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Acid Smell

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:35 am
by DouglasSXT
When I'm going up a big hill and I have to give alot of throttle to my 04 sxt I smell a horrible acid smell. Has this happened to anyone else or does anyone know what could be the cause of this? No smells or anything else at any other time and the car runs fine. Thanks for any help. :thumbup:

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:35 am
by racer12306
How's the battery looking? That's the only real acidic fluid in the car.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:08 am
by DouglasSXT
Battery looks ok, just a few years old. Also when it happens, the rear window fogs right up???

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:12 am
by occasional demons
And I'm not sure it would smell that bad. I had a battery get chewed by an alternator pulley fan once, and it leaked/splattered acid everywhere. There was no odor. Just a horrible sound. :lol:

(Large pot hole, and not knowing another person had forgotten to tighten the battery hold down = Fail)

Could be something catalytic converter related, either too much fuel, or a failing converter. ???

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:15 am
by occasional demons
OK....

Or a coolant leak. Could just be spewing under higher rpms, to make it up the hill. Or the load is peaking the temp enough to force it out. May be a head gasket leaking into the combustion chamber, or a cracked head leaking into the exhaust.


Edit: or a simple as the overflow spilling onto the exhaust manifold.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:38 am
by r/tguy02
i'm thinking catalytic conv as well

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:13 am
by racer12306
occasional demons wrote:OK....

Or a coolant leak. Could just be spewing under higher rpms, to make it up the hill. Or the load is peaking the temp enough to force it out. May be a head gasket leaking into the combustion chamber, or a cracked head leaking into the exhaust.


Edit: or a simple as the overflow spilling onto the exhaust manifold.
I thought burning coolant had more of a sweet smell to it.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:35 am
by DouglasSXT
I was thinking something along the cat as well, but was hoping maybe someone else had the same issue before and knew what is was.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:41 am
by occasional demons
racer12306 wrote: I thought burning coolant had more of a sweet smell to it.
It normally does, but not knowing what OP's perception of acidic is, I'm leaning towards something more potentially consistent with the details given. Just more along the line of throwing stuff out...

The only thing that would fog up the window is steam, whether or not it is inside or out, IDK...

If it is overflow from the coolant expansion tank, it may also have ATF mixed in it, with the two smoking when they hit the exhaust.

Douglas, check the overflow on the firewall for ATF contamination. or over full.

Edit: Assuming the car is an ATX...

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:26 am
by DouglasSXT
occasional demons wrote:
racer12306 wrote: I thought burning coolant had more of a sweet smell to it.


Edit: Assuming the car is an ATX...
Yeah, car is ATX

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:33 am
by gilly02le
When i would floor the car up a big hill, occasionally i'd see a bit of black smoke right after it downshifted. Raw fuel...pretty sure it just didn't like my 2.5" exhaust. That and occasionally when you get on it that hard, it sucks up a bit of the oil that has pooled in the bottom of the intake manifold. The oil in there has quite a bit of residual fuel collected in it though.. i always thought it smells a bit acid-like.. I never noticed it inside the car though, just under the hood after i had driven hard.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:35 pm
by DouglasSXT
Went out at lunch. Rad fluid looks and smells kinda funky to me. Guess I'll start there. Thanks for the input guys. :thumbup:

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:18 pm
by Paul56
DouglasSXT wrote:Went out at lunch. Rad fluid looks and smells kinda funky to me. Guess I'll start there. Thanks for the input guys. :thumbup:
Check your transmission fluid.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:49 pm
by DouglasSXT
Paul56 wrote:
DouglasSXT wrote:Went out at lunch. Rad fluid looks and smells kinda funky to me. Guess I'll start there. Thanks for the input guys. :thumbup:
Check your transmission fluid.
tranny fluid is ok. I just changed it a little while ago.

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:38 pm
by occasional demons
If the cooler in the radiator has begun leaking, it may not be ok anymore. The cooler leak has been a problem for a fair amount of ppl. That is why he suggested to check the fluid.

In what way does the antifreeze look/smell?

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:42 pm
by C1DoG
r/tguy02 wrote:i'm thinking catalytic conv as well
Last cat I know that went bad, smelled like rotten eggs. Could have been the vehicle. (It was a ram van used for work.)

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:43 pm
by Fuzzyneon
C1DoG wrote:
r/tguy02 wrote:i'm thinking catalytic conv as well
Last cat I know that went bad, smelled like rotten eggs. Could have been the vehicle. (It was a ram van used for work.)
thats pretty much what it smells like rofl

Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:13 pm
by OB
Electronics burning can have a strange smell. I wonder if your defrost grid has some kind of short? I don't see how a cat converter, battery, or heater core could cause the REAR window to fog up.

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:56 pm
by occasional demons
If it is on the outside of the glass, it could be coolant related. Likely all the rear facing parts would have condensation on them, but the only thing you will see from the driver's seat is the back glass.



DouglasSXT, if/when it happens again, if you can pull over, check the decklid/bumper for moisture, as well as under the hood. (If it is on the exterior...)

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:26 pm
by 00Neon RCR
OB wrote:Electronics burning can have a strange smell. I wonder if your defrost grid has some kind of short? I don't see how a cat converter, battery, or heater core could cause the REAR window to fog up.

Not sure how if his defrost grid has a "short" in it, that it would produce fog. Depends on his location I suppose, but then again, is his window wet? How is it getting wet? Rain? Snow? Hail? some sort of precipitation? I'm thinking Bill is on the right track...

Maybe if the OP can describe the smell of the rad fluid a bit more, we could do more troubleshooting. Cause if his rad fluid smells funky as he said, than I'm sure that is probably what he is smelling NOT acid. Or it could be coincidence that his rad fluid took a shit on him as well as his cat? :S

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:20 pm
by racer12306
Bad cat converters smell like rotten eggs. I'm doubting that is his problem.

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:25 pm
by 00Neon RCR
racer12306 wrote:Bad cat converters smell like rotten eggs. I'm doubting that is his problem.
Oh I know, I was just stating that would it be a coincidence that his rad take a shit on him as well as his cat? I'm thinking it's something more do to with his cooling system, not his cat or rear defrost.

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:38 pm
by OB
00Neon - A dead short in the grid could cause excess heat, and maybe fog the window up if it was cooler outside. This is just a theory of course, to be honest the rear window part makes this pretty unusual. Def need more details on the window when it happens.

I can't really wrap my head around why you guys are leaning toward a cooling issue. It would take a hell of a leak to get actual coolant condensation on the outside of the rear window, or a ridiculous leak from the heater core to get it on the inside (jk lol!).

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:44 pm
by 00Neon RCR
OB wrote:00Neon - A dead short in the grid could cause excess heat, and maybe fog the window up if it was cooler outside. This is just a theory of course, to be honest the rear window part makes this pretty unusual. Def need more details on the window when it happens.

I can't really wrap my head around why you guys are leaning toward a cooling issue. It would take a hell of a leak to get actual coolant condensation on the outside of the rear window, or a ridiculous leak from the heater core to get it on the inside (jk lol!).

Ya, I see what you're trying to say.

Maybe....

The coolant is coming out and as we all know, heat rises, so it rises and as he goes up over the hill he's going through the coolant steam and it builds up onto the car. I wonder if he's getting it on the roof as well? :D

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:52 pm
by occasional demons
OB wrote:00Neon - A dead short in the grid could cause excess heat, and maybe fog the window up if it was cooler outside.
If that was true, the windshield would never defog/frost.

Colder than ambient objects will fog up, not hotter than ambient. Take a glass of cold water on a hot humid day for example. :)

Excess moisture coming from the exhaust, or the overflow hitting the exhaust would make things very humid at the rear of the car/sucking into the cowl (into the car). The airflow at rear of the car will draw that moisture to the rear deck, and possibly the window, tho I have rarely seen much get past the decklid.

Until we get better input from the OP, it is all mere speculating...

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:54 am
by OB
Hmm good point, I suppose I had that one backwards now didn't I! :lol:

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:15 am
by inthewerks
00Neon RCR wrote:
OB wrote:Electronics burning can have a strange smell. I wonder if your defrost grid has some kind of short? I don't see how a cat converter, battery, or heater core could cause the REAR window to fog up.

Not sure how if his defrost grid has a "short" in it, that it would produce fog. Depends on his location I suppose, but then again, is his window wet? How is it getting wet? Rain? Snow? Hail? some sort of precipitation? I'm thinking Bill is on the right track...

Maybe if the OP can describe the smell of the rad fluid a bit more, we could do more troubleshooting. Cause if his rad fluid smells funky as he said, than I'm sure that is probably what he is smelling NOT acid. Or it could be coincidence that his rad fluid took a shit on him as well as his cat? :S
well, how would rad fluid be able to fog the rear window? IF... the rear window fogging up is in ANY way connected to this acid smell, :quotes: logic :quotes: would say that since the only thing to affect just the rear window is the defogger, to start there. I'm just saying.......the acid smell your smelling.....is it only upon going up hills, or maybe if you just gun the motor? What about going down hills? Is your vent to the outside air open or are you in recirculation mode? Do you have any electrical problems like blowing fuses or items intermittantly work? Do you notice any fluids on the ground after your car has sat long enough to cool down?

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:45 am
by 00Neon RCR
inthewerks wrote:
00Neon RCR wrote:
OB wrote:Electronics burning can have a strange smell. I wonder if your defrost grid has some kind of short? I don't see how a cat converter, battery, or heater core could cause the REAR window to fog up.

Not sure how if his defrost grid has a "short" in it, that it would produce fog. Depends on his location I suppose, but then again, is his window wet? How is it getting wet? Rain? Snow? Hail? some sort of precipitation? I'm thinking Bill is on the right track...

Maybe if the OP can describe the smell of the rad fluid a bit more, we could do more troubleshooting. Cause if his rad fluid smells funky as he said, than I'm sure that is probably what he is smelling NOT acid. Or it could be coincidence that his rad fluid took a shit on him as well as his cat? :S
well, how would rad fluid be able to fog the rear window? IF... the rear window fogging up is in ANY way connected to this acid smell, :quotes: logic :quotes: would say that since the only thing to affect just the rear window is the defogger, to start there. I'm just saying.......the acid smell your smelling.....is it only upon going up hills, or maybe if you just gun the motor? What about going down hills? Is your vent to the outside air open or are you in recirculation mode? Do you have any electrical problems like blowing fuses or items intermittantly work? Do you notice any fluids on the ground after your car has sat long enough to cool down?
Take the second sentence in post #3 and join it with your second sentence. Read ALL the posts and then make your post :)

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:19 pm
by inthewerks
Sorry not getting what your saying man about sentence #2 from post #3 connected to my sentence#2. Just trying to clarify some information for better assistance. I was asking more questions to see if I could either eliminate the fogging of the window from the acid smell, or eliminate the radiator fluid funky look from the acid smell. I know (at least here in Az), during summertime, the high heat can cause a buildup of moisture inside the car. Not enough to fog a window, but when you drive, I can see that possibility. Also, I can see, if he has his vent to outside air open, and there is an escape of radiator fluid on a hill climb, he would smell it through the vent. Just trying to help out is all.

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:46 pm
by 00Neon RCR
inthewerks wrote:Sorry not getting what your saying man about sentence #2 from post #3 connected to my sentence#2. Just trying to clarify some information for better assistance. I was asking more questions to see if I could either eliminate the fogging of the window from the acid smell, or eliminate the radiator fluid funky look from the acid smell. I know (at least here in Az), during summertime, the high heat can cause a buildup of moisture inside the car. Not enough to fog a window, but when you drive, I can see that possibility. Also, I can see, if he has his vent to outside air open, and there is an escape of radiator fluid on a hill climb, he would smell it through the vent. Just trying to help out is all.
Your second sentence basically asked "if the window fogging up even has anything to do with the acid smell" In post #3 the OP said that the window also fogs up (while this "smell" is occurring) So I'm taking it they're somehow related.