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Exhaust smell inside car


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jcg40133
New User

Jun 1, 2018, 9:21 AM

Post #1 of 7 (108 views)
Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

I have a 1968 Buick Electra with a fairly new exhaust system. After 20 minutes of driving the inside of the car as well as my hair and clothing smells of exhaust smoke. I also get a bit of a headache. I’ve taken the car to several mechanics and they can’t find any major exhaust leaks. There is a pinhole leak in the lower manifold where a heat riser for the choke is located, but they all seem to agree that wouldn’t cause the smell inside the car. The belief seems to be the car is running too rich. Perhaps? But wouldn’t I smell it outside the car rather than inside the car? What’s going on and is this dangerous to drive?


Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Jun 1, 2018, 11:22 AM

Post #2 of 7 (94 views)
Re: Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

Yes, it is very dangerous. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause illness and even death.

Exhaust gases can come up through rust holes or missing body plugs underneath the body. It can draft up through the trunk if the trunk lid seal is bad. Missing plugs or holes drilled into the firewall that aren't sealed are prime candidates for gases to come up through. That pinhole leak could be a source, so don't disregard it.





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jcg40133
New User

Jun 1, 2018, 1:34 PM

Post #3 of 7 (74 views)
Re: Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

Thank you for your response. Three garages have all told me same thing and none of them believe the leaking heat riser is the cause of the problem; however, I feel very differently about it. The seals around the trunk are also worn out so there may be an issue here too, but there are no holes, perforations or anything of the kind in the floorboards or firewall. I’ve had the car to two general mechanics and a muffler and exhaust shop. No one seems to have any ideas or wants to even touch the car, for the most part. Any ideas on where else I might take it?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 1, 2018, 1:34 PM

Post #4 of 7 (74 views)
Re: Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

Since exhaust is an odorless gas, it's likely not exhaust that you are smelling, rather a small oil leak that is dripping onto the exhaust and burning. Because of the area that is happening the car ventilation system picks it up in the air intake and brings it into the cabin. This is pretty common.
Have them check for any oil dripping onto the exhaust.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 1, 2018, 1:57 PM

Post #5 of 7 (71 views)
Re: Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

Does the car get used and run at higher speeds even periodically? It's almost impossible for it not to leak some oil can accumulate on even exhaust manifolds and be fine until it gets warm enough burns that off with close to the same odor of "exhaust" if you will if engine is really good might just need some minor re-torqueing of things like valve covers and more.


IDK - It's so old now can only think of a list of things to check and must be good or it will be a dangerous issue or even fire if not ruled out or known good.
PCV valve, hose and grommet must all be good and tight check also especially hose into bottom of carb in the rear.
Also you can just plug vacuum hoses to air cleaner off temporarily and remove it and run engine. Look for oil inside the metal of the air cleaner and or on the filter too while there. Now also check how tight carb is to intake manifold does loosen up use a timing wrench as needed works to get at those forgot is either 9/16th or 1/2 inch IDK brand now but just saw at NAPA the one that has both in a 3 piece tool does most engines timing on the so called US cars.
Now also look for fuel leaks while there. Fuel filter is threaded into carb the threads do NOT make the seal a 1" round gasket does some might be plastic some part rubber like fail - check even if not dripping you can't wet a finger underside of the large or smaller hex of housing and line going in. Same at the fuel pump is a seal to crankcase gasses as well as a fuel pump can leak there or pump can fail to seal fuel well and still run fine.
It's near impossible but pull every trick you can to use NON-ETHANOL fuel! Sold in some places as "Equipment Fuel" or the additive that says it will cancel out ill effects of ethanol even hardware stores/home centers sell it quite costly stuff not sure it's totally effective I don't use it.
That totally matters you will NOT survive with OE gasket material with this car if you don't do something it will fail not a guess it will first gas leaks then gas on oils will be a stink machine was just the second model year all cars had to have a closed system for PCV concept mean it get fresh air that has been filtered by air filter not just vent in or out thru oil cap was common BEFORE this.
That alone is a battle to fight with if you must use ethanol fuel make a plan how to deal with it I wont expound on it more than I already have.
Not going to look but think all engines were real Buick engines marked 455-4V on air cleaner most likely great engine just a pig also OE wanted much higher real octane than you can buy normally today can still do OK with the highest octane "rating" you can find.


Good luck - ethanol has made me fix every last thing that uses gas till about 15 model years newer than this,


T



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 1, 2018, 3:30 PM

Post #6 of 7 (60 views)
Re: Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

I'll bet my bottom dollar this is valve cover gaskets leaking down onto the exhaust ports. Exhaust has no smell if the engine is running properly.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 2, 2018, 3:25 AM

Post #7 of 7 (43 views)
Re: Exhaust smell inside car Sign In

So true - oil smoking off something hot does smell like "exhaust" odor to me. OP if valve covers all were meant to re-torque if new "screwdriver" tight only any more makes them leak. Most get overtightened new you were supposed to take all this vintage back to re-torque all of those that apply after they were warm and cold several cycles they stay good for ages. Nobody seems to do that it means coming back or you aren't done if replaced maybe a few times or more now? T







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