Burning smell from wheels


Old 12-08-04, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: USA
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Question Burning smell from wheels

I've been experiencing a strange "burning" smell coming from what I think is the wheel wells of my '95 Camry after driving for 15-20 miles and parking in my garage. Had new dealer break pads installed and rotors trued about 6-months ago, but only recently began noticing the smell. Also, don't know if this is related or not, but I'm hearing a rattling/clunking sound coming from the left front of the vehicle, most noticibly when going down a bumpy hill and turning to right (shocks?). Any possible insight would be greatly appreciated, as always.....

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Old 12-08-04, 03:30 PM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
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I would suspect a CV problem. The noise might be a failing CV joint and the smell might be from grease being spit out of a worn boot. If the CVs are original you are probably due. If you do them, do both sides and go with the entire shaft assemblies.

At that age (my wife has a '95 Camry, 4 cyl), you might also have some minor oil seepage past aging seals that is finding its way to the exhaust system. My wife's is doing that now and I've narrrowed it down (I think) to seals in the timing belt/oil pump area. I've also had to replace seals on the distributor shaft (left end of head) and the cam seal at the right end of the head. You'll need to do some poking around to try and isolate the problem.
Old 12-08-04, 03:53 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Boynton Beach Florida
Posts: 2,207
I would suspect a caliper problem. The rattling may be the caliper bolts worked loose and the smell is likely a brake dragging for reasons you'll have to investigate. Next time you smell it, put your hand close to each of the four wheel and see if one is giving off heat.
Old 12-23-04, 08:59 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,045
Yea..Like Desi said...put your hand CLOSE to...but dont touch it. That happened to my mx6 once, the RR caliper was ceasing up..and actually noticed some smoke coming from the RR .. I investigated..and touched the caliper. It was HOT..and I got a blister to prove it!!
Old 12-23-04, 05:33 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Minnesota
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For what itís worth. I agree with Desi & jatco I would suspect / check calipers first. I'd also look to see if the CV joint is slinging grease like the tow guy said, could be both?
Old 12-23-04, 06:46 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,045
....many ppl have said to replace the whole CV joint and axle, but personally I dont think that should be necessary in all cirmustances.
When I noticed 'grease' around my RF CV joint, I had just the CV boot replaced and re-greased thr hub. Did not need a whole axle. Depending on how long you've been riding around with a compromised cv joint is the issue.
If detected in a short period of time, just replacing the boot should suffice. It did for me. But Im always looking at the ground and under my (and my Mrs') car looking for potential problems...
Just my $.02 worth!!

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