals. I'm about ready to tackle the window slide replacements (see Perry's earlier post) on the ti, and who knows what else. Not a bad learning tool for $3,400.00! ;-)

    Ernie Peters
    2000 steel grey 2.3 5spd
    1996 318ti arctic silver 5spd
    1963 Avanti R1 pale yellow automatic
    1956 Chevy 150 big block hot rod black automatic

  9. #9
    chunky1
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    no smoke at all. Thanks for all advice people.....

    will check again this weekend. It smells to me like burning plastic or rubber so ill have to have another look!

  10. #10
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    You say days. I had a plastic grass fertilizer bag from the landscaping company where I work blow under the car and "stick/melt" to something (exhaust pipe/catalytic converter---i didn't get under to look). I pulled it off, but i suspect some is still stuck, because the smell hasn't gone away. Could something still be stuck on there?? It's been months and the smell is still present.
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