Burning Smell After Long Drive

Joined
Nov 11, 2007
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892
Location
Nashville, TN
So I'm wondering about a burning smell I've smelled off and on over the past couple weeks. Usually after my daily commute (20mi one way, some freeway). I felt the hubs and none were hot, so I don't think it is a bad bearing. What else can make a burning smell? My truck is not muddy so it's not cooking anything on the cats or anything like that. Seems to be near the rear axle on the DS. Brake pads are relatively new and not grabbing or squealing.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

-Phil
 

Cruiser804

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Have you greased the drive shaft recently? When the rear shaft is overfilled it will spit it out all over the muffler.
 

Izeloz

 
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Jun 20, 2007
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Provo, Utah
I have much the same issue but my burning smell is coming from my driver front somewhere. Kinda smells a little like burning rubber. My brakes appear fine. I think I may have a cracked head and the coolant is burning off in the exhaust? Don't know. Mine's a '92 3FE.
 
Joined
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Spokane WA
I've been having the same strange smell, I can't tell if it is coming from the front or the back but it kind of smells like brakes. I did grease the front drive line, but not the rear, however, the smell appeared after a 2000 mile freeway trip. I need to pull my tires and take a closer look.

There is a possibility that my caliper could be sticking and causing one side of the pads to wear more.
 

Cruisin'

Out in the shop, building something cool!
 
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Aug 29, 2007
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Chilliwack, BC
I recently went through a bad smell situation. I was pretty sure it was brakes, and feeling the hubs pointed me at the rear discs pretty quick. turned out to be sticky rear calipers. The pads were wearing evenly (though quickly!), and there were no extra noises to go along either.

Rebuilt the calipers and the problem is solved. If its sticky calipers, you should notice the hub/disc will be significantly warmer on the offending corner than the others.

-J
 

IdahoDoug

 
 
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Very interesting. The 97 will have a burning rubber smell sometimes when I park it in the garage. Never been able to pin it down, but it seems more likely on a rainy day which is counterintuitive. I've chalked it up to either the slight rear main leak getting onto the cats via either airflow or the spinning front shaft's air flow. Comes from up front out of the wheel wells. It happens once or twice a month and is more likely if I've been on the freeway which is 10 minutes from my house.

I have literally been all through this vehicle and never found an explanation for it and never seen anything that is too hot or similar. So don't fret too much after checking the obvious rubber things - belts and tires. No clue - an 80 mystery.

DougM
 

NLXTACY

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West Hills, CA
Holy crap!!!!

Just experienced this just NOW and its driving me nuts. Went off-roading today in a snow packed trail only to come back from the hour drive home to smell...well something burning or rather burning off. And its been raining like mad here which makes me laugh when DOUG mentions it being C.I. I am going nuts trying to find it.
 

aclos3

 
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
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526
Location
Newport, OR
I get the same thing always after driving on dirty / snowy roads and then coming to a stop. When I get out, I notice the smell most predominantly from the front. I am pretty sure its junk burning off the cats / exhaust since I only seem to smell it in the one specific situation.
 

bugsnbikes

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A leaky rear main which is all too common has a burning smell.....im guessing 90% of these smell issues is the start of a small rear main leak.

Mine seems to become more prevalent when the oils viscosity starts to break down around the 3000mi mark........and much less right after the fresh oil.

Mine also seems to be more prevalent after higher rpm highway stints like long hills which throws the oil pressure needle up to the top for a longer period of time. Cruising around town under 2100rpms seems to keep the leak/burning smell at bay.
 

lockd80

Totally right
 
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May 3, 2007
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I get a burnt rubber smell from the front passenger side when I stop after pushing the 80 hard, I notice it most when towing a trailer. Recently I have been suspecting the supercharger belt but it looks like most of you don't have the SC. I just put new front calipers on last week (one was stuck and that smelled like burning brakes) and haven't noticed the burning rubber smell since but will continue to monitor.

Question, does anyone with braided steel brake lines notice the burnt rubber smell?? Just wondering.
 
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Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Messages
535
Location
Central PA
Snow conditions often give a burning smell on my 80, look at the exhaust near the front wheel and see if there is a buildup of crud. I think it depends on whatever your state uses to salt/cinder/sand the roads with. I usually see some white-grey clumps of crud caked on the pipes. Doesn't stick to the cats, but often clumps on exhaust by front wheel.

The other scenario was the early stages of a leaky valve cover gasket, look back by the firewall and see if any residue remains.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
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Boone, nc
I just had this happen to me. After driving under load i would get that burning smell. After checking it over i noticed that the exhaust manifold for the rear 3 cylinders was a little red. Replaced cat, spark plugs, wires, rotor, cleaned the induction system, was getting ready for a new ecu when a fuel filter fixed it. A crudded up filter wasnt letting enough gas through and was causing the engine to run lean.
 
Joined
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Wichita, KS.
This happens to me also. I've pretty much narrowed it down to either the grease form the shafts getting on the muffler, or a little spillage from removing the oil filter getting heated up on long drives. Thats all I can think of.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
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Location
Spokane WA
A leaky rear main which is all too common has a burning smell.....im guessing 90% of these smell issues is the start of a small rear main leak.

Mine seems to become more prevalent when the oils viscosity starts to break down around the 3000mi mark........and much less right after the fresh oil.

Mine also seems to be more prevalent after higher rpm highway stints like long hills which throws the oil pressure needle up to the top for a longer period of time. Cruising around town under 2100rpms seems to keep the leak/burning smell at bay.


I get a burnt rubber smell from the front passenger side when I stop after pushing the 80 hard, I notice it most when towing a trailer. Recently I have been suspecting the supercharger belt but it looks like most of you don't have the SC. I just put new front calipers on last week (one was stuck and that smelled like burning brakes) and haven't noticed the burning rubber smell since but will continue to monitor.

Question, does anyone with braided steel brake lines notice the burnt rubber smell?? Just wondering.
I too notice this after long pushes up steep hills when I am using a couple pounds of boost even at low speed (like potlach hill in Coeur d' Alene, ID)

I have some Slee SS lines and a Supercharger but I'm not sure if either of them contribute to the smell since I put them both on at the same time.

I also notice this smell after driving in wet/snow/slush conditions. :meh:
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
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Location
Seacoast NH
I also notice this smell after driving in wet/snow/slush conditions. :meh:
I, too, have this irksome burning smell and, yeah, it seems to happen more in slushy conditions. It's not the belts; all new with proper tension.

I've had at least three people sniff around the engine bay and I can't pinpoint it. It seems to be the passenger side and the smell seems to congregate in the air between the firewall and the air box.

Since I had an external HG leak on the exhaust side of cylinder 6, I thought that this might be the burning smell and I would cure it with the HG replacement. The HG work is still in progress, so we'll see.

It definitely is annoying though; passengers comment on it when they get out of the truck.
 

wxm

 
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Mar 25, 2005
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NJ
Maybe it is due to the snow conditions as mainemike suggested, I took a water hose to rinse off the bottom salt the other day after the snow, and noticed the greenish water around the cat area. It doesn't look like rust or anything from the truck - must be the chemical the town had used on the road... :confused:
 
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80t0ylc

Hill & Gully Rider
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I get the burning/hot grease smell after greasing u-joints. I have a theory about this other smell from PS wheelwell firewall area around the header/exhaust manifold area. Seems to be worse during slushy conditions. Could be debris/foreign objects in slush thrown up on hot exposed manifold and have burned off and the residue left on manifold and being burnt off is what the odor is. Makes sense with how exposed the manifold is. My .02
 

IdahoDoug

 
 
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Aug 9, 2003
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Yep, snowy days cause it more often than dry or summer months with mine, too. Interesting.

DougM
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
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SoCal
when I first noticed my burning smell, I did a bunch of searching and found that others are having the same problem so I kind of stopped worrying about it. There are a number of threads on the subject and if it was a big issue, I knew this would be the place to find people obsessing about it. I'm pretty sure for me the culprit is driveshaft grease splattered on the the muffler. The rear main seal theory that was presented in this thread is also a good one and probably contributes to my smell.
 
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