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Old 08-09-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
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For all you guys that track your car.....

This is the first time that I have tracked my Boxster S, however not my first tracking experience (tracked an E60 M5 and an E92 M3 last few years as well as some others). After several high speed open laps (covered some 40km) the car smelled awful. The smell was a mixture of burning plastic/oil/clutch mixed together. I was most evident near the engine vents on the right side. Driving mates also noticed it; in fact we lifted the car and could not find anything. The smell persists for several hours until the car cools completely, which takes very long!

What does your car smell like after a track day?
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rene525d View Post
This is the first time that I have tracked my Boxster S, however not my first tracking experience (tracked an E60 M5 and an E92 M3 last few years as well as some others). After several high speed open laps (covered some 40km) the car smelled awful. The smell was a mixture of burning plastic/oil/clutch mixed together. I was most evident near the engine vents on the right side. Driving mates also noticed it; in fact we lifted the car and could not find anything. The smell persists for several hours until the car cools completely, which takes very long!

What does your car smell like after a track day?
Open the engine cover and have a look around. My car sometimes smells like hot exhaust but burning plastic/oil is a red flag. One of my friends overheated his power steering pump, the plastic fitting melted and splashed PS fluid on the hot exhaust manifold. It ignited and burned the car down. 2008 Cayman gone.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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Wow, that sounds bad. I recall that once I found a mess near the back right wheel well where some sort of substance leaked and the wheel well was all wet from this fluid. When I touched with my finger, it looked to be black, however I am not sure if it's oil or something else, as it might have been black due to the dirt that it came into contact with. Would a PS fluid leak wet that area?
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Yes, that "smells" like PS pump
A lot of newbies (including me) have the habit of "sawing" on the steering wheel. That would be a sure way to overheat the PS pump
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:52 AM   #5
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Open the engine cover and have a look around. My car sometimes smells like hot exhaust but burning plastic/oil is a red flag. One of my friends overheated his power steering pump, the plastic fitting melted and splashed PS fluid on the hot exhaust manifold. It ignited and burned the car down. 2008 Cayman gone.
I am always wondering what to with the Boxster and fire suppression. I try and run with everything but the engine cover off so there is potential to get to the engine bay in time. It would be nice to find a reasonably priced fire suppression system that could hit the fuel rails area at the first sign of smoke....fired from the coockpit
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:11 AM   #6
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I agree w Chris Zang on the PS pump. The solution is an underdrive pulley.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:40 AM   #7
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I agree w Chris Zang on the PS pump. The solution is an underdrive pulley.
I fried my PS pump again after I installed the underdrive pulley
Well, actually I fried the couplings in the PS pressure lines, but that how fryinh the pump usually starts, I just detected it early enough.
I then also installed the LN PS cooler this spring, before the track season started
so far so good ....
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:05 AM   #8
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I am always wondering what to with the Boxster and fire suppression. I try and run with everything but the engine cover off so there is potential to get to the engine bay in time. It would be nice to find a reasonably priced fire suppression system that could hit the fuel rails area at the first sign of smoke....fired from the coockpit
Currently our track fire safety crew recommends aqueous foam extinguishers (AFFF) and NOT removing the engine cover in case of fire. If you open the engine cover it creates a chimney effect that multiplies the size of the fire. It also puts you at much greater risk of injury. You can hit everything from underneath the wheel wells and aqueous foam is water based so it cools the components below the flash point.

In the case of the 2008 Cayman, he was running with a different club at the time. They used dry extinguishers and the fire re-ignited several times because they never got it cooled it down. When they did open the engine bay, flames went 20 feet in the air.

Car fires are bad news.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:28 AM   #9
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What's reasonably priced? There are AFFF systems available for ~$350.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:13 AM   #10
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the rear passenger wheel well is near your oil fill tube - an item which often cracks (one end attached to the body, the other attached to the engine, add a lot of independent movement of each end at your last track day, some brittle old plastic, and possibly increased suction due to a failing aos and you get a bad oil fill tube). with a bad oil fill tube you may not notice it 99% of the time, but start chucking your car through the track, get the oil sloshing and it'll splash out. it'll then get on other components and cook, perhaps pool in the tray under your engine, pick up all the old brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid and road crud and get it cooking, etc.

also check your cv boots, a bad passenger side cv boot will splash grease all over the wheel well and stink. a day at the track will work them especially hard, and if you have a car with a 6-speed, that transmission is longer resulting in a bigger transmission flange/wheel hub offset and increased chance of cv boot failure.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Currently our track fire safety crew recommends aqueous foam extinguishers (AFFF) and NOT removing the engine cover in case of fire. If you open the engine cover it creates a chimney effect that multiplies the size of the fire. It also puts you at much greater risk of injury. You can hit everything from underneath the wheel wells and aqueous foam is water based so it cools the components below the flash point.

In the case of the 2008 Cayman, he was running with a different club at the time. They used dry extinguishers and the fire re-ignited several times because they never got it cooled it down. When they did open the engine bay, flames went 20 feet in the air.

Car fires are bad news.
Great advice...The heads are pointed sideways with the rails ontop...actually I have seen this effect happen in an older 911.....the engine uncovered...lots of oxygen...the flames were 10-15 feet high at least and there was no chance of getting close to it as things got out of control very quickly there after
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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Back to the question at hand -- I would really doubt that power steering overheat and susequent failure/leakage is likely in a street car being tracked for the first time. Much more likely that you have an old spill of some sort is sitting in atop the the engine and is burning now because the car is much hotter than usual and the cornering forces are moving it around. The reason you smell it mostly from the right side is because that is the side the engine bay vents through - the other side is the air intake.

First thing to do is remove the engine cover, raise the car and start looking for anything odd with a flashlight and an extendable mirror. Wouldn't surprise me if a rodent has taken up resident or that you have puddles of oil and or steering fluid in one of the many crevasses. If it is not leaking out the bottom then it is unlikely to be a serious issue but you do need to figure out what's going on for fear of a fire. Good luck.

Blowing some high pressure air into the places you can't see will not do any harm and may dislodge something unexpected.

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:23 PM   #13
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Wow, that sounds bad. I recall that once I found a mess near the back right wheel well where some sort of substance leaked and the wheel well was all wet from this fluid. When I touched with my finger, it looked to be black, however I am not sure if it's oil or something else, as it might have been black due to the dirt that it came into contact with. Would a PS fluid leak wet that area?
Will not be PS fluid as the system all resides on the other side. While you have your car up and apart as per my previous recommendation. Remove the entire fender liner and see if you can locate the source. The oil filler tube (which someone else mentioned can fail) along with the cooling reservoir (which often fails) reside just above that fender in the trunk. Also possible (although unlikely) that it could be a brake fluid leak - usually you would notice this because your brakes wouldn't work. Was the mess on the ground as well as in the fender or just in the fender? If just in the fender it may have been something you splashed off the road and not a leak at all. How long ago did this happen?

Last edited by Jittsl; 08-10-2012 at 02:27 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:41 PM   #14
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My car stinks after a session on the track. The brakes smell to high heaven and remember, the motor is coated in an anti corrosion coating that smells when it gets really hot.

I agree that you should definitely check to make sure there are no oil and PS leaks, but just be aware that pushing the car will make it stink.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:26 PM   #15
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What coating do you use on the engine?
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:16 AM   #16
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I agree that it cant be the PS as that is located on the wrong side to where I have the leak. The leak is only on both the inside as well as the outside of the bottom cover and it measures around 15 x 20 cm. It also sensitive to UV light, but I am not sure if that is the leak or the dye that I put with the refrigerant when the a/c system was recharged. The strange this is that all the wet part glows under UV light. Will post some pics later today.
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Old 08-11-2012, 07:28 AM   #17
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Have you checked your cv boots? If they rip and sling grease onto the exhaust it can get pretty stinky.
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:43 PM   #18
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I drove my car all day on Sat in 105F heat at AutoClub Speedway and the only thing that I smelled was hot race tires and hot brakes.

By the way, I was at the event where Glen's Cayman caught fire. The car was badly damaged. Good news, it was just the car and not a person.
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