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Old 04-15-2006, 04:38 PM   #1
FFWD
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Burning smell only when heater is on

Maybe I never noticed this before, but after I had my radiator fan replaced, I had a bad smell of coolant coming into the car for a few days, which is understandable. However, since then (and it's been 4 months), I notice a smell of burning plastic, but very faint, coming from the vents when I have the heater on, even with recirculating air. I also opened the windows to clear it out, and when I closed them, the smell came back (still on recirculating). The smell doesn't occur when I am blowing cool air, only when the heater is running. Any ideas?
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Old 04-15-2006, 05:46 PM   #2
sclera2000
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I had the EXACT same problem and it was only once in awhile and very faint and then went away quickly.... but it went away for good after a couple weeks. I complained to the dealer and they said they couldnt duplicate the problem, so somehow it just went away.
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Old 04-15-2006, 05:57 PM   #3
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yep, ive some of those symptoms as well... nobody i talk to has any idea what it can be. It smells like an electrical burn
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:43 PM   #4
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Did either of you have work done on your cooling system before the smell started?
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:40 PM   #5
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So three and a half years later, I still haven't figured out the problem. Since it only happens when the heater is on, and it only comes out of the middle vents, I've worked around it by setting my middle vent temperature to cool. But now the wife is driving the car and likes the middle vents hot, and the smell is driving her crazy. It's not a valve gasket leak, it's not a plastic bag stuck to the exhaust, and it's not the cabin filter. The only thing left is the final stage resistor, which every shop I've taken it to has told me it was not the problem. I will be replacing it soon, because now the blower occasionally stops working even though the blower level on the dash shows that it should be running. I guess we'll see.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
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I have the same problem through the heat vent, burning smell for a minute or two, then gone. The smell was somewhere near the brake resevoir. I checked everywhere under the hood and nothing was leaking.
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Old 01-23-2010, 08:56 PM   #7
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Its very common that the VCG leaks just a bit of oil onto the exhaust headers. Take off the plastic cover and have a look its probably going to have a bit of oil on the head of the bolts or on the side.
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #8
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same thing happened to me today actually, i pulled over and checked under the hood....nothing...by the time i got back in the car it was gone. i thought maybe it was a car around me. also my resistor is bad so idk what the hell it is
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:06 PM   #9
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Are you guys serious? This is just Dust that is collecting in the vents and some that sits in between the heater core fins when the car is turned off its nothing to worry about
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:08 PM   #10
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check your carpets for any wet spots, but perhaps your heater core has a leak?
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:12 PM   #11
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check your carpets for any wet spots, but perhaps your heater core has a leak?
you would be able to tell by the over whelming smell of BMW antifreeze. it smells like blue slurpies
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:26 PM   #12
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Are you guys serious? This is just Dust that is collecting in the vents and some that sits in between the heater core fins when the car is turned off its nothing to worry about

hahaha this guy. take it easy bro, OP (and myself) were just a little concerned about a burning smell as im sure most would be
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:29 PM   #13
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hahaha this guy. take it easy bro, OP (and myself) were just a little concerned about a burning smell as im sure most would be
youll notice it bad after summer and you turn your heater on for the first time aswell
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:40 PM   #14
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i smell it when the defroster comes on sometimes....it blows hot as hell. is that even normal for the defroster to be extremely hot?
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:44 PM   #15
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The EXACT thing happens to me too. for about 30 sec to a min then its gone. and yes it should be pretty hot since its close to the heater core. rev the engine to about 3k and then feel how hot it is...
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:47 PM   #16
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mine stays sooooo hot, i have to ride with the little flaps open and sunroof tilted when its raining and foggy which it was this week in GA. kind of getting annoying.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:31 AM   #17
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This has heater core written all over it... that's essentially whats kicking on when you hit the heat.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:23 PM   #18
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grrrrrr. i have to replace?
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Old 01-24-2010, 03:27 PM   #19
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I have the same problem guys. I thought its was fluid form my transmission fluid reservior cuz its al little wet
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:21 PM   #20
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What causes this? I have the same issue, kind of smells like burning oil or something?
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