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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to post this in this forum as it only pertains to a Dtec and it might pertain to my performance mods.

Anyway. The past few days I have been smelling a very slight burning plastic/rubber smell coming from my car. As far as "hot" mods on my car I have the F2 header coupled to a HFC trubendz exhaust. Never smelled it before the HFC and just recently started smelling it after around a month of it being installed. I thought there might just be some dirt and grime being thrown on the exhaust from the snow we had recently. (lots of road sand...) There are splashes of mud up in the engine bay on the valve cover so I now it can get up there somehow.

The funny thing is though that whenever I open the hood I can't smell it coming out of the engine bay. Over the header or not. I almost think it is coming from the new cat but I am not sure. Looking into the engine bay I can't see anything that is rubbing, burning or melting against the exhaust. I am puzzled. Maybe just being OCD cause it doesn't happen all the time.... So I dunno. Just wonderin if anyone else has experienced this kinda smell. Around winter time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
You know guys just NVM. I have an extreme OCD about this car... It only smells in the engine bay right over my valve cover (which is painted... smells like paint...) Hardly ever outside the car (same paint smell) and never inside the car. If something was burning I would of course smell it in the car sometimes which I never do.
 

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j,

I would not worry too much, plastics and paints will emit odors from time to time under the right conditions.

(this is what we all commonly know as "the new car smell" and high end mfg's like Lexus, MBZ, BMW, Jag etc all work towards using "neutral smelling" synthetic materials for the vehicle interior so owners mainly smell the leather seats etc)

The important things to ask yourself is when did you first notice this? What was added or modified recently just before it started? So in your first post, I would just figure this is typical smell from new exhaust and especially a new cat. I might just want to be sure that you are not running too rich, or too lean.

But then something changed....

The most obvious connection based on your second description is that your valve cover paint is still emitting fumes/vapors from the solvents that comprise the media to spray on the paint that remains behind. This is also called "gassing". This effect can persist for long periods after "the paint has dried" and it's the reason you do not want to wax a fresh paint job for about the first 3-6 months. The wax will seal the surface of the paint and it will take much longer for the paint to fully cure and it may never cure properly.

But you might be thinking now that if all of this is true, then why doesn't every vehicle that's been repainted "smell like fresh paint" for weeks after the paint has dried?

At typical ambient temps, this "gassing" effect occurs at a very slow rate, this is why it takes 3-6 months for a paint job to properly cure. At normal temps/curing rates the concentration of paint solvent fumes is too low to detect.

A valve cover bathed in 240F motor oil however will accelerate this gassing effect and the paint fume concentration leaving the surface of the valve cover will be much higher to the point where an individual with a keen sense of smell might catch a whiff easily.

Also if you are running a header, the remainder of plastics etc in the vicinity will get hotter and could also emit a "plastic/paint" smell. Plastics also seem to emit vapors for some time, and the plastics are ever really in a consistent state of "curing" either. How do you think plastic parts become brittle over time when exposed to heat or UV etc? They are typically somewhat soft and pliable when they came out of the mold, but over time they continue to cure, emit vapors and eventually become brittle.

You probably had some initial smells and odors coming from the new exhaust / cat. Becuase you admit the OCD, then this probably raised your sensitivity to these smells and they may now have passed and your nose is still "looking for trouble" so when you look around to see what's going on it zeros in on the next target.

If you get a chance just stick you nose under the hood in any engine bay with lots of plastic covers and close quarters after just pulling off the highway and you will probably find it smells like paint and plastic too.........
 

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do you think that was too technical?

I am such a looser.......
 

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Lol no...I didn't even read it cause it was super long. But I am sure it answered his problem. I just think it is sweet how much info a guy can get on here for free.[ffrocks]
 

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FF Rocks X2

Lol no...I didn't even read it cause it was super long. But I am sure it answered his problem. I just think it is sweet how much info a guy can get on here for free.[ffrocks]
I'll second that........[headbang]
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dude, TB you only have 66 posts but that says nothing about how much you have been impressing me as of late in these forums. Keep it up man. Your knowledge eclipses my own and it has been a pleasure reading everything you have written thus far.
 

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Ty

[ffrocks]

Dude, TB you only have 66 posts but that says nothing about how much you have been impressing me as of late in these forums. Keep it up man. Your knowledge eclipses my own and it has been a pleasure reading everything you have written thus far.
Thanks for that. I know my profile is light on details. For the record, I'm 43, 25 years ASE master tech, ASE master machinist, etc.

I work for an auto mfg that was recently sold by FoMoCo.

With that said, this only means that "I know what I know" and when I purchased my Focus it was a daily driver and I never really knew anything about them.

Then I considered getting back into autoX, and a co-worker put me on to this chat room.

Since then I have picked up some good advice as a "lurker" for the past 18 months, and about 50% of my mods choices have been based entirely on what I have researched here and fj. You guys know so much more about these cars than I did when I started, but I have been on a serious "Crash Course 101" on everything FoFo.

I don't list details about my build because I'm a paranoid and suspicious old man, and constantly worry that some SOB would say, "Oh, I LIKE that stuff, think I'll steal it". Live 40+ years in this part of the country and that's what goes through your mind.

I've done extensive work to my car, I tossed a rod in the 2.0 running time trials last year, and upgraded to a 2.3 with the replacement. I've done extensive recal work and I just did some dyno work for the first time last weekend.

The 2.3 is stock, with SRI, 67mmTB, Tumble flap delete, F2 Header, F2 BSD, and FS stealth exhaust, and my Cal using SCT ProRacer package from FS.

I'm also running a slightly lighter than stock flywheel, but it still a steel unit, the HD Stage ".5" kit from Exedy that I picked up from CFM last winter.

My best pull was 150.8 WHP/ 156.0 WTQ[thumb]

I've gotten heavily into the track days/time trial stuff in the past 18 months, and the daily driver will get gutted this year as I prepare to get a race license and go wheel to wheel with NASA and/or EMRA.

I did post one video to youtube from NJMP, it's just 2 easy laps but it's a decent video of my Fofo in action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrjSEySYGto

When I get a chance I have some video from Watkins glen with me harrasing the crap out of an S2000 and a late model Z28. But like I said, I'm an old man, and doing things like convering and compressing video to fit on youtube is just a pain in my a**.

Before I bust my arm patting myself on the back, let me repeat that all of this was really only possible in this short of a time frame with the help I had from this forum to get me the info and basics of focus mods etc out of the way quickly so I could get on with the details of sorting out a reasonably solid racer. (I'm still experimenting with suspension settings etc and my driving style though)[ohcrap]

I can't wait to strip this thing down about 200 lbs, A/C, seats, interior, stock bumpers..... OUT OUT OUT!!!! [wave]

I should be having a garage sale before March. [;)]
 

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hey TB, i have an idea for a P/S delete which will aide in your track car....
 

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do tell, do tell!

hey TB, i have an idea for a P/S delete which will aide in your track car....
I'm all ears, I've been discussing this with a friend [idea], and contemplated bypassing the pump and just looping a custom line, into and out of the rack.


What's your idea? [:)~]
 

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generally speaking PS is strictly a comfort item in most cars. The basic trade off is increased effort at slow speeds to pick up better steering feel/feedback at higher speeds.

I've never driven a Focus with this done, but the main issue would be parking manouvers. There might be some issues with the ability to make evasive manouvers at slow speeds. but I doubt it.

many High end cars use a computer controlled pressure modulation valve to reduce assist at highway speeds allowing a variable assist, allowing a best of both worlds, still others also include a variable steering ratio. BMW Z4 and some others ( I think Caddy?) are using electric power assist, no pump, no fluid, just motors or magnets etc., these are also fully variable.
 

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for the most part, yes.

It gets worse if you have a heavy vehicle, all the weight over the fromt axle, lots of negative caster, wide tires, or various combinations of these things.

Tire pressure is a factor 2. Big trucks & SUVs can feel like something is wrong with PS if tire pressure gets to low, it's often misdiagnosed by inexperienced techs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dude, A/C delete is definately my next "free" mod (save for cost of shorter belt) to the ST. If all goes well with the PS delete (and a writeup is provided) that will be the next one.
 

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make sure when you loop the rack that you have a breather with a resivoir, thats the keep to open the system to allow it to move freely...

and ill let my secret out... check out where the mazda 3 auto belt tensioner is...
 

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some of my co-workers drive a 3, I'll check it out tomorrow. I think I'm going to like this...... U DA MAN
 

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PS delete

Hon Hon,

I checked it out tonight. That's a perfect solution.

No A/C, No PS has to add 3-4 HP, and I'm gonna loose about 25-30 lbs right off the front of my car.

SWEEEET![clap]

When I get it done, maybe next month I'll update this thread with pics and details for what size belt etc
 
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