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VicES3002002

Burning Smell From 2002 Es 300

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Hi,

I, recently (for last 2 days) noticed burning smell coming from under hood when I parked the car in my garage. So, yesterday,I took the car to the indie shop near my house.

Just from the smell, the master mechanic suspected some plastic bag (probably got sucked into under carriage of the car). However, after inspecting on the lift, he noticed some oil was/is leaking (NOT dripping BUT just the minute quantity. The oil was visible when the surface was wiped with a piece of paper) and causing the burning smell. There were a few spots where oil was burned to dark brown color.

He said the problem is NOT that serious when asked how safe is it to drive the car (I am MORE worried about the car and the passenger(s) going up in flame). However, I NOT quite sure so here the questions :

# 1 How serious is the problem and do you recommend driving? He said, I can still drive.

# 2 Is it the engine oil or transmission oil or BOTH are leaking?

# 3 Shall I get it fixed immediately ?. I asked him for the estimate and he said it can be QUITE A BIG JOB. I have NOT received the estimate yet.

# 4 What do you think the job actually involves when he said it is a BIG job and can you please give me a ballpark figure to fix it? Once, I get the detailed estimate I will post it again.

:cheers: :cheers:

Thanks a LOT

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1. If the mechanic wasn't inclined to make money fixing it, you can most likely trust his opinion. You can take it to another shop for another opinion. You can take it to a Lexus dealer and they will definitely give you a (very high) price for fixing it. The car is not going to explode from an oil leak. You should check your oil level more frequently though to be sure it's never low.

2. If he said it was engine oil then that's probably what it was. Transmission fluid will be a different color, usually red. There is no reason one would cause the other to leak.

3. Our '97 ES300 has leaked for the past 100,000 miles (230k now) from the rear main seal. It's a tiny drip that doesn't even cause the oil level to be low between changes. It sometimes drips on the exhaust pipe and causes a burning smell. As long as it stays small like it is now, I'll never fix it because the cost is too great compared to the inconvenience it causes. I just check the oil more often to keep an eye on it. Yours sounds similar.

4. We got an estimate of about $1200 a few years ago for our rear main seal. It requires pulling the engine. Without more info or seeing photos, we can't speculate on what might be causing your leak. You didn't recently have your oil changed, did you? Sometimes those guys get sloppy.

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You asked "You didn't recently have your oil changed, did you? Sometimes those guys get sloppy." YES, I did

In fact, I did both the oil change and drain the pan and refilled with 4 quarts of AMSOil (Not at the same time, though. 01/22/10 oil & 02/04/10 drain the pan ). The mechanic DID notice some leaking of the transmission oil (I would NOT say dripping ....BUT, just minute traces of oil. When the car was on the lift for draining the pan, this leak DID NOT even gotten bigger into a droplet either). At that time, he told me the AMSOil being 100% synthetic should soften the seals and the leak should stop.

I did NOT take any pictures - Now , I wish I should have. Lesson Learned.

When I get the estimate , I will run by you again.

so Long .....................

:cheers: :cheers:

Thanks

1. If the mechanic wasn't inclined to make money fixing it, you can most likely trust his opinion. You can take it to another shop for another opinion. You can take it to a Lexus dealer and they will definitely give you a (very high) price for fixing it. The car is not going to explode from an oil leak. You should check your oil level more frequently though to be sure it's never low.

2. If he said it was engine oil then that's probably what it was. Transmission fluid will be a different color, usually red. There is no reason one would cause the other to leak.

3. Our '97 ES300 has leaked for the past 100,000 miles (230k now) from the rear main seal. It's a tiny drip that doesn't even cause the oil level to be low between changes. It sometimes drips on the exhaust pipe and causes a burning smell. As long as it stays small like it is now, I'll never fix it because the cost is too great compared to the inconvenience it causes. I just check the oil more often to keep an eye on it. Yours sounds similar.

4. We got an estimate of about $1200 a few years ago for our rear main seal. It requires pulling the engine. Without more info or seeing photos, we can't speculate on what might be causing your leak. You didn't recently have your oil changed, did you? Sometimes those guys get sloppy.

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You wrote "Our '97 ES300 has leaked for the past 100,000 miles (230k now) from the rear main seal. It's a tiny drip that doesn't even cause the oil level to be low between changes. It sometimes drips on the exhaust pipe and causes a burning smell. As long as it stays small like it is now, I'll never fix it because the cost is too great compared to the inconvenience it causes. I just check the oil more often to keep an eye on it. Yours sounds similar." I think AFTER getting the estimate, I will REACH THE SAME CONCLUSION AS YOU ............Great mind ALWAYS think alike :lol: :lol: :lol:

The smell is very obvious in the my garage,since it a closed space with little/no air circulation.

Thanks a Again.......... :cheers: :cheers:

You asked "You didn't recently have your oil changed, did you? Sometimes those guys get sloppy." YES, I did

In fact, I did both the oil change and drain the pan and refilled with 4 quarts of AMSOil (Not at the same time, though. 01/22/10 oil & 02/04/10 drain the pan ). The mechanic DID notice some leaking of the transmission oil (I would NOT say dripping ....BUT, just minute traces of oil. When the car was on the lift for draining the pan, this leak DID NOT even gotten bigger into a droplet either). At that time, he told me the AMSOil being 100% synthetic should soften the seals and the leak should stop.

I did NOT take any pictures - Now , I wish I should have. Lesson Learned.

When I get the estimate , I will run by you again.

so Long .....................

:cheers::cheers:

Thanks

1. If the mechanic wasn't inclined to make money fixing it, you can most likely trust his opinion. You can take it to another shop for another opinion. You can take it to a Lexus dealer and they will definitely give you a (very high) price for fixing it. The car is not going to explode from an oil leak. You should check your oil level more frequently though to be sure it's never low.

2. If he said it was engine oil then that's probably what it was. Transmission fluid will be a different color, usually red. There is no reason one would cause the other to leak.

3. Our '97 ES300 has leaked for the past 100,000 miles (230k now) from the rear main seal. It's a tiny drip that doesn't even cause the oil level to be low between changes. It sometimes drips on the exhaust pipe and causes a burning smell. As long as it stays small like it is now, I'll never fix it because the cost is too great compared to the inconvenience it causes. I just check the oil more often to keep an eye on it. Yours sounds similar.

4. We got an estimate of about $1200 a few years ago for our rear main seal. It requires pulling the engine. Without more info or seeing photos, we can't speculate on what might be causing your leak. You didn't recently have your oil changed, did you? Sometimes those guys get sloppy.

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Ask the mechanic where the leak is coming from. These cars are notorious for leaky valve cover gaskets. If it is a valve cover gasket, it is not as expensive as replacing the rear main seal (~$300 vs. ~$1000+).

Also, change your PCV valve and grommet. If your PCV valve is clogged it will make the valve cover gasket situation worse. Sometimes changing this $10 part fixes the leaks. Search here for PCV valve replacement instructions. 5 minute job.

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Hello folks ...........

Finally, I got the estimate from another indie shop. Here it is :

PVC Valve $12(P),$47.50(L) = $59.50 (NOT SO CRITICAL)

Real Main Seal $84.84(P),$1140(L) = $1174.81(CRITICAL)

I MUST admit both of you (kashi125 & camlex) are GENIUS for being right on the target.

HATS OFF TO YOU SIRs. :cheers: :cheers:

Now, the question is

!) How long can I postpone WITHOUT FIXING/REPLACING "REar Main Seal" ? One member mkeeney suggested and I quote "Our '97 ES300 has leaked for the past 100,000 miles (230k now) from the rear main seal. It's a tiny drip that doesn't even cause the oil level to be low between changes. It sometimes drips on the exhaust pipe and causes a burning smell. As long as it stays small like it is now, I'll never fix it because the cost is too great compared to the inconvenience it causes. I just check the oil more often to keep an eye on it. Yours sounds similar."

2) Shall just replace the PCV valve and see if the situation improves as suggested by kashi125? Sounds like a good idea and cost-effective idea to me.

I will wait for the estimate from the indie shop near my house and will ask if we can just change the PCV valve & grommet and see if the situation improves.

Thanks a lot Folks ..............You HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY HELPFUL

:cheers: :cheers:

Ask the mechanic where the leak is coming from. These cars are notorious for leaky valve cover gaskets. If it is a valve cover gasket, it is not as expensive as replacing the rear main seal (~$300 vs. ~$1000+).

Also, change your PCV valve and grommet. If your PCV valve is clogged it will make the valve cover gasket situation worse. Sometimes changing this $10 part fixes the leaks. Search here for PCV valve replacement instructions. 5 minute job.

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might you have do little home engineering. there is bolt by manifold you can use to add somekind of plate so when oil drip, don't hit the hot manifold. just drip on ground.

also when you replace PCV, make sure you clean hose all the way.

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