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Chemical burning smell Topic is solved

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Chemical burning smell

Post by jtp » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:34 pm

Just got home and upon getting out of the car there was a horrible chemical burning smell. It went away very quickly once I was parked with the car off.

When I left for home I made a three point turn and there was a loud creaking/popping sound when the wheel was to the extreme right. Checked the PS fluid and everything else just now and all levels appear good.

I was thinking air in the PS lines given I replaced the Resevoir the other day. But I’ve driven 100+ miles since then and this was the first weird steering symptom.


99 V70R AWD
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98 S70NA (sold)
95 850 Turbo Wagon (RIP)

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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by wizechatmgr » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:30 pm

There are a number of fluids and compounds that each make different smells. Unfortunately smells can be highly subjective...

Does it smell sweet? Does it smell corrosive/acidic? Does it smell oily?

Does it smell like clutch material? If so, check for a stuck/frozen brake caliper if you have an automatic.


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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by RickHaleParker » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:31 am

Sweet smell - Antifreeze
Rotten eggs/Somebody farted - Battery acid (hydrogen sulfide).
Burning Rubber - Belts.
Oil - self explanatory.
Dinner burnt - Could be a lot of things.


Platform: P80 1998 C70, B5234T3, AW50-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4, Special Edition package, Plant: Uddevalla Sweden.

Platform: X40 (Nedcar) 2003 S40, B4204T3, AW55-50/51SN, Siemens EMS 2000. Plant: Born Netherlands.

Platform P2 2005 XC90 T6 Executive, B6294T, 4T65 AWD, Bosch Motronic 7.0, Plant Torslanda Sweden.
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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by jtp » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:10 am

It definitely wasn’t a sweet coolant smell, very acidic. Gonna get it into the shop today, everything looks good right now leaving the house


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Breaking is how I know it’s working

98 S70NA (sold)
95 850 Turbo Wagon (RIP)

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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by ecbsykes » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:19 am

If it's a sharp acrid smell, be careful as that can be burning wires/electrical smoke or fire. I'd check all fuses to be safe. Could be something like power steering fluid leaking onto something hot though which may cause a bad smell too.


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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by RickHaleParker » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:27 am

very acidic

Battery and charging system.
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Platform: P80 1998 C70, B5234T3, AW50-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4, Special Edition package, Plant: Uddevalla Sweden.

Platform: X40 (Nedcar) 2003 S40, B4204T3, AW55-50/51SN, Siemens EMS 2000. Plant: Born Netherlands.

Platform P2 2005 XC90 T6 Executive, B6294T, 4T65 AWD, Bosch Motronic 7.0, Plant Torslanda Sweden.
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1997 S90, B6304S, AW30-42, Bosch Motronic 4.4 - Sold

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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by abscate » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:40 am

Oil leak onto exhaust manifold will make your eyes hurt.

When the battery or alternator fail hard enough to smell, it's usually visible boiling and acid venting.


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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by oragex » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:10 am

RickHaleParker wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:27 am
very acidic

Battery and charging system.

I'd concur


The time I got this smell I just had installed a flexible downpipe and secured it with a 'high heat' J-B weld stuff. Drove it straight to the garage to have the stuff removed and the pipe welded



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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by jtp » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:25 am

I drove it into work (I work at a VW dealership) and gave it to the top guy, not a Volvo guy but he's really good. You'd think your car gets priority if you work at a shop but on a busy day like today thats not really how it goes. Hes gonna get it in this afternoon so Ill report back.

Trying to get this thing fixed up would be a lot easier if it stopped breaking :roll:


99 V70R AWD
Almost 155K Miles
Breaking is how I know it’s working

98 S70NA (sold)
95 850 Turbo Wagon (RIP)

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Re: Chemical burning smell

Post by abscate » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:52 am

I’ve heard Norwegians are flocking in to DC with burned kippered herrings, are you downwind?
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