Burning smell inside the car with heat on
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Thread: Burning smell inside the car with heat on

  1. #1
    NECO Member
    Join Date
    2001 Apr
    Posts
    378

    Burning smell inside the car with heat on

    This afternoon, on my way home from work, I started the car and let it warm up for a minute as I usually do. However, today was a rather wet, rainy day and when I started the car there was a very odd whistling/whirring noise coming from the alternator area. After about 10 seconds the noise lessened and then, eventually, went away. At first I was really concerned but I explained it away, to myself, as the alternator being wet and just drying out (whether that's the reason or not has yet to be determined). I started driving and as the car warmed up I turned the heat on and there was nothing unusual, yet. As I stopped at a light, I noticed a strong burning rubber-type odor building up in the car. There seemed to be nothing unusual (other than the odor) and but I pulled into a parking lot, shut the car off and opened the hood. I couldn't smell anything under the hood so I thought that the smell might have originated from a car around me. I continued home with the heat on and every time I stopped the car it would fill the stench of burning rubber. If I turned the heat off there are no offensive odors in the car.

    This leads me to believe that the smell is something like the alternator burning. Since I only notice the smell when the car is stopped I have to think that it's being caused by something near the air intake for the HVAC system. When the car is moving fresh air is being blown into the intake so the smell never gets into the car. When I stop there is no moving air so the smell makes it's way into the cabin.

    Has anyone ever experienced this and if so what did it end up being?

    Here are the particulars on my car:
    Year: 1999
    Engine: 2.5L
    Transmission: MTX
    Milage: 26,500
    Mods: Not much (yet). Just white side markers, OBX STS for now. There are tons more waiting in the attic for spring.
    -------------------------
    1999 Cougar ~ Rio Red, V-6, MTX
    -------------------------
    1984 Mustang GT ~ Oxford White, V-8, 5-speed and 375rwhp
    -------------------------
    [...] 155Cougar, THE MOST TALENTED DEVELOPER ON THE BOARDS!!!
    - Fly-Fast

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  3. #2
    SlvrbULLetizmybaby
    Guest

    Burning smell inside the car with heat on

    I have the smell. Turned out to be oil on the exhaust manifold burning up and smelling. Why the oil was there I dont know, prolly leaky head gasket or sloppy oil change, I wipped off the oil and the prob went away. Your problem, however, sounds totally diff from mine, except the smell.

  4. #3
    sintaxera
    Guest

    Burning smell inside the car with heat on

    Start with the simple stuff. Check all of your belts, are they working right? Did your altenator seize up and now the belt is shredding on it? I don't know it's a possibility. I had a strange smell once, and it was a busted oil filter. It would leak oil only when there was pressure from the engine running, and when I stopped the burned oil smoke/smell/air, would rise up into the heating/air and stink like crazy. Check that too, just in case.

    Hey wait a sec, I read a post here a couple of days ago where someone had a bad smell and it was a rat in his heating element. So check for rats/kittens/etc.

  5. #4
    NECO Member
    Join Date
    2001 Apr
    Posts
    378

    Burning smell inside the car with heat on

    Thanks for your help, everyone. I started the car this morning (it was cold out, about 26F, but not wet) and the alternator made the same whistling/whirring noise but it went away after a short time. However, today there was no smell in the car with the heat on. I definately think it was something with the alternator. Rather than changing the oil myself, I am going to send it to the dealership this time so they can do that and check the alternator.
    -------------------------
    1999 Cougar ~ Rio Red, V-6, MTX
    -------------------------
    1984 Mustang GT ~ Oxford White, V-8, 5-speed and 375rwhp
    -------------------------
    [...] 155Cougar, THE MOST TALENTED DEVELOPER ON THE BOARDS!!!
    - Fly-Fast

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