Exhaust smell inside the cabin

Discussion in 'URGENT - Help Quick!' started by BlueJacketGuy, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. lothian

    lothian Active Member

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    NC
    that odor inside the car... i presume it's still present (unless you set the climate control to recycle cabin air). so, in retrospect would you now characterize it as a burnt oil odor, rather than exhaust smell? i'm gonna guess: yes. the two odors are distinct and near-impossible to confuse.

    i recommend you consider the srvc dept's assessment as just ONE opinion rather than a statute diagnosis, and work on confirming the items in their report. back away from eBay, take a breather and relax for a bit... at least until you've checked out things yourself. if basic t'shooting of basic engine maladies isn't your bailiwick, then dump a quart of oil in the engine and schedule a second gander by a well-regarded local shop--preferably a shop that is Honda-centric (Google it).

    you mention the diagnosis was "valve covers, oil pump, and rear main seal". expect an aged J30A1 shy of 200k to seep oil in the usual locations, but it's rare for these stalwart engines to hemorrhage oil. fortunately, there's a relatively simple way to investigate--more on this in a moment.

    first, valve cover (actually, it's called the "cylinder head cover" per Honda) gaskets generally weep oil--rarely do they leak the stuff. check the cover bolts are torqued to spec. (~8lbs... what am i saying?? you don't own a torque wrench!). it's neither terribly onerous or expensive to replace the set, presuming the part (OEM p/n: 12030-P8C-A00) has genuinely failed. there are plenty of good videos on YouTube that detail the process.

    regarding "oil pump", perhaps you misheard/misquote the service manager? the oil pump lives inside the oil pan, submerged in a yummy 5w-30 lavage, soooo "leaking oil pump" is a misnomer. ("oil sending unit" maybe..? "oil switch" perhaps..? "oil pan gasket" perchance...?). you need to revisit this.

    and finally, that "rear main seal". if... IF... that $10 part (OEM p/n: 91214-P8A-A01) is genuinely leaking, then, well... that just sucks (for you). it is violently difficult to get to that part. thus, one needs to be damn confident in their condemnation of the rear main seal before threatening its summary replacement. one tell-tale clue: fresh oil collects at/near the cover plate between the transmission bell and oil pan.

    tracking engine oil leaks is a general pain in the tuchas. nonetheless, there's a well-vetted, effective, and inexpensive DIY method for doing the deed, and i guarantee the dealership didn't bother doing it. begin by cleaning the engine. i propose you do the following before you take the car anywhere for any further diagnosis.

    first...
    purchase 1) oil-compatible florescent dye, 2) a UV flashlight, and 3) a jug of 'Purple Power' degreaser.
    then...

    clean the engine
    1) obtain an empty spray bottle. mix up the proscribed ratio of purple power-to-water-by-spray-bottle-volume. wear eye protection. wear gloves. or don't. your call.
    2) slide under the Accord and douse the engine's nether regions with the contents of the bottle. refill and repeat as necessary.
    3) pop the hood and douse the top side of the engine with the contents of the bottle. refill and repeat as necessary.
    4) allow the purple power to chomp on the oily gunk for about 10 mins, then thoroughly rinse the whole shebang with a garden hose. let the engine dry.
    5) dump a jigger of dye into your oil filler upper orifice. top off the oil while your at it.

    let the engine dry
    6) idle the engine (or drive the car) for, say, 15 mins or so. the intent is to operate the engine at nominal temperature and under load to induce oil seepage.
    7) pull into a somewhat dark space, pop the hood and scan all parts of the engine with the UV flashlight. oil seepage/leaks will be immediately apparent--there will be zero ambiguity.
    8) slide under the engine and continue your inspection with the UV flashlight.
    if you are uncertain what you are looking for, there are plenty of good videos on YouTube that detail this process.


    the end game here is to empower yourself with foreknowledge of probable trouble spots before you take it somewhere for a tech's cursory evaluation. the fact that you detect the acrid smell of burnt oil means something is leaking on to a hot surface, and in such concentration that it's being drawn into the cabin. so it's apparent there's a problem somewhere. you've purchased information that suggests three--well, two--possible locations where oil is leaking, so you have a couple places to focus your UV flashlight straight away. and with the tools and technique mentioned here, you can possibly verify or eliminate some candidate sources of oil seepage. you may also discover one or more that were missed entirely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  2. Enne

    Enne Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    175
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2017
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    ^ This! Clean it up and check for leaks. I did that with my Camaro... Found out the rear main and valve cover(s) were in fact leaking. So, that's better than just throwing parts at it blindly because everything is just covered in oil from who knows how long ago. The repair will be expensive but it's still better than replacing stuff you don't need to replace, on top of what does.
     
  3. lothian

    lothian Active Member

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    NC
    perzactly!

    the thing with oil is... it goes everywhere! warm moving air pushes warm oil against warm surfaces, where it spreads out and into every nook and crannie.

    the simplest step in locating oil leaks is the step most folks skip. when t'shooting oil leaks, ya gotta start with a clean engine!
     
  4. WHEEELMAN

    WHEEELMAN Well-Known Member

    Posts:
    785
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    Georgia
    That smell sounds like a bad catalytic converter to me....





    Yeah, if the service manager did in fact say "leaking oil pump", that's bull$hit. They would have had to physically pull the oil pan off the car to inspect it.

    Go somewhere else, unless you have a really good relationship with that dealer and know for 100% they won't rob you. Cause right now, they are robbing you at $2500 for all of that work.

    Keep an eye on your oil level and verify if you are in fact losing oil.
     
  5. lothian

    lothian Active Member

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    NC
    CO2 is odorless.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  6. BlueJacketGuy

    BlueJacketGuy Member

    Posts:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Gentlemen, thank you all for the good vibes. I've just been preparing myself for the worst if this thing runs dry, and she shows no real signs of stopping. Now that I've collected myself, I'm sure the effect that the oil issue was really bad was just the guy at the dealer scaring me and my latest worry getting amplified by the cost of fixing it all.

    For the immediate time being, I'm going to do nothing other than monitor its oil level and keep an eye of coolant temps in case there a notable increase in temps. Truth be told, I only understand aircraft engines, so the more complicated car engine is more difficult to wrap my head around.

    To RustyAccord, is a J32 a direct swap, or are there mounts I'll need? A different trans? What costs would apply that I wouldn't see if I bought a J30A1 off eBay for a quick swap? Obviously it'd be great to put a J32 in, but the engine and swap out currently out of my budget, and any modifications to the engine bay would just drive costs up more. I'm at least a year away from being able to give the Accord the love she deserves due to the new job and new city.

    lothian, I'll first start with, I'm not well versed in burnt oil smells and I'm quite well versed in exhaust, but it's not a exhaust smell now that I know that. That said, I don't have much of a sense of smell. All the terms I used for the leaks are straight from the paper copy of the whats broken report from the dealer. You're spot on for my newness to this stuff, and I appreciate your guidance. My only question is, will the splash guard be an issue for looking right under, because I was very particular about getting a new one when I tore the previous one on ice rocks in a previous climate.

    Right now I'm looking for something cheaper to maintain in case the Accord goes tits up in the next few months, a CRZ is at the top of my list for now. I really can't let the Accord go into a shop until I recover my CRX from storage and can use it as a daily as a band aid. I have enough layman in me to follow lothian's instructions, but whether I do or don't find an issue, I'm not really in a spot to keep putting money I don't have into this car. On the bright side, unless she suddenly blows up one day, she'll remain my daily for at least the next year until I can move on to a better paying job, as my current work is a pay cut I should have seen coming before I bought my second money pit CRX. The follies of youth I suppose, but I'll definitely be open to any more guidance.

    If the Accord lasts me until ~2020, she will likely be getting a J32 with the CL-S swap if money is how I'd hope it to be then.
     
  7. lothian

    lothian Active Member

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    NC
    B'woof... dealerships. Avoid them. Espouse the sage insight of George Castanza.

    Feeding the thing oil is sensible. Soooo when you wrote you're "going to do nothing", you ACTUALLY meant to write "I'm gonna order those three things from Amazon RIGHT NOW, gather up my garden hose, goggles and gloves, and commit myself to find the source of those oil spots coming from my choocher!" You don't even need to know what you're looking at--just snap a picture of the glowing nasty bits and post it here, or to any of the half-dozen or so Honda-centric forums--someone will identify and prognosticate to be certain.


    No. The splash-guard won't interfere with your line of sight to the engine whatnots.

    Not to be an instigator here... call it the conscientious boy scout in me... but a very important question for you that is completely unrelated to oil:
    Do you know precisely, like in miles, when the timing belt was most recently changed?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  8. BlueJacketGuy

    BlueJacketGuy Member

    Posts:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I can't say for sure, but I think I had it changed when I first bought the car at ~146k in Fall of 2013. I can make a call and verify the records if I have it around. I do believe I misspoke earlier, do nothing was specific to not buying an eBay engine or having a dealer fix it.
     
  9. lothian

    lothian Active Member

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    NC
    By my math, that means you need to plan on a "timing belt job" in ~15k--perhaps sooner if 1) you cannot confirm via documentation the milage the , and 2) you cannot confirm via documentation that the timing belt and related parts are OEM.

    I raise this issue 'cause it bears mentioning in light of your daily-driver budgeting calculations. Honda J-series are interference engines with a belt rather than a chain. A "timing belt job" is an expensive scheduled maintenance item us Honda owners must plan for every ~60k miles. On top of the other potential and as-of-yet-unknown-in-severity oil seepage issues with your Accord's engine, you have a rather significant--and pricey maintenance item coming up...again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  10. lothian

    lothian Active Member

    Posts:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Location:
    NC
    We're drifting off-topic here with the "engine swap" and "timing belt" tangents--and i'm contributing to it. If a discussion ensues on this topic, forklift it from this "Urgent - Help Quick" sub-forum into an appropriate sub-forum. with that caveat...

    TANGENT

    An engine swap is a major job, as if that needed to be said.

    What does need to be said is swapping an engine achieves fiscal sense if the balance of the vehicle is sound--meaning, there are no indicators, obvious or subtle, of other looming major cost items--and other comparative costs warrant it. You'll have to contract an assessment by a professional who knows his/her Honda model-specific maintenance and build quality history for their assessment. Consider the fee for this service an investment in peace of mind.

    The simple economic fact is, paying off an engine swap job in a "deemed-reliable" older vehicle is exponentially less expensive than absorbing five years of new car payments and collision insurance premiums. In some cases--perhaps yours is one--this is the most sensible course to chart.

    So if you're seriously considering the viability of this route, learn. Begin here with a quick learny-learn on Honda's J-Series engines. Visit Honda Swap to learn the whatnots of engine compatibility between Honda models. i believe i read on some forum (v6performance.net, maybe?) that an Odyssey's J35A4 can be dropped into a 6th gen engine bay.

    ...enjoy your trip down this rabbit hole.

    /TANGENT
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018

Share This Page