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Burning / Clutch smell?

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Please put my mind at rest - having owned my esprit for a few weeks (and really enjoying it) I have noticed a funny burning/rubber/clutch smell when I stop the car, been doing it since I bought it.

I had a good sniff last night :D , smell is more from around the wheels rather than coming out of the vents.

Clutch was replaced a year or so ago by previous owner, is very strong (no sign of slip) and he also got samco as well as braided hoses etc..... The tracking is spot on, no tyre run etc - just can't put my finger on what the smell is, driving me mad and got me worried.

Any ideas??

I'm thinking of taking it to SJ Sportscars in Edinburgh for a quick look.



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Check you're handbrake cable tension... it's possible the brakes are dragging??

Modifying esprit's.. now that's fun..

PS... I AM NOT A CERTIFIED MECHANIC.. I Have chosen to help those in need, in the past and must not be construed as being a certified technician.

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  • 1 month later...

I had this problem years ago on a Mercedes 190e....Went on for months, got worried to death....Turned out to be a plastic bag melted on to the exhaust. This is why I always check the mirror when I run over a bag in the road and check under the car if I don't see the bag behind me.

Is there any smoke? There are loads of places the V8 can leak oil onto hot metal.

Are you positive the handbrake is off. I once drove all the way to work without noticing the handbrake was on. This causes "blueing" of the discs due to the heat damage (A bit like the blue discolouration on chrome motorbike exhaust pipes near the engine, but less noticeable)

Are you keeping your left foot well away from the clutch pedal. The release is very light and just the weight of your foot can cause a small imperceptable slip which will cause such a smell.

That said, mine smells of clutch for about twenty seconds almost every time I stop and get out of it...and petrol...and combustion...and rubber...and leather...The smell of a supercar !!

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As Mark mentioned, could be the handbrake cable tension. Had this on my car a few years ago. The cable gets stucks and you're driving around with the brakes on. I got through a set of rear pads. If you waggle the cable around, it should release.

A way tell if it is, put the car on a gentle slop, if it doesn't roll then it's the cable.

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Check your brakes to see if there is any pulling to one side, sign of a sticky piston in the caliper. Do you drive, er briskly? hot brakes will smell, mine do rather a lot... as does the clutch, tyres etc

any oil dripping on hot surfaces is the obvious one of course. look for wet areas on the underside and drive or wisps of blue smoke.

Also put your hand/cheek near the caliper after a run on both sides and see if one side is noticably hotter. It will heat the wheel up significantly more if its a stuck caliper

Edited by DBredS4
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Thanks for the various replies!

I think I know what the smell is :ninja: ..... For a few weeks now, I have been hearing a rattling noise from the rear which is not the heatshield (that is also rattling and being fixed next week). Having read a recent post about an owner who had a rattle noise, sounded like a nut in a tin can, potential to be one of the CATs broken.

Had a good listen to the left hand CAT yesterday and it's rattling like crazy (not loose, coming from inside). I also noticed smoke was only coming from the right hand exhaust on startup :( , must be a blocked/fooked CAT.....

I have a set of decat pipes on order with PNM for a few weeks now and have asked my garage to go over the car when they are fitting them, ensure everything else is sorted etc (inc fixing the rattle heatshield)....

Therefore, am assuming the funky smell could be coming from the CAT being knackered??

As for brakes and clutch - no, the brakes are for sure not on and the clutch isn't dragging, bites really hard, think it was replaced a year or so ago.....

I will let you know how it goes and thanks again!


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