I smell like exhaust!!!

Hello,
I own a 73 Volvo 164e. I bought it a few months ago.
Everytime I drive the car I smell like exhaust.
It's so bad I need to change clothes or shower.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how to get rid of this awful toxic smell?

Thanks,
Kevin
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Comments

  • Just to clarify, does your interior smell like exhaust before the car is started?
  • There is faint odor of exhaust mixed with a light mold smell.
  • Same thing happens in my 145 and my 1800ES. Don’t you just love old cars without catalytic converters? That’s one of the most pleasant things about owning an electric car. If you don’t charge it with solar panels, then somebody else smells the exhaust fumes from the coal power plant far away! ;)

    Most likely a combination of running a bit rich and having exhaust leaks in combination with leaks in the body. Might be worth checking exhaust CO mixture/fuel pressure etc. to confirm it’s not running too rich. Common leaks in the body are the rubber grommets in the firewall/dash panel around wiring, AC plumbing etc. also around the shift lever in the tunnel...check boot seals, door seals, etc. Check all exhaust pipes, mufflers, manifold gaskets etc. for leaks. Does the tail pipe run straight out the back or does it have the S-shaped bend? The S-shaped tailpipe puts the exhaust exit farther outboard and less likely to get sucked into the negative pressure zone around the boot.

    Also are your lower A-pillar kick panel vents open or closed? May make things better or worse depending on if there’s an exhaust leak or not. Experiment.

    I find in the 145 if I drive with the vent windows open it seems to suck in more fumes? Is it better if you run with all the windows shut and the A/C fan blower on mid to high speed?
  • Oh, and are there any oil leaks? Any oil getting on the exhaust can make it stink too...
  • A dead boot lid seal is another one. Where is the water getting in?
  • Thanks for all the info.
    The trunk lid is not sealing. The hinge is bent. Definitely not sealing there. Water could be leaking here. Also the window scrapers are old and a bit crusty. Probably not sealing. The spare tire wells in the trunk are missing. The exhaust pipe is s shaped.
    The fuel pressure is correct.
    But I do believe it’s running a bit rich.
    Do have a method to adjust the CO knob on ECU? I don’t have a CO meter and one that reads low enough is pricey.
    I will check for leaks in the exhaust pipe, kick panel vents, oil leaks and various seals soon.
    I recently replaced the air intake/exhaust manifold gasket. A few leaks there.
    Thanks
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  • You can adjust the knob by feel with a larger screw driver and driving it around to check. The 140/160 green manuals have some details on that. The holes/gaps at the back of the car would be highest on my list because this is the low pressure area.
  • carnut222carnut222 (@carnut222) Daylesford VIC
    edited December 2018
    You can adjust the knob by feel with a larger screw driver and driving it around to check. The 140/160 green manuals have some details on that. The holes/gaps at the back of the car would be highest on my list because this is the low pressure area.
    I agree with Ian on the holes in the back. That’s where all the exhaust fumes swirl around so def can get sucked in. Try running with the heater blower fan on full to bring in fresh air from the front.

    Nice looking car!
  • @carnut222 has excellent points about missing or failing grommets in the firewall. I'd put money down on a leaking rear main oil seal, and a leaky rocker cover gasket. If the flame trap is on its way to being blocked, these engines tend to spring oil leaks, particularly the 73 and earlier models with the felt type oil seals, which operate more by voodoo and wishful thinking rather than providing a reliable physical seal to retain oil. They redesigned the rear main and also the oil seal at the timing cover to neoprene gaskets in 1974, which says it all, really...

    What's the condition of your engine pipes (exhaust)? Each manifold on a B30E covers 3 cylinders, and has a separate pipe for each. One pipe or gasket may be leaking. And if the seal where the shift lever enters the cabin isn't well sealed, the gases under the car will rise up to say 'howdy' through the hole.

    I'd also be checking for water leaks around / below the windscreen, and making sure the drain holes in the doors aren't blocked. Dead leaves in the ventilation system intake won't help with cabin smells, either.
    1LQhVAhm.png
    71 1800E |73 144 |74 142 |74 145 |79 242GT |88 780 |93 945T |93 945|2010 S80 V8
  • Thanks for all the information. I now have a new issue. I was driving it yesterday and after accelerating up a hill, a loud knocking/thumping sound started in the front end. It only occurs when the car is moving and changes speed with the cars speed.
    I quickly investigated but didn’t see anything.
    Any ideas of what it could be?
    Thanks
  • The quickest way to diagnose would be by a mechanic. Noises are difficult to diagnose on the internet.
  • How old are the front tyres? Tread separation can make a noise like you describe, and be harder than you'd expect to spot when looking at the tyre. A second possibility is that you weren't paying enough attention while driving, and you have an old lady with a handbag stuck under there.
  • Great idea! The tires are old. Cracked between plenty of treads.
    And/ Or I hope that old ladies handbag is packed with money to buy new tires!
    Thanks
  • Ex850RSnoopy (@Ex850R) Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Melbourne.
    Please check or just replace the back tyres too.
    cancer sucks
  • i have the same issue on my 73 164 however it only seems to happen when i open the window. window up and theres no exhaust fumes. very strange
  • i have the same issue on my 73 164 however it only seems to happen when i open the window. window up and theres no exhaust fumes. very strange

    Yep on my 145 and my ES it gets worse with a window partway or all the way down, or especially with the vent window opened. I think the air blowing over the window aperture causes somewhat of a suction effect and then you get a negative cabin pressure...this can suck the exhaust in from any openings/leaks, especially in the rear (like boot gasket or in my ES the rubber grommets where the bumpers go through the rear end panel). It also seems to cause air to swirl around in the cabin, so any fumes sucked in are then circulated.
    ab1
  • i think youre right about the vacuum effect. the other thing that ive read can add to it is if the exhaust has not been made to come far out enough from the body which helps the fumes get sucked up in this vacuum effect

    anyone know where to get these wheel well grommets? i know my boot reeks of exhaust after driving more than likely because of the missing grommets. youd think the fumes would filter through with the windows up but i cant smell any exhaust fumes with the windows up
  • i think youre right about the vacuum effect. the other thing that ive read can add to it is if the exhaust has not been made to come far out enough from the body which helps the fumes get sucked up in this vacuum effect

    anyone know where to get these wheel well grommets? i know my boot reeks of exhaust after driving more than likely because of the missing grommets. youd think the fumes would filter through with the windows up but i cant smell any exhaust fumes with the windows up

    Which grommets are you referring to when you say “wheel well grommets” Alex? I’m not that familiar with the 164. Pics?
  • the ones where the spare wheel sits in the boot. same as the 140 sorry shouldve been more clear there
  • The ones that look like little cones.
    ab1
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