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Old 11-30-2005, 12:06 AM   #1
Immerkuhl
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Default Mountain driving = burning smell

Every time I drive up to the ski areas around here I get out of the wagon and notice a smell coming from the engine bay. Almost smells like rubber/plastic overheating. I've opened up the hood and never been able to find anything obvious. Anyone have any ideas what this might be? Anyone else have this issue?

Its a 2003 2.5TS. No mods.


Thanks for the help!

-M
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Old 11-30-2005, 02:20 AM   #2
odeezie
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Is it the same smell you get from driving around in puddles? If so then it's probably just water getting into certain places? Not sure but I think I've had the same thing happen to me while playing in the snow...
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:06 AM   #3
Immerkuhl
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No its not a wet weather thing - It has happened when driving up to the resorts in the summer too. The only time it happens is when i go uphill for more than a couple minutes. Like up a mountain road.
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:22 AM   #4
Master2192
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I think thats just the smell of a hot engine. I wouldn't be worried about it as i've smelled a similiar smell after climbing a long hill with every car i've owned
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:29 AM   #5
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Check your power steering lines to make sure they are not too close to the Downpipe. I know a few people who have melted the PS line and have had to raplace it.

Hard driving-> extra hot DP-> burning PS line.

For your sake I hope that's not it. Those suckers aren't cheap.
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:36 AM   #6
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I have the same burning rubber smell when I have the heater turned up for long times. I turn it down a bit, smell goes away. You mentioned the mountains, are you drifting around a lot? could be your center diff, that's a normal smell, I get it a lot when playing around.
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:48 AM   #7
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A TS doesn't have a turbo, so you can rule out the Downpipe problem.

Are you riding your brakes?
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:11 PM   #8
Immerkuhl
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Master: I hope its just a hot engine. I never notice the temp gague going above normal when I drive up into the mountains. Just end up with that hot/burnt something smell once i get to the top.

Speedy : Its a TS so no DP.

yarr: Its never been anything I could smell from inside the car. Only after I get out of the wagon after a long hill climb. And I've smelled it during summer too. I dont think its a heater core or anything. And no playing around in the mountains for me just yet.

Mullet: Only get this problem when going up hill...so I'm sure its not the brakes.
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immerkuhl
Master: I hope its just a hot engine. I never notice the temp gague going above normal when I drive up into the mountains. Just end up with that hot/burnt something smell once i get to the top.
"Hot engine" does not necessarily describe an overheating engine, but rather one that has just been worked relatively hard for a while.

From my experiance, being irritated and sitting in traffic gives me a hot engine. I end up driving it up in the rev band and the lack of airflow over the radiator and sump raises the temps.

The extra stress being put on the engine and higher output due to hauling the weight up the hill will put more heat into the coolant and oil. You may very well have oil temps around 210-220 F and coolant up near the 200 F level (depending on airflow previous to stopping) when you turn the engine off.

Next time, let the fans cycle once or twice and see what happens.

AJ
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Old 11-30-2005, 04:45 PM   #10
chip4761
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Is this a stick? If the clutch is a little slippy for whatever reason, that would add some stink.
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Old 11-30-2005, 05:33 PM   #11
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yarrgh
could be your center diff, that's a normal smell, I get it a lot when playing around.
So you can smell your center diff? You realize the center diff is sealed inside the transmission, right? I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that's not what you smell.

As for the original poster, I can't help you. Even after pounding on my car on track I can't say I've smelled any overheating plastic/rubber small from the engine bay - just the sweet, sweet smell of brake pads.

Pat Olsen
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Old 11-30-2005, 05:34 PM   #12
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Along with what midnx03 is saying....wouldnt the oil be breaking down/burning up in a case like this, which will get you a funky smell. I say if its only while driving uphill for extended periods of time then its most likely just the engine being hotter than usual. Ever tried goin up in 3rd gear rather than D if auto or 4th or 5th if manual?
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Old 11-30-2005, 05:42 PM   #13
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I've had it too in my old 97 Outback Sport. A few miles or more in the winter, driving all uphill, and the odor would be there every time after parking. I've even had other Subaru's park next to me and note how their car was making the same odor.

Don't know what it is, but it's not uncommon. I figured it was an oil or cat issue. Never really checked the car out to find the exact source..
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Old 11-30-2005, 06:39 PM   #14
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Well what is sounds like is thats its just a Subaru thing to stink after climbing hills. No worries there as I'be never noticed any problems. It worried me the first time it happened, but nothing came of it. I just remembered it happening again because I recently drove up to Sugarbush area to do some xmas shopping.

Shoeler: Yeah i usually drive up the hills in 3rd since its mostly 30-40mph speed limits anyhow. Not too many chances to get into 4-5 until you get nearer the top.

Thanks for the comments all. I appreciate the feedback. Glad it (seems) like its nothing to really worry about.

Take care!

-M
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Old 11-30-2005, 09:39 PM   #15
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I think it's undercoat that gets sprayed onto the exhaust. My O1 Legacy had it and it took a long time to settle down.
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Old 11-30-2005, 10:42 PM   #16
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It's the uphill subaru b.o. There was a tsb about it. Apparently during uphill climbs the subarus develop an odor around the under bonnet that some describe as a burning plastic smell. One subaru was quoted as saying""Ya, you try running up a god d--m hill for over an hour and lets see if you smell like roses".

Solution: stronger intiprespirant/deoderant or try AXE for Subies. All the other cars with horizontally apposed motors come running. Don't say we did'nt warn you.



Seemed like a nice place for some humor.
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:07 PM   #17
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/\ /\
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Old 11-30-2005, 11:41 PM   #18
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Immerkuhl: I've experienced the same thing with some sort of burning smell i get after some drifting/powersliding for 5-15mins in a closed park. The deeper the snow, the stronger the smell.
I remember last year when there was 8-10" of snow on the ground, the smell was so strong it lasted for like an hour in the interior. However, Its been 3 years now and no problems at all. No worries
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:47 PM   #19
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I just found this thread after searching.. I have the same "problem". At first I thought it was my clutch, but it doesn't slip at all in 5th gear on the interstate. After I've parked at ski resorts, I've noticed a burning smell.. like burning rubber or plastic. I was a bit worried about it, and started to price a clutch just in case.. but if this is normal for everyone, I'll stop being so concerned.
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:51 PM   #20
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Maybe you're rippin up the roads and its the tyres gettin dead hot.
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Old 01-13-2006, 02:22 AM   #21
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I've started having these smells after coming home from work. I'm not sure what it is. It's a burnt something, rubber, plastic, something. It seems almost "normal" though. But, I never smelt it ever till the last couple weeks. I don't know what would be different, had the car for a year. I'm never light on my cars, this is no exception. However, I drive the same on a daily basis. The smell is new. No hills or foot and a half of snow I'm trudging through at summer speed or doing car covering donuts(never had a smell even when I did that).

It's goofy. The smell is very distinct, but it doesn't seem to be coming from any particular place. I could only assume it's the clutch as I do shift up and down a bit near my house. Still, I'm not sure why it's starting now...

I'm starting to think of it as normal. Still, I may try a few things to pinpoint it. The heater idea being one, as well as trying to limit my shifts or be light during shift points and see if the smell isn't there.
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Old 01-13-2006, 02:30 AM   #22
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The oil pump on mine pushes out a little when you beat it and it gets on the exhaust. As long as you dont wind it past 3 grand and have fresh clean oil in it, it quits smoking.
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Old 01-13-2006, 03:35 AM   #23
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When don't I rev past 3k? ...but it's not a burning oil smell.
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Old 01-14-2006, 10:50 PM   #24
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Same problem as me.. but mine is happing on the Forester so I posted in that fourm but here is the link to it..

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=918203

And it's not an oil type smell.
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:52 AM   #25
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same here. I live on top of a mountain so a good portion of comig home = scaling the hill in 3rd gear. When i get home and park it smells like someone is burning plastic under the hood. It doesnt do it when i go from home to somewhere....only when i return home and go up the hill. And its only been noticable during winter.
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