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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #1
I just had my valve cover gaskets replaced, so it's not that. There's definitely a fumey whiff inside the cabin. I don't think it's the exhaust leaking in.

Could it be crankcase fumes escaping somewhere?

Both hoses from the valve covers seem to be in good condition with no cracks that I could see.

Any ideas appreciated.

Tom
 

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+1 on tailgate seal
 

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Are you sure it smells like fumes, and is not just a "noxious" substance? Does it stop if you turn off the HEVAC and/ or put it on Lo.... it may be coming from your HEVAC ducts.... I had that, and stripped the whole dash and hand-cleaned the ducts, fished cr** out of the heater box etc - and then problem went away. I was having to drive with the sun-roof open and windows down until I cleared it
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Discussion Starter #5
The fumey smell remains whether I have the vents open or closed, so exhaust getting in the back would make sense. I put a carbon monoxide detector in the back, but it didn't go off.

The tailgate seal. It looks OK. I can't see where it could be leaking. But it's 20 years old - best to replace it?

Perhaps it's gone hard.

The rear loadspace smells suspiciously like stale exhaust and always has. I had a Jag with the same delicate fragrance. It's not obnoxious - it's just there..

****
After my heater core blew up, I foolishly didn't clean out the heater box so I had burnt coolant smell for a while until it all burnt away. Pretty sure all my ducting is in good shape.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are you sure it smells like fumes, and is not just a "noxious" substance? Does it stop if you turn off the HEVAC and/ or put it on Lo.... it may be coming from your HEVAC ducts.... I had that, and stripped the whole dash and hand-cleaned the ducts, fished cr** out of the heater box etc - and then problem went away. I was having to drive with the sun-roof open and windows down until I cleared it
Thanks Roman. I did a bit more testing.

It's freezing here, so I haven't had the HEVAC on LO for ages. Set it to LO to test and all fumey traces gone!

I think it still used to get a bit fumey on LO before I had my valve cover gaskets replaced just recenlty - could oil leaking out of the valve covers and burning up on the exhaust shields cause fumes in the cab?

Anyway on LO the air out of the vents is super clean and fresh now.

So it's not the exhaust getting in then. As you suggested, I think I have crud in the heater box. I definitely don't fancy stripping the dash again to remove the heater core and clean it out - can't remember now if the dash has to come out to get access or if I can cut out around it and join it all up again with aluminium strip and self-drilling tek screws. There's enough of that inside my dash to keep a small plumbing business supplied for a month or two...
 

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Something leaking in the engine compartment and burning off could certainly cause the noxious smell to enter the cabin through the HVAC ducts.

I've had a bit of power steering fluid leak in the engine compartment, and as a result, could smell the ATF fluid smoke in the cabin. If your valve cover gaskets are still leaking, or some other fluid is still leaking, they could certainly cause the cabin to fill with the noxious smell.
 

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Atticus - although I did strip my HVAC system to clean it, I didn't dismantle the heater box - just probed it thorough the vents (used an endoscope too, and vacuum cleaner hose) to remove as much shite as possible. If you remove the air filters you may be able to squirt disinfectant via the blowers and get some kind of resolution.
For a couple of months there I thought I was going to have to scrap it as undriveable as whatever it was refused to burn off. It's all fine now though - lock-down gave me the perfect opportunity to pull it apart
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Theo - thanks. As mentioned, now that the VCGs are replaced, NO more fumes in the cab when the HEVAC is on LO. Fixed!

Roman - I think the fumey smell is coolant residue in the heater box from when the core exploded (another story) and I replaced it without cleaning it up inside. But it's reducing as it all burns off so I might just live with it. Last time I had the dash out all the ducting seemed to be clean and dry.
 
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