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Rotten Egg smell exhaust



  • I have a 1989 Buick LeSabre T-Type with a 3.8
    liter V6 FI engine. My problem is that my car
    sometimes gets that rotten egg smell. I had my catalytic converter replaced a while back in order to pass DEQ, but it still smells bad on a
    consistent basis. Also, it runs really, REALLY bad when I do not warm it up for at least 5 minutes. If I just get in the car in the morning and drive, it seems like I have NO power at all. It will take about 10 seconds just to get up to 20 MPH. The funny thing about this is if I get in the car without warming it up, and then floor it, I get a HUGE surge of power which makes the tires peel out. After that though, it goes back to being slow until I drive it for about 10 minutes. I have spoken with a few of my friends that know "something" about cars, and they seems to feel that it's my mass airflow sensor. If you have some advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it.
  • rjt3rjt3 Posts: 2
  • tscalzitti, I suspect they may be right. From what you describe, it is running very rich. That would explain high power at full throttle. But, you would also probably smell gas at the exhaust if it is running rich. Also, it would be smoking out the exhaust...?

    Rjt3, make sure and check out the new Villager topics for experienced answers. Good luck.
  • rjt3rjt3 Posts: 2
    my villager has gotten much better with exxon gas and about 4000 miles. there is a re-generated formula which has less sulfer in some areas. it is now to a point which is acceptable, but it's hard to believe that more people don't complain about this.
  • I am a previous poster complaining of this smell in my car. It has increased greatly this winter. I am about to try a couple more dealerships to see if anyone will help me, but then I will proceed with lemon law. I have tried all other suggestions - different gases, different driving habits, EVERYTHING!

    I do not see an end to this situation in the near future.
  • Infiniti is now claiming that unless my car will replicate the rotten egg smell right when I drive to the Infiniti dealership, they will not take the car in for repairs.

    Anyone else with this problem, please contact They have taken a great interest in the problem and have an article posted on their site about it.

    They suggest Lemon Law action immediately if your car qualifies for this.
  • I own a Infinity J30t and I always use Exxon to ail her up. I used Chevron one time and I smelled that egg smell for a week, once I switched back to my old brand , all was fine
  • Someone else suggested Exxon in the past. There are very few Exxons in my area, but I'll hunt them down and give it a try.

  • kyxkyx Posts: 7
    I purchased a 2001 Nissan Xterra in November and the sulfur smell gets worse and worse. Not only does it smell of sulfur on the outside and inside, when running the heater I also get other smells. They are: electrical burn smell, burnt popcorn, exhaust and strangely enough a saltwater smell(???). The other problems that I have noticed are black soot around the tail pipe, loud popping noises from underneath while sitting in traffic(catalytic converter heating up?) and when putting the truck in drive first thing in the morning I have to sit in a neutral position for a few seconds because if I take off immediately I will peel out. I have an appointment on Friday with the dealer to check it out. Hope it's only the catalytic converter because my last SUV was a lemon. I took my Jeep(junk engineered extremely poor)in about once or twice a month in the year that I owned it for the same problems that they couldn't fix after several attempts including a recall on the fuel tank sending unit(replace two times and still broken).
  • Found a temp. cure for bad smell. Try a product called Seafoam it's been around since 1947. Go to NAPA auto parts store and ask for it.
  • kyxkyx Posts: 7
    jukeboxcarl2: Thanks for the input. The only thing that I could get out of the dealership was to use premium grade fuel, contrary to the owners manual.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I haven't had any issue in two Fords... 90 ranger 2.3L 4-banger and 00 explorer 5 L v8. I have noticed the cars I hate to follow because of sulfur stink are mostly imports. I have also heard some of the local auto mavens say this is due to rich operation because of a bad oxygen sensor in the exhaust. some sensors are iffy from day one, others get that way... when the sensor in my 4-banger got "lazy" I could start the ranger, but about the time it started to warm up, it went rich and stalled. no fun at 18 below at 2 am to be explaining things in a very loud voice to an engine. anyway, try checking the o2 sensor.
  • I took my 1998 Sentra to the dealer in my area Akron,Ohio. I thought maybe the catalitic converter was bad. I only have 2000 miles to go before the warrenty on it expires. They were of no help, said all Nissans do this and there is no cure. Then they pulled out a paper for me to read. It said gasoline is being produced with too much sulpher in it. There is some truth to this. Using BP or Amoco = Worst smell for me. It try to find gas thats not oxygenated. Any help out there?
  • Post #8 (use the jump window up top) has an interesting explanation for you.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    like, duh, Nissan, if all the gas is sulphurated, design for it. or have your car known as a stinker by everybody in the market. I have run Citgo, Amoco, Holiday, SuperAmerica = Ashland midwest, Mobil, Cenex, and several brand-X and no-brand fuels in two Fords and a 1975 Buick with no stink. A little "rich" dusty smell on cold start is as bad as it gets. I know there have been 6 different refineries producing that product, and who knows how many down the Williams pipeline, over the years.

    it's some of the car makers, not the gas producers, who haven't got their act together on H2S.
  • kpatchenkpatchen Posts: 6
    Well, it is almost a year since I purchased my Infiniti G20 and the sulfur smell is still existant on a daily basis. I give up!

    I discussed it with Nissan's Corporate office for a while and they refused assistance. They said that I must have bought gas at some point with a really high sulfur content and now I have to wait for it to burn off. They could give no estimate of time for when this might happen. They passed along the same pamplet to me that they give everyone that 'defines sulfur' and explains 'rotten egg odor', etc.

    This is 99% a Nissan problem and if you ever smell this at a stoplight, look around and I guarantee there will be a Nissan or Infiniti in sight.

    There are no more suggestions worth trying. I tried everything and nothing helped! I will NEVER buy a Nissan automobile again and neither will anyone I know.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    it has been suggested that flashing the engine computer will help on other brands. that sorta depends in most instances on newer control code being availiable from the manufacturer, I suspect... my experience in flashing things like half-million dollar data switches in production, all the way down to my homebrew FrankenClone computers in my bedroom, is that real-time processors can confuse their flash code on occasion and thus need a refresh for the jolly Hell of it, but load-at-boot-once machines don't usually have issues. engine computers are a real-time processing application.

    if the module dies in the flash, it was probably really No Freaking Good to begin with... but it is a nasty way to spend 600 or more dollars for a minute's worth of work.
  • Could you please elaborate on this?
    How can it help with stinky smell?
    Who can do it?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    in polite society, especially in the warranty period, a dealer uses a laptop computer to re-program the flash EEPROM memory in the main engine computer... that's "flashing" it. power shops also get into it, but that voids warranty and carries no EPA warranty protection against pollution, engine damage, etc. a really screwed up engine computer can blow the engine up, but usually a hosed box will just be a no-run situation.

    the stink from H2S gas in the exhaust is caused by dumping of excess fuel into the cylinders... it is carried out as unburned hydrocarbons, along with the additives and problems, and those react rather violently with oxygen (mostly) in the catalytic converter. sulfur from gasoline is a problem in this regard, and it catalyzes with hydrogen to make hydrogen sulfide gas. this is a pollutant, in water it's called sulfurous acid H2SO3, and emission is limited by federal law. the tailpipe sniffer should also be seeing excess unburned hydrocarbons, low CO2, and probably higher CO than permitted. eventually this excess hydrocarbon in the engine exhaust will burn up the catalytic converter... the way they make 'em nowadays, the cat "sponge" of ceramic will probably shatter from the excess heat and block the exhaust.

    none of this is good. it is incumbent on franchised dealers to honor their warranties and the 60 or 80 thousand mile EPA warranty and correct these problems. dealers will piss and moan about and try to blame things on sulfur in gasoline... and dangit, that's nonsense, it's been worse in the past, and the system is designed to deal with it, or the car would not be certified for sale in the US.

    if they can't get that together, and frankly all they need to know came in the factory base tuneup training if they bothered to send anybody to it, you may need the state pollution board and/or your lawyer to get involved. they need to sniff the tailpipe, put the car on the box, and check the flash revision on the car, and see if there are updates from the automaker's national service webserver. if so, flash it in.

    if the engine computer is sick, flashing it could kill it. so then they replace a computer under warranty, ain't nothing evil about that, either.

    this is assuming that everything works as the computer tells it to do, which puts the onus for the problem on the computer telling it wrong. any way you put raw gas into the exhaust stream... stuck injector, bad plug, wire, coil, or output transistor from the computer preventing cylinders from firing... also can cause the same result. so that's why you need to wire the car up all the way, run it per the EPA long test, compare the results to the handy-dandy tree of findings in the service manual, and thus determine all the likely faults and fix 'em in order until the problem is gone.

    what has been happening is... it runs, they got things to do, they didn't look at your problem as the factory service books said to, and you are driving an illegal car. they need to deal with it according to the books. maybe they need to finally sit down and read those books, but if you can't get their attention, get an advocate (aka lawyer or pollution bureaucrat) to remind them they are supposed to do more than count the money at the end of the day over there.

    if I seem a little torqued, well, I don't like sitting behind those stinkers, illegally firing up my asthma. I want them all fixed or replaced, now. barring that, I want the guys who DON'T fix them in the can, and the Federal pollution laws allow for that.
  • Thanks a bunch.
    There seem to be a stinking problem with new (2003) Toyota Corolla and other ULEV Toyotas.

    My Cololla stinks only occasionally (heavy accleration) so I am not sure how aggresively to pursue this. The Toyota officially denies the problem and steers people to low sulfur gas (some premiums).
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