Smelly question: odor from tailpipe - Nissan Forum
B11/B12/KN13 82-90 chassis B11 (1982-1985 Sentra), B12 (1986-1990 Sentra), and Pulsar

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#1 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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Smelly question: odor from tailpipe

I think I have a question that might stump even you guys. I've had every single possible answer to this question you can think of, and I've tried several things, but nothing works. Let's see what you guys think...

For about two or so years now (can't believe it's been that long), I've had this really strong odor coming out of my tailpipe (and I'm 99% certain is coming out of my tailpipe alone) of my 89 Nissan Sentra sedan. Mind you, it's only when the car's engine is running, never when the car is not running.

The odor resembles that of...rotten eggs!!! It's almost always very, very strong and I don't know what is causing it. I've had one person say I have a dead rat stuck in the muffler, and someone else says it's the frequent use of regular gas as opposed to premium that is causing the odor.

I even had a friend who had the same problem with his 96 Mit Galant. I'm thinking my car is old and so that is what the reason is but here is a 96 Galant having the same problem. I also notice once in a blue moon cars on the road with the same bad odor being made from the tailpipe.

Any ideas? I'm dying to know what the answer to this is!!!

Oh yeah, one more quick little thing: black smoke coming from car's tailpipe, what could it mean? (Carburetor, not fuel-injection).

Thanks for any help!
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#2 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 03:08 PM
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The black smoke is telling you the car is running too rich. As for the smell.....the only thing I can think of is that you have some coolant leaking into the combustion chamber. Burning coolant makes a sick-sweet kind of smell.

Thought of something else. Bad catalytic converter. They can cause a foul smell if they are not performing properly.

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#3 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Myetball
The black smoke is telling you the car is running too rich. As for the smell.....the only thing I can think of is that you have some coolant leaking into the combustion chamber. Burning coolant makes a sick-sweet kind of smell.

Thought of something else. Bad catalytic converter. They can cause a foul smell if they are not performing properly.
Thanks for your reply!

Catalytic converter? Say it ain't so! Sounds expensive! Well, I've had this bad odor from the tailpipe for about two, three years by now. What other symptoms are there for a bad catalytic converter? I hope I haven't been driving around with a bad one all this time!

As for the other theory: are you referring to radiator coolant leaking into the combustion chamber? Sounds expensive to fix, too!
#4 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Myetball
The black smoke is telling you the car is running too rich...
Oh yeah, forgot to ask you: what do you mean exactly when you say the car is running too rich? Also, the smoke is thin when I'm driving and when the car stalls and/or shuts off in the middle of the road, a big, black, thick ball of smoke comes out. Fuel filter has been changed and nothing.
#5 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 06:17 PM
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try changing your oxygen sensor if it's too rich

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Last edited by minute rice sentra; Oct 11th, 2003 at 06:48 PM.
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#6 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Myetball
...Thought of something else. Bad catalytic converter. They can cause a foul smell if they are not performing properly.
Oh yeah, another thing: my car passed emissions already. Can it really be a bad catalytic converter???
#7 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 06:35 PM
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Youve got a bad Cat and a Bad o2 Sensor.... Most muffler shops will perform a Cat test for free... An it shouldnt be that expensive to replace.....IF you go with a UNIVERSAL Cat......OEM is more Expensive... o2 Sensor I dont know the cost but if the Cats been bad that long youll Most Likely need one... PLUS a good tune up.


BTW....As a general rule of thumb.......Rotten EGG smell from the exhaust is 99% of the time a BAD Catalytic Convertor...

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#8 Old Oct 10th, 2003, 10:19 PM
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I agree.. Its most likely your catalytic converter.

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#9 Old Oct 11th, 2003, 05:15 PM
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its the cat! my brothers durangos been doin that for a while.

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#10 Old Oct 11th, 2003, 06:46 PM
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My car has been doing the same thing also.. When I go in to get my new tires ( this tuesday ) I think im going to get a mechanic at the shop to look at it really quick.. the smell is driving me insane

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#11 Old Oct 12th, 2003, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 89Sentra
I agree.. Its most likely your catalytic converter.
If it were coolant, you would have had other BIG probs by now ie headgasket. Last time I looked into 02 sensors, the 3 wire sensor was like 80$.

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#12 Old Oct 12th, 2003, 08:26 PM
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Drives me insane too!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by muccman
My car has been doing the same thing also.. When I go in to get my new tires ( this tuesday ) I think im going to get a mechanic at the shop to look at it really quick.. the smell is driving me insane
It's driving you insane??? LOL, it's been pissing me off for on and off two years now!

I've been asking people left and right what it could be and everyone comes up with their own "theory." Everyone here seems to be saying it's my catalyctic converter and from I read from one website, it could be it.

From http://doityourself.com/auto/tunedieseling.htm:


Exhaust Odor
The smell of rotten eggs comes from the catalytic converter part of your car's emissions control system. The odor can be due to an engine problem or it can be a sign your car's catalytic converter is malfunctioning.


This says it can be "an engine problem" or it could be the converter. I just can't see it being the converter: my car passed emissions once or twice already with this odor present.
#13 Old Oct 12th, 2003, 09:33 PM
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I guess you got a couple of options. Do a complete retune on the engine, including having all emissions components tested and/or replaced or.....get a new cat. Either way somethings gotta be fixed. Having your carb run rich (too much fuel) isn't helping things.

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#14 Old Oct 13th, 2003, 01:45 AM
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80 ! wow , i thought 56 at autozone was rigoddamndiculous! im not sure if the ga16i o2 is the same as the e16 , but ive bought 2 since i have had mine and paid the same thing

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#15 Old Oct 13th, 2003, 05:10 AM
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The '89 Sentra w/GA16i takes a Bosch 11051, single wire oe type, oxygen sensor according to the Bosch page. I have a brand new one if you're interested.

Nissan Forum Members that have ripped me off/owe me money:
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