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Thread: astra mk5 strange burning smell

  
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    Eirian's Avatar
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    astra mk5 strange burning smell

    I have an mk5 astra 1.6 sxi and for a few months now have had a strange smell when i stop/park the car. It tends to happen when the car is warm and when i'm at a junction waiting to pull out or when i'm reversing into the street where i live to park the car etc. I can't really explain the smell as i'm not a mechanical person and have not smelt anything like it before - the closest thing i can describe it to is the smell of burning bacon (bizzare i know but it's the best i've got!). My grandad smelt it once and suggested i check the brakes aren't sticking and if no luck there to check the clutch so that could be a clue as to what the smell is? My dad checked the brakes and clutch and both are fine, he also checked under the bonnet for any other obvious signs, nothing. Anybody have any clues what else to check? It's really irritating me as it feels like i'm just waiting for something to break on it with no clue what! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    astralogist's Avatar
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    That the smell appears in junctions and while reversing, would probably be a result of it being present all the time, but you only smell it at stand still.

    Funny it should take a grandad to recognize it, though. It made me feel old (I am not a grandad myself, though). However, I am old enough to remember such a smell - and if you add "stinging type" to your "burning bacon smell" I think we can agree. That could resemble a smell I haven't been smelling in years. It would appear in cold weather (typically 10-15 degrees Celsius below zero) after longer trips at fairly high altitude and many long, ascending hills.

    At the time, we never were able to locate the source of it, but it appeared on several cars, not only our cars - and all of them had been travelling long distances like us.

    However, your question and a fairly recent experience with my own Astra (Mk4, 1.4), reminded me of the smell years back, and I think I can say that the Astra had the same smell - but not as strong as in the old days. If I am right, that would place the smell we had years back at the cars' auxiliary belts.

    On my Astra, the auxiliary belt/ribbed V-belt tensioner broke down. But everything seemed to work as normal. I coud hear a new sound (a weak, continuous, squeaking/humming type of sound that changed a little with engine revs) and then there was the (not very strong) smell of "stinging" burning bacon. I searched for whatever-it-could-be, but didn't find anything. It was on the right hand of the car/engine though. Since everything seemed normal, I didn't spend too much time hunting, either. This went on for a month or two, then the auxiliary belt snapped.

    As it turned out, the tensioner had collapsed on one side, resembling a nearly flat surface where the belt was running, and the tensioner stopped rotating. Even today when I know what happended, I can't easily see the tensioner to properly judge its state without dismantling anything, and at the time I didn't know the car. After all, you don't expect the tensioner to be flat when the belt "spinning" on it and everything else is running and turning as usual - new sound (and smell) or not.

    Could that be something for you to check out? If not a flattened tensioner, then maybe it has a weak spring - just weak enough to make the belt slip a little on the crankshaft-pulley, and start it heating up enough to make it smell? Or maybe there is something else being rubber or rubber-like and getting more heat than it should?


    It's a long shot, I guess, but good luck hunting!

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    Could something be dripping onto your exhaust, or Catalytic convertor? Or maybe something is touching the exhaust that shouldn't be......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirian View Post
    I have an mk5 astra 1.6 sxi and for a few months now have had a strange smell when i stop/park the car. It tends to happen when the car is warm and when i'm at a junction waiting to pull out or when i'm reversing into the street where i live to park the car etc. I can't really explain the smell as i'm not a mechanical person and have not smelt anything like it before - the closest thing i can describe it to is the smell of burning bacon (bizzare i know but it's the best i've got!). My grandad smelt it once and suggested i check the brakes aren't sticking and if no luck there to check the clutch so that could be a clue as to what the smell is? My dad checked the brakes and clutch and both are fine, he also checked under the bonnet for any other obvious signs, nothing. Anybody have any clues what else to check? It's really irritating me as it feels like i'm just waiting for something to break on it with no clue what! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Just a suggestion.
    Do a forum search on ‘breather pipe’

    Splits in crankcase air breather pipes (a common problem on Astra/Corsa) can be a source of strange noxious fumes in the cockpit. Maybe the reason you only smell it when the car is stopped or moving slowly is because the fumes build-up for a few seconds under the bonnet before entering the cockpit; but quickly disperse into the atmosphere when the car is moving and natural air-flow resumes.

    Splits in these pipes appear to have little or no effect on the engines performance, in my limited personal experience - Mk5. 1.4Sxi.

    Your description of the ‘smell’ is hardly surprising. It is strange, unique and very unpleasant. I thought of ‘damp dirty mouldy clothes’ smouldering on a fire. It defies description really.

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    nry's Avatar
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    You have checked nobody has hidden some bacon anywhere? That would prove an amusing April Fools joke

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    Quote Originally Posted by nry View Post
    You have checked nobody has hidden some bacon anywhere? That would prove an amusing April Fools joke
    it would seeing as its september!!!

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    sarge91's Avatar
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    Now that would give a very odd smell, 5 month old bacon that's getting recooked everytime you use the motor :screwy:

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