Smell When Driving - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Smell When Driving

I took my FJ into the dealer to have some regular maintenance (45K miles) done before a trip; rear & front diff services, service transfer case, brake flush & new fluid, new power steering fluid, oil change & filter, tires rotated & fuel injection service. Ever since this service I smell gas or something burning every time I roll down the driver's window when the FJ is going uphill or on the freeway, don't smell it when coasting or when the window is closed. Did a power wash on the engine but no change. FJ is stored in the garage and there are no leaks. Have taken the FJ back to the dealer twice and they can't find out what is making the smell.

Can anyone recommend a good FJ mechanic to help me find the problem?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 01:50 PM
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Re: Smell When Driving

This is the time of year bastid rats are looking for a home. Whats it smell like ? Did they change oil in the diffs ? Grease it ? It will either go away or get worse.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 05:07 PM
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Re: Smell When Driving

Iíve had great luck with RSG Offroad garage outside Denver, in Lakewood. They love FJs.....tell them I sent you
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2018, 08:18 PM
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Re: Smell When Driving

Can you clarify "the smell"?

There is no similarity between the smell of raw gasoline and "something burning".

Are you smelling raw gasoline, the smell of hot engine oil, the sulphurous smell of gear oil, or something else burning, with a burning cardboard smell? Each is very distinctive.

If the service was complete, the dealer would have lubed all the zerk fittings on the driveshafts. After lubing the U-joints, some grease will inevitably get flung out, and onto the exhaust pipe, where it will get heated during engine operation, and will smoke a bit (at least until it gets burned off) during periods of higher engine load, like when climbing a grade.

With the brake fluid flush and power steering fluid change, there is the possibility that some fluid may have been splashed onto an exhaust manifold or other surface that gets hot.

The FJ also uses an organic composition rear heat shield over the exhaust system behind the muffler. This is held on by some small stamped fasteners. It sometimes happens that one of these fasteners falls off, or the heat shield deteriorates and falls down so it can contact the exhaust pipe. Strangely enough, this material can actually "combust" and slowly burn like a piece of charcoal.

Climb under the truck and inspect the exhaust pipes directly across from the U-joints, looking for any grease that may have gotten flung onto the pipes.

Check the condition of the rear heat shield, and make sure that it is not contacting the pipe.
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Last edited by FJtest; 12-10-2018 at 08:22 PM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 06:42 AM
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Re: Smell When Driving

The grease from the driveshaft thing makes sense, but to have taken it back twice, sounds odd...must be very strong to be that bothersome. Check the floor mats? Maybe the mechanic had something all over his shoes lol

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 11:07 AM
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Re: Smell When Driving

I too was going to suggest oil or grease deposit onto the prop or underside where the exhaust and running heat would make it smell as it heated up.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-11-2018, 01:50 PM
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Re: Smell When Driving

If you got underbody coating done it would smell for few days especially going uphill due to heat from transmission pan, mine did the same then it went away.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2018, 07:16 AM
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Re: Smell When Driving

Mine always gets a smell to it after I grease the drive shaft. It flings excess grease onto the exhaust pipe. It goes away after about a week

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-12-2018, 09:02 AM
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Re: Smell When Driving

@Ldy In Red

I'd check the front diff breather valve in the engine bay by the battery tray on the driver side... (2) silver caps, one for diff and one for trans. If they over filled your diff fluid it could have pushed out the top of the breather cap. You'll be able to even look in the wheel well around the UCA to see if any oil is present.

For what it's worth, after my gear swap and changing to thicker diff fluid I got some blow by on a 5 hr trip to Moab as everything got good and hot. Same scenario as you, no smell in the cabin but as soon as I got out of the truck it hit me. Got all over the exhaust manifold so when it heats up it smells like a damn Yankee Candle Power washer, brake cleaner and 1 month later it's finally gone.

Good luck.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Smell When Driving

I took my FJ to a third party shop for diagnostics as the two Toyota dealers I took the FJ to could not figure out what was wrong. Got the results back from the third party shop and they said my catalytic converts are fried (all 4 of them in the FJ) and that is why it smells and the gas mileage is bad now! The most likely cause was that the dealer improperly flushed the fuel injectors. Harsh chemicals are used in the flush and if it is not done properly the chemicals can strip the microscopic platinum coating in the catalytic converters and ruin them. The third party shop also said that the federal government requires that all dealers warrant the catalytic converters for 8 years or 80,000 miles, so my 2012 FJ with 48K miles should be covered by the Toyota dealer! I took the FJ beck to the dealer with my third party report and that it should be under warranty. They called Toyota and confirmed the warranty but I have to take the FJ back in next week as they want to run the catalytic converters tests themselves, something they should have done after I took it back the first time!

I am so disappointed with Toyota for almost ruining my FJ. If they don't fix my FJ under the federal warranty I will take legal action. The cost to replace the catalytic converts is about $2500.
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