I also have exhaust coming thru the vents when i have vent open- either with or without AC on. when i hit recirculate it goes away. My mechanic went thru the complete exhaust and said there was no leaks…?
Does this occur when driving & moving? Or only when stopped w/engine running, like parked, or waiting at a stoplight? Recirculate mode limits the amount of outside air brought inside the car, so entry point for the exhaust odor appears to be the hvac inlet vents near the bottom of the windshield.
Thanks George. Happens whenever fan is on and on fresh air, not recirculate. AC or not. This is whats puzzling to me.I guess I have to find a shop with a sniffer for exhaust leaks
Since you notice the odor both when the vehicle is being driven and stopped/idling, pretty good chance it is coming from the engine compartment. It might not be exhaust, could be an oil leak is dripping on the hot exhaust manifold. That produces a definite acrid odor, & could easily be confused with exhaust. The most common engine oil-leak source is the valve cover gaskets. Ask your shop to be sure to check there.
Have you investigated the recall posted by @weekend-warrior ?
According to the nhtsa report above, the affected part (that leaks) appears to be a flexible segment of the exhaust system. That’s needed if the engine needs to be lowered or raised to provide access to something. The part is likely very near the engine compartment. I have to raise the engine in my Corolla to replace the water pump for example, and doing that visibly stresses that flexible segment. Prior to noticing this odor, did any work like that occur on your Outback? I mention this b/c that flexible segment might be more difficult to leak-check than the other parts.
The engine is mounted on rubber, the engine moves as the vehicle is driven.
No dispute, the flexible exhaust segment is needed for that too. On my Corolla, the normal amount of engine movement is considerably less than what is needed to lower or raise the engine.
I doubt it has anything to do with raising or lowering the engine for service. It’s to absorb the day to day movement between the engine and the exhaust system.