BAD engine smell coming from vents when fan is turned on

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  #1  
Old 10-10-06, 08:51 AM
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Unhappy BAD engine smell coming from vents when fan is turned on

I get an engine smell, sickening, whenever I turn on the fan. I just bought this '95 Sable...(it has 69,000 miles, runs great)... from a lady who inherited it from her grandfather. She knows nothing about the possible causes of the smell. Also the AC does not work.

It's now a problem as it is turning cold here in NYC and I will need to use the heater, which does work - but with the smell comes mixed in with the heat. So to sum up, no smell with the fan off....but if I turn on the fan for unheated, or heated air, the air comes in with this smell of the engine comparment. I don't think it is gasoline smell. Please give me some ideas of things to try. Many thanks!
 
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Old 10-10-06, 08:57 AM
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Could be an exhaust leak. Does it get better if you turn the system to recirculate instead of bringing in fresh air from the outside?
 
  #3  
Old 10-10-06, 10:38 AM
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Coolant?

Do you know what coolant smells like? Some descibe it as a sweet smell. Sniff your coolant overflow bottle. If it is the same thing your heater core has a leak.

Your intake plenum can also be full of dead leaves, bird crap, mice pee or gear oil. I had a clutch put in a car once, and when i got it back the front glass was coated with grear oil and the intake air smelled like it. I think it got parked under a leaking car for a couple days. Under the wipers, your fresh air intake should be covered with some kind of screen. Pour a couple buckets full of hot soapy water through. It should drain out the bottom and may remove the smell.

Are you leaking oil onto the exhaust and sucking it into the car?

Same goes for burning/leaking transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid.
 
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Old 10-10-06, 05:31 PM
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Sounds like a bad heater core to me. Feel the floor under the heater. If it's wet, then I'd bet on a bad heater core.
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-06, 09:47 AM
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BAD smell from vents

Originally Posted by mitch17
Could be an exhaust leak. Does it get better if you turn the system to recirculate instead of bringing in fresh air from the outside?
IT DOES GET BETTER....NOT TOTALLY BUT LESS OBJECTIONABLE SMELL...HMMM....SO IT MUST BE OUTSIDE INTAKE RELATED??

i WONDER IF SEALING BETTER THE CONNECTION WHERE THE HOOD COMES DOWN ON THE LIP JUST FORWARD OF THE INTAKE VENT WOULD CUT DOWN ON ENGINE AREA FLOW INTO THE INSIDE VENTS??? pERHAPS SOME STICKY ON ONE-SIDE HOME INSULTAION FOAM STRIPS???....OR IS THERE A WAY TO ROUTE THE INTAKE FROM THE FRONT OF THE ENGINE COMPARTMNENT WHERE IT WOULD BE TAKING IN ONLY NON-ENGINE SMELLY AIR?
tHANKS
 
  #6  
Old 10-11-06, 10:19 AM
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Please take your caps lock off....it looks like you're yelling at us.
 
  #7  
Old 10-11-06, 10:28 AM
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If (repeat - if) I'm right, then you'll need to have the leak in the exhaust system fixed. Keep in mind all of the other possibilities that have been put foward here by others.
 
  #8  
Old 10-11-06, 07:51 PM
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or remove the dead mice in there
 
  #9  
Old 10-18-06, 07:37 AM
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FWIW, I have a 90 Merc wagon with a 5.0L V8 that gave me similar problems. I was getting an oil smell through the ventilation system - heater especially. Turns out the heater intake vent is near the back of the engine compartment. The PCV system was generating so much pressure that it literally popped the PCV valve out of the engine block (mine is located in the rear of the engine, nearly inaccessible), and was leaking oil out of the opening, down the back of the engine and onto the exhaust manifold.


Only way I know about the leak was a very small oil spot on the driveway. It only leaked a small amount and only when the engine was on.

Good luck diagnosing in any event.
 
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