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Discussion Starter #1
When I got my Esprit, it had open pipes (no cats or muffler), and it stank so bad that if you got anywhere near the exhaust, you had to change clothes and take a shower to get the smell out.

Now I have cats, and the car doesn't smell noticeable inside or outside. Big improvement.

However, when driving for a while, I find my clothes have a strong exhaust smell. I don't smell anything while driving, whether it's a fuel smell or an exhaust smell.

When I installed the center exhaust, checked the pipes over very well to make sure there were no cracks or bad welds. And after installing, I checked for any exhaust blowing out of the joints. Nothing.

So where would I start to look for the source of this light exhaust smell in the cabin? Do others have this issue? It may not be strong enough to smell, but it can't be good for you.
 

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Check the inner rubber shift boot(inside the leather shift cover).It tends to shred and let in a lovely grease,dirt,engine smell into the cabin. :(

JAE carries the replacements.

Alan
 

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You are experiencing the "station wagon effect"
Basically negative pressure in the cabin, and engine compartment pulls air from the back of the car to the cabin. As Alan said it can come through the shifter boot. Also the seat belt openings.
I have no cat, but do have a muffler, and experience the same.
I did replace my rubber shifter boot and it helped.
Also helps to run cabin fan. I don't get it with the windows up and the fan on.

I usually drive with windows and sunroof open and then it is minimal.

Randy
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tips on addressing this issue! I am putting this on a high priority list to fix because after driving around all day breathing the fumes, I am feeling it.

I can't remember off hand, but I think the seat belts have a plastic cover. Maybe I can seal them better with a bead of silicon around the edges.

I'll check the boot tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if it's bad after 14 years.
 

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same sh*t happens in my exige. Maybe it's coming through the shifter tunnel??? Maybe even the rear glass? who knows.
 

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Any holes in the rear bulkhead that are under the carpet could also leak, like the trunk release, cable holes etc. ideally they should all be sealed with foam or sealant.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just took the shifter apart to look at the rubber boot. It's in perfect condition -- no rips or cracks and nice an supple. It's not going bad anytime soon.

Well, at least I have the opportunity to clean the leather edges really well, but I was hoping that was going to solve my smell issue.

I guess I will turn to the seat belts and the trunk release next.

Any other ideas? This needs to be fixed before I can really drive the car. I always run with the A/C on, so having the fan on doesn't solve the problem.
 

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Have you checked your exhaust fittings to make sure you aren't getting an excess of exhaust fumes in the engine bay?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Have you checked your exhaust fittings to make sure you aren't getting an excess of exhaust fumes in the engine bay?
I checked the cat and muffler connections well because I installed the exhaust. But maybe I have an issue further upstream with the exhaust manifolds or the turbos.

Is there an easy way to smoke test the exhaust system for leaks on a V8?

Back in the carb days, you could pour some marvel mystery oil in the venturi and you would get plenty of smoke!
 

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Make sure you are not leaking oil on any exhaust parts and burning it. You smoke test by pumping the smoke into the tailpipe and looking for leaks. Do you have the lower "wing" under the rear facia? That helps to pull air under the car and keep the exhaust out of the cabin. Make sure the rear window is sealed to the fiberglass, sometimes the seal on the bottom can come loose. Does your check engine light blink on start-up and then stay off? If it does not you may have engine codes and not know it. The motor may not be running right.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the tips, David! I will check those items and google automotive smoke machines now.


1998 Lotus Esprit V8
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Do you have the lower "wing" under the rear facia? That helps to pull air under the car and keep the exhaust out of the cabin.
To answer this question, I switched the dual exhaust with wing out to the stock 02+ center exhaust and FE valence.
 

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Also check that the rear cabin window is sealed all the way around. Mine wasn't sealed along the bottom edge along the firewall/bulkhead join and was drawing fumes in from the engine bay.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Also check that the rear cabin window is sealed all the way around. Mine wasn't sealed along the bottom edge along the firewall/bulkhead join and was drawing fumes in from the engine bay.
Thanks! How did you fix it? Did you seal it from the engine bay or the cabin side? It looks like the carpet is in the way on the engine side, but the leather housing can be removed from the inside.

I needed to reseal my rear quarter windows recently, but instead of pulling the glass, I just used black silicon window sealant and filled the big gap all the way around between the glass and the fiberglass. I checked with a water spray, and the previously leaky holes are sealed tight now. And I didn't have to risk breaking the glass to take it out to reseal it.

I am wondering if I can do the same with the rear glass, if needed.
 

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If it came loose you can feel it when you push on the firewall or the glass and it moves. The best way would be to remove the glass and reinstall it but the quicker, easier option is to just load up the seam with a tube of black window sealer and hope for the best.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If it came loose you can feel it when you push on the firewall or the glass and it moves. The best way would be to remove the glass and reinstall it but the quicker, easier option is to just load up the seam with a tube of black window sealer and hope for the best.
David Teitelbaum
Definitely prefer the black sealant option. I guess if I devise a smoke testing system (I do have a Halloween smoke machine and a compressor with a sand blasting nozzle that are giving me ideas), I will be able to test if the sealant worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just ordered one of these to test the before and after of the changes I will make to solve the exhaust making it into the cabin:



I figure after I am done with the tests for the Lotus, it's a smart thing to have in the house anyway.

This one shows the PPM of carbon monoxide, which will be very helpful for my testing to figure out how big of a problem I have and when it it solved.

It seems like all Esprit owners should consider one of these to make sure they aren't slowly killing themselves if the cabin has a tendency to pull in fumes from the engine bay.
 

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If you are worried about CO poisoning they sell a thing for lightplanes. It is plastic with a small circle that will change color alerting you to CO. Much cheaper and no batteries.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you are worried about CO poisoning they sell a thing for lightplanes. It is plastic with a small circle that will change color alerting you to CO. Much cheaper and no batteries.
David Teitelbaum
Yea, that's not a bad thing to have in the car always for $5:
ASA Carbon Monoxide Detector - MyPilotStore.com

I'm still glad I am getting the fancy detector because I want to know the amount of CO in my Esprit for testing and then later in my house and not just whether it's at a danger level. But I'll go for one of these test strips as something to leave in the Esprit after I have made my mods.
 
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