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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just recently bought my first Xterra. It's a 2002 and I love it! BUT - I commute 100 miles to attend classes and once I drive it about 50 miles, an odd grease smell permeates the interior only. When I park it, I can't smell it outside of the vehicle. It gets worse the longer I drive it and it's driving me crazy! I changed the cabin filters (they were filthy - I doubt they had ever been changed) and that didn't work. I checked the carpets, under the seats, etc., and can't find anything. Any suggestions?
 

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any chance your val covers are leaking ? the oul could be dribbling down pn your exhaust manifolds and burningaking it smell. or an exhaust leak maybe .


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Probably is valve covers that need to be tightened. Check the left side of your engine (passengers side) to see if oils leaking
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Grease smell

I recently had to replace a head gasket on my Beemer and that was a burning oil smell. This is a grease smell. Like when you go into a mechanics shop and all you smell is grease. And it's only occasionally. I drove to class today and it was very strong. When I drove home (another 100 miles) it wasn't very strong at all... This is truly driving me nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've been monitoring all of my fluids since I got it and they're all fine - nothing is low. And the engine is VERY clean.
 

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You using the heater? My guess is something is inside or near the air vents that's causing it. Besides that I'm not sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've ran it with the heater, without the heater, with the a/c, without the a/c. This is why it's driving me nuts! It's random and I can't figure it out... GRRRRRR!
 

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Lol I'm really lost on what it could be... If you figure it out tell us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm totally lost too. When I first discovered the smell, I called the place that had changed the oil, etc. and they said that they almost guarantee it was the inside cabin filters. So I changed them. Didn't work. That was really the only feasible explanation, as it doesn't smell anything at all like oil. One of my instructors asked if maybe a mouse had crawled in and died. Since I doubt that a dead mouse smells like grease, AND since I figure a dead mouse would smell bad ALL of the time, I discounted that advice too. Please don't stop with the suggestions. I didn't even know about the inside cabin filters until the service place mentioned them! I'm open to ANY suggestions! I have a vent air freshener in there and a box of baking soda.
 

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The cabin filters behind the glove box? As for mice dieing in a Xterra they usually stick to your resonators or baffle ( two air intake resonators for the engine) and they wouldnt smell like grease either ha
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah - the two filters behind the glovebox. I changed them and they were incredibly filthy. Do you think I should maybe change them a few more times? Think maybe it's a buildup of crud that's causing the odor?
 

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X2 on whether it's a stick or not. You might also check that the front or rear end aren't leaking. On the rear you might have a wheel seal leaking. See if the area behind the rear wheel looks like it has been wet or is wet. It can also leak into the rear drums. Your cabin filters are probably fine.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes - it's a manual 5 speed! How can I tell if it's the rubber boot?
Will it be wet all the time behind the rear wheels?
 

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You have to remove your floor boots to get access. Remove your shift knobs they just screw on but are realllllly tight or have glue on the threads. If you can't get them off it is ok you can hold the boots high enough up to get access it just make it easier to see with out the boots falling on you. Remove the shifter boot on your floor, 4 screws around the perimeter of the gray trim. Then you'll see that there is a rubber floor seal boot. These are almost always torn, but are only part of the problem. This is where the smell floats into the cab from but not the source of the smell. It has 10mm head bolts around its metal trim under the carpet. You might have to slit corners of the carpet to make more room for your removal. But, there again I don't remember cutting the carpet. After you remove the floor boot. You will see it. The top of the transmission. There is a small maybe 3" round rubber boot where the shifter comes out of the trans. Mine had cracked and became oily slimmy. At high speed or anytime the trans was warm oily stink smell would go straight into the cab. To take the boot off it required that I remove the shifter from the trans. So I took the 4 bolts off the shift base plate and removed the shifter from the truck. Disassembled the shifter base plate after I cut off the old boot it was a simple snap ring. Then I had to fit the new boot from the bottom of the shifter shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Several questions at once here: What are the chances that it could be either: The catalytic converter, wheel bearing grease or the O2 sensor plugged with grease or mud?
 

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No, not likely,and no. If the smell is gear lube it is most likely a torn or detached boot on the shifter or something leaking at one of the differentials. since it's a stick it's prolly the torn boot scenario.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'll have a mechanic take a look at it then. Sounds too difficult for a novice like myself. Thank you everyone for all of your help!
 

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Nooooo not gear oil smell! Probably my least favorite odor in the world. I hope mine doesn't tear.
 

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I hate the smell of gear lube. It penetrates all it is near. I accidentally spilled some on a buddies dog one time (don't ask) and he had to wash that poor dog five or six times and you could still smell it weeks later......

Paul
 
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