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I don't know if anyone will be able to help me with such a strange problem, but here goes anyway. I've been having trouble breathing in my car, feeling light-headed, and smell a faint acrid odor. I had the O2 sensor upstream of the catalytic converter replaced recently, and this seems to coincide with the smell (a kind of metallic smell). The first O2 sensor was a Bosch aftermarket product and burned up. The mechanic shop that I took the car to replaced the sensor again with a new one (OEM sensor from Ford).

The smell lingered for a few days, then cleared for the most part. But I still have trouble breathing and still smell something. The shop says that I absolutely have no exhaust leak, although there appears to be an oil spot (with a very thin film of what looks like fresh oil) that runs beneath and the length of the exhaust manifold. They also say that they cannot smell anything. I don't think that I'm imagining this problem. Assuming there is no exhaust leak, could there be something else leaking that could be causing these problems? The A/C compressor seems to be short-cycling as well. Other than R-134A or the battery leaking H2 gas or sulfuric acid, I don't know what else could cause breathing problems.

I know this is a long shot, but any help is appreciated.
 

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Sometimes my engine Coolant leaks which has a fairly sickening odor to it.

Also you might check your Cabin air filter. (Located under the passengers side windshield wiper. I opened mine up and found decaying plant material with a very pungent odor.

Those are my $.02 Hope that helps.

Kevin

btw. Welcome to FF
 

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when my altenator was going out, i smelled a metallic smell through the a/c... maybe its that who knows [???:)]
 

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My 2010 Focus SEL, just developed a very strange smell which I find difficult to describe. It's almost like a dead animal smell which is strongest on top of the motor near the injectors. The smell appeared after using my A/C for the first time this year.

Last summer I had mice build a nest there and they chewed on my injector wires (no real damage). This year there are just traces of mice droppings which couldn't cause any smell really. I vacuumed that area of the engine and still have the smell.

The smell occurs after driving about 15 km when the motor is hot. The motor appears to be running hotter than normal with the temperature gauge at the half-way point. The rad, fan and A/C seem to be ok.

I'm past my 5w20 oil change interval but the oil looks and smells ok. I don't see any traces of debris on the exhaust system.
 

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'if it smells like rotten eggs it's your cat converter it's toast. '

The mark of the unlearned, I'm calling it, I'm sick of hearing it.

The smell there is the converter WORKING ITS' -SS OFF, it at that time is working fine but YOU are destroying it from super rich burning in the cat. It is not dead yet but you are making it happen. The assumption it is already dead is what leads to the further stupidity that 'since it is already dead I will drive it some more'.

If you stop right at that point commonly nothing will go wrong but today people would rather rush (usually late) to their $8/hr. job to get to work for another whole month to afford the new converter they destroy in the next 1/2 hour. Does that sound intelligent?

The pronunciation that it's already dead is like an amen, it is future announcement of something you intend to do or have happen, or further use to guarantee total destruction. It HASN'T HAPPENED YET. BUT you will make it so by continuing to operate the car like that. The smell is your final warning like rattle from rattlesnake.

To OP and sorry about that. Oil commonly gets on exhaust parts when work is done. It smells terrible to sensitive people. I am not. My wife is and can smell oil burned from service I did for a solid month any time I work on the cars. Burned oil can appear glazed like it is still live and oily but touching it will determine it has simply burned to dry glassy glaze. Don't burn yourself of course. Any engine running correctly will not be leaking oil into the exhaust, it burns mostly almost instantly. Antisieze commonly used on O2 sensor threads can look live long after it is smeared on exhaust pipes.

If just smelling the ghost of oil you may just have to wait a while more to have it stop. The fact the smell is decreasing is a good sign.
 

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It doesn't smell like rotten eggs, oil or coolant. After I shampooed and rinsed the top of the engine the smell went away. I'm assuming that some small animal urinated on the top of the motor.
 

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I recognize most common automotive smells, but don't know what burning mouse pis smells like. Unburnt mouse pis is bad enough.
 
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