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Old 10-05-2006, 09:12 PM   #1
DC1
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Can anyone help with smoke and burning smell rear of car

Hello all, I was hoping someone might be able to chime in before I go to the shop. Driving home tonight in bumper to bumper local traffic, first time I think I had the heat on since I purchased car. About 45 minutes into my ride and about 5 minutes after turning the headlights on I smell something burning, I thought it was a fire in the hills of LA but I look back and there is a ton of smoke coming form my car. I pull over and the trunk is filled with smoke. I'm not a mechanic but it smells like electrical type smoke. Even someone walking by asked if my car was on fire? So I leave it and walk home. I went back after traffic subsided and drove it home. No warning lights, it starts, idles and it sppears to have all its oil etc. So I let it idle in the garage a bit, when I cranked the heat up I started to smell a faint amonia typye smell? Im trying to figure out if I need to tow it or I can drive it, I wonder if my tailights or something was burning but they all work? Could the amoni smell be antifreeze? Im unsure how to check the coolant im trying to find the manual. If anyone had a similar experience I'd appreciate eany info, its a 2002 with 36,000 miles, I suppose Im hoping it had somethign to do with using the heater for the first time but probably not that lucky? I do have a warranty so its more of an inconvenience but not sure who to bring it to? Thanks so much.

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Old 10-06-2006, 04:28 AM   #2
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Open the trunk and look at the coolant tank it has sight level. You will be able to tell if antifreeze is missing. It could be a couple of things and I cant imagine it has anything to do with the heater. Antifreeze and oil have two seperate smells. I think you must have a coolant leak and its dripping on the exhaust. Do you know how to put the car in service mode? The coolant tanks in the trunk are known to leak as well. The red light on the temp gauge will flash when coolant is low, mine did when it was about a cup low.
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Old 10-06-2006, 07:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohioboxster
Open the trunk and look at the coolant tank it has sight level. You will be able to tell if antifreeze is missing. It could be a couple of things and I cant imagine it has anything to do with the heater. Antifreeze and oil have two seperate smells. I think you must have a coolant leak and its dripping on the exhaust. Do you know how to put the car in service mode? The coolant tanks in the trunk are known to leak as well. The red light on the temp gauge will flash when coolant is low, mine did when it was about a cup low.
Hi,

FYI, it takes more than a cup to trigger the low-coolant light. The low-coolant sensor is located in the return reservoir, down around the trunk floor. The reservoir level must recede below this point to trigger the sensor. This level is more like a Pint to a Quart of coolant...

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Old 10-06-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
DC1
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Thank you, I did check the clear tank level I do not see anything but then again I dont have a flashlight handy. Im still trying to find my manual I can look up "service mode" but I'm unaware of what that is. The car is not running hot, at least by the gauge. Im waititng for the dealer to call, it would be easier if I could drive it rather than tow it but I will see. While in traffic when all this started I was on an incline Im wonderign if it was leaking somewhere, the trunk is dry? Thanks again.
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Old 10-06-2006, 11:56 AM   #5
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"the trunk is dry"

If your coolant overflow tank is leaking (and they do!) you'll need to pull up the carpet and the wood under it to see if you have coolant down there. It can also leak around the fittings and the hoses can become old and brittle and it will leak out under the car and drip on your engine and exhaust parts causing a lot of smoke.

The oil separator goes out and causes lots of smoke out the back, it comes out the tailpipe. If this is the case, you can test it by opening the oil filler cap at idle when it's billowing smoke and if it stops, that's your problem. When the separator goes, it sucks oil into the engine and it burns off. Removing the oil filler cap relieves the pressure. Of course, this may throw a CE light, but it should go away or be easily turned off when the oil separator is replaced if you have someone else doing the work.

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