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Old 02-05-2010, 6:04 PM   #1
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Is my transmission causing a skunk smell?

I know this is going to sound odd, but.... after putting the TL in reverse then driving forward again, my whole car smells like a skunk. Inside and out! I looked everywhere to locate the smell- in the dash vents (pulled the cabin filter), under the hood (I looked everywhere!), under the whole car with it on a lift, but I can't find a thing. Once the smell gets going, if you stick your nose inside the front wheel wells you really get a whiff of it.

I've changed the trans fluid twice in the past 10,000 miles (1x3 fluid swap each time). I replaced both front axles about 4 months ago.

I am completly baffled as to where this smell is coming from. Its so bad my neighbor who I share a garage with asked if there is a dead skunk on my half of the garage.

Any ideas?
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:27 PM   #2
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if you stick your nose inside the front wheel wells you really get a whiff of it.
- If it smells like a skunk, my quess is it probably was a skunk.

- Does anyone else ever drive your car ? Pehaps someone driving your car ran-over a skunk and didn't want to tell you.

- Do you smell it from *both* the left and right side wheel wells ?
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Old 02-06-2010, 6:29 PM   #3
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- If it smells like a skunk, my quess is it probably was a skunk.

- Does anyone else ever drive your car ? Pehaps someone driving your car ran-over a skunk and didn't want to tell you.

- Do you smell it from *both* the left and right side wheel wells ?

I have looked all over that car- inside, outside and underneath. There is absolutely no residue or animal debris anywhere. My wife drives that car maybe once a week and the only places she goes are in very urban areas where the skunk population is minimal to none. And yes- I get the smell from both wheel wells.

This really only started happening after I replaced the axles. The smell arises usually after one of three scenarios:

1-After the car is warm I have to use reverse then go forward again. Smell appears.

2- After the car is warm and I have been on a freeway for a while. I come to a stop after exiting the freeway and I catch a whiff.

3- I live in a six unit building that has six garage spaces in an alley. Each space I separated by brick walls. I have to back into my garage (thus utilizing reverse and activating the smell). When I go back to the car later I catch a whiff in my garage.

I do get the smell at other times as well, but they are not as common as the two times I mentioned above. Almost every time the car is warm when I get the smell.

I figured this one will stump just about everyone. I have a friend who owns a body shop and may ask him to take a look at it for me.
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Old 02-06-2010, 6:41 PM   #4
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Once the car is fully warmed up, floor the gas with it in neutral or park for a few seconds. The rev limit is very low, like 4-4.5K. It won't hurt anything but it will tell you if it's the engine vs trans or other issues.

Right off the bat I would try a different gas station. It sounds like you may have a large dose of sulfur.

My guess is it's coming from the exhaust since you smell it when coming to a stop or backing up.

Are you using any sort of fuel suppliments? What type of engine oil?
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:24 PM   #5
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I am stumped. But, I do have three thoughts.

1) For a skunk, all you need is the stink excretion, which you would not see visibly when examining the underside of the car.

2) The stink excretion would probably become stinkier with an increase in temperature.

3) I recommend taking your car to an automatic car wash that offers an under-carriage wash. These car wash locations have spray nozzles that blast water onto the underside of the car. Hopefully, this would rinse away the stink excretion if it was a ran-over skunk.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:18 PM   #6
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It is mating season for skunks
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Old 02-08-2010, 8:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by LiquidLunch View Post
I know this is going to sound odd, but.... after putting the TL in reverse then driving forward again, my whole car smells like a skunk.
I've burnt my clutch going backward up a steep hill parking, and it really stinks.
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Old 06-28-2010, 3:50 PM   #8
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BUMP- i have this same smell and it occured after i changed my drivers side axle-shaft. The old one which i put in the back of my jeep when i took it off just absolutely reaked- stunk up the entire jeep. And now that the new one is in it still smells when i'm outside the car, and even weirder is the old one didnt smell when it was in the car i just happened to see the boot ripped and decided to replace it. So i guess i need to check the new one and see if that boot is ripped or something i dont know. Did your smell ever go away? Oh and yes it smells exactly like a skunk
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Old 06-28-2010, 3:57 PM   #9
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Someones been hiding drugs in the wheel wells.
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Old 06-28-2010, 4:26 PM   #10
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yeah totally that must be it
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Old 06-30-2010, 8:54 AM   #11
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A skunk?

No.

Change gas stations, and start running premium. Problem solved.
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Old 06-30-2010, 9:06 AM   #12
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I run nothing but premium in the car, I will switch stations but I doubt that is the problem. I think it has to do with the axleshaft, it only smells by the driver side front tire (the one I replaced)
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Old 06-30-2010, 9:38 AM   #13
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Have you had this in the air to be sure the axle seal isn't leaking and the fluid burning off?
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:03 AM   #14
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thats my first thought- suspect the last work performed on the car

Missing clip allowing axle movement or edge of cv boot loose, or seal bad at axle insertion to engine/trans???? loose main bolt...
In the air it goes!!!
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:58 PM   #15
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Thanks guys, I have a pretty decent automotive background but this had me a little stumped and wasn't sure what exactly to do next. After I get a chance to look at it I will post up what the problem is/ was once I fix it. Thanks again
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Old 02-28-2011, 11:06 AM   #16
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Did anyone ever find out what the skunk smell is? I have a 2005 RSX, and I changed the front driver axle due to a ripped boot, and now I get that awful skunk smell coming from my car. I just imagined I hit a skunk, but after reading the posts, I think it has to do with the new axle. I may jack it up tonight and see how the axle is looking. I installed it about 1k miles ago.
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Old 03-02-2011, 9:55 PM   #17
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Is it a bad Cat?
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Old 03-03-2011, 1:31 AM   #18
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Is it a bad Cat?
That's my suspicion, because I've had that issue recently and in the past. Sometimes a new O2 sensor will fix it, but more than often if you're getting that smell then the cat will eventually die anyway, even with a new O2 sensor.
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Old 03-29-2011, 2:50 PM   #19
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That's my suspicion, because I've had that issue recently and in the past. Sometimes a new O2 sensor will fix it, but more than often if you're getting that smell then the cat will eventually die anyway, even with a new O2 sensor.
Its not a bad CAT because i dont have CATS in my car
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:04 AM   #20
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bump.....Its definately coming from my drivers side axleshaft. There is no leak in the boot it just smells. Its mostly are the hotter days that you can really notice it. I installed coilovers yesterday and took a wiff of the axleshaft and that's where the smell is coming from without a doubt. I'll have to see what i can do from here. I have used engine bright in the past to get rid of the smell but that lasts about a week maybe 2 and then the smell is back.
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Old 06-24-2012, 1:45 PM   #21
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Has anyone confirmed what this could be? I just has my cv axles replaced and it hasn't stopped reaking of skunk since...help!
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Old 06-25-2012, 9:14 AM   #22
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Has anyone confirmed what this could be? I just has my cv axles replaced and it hasn't stopped reaking of skunk since...help!
Nope, did you get the cv axles from the dealer or just a regular auto parts store? I was going to do my clutch myself but i might have the dealer do it because i also have a transmission sound so when i finally get around to bringing it to them i will have them look into this smell. Like i said if you buy some engine bright cleaner you can get rid of the smell temporarily
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:40 AM   #23
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check that the clamp is holding the CV grease in the boot properly.
CV joint grease does have a skunky type smell.
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Old 06-25-2012, 4:44 PM   #24
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Nope, did you get the cv axles from the dealer or just a regular auto parts store? I was going to do my clutch myself but i might have the dealer do it because i also have a transmission sound so when i finally get around to bringing it to them i will have them look into this smell. Like i said if you buy some engine bright cleaner you can get rid of the smell temporarily
I just bought them from the local auto parts store. They were a LOT cheaper, and from the research I did it didn't seem like a "have to OEM" kinda part. Plus I don't know how much longer I'm going to be trucking along in this thing. I think total for both sides was just over $125.
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Old 06-25-2012, 4:45 PM   #25
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check that the clamp is holding the CV grease in the boot properly.
CV joint grease does have a skunky type smell.
Will do, I'm going to be driving back over to the auto shop prior to taking the 400 miles trek in front of me next week. I hope its just something dumb and easily able to be fixed.
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Old 08-02-2012, 9:08 AM   #26
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BUMP! I've had a Honda dealer, and my local mechanic look at this issue and neither of them were able to locate it. The smell is VERY strong and I've replaced all possible air filters, ensured the fluids are not leaking/seaping. Does anyone have a clue as to what this issue could possibly be?
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