Exhaust smell


For the last few months, I’ve had an annoying problem with my 2003 Liberty. If I’m driving the car with the blower on (i.e. when it’s cold out), whenever I stop the car and am idling, I get a very strong exhaust smell coming in through the vents. If I turn the fan off, the smell goes away. At first I figured it was due to being behind other vehicles, but now I’ve noticed that it does it all the time, even when there’s nobody else around.

I brought the jeep into a shop a couple of weeks ago to deal with a separate CEL issue (evap leak - fixed by replacing gas cap) and I asked the mechanic to look for an exhaust leak. He said he didn’t see any readily apparent problems with the exhaust line.

I’d like to deal with this because it’s not very pleasant to inhale exhaust fumes through the vents. I intend to take it back in - but is there anything I can tell him (i.e. like, a particular part of the exhaust system to inspect more carefully) that will help him solve the problem?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

They should be able to go over the whole system with an exaust gas analyzer probe and find the leak, this is a safety issue, as you know.

I agree with texases… the issue is more important then being able to smell the exhaust a certain times. Exhaust fumes can be odorless at times and it may be infiltrating more than you think, which is a health hazard both short and long term Get it looked at asap.

OK. I have an appointment on Friday, and will report back!

One other possibility - a small oil leak can cause lots of fumes if it drips on the exhaust system, have them check for that, too.

I’ll make sure to mention that to him. I’m pretty compulsive about looking underneath the car for fluid leaks whenever I’m in a parking lot, and I haven’t noticed anything puddling underneath. All the same it never hurts to check.

If it’s small and drips on the exhaust system, it might never get to the ground. Just a thought.

OK, here’s an update…

Brought it in to a good independent shop today. He went over the whole exhaust system and found no leaks anywhere. Used a gas analyzer probe. Also checked for coolant / oil leaking onto the exhaust piping, and found both fluid levels to be filled right up to where they needed to be.

He didn’t charge me for the diagnostic time since he didn’t figure it out. Still getting that smoky smell with the heat on. I’m totally stumped on this one. There are some jeep forums out there - maybe I’ll post there too and see if anybody has an opinion. I’ll welcome your ideas, if you have any more suggestions. Thanks!

Did you ever get this fixed? I have the same problem with a Jeep Compass. Also read it could be the heater core if it only happens when heat is on. Let us know what the solution was…