smells like a burning candle - due to oil leak? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-08-2007, 04:27 PM   #1
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Default smells like a burning candle - due to oil leak?

I suspect there may be a small oil leak on my '92 SSE */c because I often smell something that smells like a burning candle. There'* no smoke, and no dripping of any fluids on the ground, but I often smell the smell emanating from under the hood after I park the car and begin to walk away. If it is an oil leak, it must be dripping onto the exhaust manifold to account for that smell, but I haven't seen any signs of burned oil anywhere...but I haven't looked around the rear manifold yet...
I replaced both valve cover gaskets a couple of years ago, but maybe it'* time to replace them again.
What'* odd to me, though, is that I don't remember smelling this particular smell on this car or any other car before.

Any ideas?
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Old 03-08-2007, 07:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: smells like a burning candle - due to oil leak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billha
I replaced both valve cover gaskets a couple of years ago, but maybe it'* time to replace them again.
Sounds like it too me. I'm not sure what the torque specifications are for the valve cover bolts (around 10 ft lbs maybe) but I would definitely go "by the book" when tightening these bolts down.
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Old 03-08-2007, 07:35 PM   #3
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Cars produce all kinds of smells. It could just be old crud / grease / dirt / etc that is just burning away from the hot motor.

My car smells from under the hood sometimes, but it'* never a smell that raises concern.

Just keeping a simple outlook on things...
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Old 03-08-2007, 07:40 PM   #4
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I'm mostly curious just to know if any of you have ever noticed a similar smell.
I'm sure we all know what a burning candle smells like, and I'm 100% certain that there isn't a candle in my engine compartment...
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:05 PM   #5
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Mine has had that smell for so long now, that I can no longer remember when it wasn't there.

I thought that maybe there was a tiny funeral parlor in there...

Anyway...in my case, I know that I have to replace my valve cover gaskets, and even have them on the bench. But, since that is such a minor annoyance, I've been putting it off until I do all the rest of some planned stuff, including UIM, LIM gaskets, some other stuff, and even some more other stuff.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:47 PM   #6
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PAPER OR PLASTIC?

Have you ever been driving down the road and see a plastic shopping bag blowing across the road? Sometimes 2 or 3 cars hit it and it pops out from each one then it hits that 3rd or 4th car and it seems to diappear? I have that same smell, and I found that what I think is left of a plastic trash bag had melted on to the exhaust between the catalytic converter and the muffler. There was a big lump of plastic melted there and every time it gets hot it starts to melt and emits that smell. I cut away as much of the lump when the exhaust was cool... but I still get the smell. I suppose I could try it when it'* hot, and maybe scrape some away. You may want to look at your exhaust pipes for a lump of plastic.

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Old 04-17-2007, 11:03 AM   #7
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In my case, it appears that the valve cover gaskets were the cause.
I replaced them (again!) and the smell is gone...and this time I discovered that I don't have to disconnect the hose connected to the power steering fluid reservoir - I removed the bolt that attaches the reservoir to the throttle bracket, and that allowed me to move the hose out of the way of the rear valve cover.

I've never used sealant when replacing the gaskets. It was a tempting thought, but I followed the instructions on the Fram box and didn't use any sealant.
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:27 AM   #8
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Thanks for letting us know what you found and what fixed your problem. It was one of those strange ones that you can't be sure of unless you are there to go through the diagnosis yourself. Especially since you had already replaced the gaskets once.

Glad you got it!
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