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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK guys, Here I have one for the ages. I have been driving Alfetta GT's since high school back in 1980. I have owned several since and I have my new, to me, 1978 Alfetta GT. It seems every time I drive one of these cars I leave with my entire body smelling of engine. Yes, the engine has been rebuilt. Anyone else have that problem? I feel like I need a shower after driving my car. My 1997 Jaguar XJ6 doesn't leave me like this. Do I just live with it? Use modern engine oil instead of Castrol GTX? Or what. Any ideas out there? I just want to have a great time driving my car, but I offend myself after the experience.
 

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Sure blame the car. Have you considered changing your diet?

But seriously, if it sat for a long time, oil has dripped onto the exhaust. Even the oil crawling on spinning shafts (the half shaft and propeller shafts).will have been slung off (and onto exhaust).
For the GTV6, a left side CV leak will hit the exhaust. The Alfetta, I believe, will be a right side CV leak. In time it will burn off, and it wont be so bad. Probably you will need to find the oil leak and fix, or at least divert it away from exhaust.

If it's a fuel smell, then check the fuel lines in back, including the filler hose. And also, the fuel hoses in the engine compartment.
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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If the exhaust system is not in top condition and you drive with a window or sunroof open, you can draw in exhaust fumes, esp if the trunk rubber seal is not in good condition, etc. Also make sure any hood seals are in good condition, as engine bay fumes can be drawn in through the hvac inlet at the base of the windshield. Our 78 Alfetta GT was always odor free when we drove it.

I always drive with the fan on a low setting, just to make sure there is a little fresh air being drawn in all the time.
 

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My Alfetta sedan cabin would fill with oil and fuel odour if I was stuck in traffic, The car burnt oil and ran a rich fuel mixture the fumes would sting your eyes. My gtv6 is a much healthier car and doesn't leave a trail of stink.
 

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Joe Elwell
84 GTV6
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For me, this is a 'feature' of the GTV6 - it allows me to keep a close watch on the health of the various fuel and exhaust systems on the car. And to be serious, the GTV6 is not well insulated from the outside - engine smells in particular get into the cabin easily, for me, especially fuel smells. Also, the gas tank filler, if leaking (ask me how I know) will fill the cabin with fumes.

I always take these smells as maintenance reminders from an aging car. My original GTV6 was a new '81 back in the day, and it didn't have any such issues. The only smells I recall vividly are of that beautiful leather interior.
 

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I was driving our GTV6 and was about 2 hours away from home when I was passing through a small city. Every time I was stopped (red light) I would smell something like a combination of hot gear oil, overheated coolant & burnt clutch. The engine was running fine and all the gauges read normal. Then the odor went away only to return at the next red light. The third time it happened I was looking for a safe place to pull over and investigate when I noticed the guy in the Mercedes convertible ahead of me was smoking a big stogie...
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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Lol, none of my Alfas with leather interior ever had a lovely smell of leather, esp compared to some of the old English sports cars I remember. THAT was a great smell, wouldn't mind it in my 91S, but alas, that smell isn't there. Is there a leather treatment which will duplicate it, or was it because of the way the English tanned or finished the leather? The Italian leather in the Alfas always seemed like nothing.

And, yes, isn't it just amazing that when driving around, you can definitely smell what ever the driver ahead of you is smoking, esp since fewer people are smoking nowadays, thank god. Because you are now less likely to smell the smoke, it is more noticeable it seems. Unfortunately, vaping now seems to be the ugly habit some have. Ack. How can people do that to themselves, lungs being so important.

Anyway, sorry, back to car smells, oil on the exhaust pipes can certainly do it, esp if driving around with a partially open window or sunroof, and with bad hood and trunk seals. It's how I check for gas seepage in a car, esp the vapor recovery mess in the trunk of the 164.

Also, I did have to change the filler neck hose in the 89 Milano, as the one provided originally in the car did leak fumes into the car, it not being vapor impervious. Installed a vapor resistant one from Goodyear. Much better,
 
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Joe Elwell
84 GTV6
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Lol, none of my Alfas with leather interior ever had a lovely smell of leather, esp compared to some of the old English sports cars I remember. THAT was a great smell, wouldn't mind it in my 91S, but alas, that smell isn't there. Is there a leather treatment which will duplicate it, or was it because of the way the English tanned or finished the leather? The Italian leather in the Alfas always seemed like nothing.
...
You're certainly right about the smell of English sports cars' leather. My father had an MG TD when I was 3, and when he bought an MGA years later when I was 9, that smell jogged memories I hadn't had in all those years - I can't remember anything else about that TD, but that smell stirred a deep memory.

Nope - my GTV6 didn't smell like that, for sure, but it did smell 'leathery' nice when new :)
 

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This discussion brought back memories of my first Alfa. I knew it was Italian because:
  • It looked and drove fantastic
  • It always smelled a little of gear oil
  • The only comfortable driving position was with your hand in your crotch
84 Spider

Other thing I have noticed regarding smells - modern fuel is awful! I remember liking the smell of exhaust as a kid - similar to the first puff of a cigarette. Now neither is appealing.

Regarding the original post - check your rear hatch seal. you may be drawing some exhaust in through it. the Kamm tail on these cars does seem to create the opportunity to draw in exhaust.
 
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I believe you're referring to the "exotic car smell." All of my previous Italian cars had it (even the luxurious Maserati QPIII); and the '82 Spider I recently acquired definitely has it in spades. I would say the car I've had that suffered from it the least was a '65 Fulvia sedan - I thihk Lancia had figured out how to isolate the engine compartment from the passenger compartment a bit better than its contemporaries...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the responses. I will check the door and hatch seals. I will be removing the carpet and install new insulation before dying the carpet. Ill check then for leaks. I am making this car with a few custom touches more to my liking. GTV6 AC system, modern condensor, nice period correct radio, etc. I just want to enjoy the car, but that exhaust smell just makes it bad. I will be installing an ANSA exhaust on the car along with Euro headers. After I will take it to an exhaust guy to check for leaks.
 

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Along with the seals mentioned above with a car this age, take a look at all firewall grommets and seals.
I will vouch for this. I changed the engine gaskets for my headers that were leaking and sending exhaust fumes through my firewall grommets/seals and into my cabin. Made a world of difference.
 

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Agreed^^^. Look at the one around the accelerator linkage.
 

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Number one offender in my book is hatch seal, and it can be a real bear to fix if the car has been hit in the rear, or if the factory did a poor job aligning rear panels (had that on a gtv6). I ended up shimming the trunk gasket by adding a very thin gasket under the thick factory gasket, and extending the tailpipe. First step is to get a good used or new gasket for the hatch. This can be worse on the Alfetta than gtv6, with the center exit exhaust and low pressure behind the car. Early Alfetta GT I think had the exhaust turned down and later ANSA tailpipes had a false exit, they didn’t exit through the end of the unit but rather pointed down from under the chromed tips. You might remember many Alfetta GT with a lot of soot on the back of the car, especially if the exhaust exited straight out the back or angle up (if the car was running rich or burning oil).

Second offender is exhaust leaks under the car. Fixable.

Third is the firewall area. Exhaust smell, look/hear for leaks around the headpipe, especially if the exhaust has had ground contact. Fuel and oil, fumes leaking through gaps in firewall. This is a problem on gtv6 with tropic air, but any of the holes in the firewall are surely not as tight as from factory.

If the car runs rich this smells worse, but any exhaust leaks into the car give me a headache and are not safe.

I did like the smell of gear oil on the older cars.

If you are serious about fixing the AC, getting rid of firewall, door, handbrake, hatch air leaks will help a lot. Make sure to put down thermal barrier if you pull the carpet.

Oh , I do like Del did, almost always have fan on low or at least vents set to pull passive outside air.
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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Good words. My experience with these models myself. Learned a long time ago that if you like to drive with a sunroof or window open, turn the fan on to bring in front outside air. Open windows or sunroofs tend to create a partial vacuum inside the car and thus suck in air from the back. This can result in exhaust smells inside, or with some models such as the 164, if the vapor recovery system in the trunk leaks, or the fuel pump fasteners allow seepage, you get gas smells since the trunk is not totally sealed off from the inside of the car (the pass through, and openings in the sheet metal behind the corners of the back cushion.

Ask me how I know this. Just apparently solved a problem with gas smells with my 91 164S. Found that the vacuum relief check valve piping had been kinked over, shutting it off. Fixed that, and the gas smells seem to have gone away, thank goodness. Hate gas smells in a car when just opening up a window or popping the sun roof open even just a little.

As a side note, automobile inside airflows are sometime weird. In some cars, if you open a rear side window, you can get a reverberation or pulsing of the airflow in and out of the open window, sometimes very loud, painful in fact. We rented a VW GTI in Ireland on our last trip, and when we opened a rear side window in it, the reverb was so loud, it was painful for both of us. It was incredible, had never experienced it that bad before. Never did that again. Terrible little car, as also, the manual gear shift was also terrible, esp after driving Alfas for years. It was very notchy, crude, and just plain difficult to shift. Drove us nuts.
 
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