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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
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  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'98 Ford Windstar, Exhaust Fumes in Cab

Q: I have a '98 Ford Windstar with 82k. This winter I started smelling exhaust fumes in the cab with the heater on. The smell is the strongest when the floor vent is open. I took it to the local dealer and they did a pressure test on the exhaust system and said it was holding pressure; no leaks. So they used an ionizer (for a 24-hour period) and shampooed my carpet saying that it could be odors in the carpet or ventilation system that could be released when the heat was turned on. The car did smell clean and I do not smell exhaust while driving, but when I came to a stoplight or just let it idle (with the car warmed up) I started to smell the odor once again. And the longer the idle, the stronger the smell. When I start driving again the smell starts to fade until it is gone. Then when I stop the whole process starts all over again. Do you have any suggestions on what the problem may be? I don't like getting gassed-out when I drive my van.

A: Are you sure it is exhaust fumes that you're smelling? To confirm this walk behind the vehicle while it is idling. I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but customers have been into the shop complaining of an exhaust smell when it was really oil from an engine oil leak dripping on the exhaust. If the exhaust is sealed properly, when you walk around to the rear of the vehicle it should be the only place you smell the exhaust. If the smell you're concerned with is found at the front of the vehicle and the exhaust is sealed properly then it is likely that there is a different problem that smells like exhaust. If the exhaust smell is only at the rear of the vehicle then there are 3 areas that you need to inspect. 1; The seal of the rear hatch glass gasket. On many Windstars the rear hatch glass can be opened separate of the rear hatch/gate. It is not uncommon for the bolts that secure the rear glass panel hinges to the hatch or the latch/lock that hold the glass tight to loosen. When they loosen, the glass does not seal. 2; The rear hatch latch/lock is known for becoming loose and it is not uncommon for the rear hatch gasket to be damaged by dragging life's treasures in and out of the rear of the vehicle. 3; The side sliding door and gasket are a prone to problems too. The hinges and rollers are know for getting rusty due to lack of service and the door will not seal correctly or once again damaged door gaskets. It is said that all of today's vehicles are suppose to maintain a positive cabin pressure. We have found that sometimes that positive is not always enough and outside gets in where it is not suppose to be. A more creative inspection should provide the answer to your exhaust smell.

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