Auto - Burning Smell on heavy acceleration

Faults and Technical chat for the Corsa E
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Auto - Burning Smell on heavy acceleration

Post by devon556 » Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:03 am

Firstly, I'm not sure if the burning smell is even coming from my car.

Basically last week we took my car down to Devon, the journey was fine until Haldon Hill (One of the steep hills in Devon) I got stuck behind a slow moving 4x4, and on trying to catch up speed the gearbox dropped down to 5th an accelerated to 5000 rpm halfway up the hill there was a strong burning smell which seemed to be coming from inside the car. On getting to the top of the hill it went back into 6th and the smell went away.

The rest of the journey and the return journey I was a little more careful with the acceleration but didn't have any issues. I've checked around the car and underneath no leaking fluid, no issues in the oil. The car has 32,000 mile and has been carefully driven never really going about 4,000 rpm. I've gone up Telegraph Hill (Basically a much steeper hill in the same area as Haldon) and never had an issue.

My only theory is because the car has been sitting around with lockdown and only doing the occasional inner city journey's to charge the battery that maybe revving it a bit harder has burnt off some of the sludge in the oil, either than or it was someone elses car.
2015 Corsa SE 1.4 90PS Automatic.

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Re: Auto - Burning Smell on heavy acceleration

Post by MrMark » Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:25 pm

Could have been the reason that 4x4 was moving slow!

I have had small bits of debris burn off after getting caught on the exhaust, on other cars ive had.

Just to be safe i'd check all fluids and have a look at the exhaust manifold in the engine bay, to see if anything is on there. But chances are it wasnt even your car.

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Re: Auto - Burning Smell on heavy acceleration

Post by Rickardo » Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:39 pm

The burning smell will be the clutch overheating as you were behind slow movig traffic

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Re: Auto - Burning Smell on heavy acceleration

Post by TheGeorge » Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:49 am

Another source of smell would be gasoline fumes and oil degradation products leaving from the oil pan (is not sludge).

During the short journeys and/or idling, light components (water, gasoline, other vapors) slowly build up and contaminate the oil. These typically need higher temperatures and higher engine work-out to remove (longer, 'energetic' up-hill stretches are perfect for this). When they DO get removed, they vaporize out in a a few seconds into the engine bay and they can also enter the cabbin. The smell is sometimes rotten-y with a side of burnt. You may have 1 or max 2 such episodes on the trip (first one being strongest) after a long period of town only driving. This won't repeat itself until the next time you go out on a nice trip, following another period of using the car around the town for a few weeks and/or idling it for long periods.

I'd not suspect the clutch as the clutch is always fully engaged on these trips (no slip = no overheat), and if it IS the clutch, the smell would repeat itself periodically on similar up-hill stretches and that would mean it's set to fail soon.
Corsa E - 1.4T
MY 2016

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Re: Auto - Burning Smell on heavy acceleration

Post by Marksparks » Wed Sep 23, 2020 7:09 pm

the real question is, was it Haldon Hill, or was it Telegraph Hill... it really does make a difference on your destination!

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