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  #1  
Old 06-14-2010, 10:22 PM
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Shoof Shoof is offline
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Plastic burning smell from under the hood..

I did a search but did not come up with any results to resemble what's happening with me.

Last thursday, start my car up, about 3-5 minutes later i'm on the highway going about 60mph (this is normal in my routine mornings). Air conditioner is on auto at 70 degrees. This time I was going to the doctor to figure out what the heck's wrong with me (I caught some sort of virus/bug, kicked my *** for almost 2 weeks).

Highway drive was about 7 minutes long. I get off the exit, behind a car, I start to smell what seems like plastic burning, similar to what it smells like when a bag gets stuck to a hot exhaust coming into the ventilation. I continue my drive, still behind the same car, going stoplight to stoplight, driving like I normally do. Still smelling something, but not thinking anything of it. I get to another traffic light, the battery malfunction image lights up on my display and lets off a chime. This lasts a second, and goes away. Now I start thinking something's not right with my car, and although I was pretty sick, the whole drive I was telling myself that the engine didn't sound right (but was operating how it would normally, showing no indication of loss of power or anything). Something was different. A few minutes later I get to the doctor. Look under the car from the back, side, see nothing. Get to the front, see nothing but the smell is very strong. I open up the hood and the smell is REALLY strong. The smell was around the intake and in between that and the firewall. The smell was something in between burning plastic, and what a house burning down smells like.

Now I started to get nervous. While waiting to see the doctor, sent an e-mail to my Mini service advisor, saying I'm not sure if I should continue driving or call roadside to tow it to them (my dealer was about 45 miles away from me, and there are other closer dealers to me that I don't want to go to). She suggested to call roadside and insist that they tow it to their service dept. I go in to see the doc, a half hour later sends me on my way with my nostrils numb because he numbed it to go through my nose to look into my throat.

Now I couldn't smell a damn thing, Thinking about what to do, I leave, trying to smell anything, but couldn't. Before going towards the dealer, said I'd go to my friend's shop a few minutes away to have one of his tech's assess the smell and put it up on a lift to make sure nothing's stuck to the exhaust. Went there, the smell was still there, but they couldn't pinpoint it. Put her up on a lift, and nothing sticking to the exhaust. At all. Totally clean under there. The smell still emanating from the engine bay above and below the car.

I said i'll take my chances and drive to the dealer. About an hour later, I get there. Smell is gone. They take the car into the service garage, go over it completely, and there's no smell. They pull the car out and park it back outside, I went out with one of service advisors, opened up the hood, and had them take a whiff. The smell was lingering, but wasn't strong at this point. They couldn't pinpoint it either. I went for a drive with them about another issue with the car, some vibrating happening at a 3800-4200RPM upshift (which has been there since day 1), coming from either in the dash or under the hood. You don't feel it, you hear it. Nothing to do with the smell though.

I leave the dealer and go to work. Everything is normal.

2 days later, Saturday night, I take a 10-15 minute trip (no highway driving). I'm outside my friend's house waiting to pick him up for a few minutes. I'm looking straight ahead and I see smoke coming from the engine bay off the beam of the right headlight. Open up the hood, I don't see any more residual smoke, but it stinks again. BAD. I drive for a few minutes to where we need to go. A few hours later we leave, no smell.

Sunday, nothing.

Monday (again, 2 days later) night (tonight), I leave to go home from work. About 10-15 minutes into the drive again, I start smelling the plastic burning smell again on the stop and go streets. Once again, the engine doesn't sound right, but felt like it was operating normally. 30 minutes later, I get home, smell is gone again.

And here I am.

Does anyone have a clue?!?

I'm taking my car in again to the dealer Wednesday (2 days from now), I doubt i'll be able to duplicate the problem again because it will be a longer trip with 90% of the drive being on the highway. I think because of the higher speeds/winds the smell disappears. It's only noticeable at lower speeds/city driving/cruising.

Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

P.S. I know what a burnt clutch smells like, and I know what burning rubber smells like. This does NOT smell like either.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:37 PM
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From the R53 perspective, the belt would leave a similar lingering smell if it was going, the R56 should be under as much stress but it might be something to check. This would be consistent with AC running enhancing the issue, and the smoke coming from the right hand sie of the car.

There's also a lot of plastic dressing, might want to make sure the hood scoop and valve cover are in good shape all the way around, but the shop likely would have noticed these. Vibration and melting plastic don't seem to go together that well, if it was electrical the cars are so sensor dependent I'd expect you to be seeing other issues by now.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:54 AM
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Happened again this morning. I was a few minutes from my office, just getting off a highway, got to a traffic light and the smell slapped me in the face through the climate control vents. I called up my service advisor, and while talking to her, I get the Mini "chime", along with the battery malfunction display on the OBC, and the fan speed of the climate control went low (it was at a medium fan speed originally). Once I engaged 1st and started moving off the traffic light, the malfunction went away and the fan speed increased to where it was before. I ended up taking it into service, and the smell was still there. Not as strong, but the car was still producing the scent. It was strong enough that as I pulled up, the valet immediately smelled it and said something to me, and I told him that's why I'm here.

They gave me a loaner and sent me on my way. Hopefully they find the problem and fix it.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:41 AM
fbirch fbirch is offline
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Any news on the plastic smell problem? I've recenty noticed this on my car as well, although I haven't seen any smoke.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:16 PM
strobeyprobey strobeyprobey is offline
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Sounds like your alternator belt is slipping. Thus the rubber burning smell and the low battery warnings (due to lack of charging).
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:16 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check the alternator belot for slack, but I haven't gotten any low battery warnings as yet.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:23 AM
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I had similar smell coming from my 09 MCSa, turned out to be a leaking turbo aux oil line. Fixed under warranty, no smell since
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoof View Post
Happened again this morning. I was a few minutes from my office, just getting off a highway, got to a traffic light and the smell slapped me in the face through the climate control vents. I called up my service advisor, and while talking to her, I get the Mini "chime", along with the battery malfunction display on the OBC, and the fan speed of the climate control went low (it was at a medium fan speed originally). Once I engaged 1st and started moving off the traffic light, the malfunction went away and the fan speed increased to where it was before. I ended up taking it into service, and the smell was still there. Not as strong, but the car was still producing the scent. It was strong enough that as I pulled up, the valet immediately smelled it and said something to me, and I told him that's why I'm here.

They gave me a loaner and sent me on my way. Hopefully they find the problem and fix it.
Betcha it may have something to do with my above post, because that's what happened to me, and it was always worse after the car warmed up. However, I never had the chime and batt malfunction display, so it could be something internal.
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:49 PM
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Same Smell!

I'm brand new to Mini, and I've already had a few problems with the car. The burning smell is one of them (see also; Cold Start Death Rattle, busted timing chain).

I took it to Mini, they said the turbo is leaking oil onto the exhaust and that the rear main seal to the crankshaft is leaking. It's still being repaired, but it's under warranty.

I guess this is pretty common?
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Old 03-18-2011, 03:49 PM
 
 
 
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