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Old 12-25-2002, 05:55 PM   #1
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Default Engine fumes in passenger compartment

Hello,

I just bought a '92 SE, with 96K miles on it (I'm living in Israel btw).

After driving it for about a week, I realized that after each drive I have a burning throat, and start to feel a bit drowsy. At first I thought that it was the fact that the previous owner was a heavy smoker and used to smoke in this car all the time that caused this (I'm a non-smoker), but after cleaning and vacumming the entire car over and over again I realized it was not it.

Then I started looking at the ventilation system. Air is flowing freely from the intake ducts just under the windshield and into the cabin, like it should. The problem is that I can smell fumes from the engine bay (just the normal smell of a 10-year old running engine, nothing unusual) over those ducts, especially after the car has been driven for 10 minutes or so. I'm pretty certain that the problem is there - engine bay fumes entering the HVAC tunnels. I suspect that the rubber thing that'* supposed to seal those air intake ducts from the engine bay isn't doing its job properly (it does look a bit worn out).

Anyway, my question is: Has anyone experienced something similar? Do you think re-sealing this gap (between the hood/engine bay/ventilation air intake) with a some kind of rubber could be a permanent fix? Could it be something else? I'd appreciate any input.

Thanks in advance,
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Old 12-25-2002, 08:35 PM   #2
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That could work but there might be other problems too. Check around the exhaust system to see if anything is leaking through there. Definetly don't drive it unless you have too because that drowsy feelign you are getting is carbon Monoxide/carbon dioxide poisoning.
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Old 12-26-2002, 08:22 AM   #3
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Thanks!

I guess you're right - there might be an exhaust leak somewhere, or perhaps fuel vapors in the engine compartment?

Or could it be oil vapors? There'* no significant oil leak anywhere, so I guess I can rule that out. Also, it'* definitely not anti-freeze (and not heater-core related).

Also, the SES light lit up several times, for about 10 seconds each, during the last week. I checked for trouble codes and they were 13 and 44, both oxygen sensor related (oxygen sensor open circuit; lean exhaust detected). Perhaps if the car was driven this way for a while, it could have caused some problems.

Anyway I'm taking it to a mechanic tomorrow morning, and in the meantime I'll completely block the ventilation system outside-air intake ducts, and drive with the windows open...
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Old 12-26-2002, 09:49 PM   #4
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If the PCV is clogged up then it defnietly could be oil vapors and blowback getting into the passenger compartment.

Sounds like a good plan though let us know what happens.
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Old 12-27-2002, 04:33 AM   #5
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Just came back from the shop where I had my car checked.

According to my mechanic, the exhaust manifold is leaking, the oxygen sensor is bad and needs to be replaced, and possibly the PCV valve needs replacement also.

I'll have all of that done on Monday.

Thanks everyone for your replies!
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Old 12-27-2002, 05:32 PM   #6
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Sometimes the packing material between the manifold and the downpipe gets blown out. I'd usually look there first for your symptoms. The failure of the O2 sensor doesn't surprise me, either. Looks like they go out at about 60,000. I hope you use an AC Delco sensor. These cars are picky.
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Old 12-27-2002, 11:29 PM   #7
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I am using a bosch and have not had any problems for the past 2 years.
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