A riddle: oil & gravel, bad brakes or bearings?

Garden_MommaAugust 3, 2005

We came home on an oiled & graveled road, freshly done, got home & parked. Went to daughters house three miles away with a steep hill to climb to get there. Parked, strong odor coming from back...(there was none before the oil & gravel) While I don't usually sniff all around the car, I did and odor was coming from the rear drivers side. We also have a hill to climb up & down, it is not as steep as theirs, home we are...minimal odor. Now everytime we go there...strong odor and when driving flat..minimal or none.

Back brakes were done about year & half ago...

Both rear bearings were replaced Oct 03 with a hub replaced on passenger side at the same time...

Which of these three could be the odor culprit?

I really know that we'll have to get in and look, but I thought this would be fun to see what you here at THS thought it could be!!!

All opinions and thoughts are welcomed...


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Hot brake lining and hot brake fluid have a different odor than the oil/tar used in roadbuilding. Could you sniff some samples and calibrate your nose?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 10:03PM
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Maybe you just overheated your catalytic converter.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 8:57AM
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Stones and oil are being splashed onto the converter, maybe.
Examine the rear brakes for oil being splattered on to the linings/pads..

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:05PM
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Eric, not sure if I can 'calibrate my nose'(lol), but the sign said oil.
Tb & EW, Is the converter connected toward the front of most vehicles or ahead of the muffler? I, too suspected oil or rock inside of pads and lining, but haven't really noticed much difference in the function of the brakes.
Having trouble getting tire off because of 'one' smaller lug nut so probably find something this weekend to solve that! Seems to never fail that a simple job becomes complicated!!!
Do much appreciate responses.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 1:52PM
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If a brake is overheating, you can usually feel the heat on the wheel itself even without taking it off. You'll have one wheel that feels a lot hotter than the rest.

To me it seems unlikely that the oil or gravel got to the brake itself. With disc brakes, there is basically no clearance between the pad and the rotor, and anything that did find its way in there would be really small and would make a grinding noise when you braked. With drum brakes, they're pretty much closed off from the outside, so things would have a hard time getting in.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:19PM
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On the lug nut you're have trouble getting off, loosen that one first; don't leave the over-tight one for last, because if you do it will be harder to get off.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:21PM
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oil residue from the road cooking on hot exhaust parts.

If brakes were used excessively, overly hot brake friction material emit an odor.

You mentioned climbing hills. If the valve covers are leaking engine oil, then when the engine is placed at a tilted attitude for a period of time like climbing a steep hill, engine oil may dribble onto the exhaust manifold.

While visiting, a "friend" secertly squirts old discarded oil onto the tail pipes and into the end of the tail pipe just to confuse you and amuse himself. A piece of cheese on the exhaust pipe is very smelly.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 7:32AM
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