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Ammonia smell.. #579062
31/05/19 07:41 PM
31/05/19 07:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 1,161
Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Buckinghamshire
So curiously today I have started to smell Ammonia quite strongly under high load full throttle, i.e. 3rd/4th gear foot down at around 2.5/3k rpm.

I recall reading somewhere that this is often from old/broken catalytic convertors, however it is coming into the cabin from what smells like the engine bay so I am unsure as to what it is. Usually I get a bit of a strong petrol smell (like the engine is running rich), which I have been told is normal. I have had all fuel lines and connections checked by two Morgan dealers as I was paranoid about a fuel leak so I know it can only be the engine running rich..

Any thoughts/suggestions?
Don't want to poison my pregnant wife when driving ideally! hide

Last edited by NickCW; 31/05/19 07:42 PM.

Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579078
31/05/19 09:24 PM
31/05/19 09:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 163
Hampton Hill, Middx.
DavidR Offline
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Hampton Hill, Middx.
Nick, just a thought do you usually use the same brand of fuel?

A google search throws up either the effect a rich running engine has on the catalyst when the engine is cold or mould in the aircon, but I would expect that to be more constant rather than throttle sensitive.


David
Aero S4
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579090
31/05/19 10:40 PM
31/05/19 10:40 PM
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Posts: 1,161
Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Buckinghamshire
Interesting question as I usually always run on Shell V-Power 99ron, however currently I am on holiday in the Malverns and the local station is a BP, so have been running it on 97ron ultimate.
Air con was off and is clean so no smells there, how odd..


Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579096
01/06/19 01:23 AM
01/06/19 01:23 AM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 585
auckland new zealand
W
waikiore Offline
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auckland new zealand
Interesting stuff, as I often have a smell of burning - like a just lit match, very worrying when I first bought this car and thought the woodwork was on fire but after very thorough checking nothing has changed and it still occasionally does it ?


99 plus 8 indigo
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579111
01/06/19 08:44 AM
01/06/19 08:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,325
Hampshire
Alistair Offline
Smile, it confuses them
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Hampshire
There is a lot of cow poo on the roads in that region. Are you certain the locals have not left a deposit on your cat's which is being burnt off ?

I had that in the area around RAF Coningsby where I got a load of cwap on the exhaust/pipes. The smell was quite strong but made worse on full power moments as the pipes got hotter.

I ended up putting it up on axle stands and jet blasting (very very carefully!) down the pipes.


Just time to burn a little more petrol before dinner.
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: Alistair] #579125
01/06/19 12:09 PM
01/06/19 12:09 PM
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Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Originally Posted By Alistair
There is a lot of cow poo on the roads in that region. Are you certain the locals have not left a deposit on your cat's which is being burnt off ?

I had that in the area around RAF Coningsby where I got a load of cwap on the exhaust/pipes. The smell was quite strong but made worse on full power moments as the pipes got hotter.

I ended up putting it up on axle stands and jet blasting (very very carefully!) down the pipes.


Now this is an avenue I did not think about! Quite possible and would explain why it was worse on full throttle.
I shall have to get the hose out when I am back, to be honest it needs it with a week of bug splatter and rain! drive

Last edited by NickCW; 01/06/19 12:09 PM.

Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579205
02/06/19 07:25 AM
02/06/19 07:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,325
Hampshire
Alistair Offline
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Hampshire
Stick it up on a kwik-twit ramp and walk under very carefully!


Just time to burn a little more petrol before dinner.
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579404
03/06/19 12:58 PM
03/06/19 12:58 PM
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Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Buckinghamshire
Soft hat at the ready!


Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579496
03/06/19 08:42 PM
03/06/19 08:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,480
howard Offline
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A cat has been sleeping on your warm bonnet and has peed on the engine.

Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: howard] #579508
03/06/19 09:40 PM
03/06/19 09:40 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,814
Kent & Dorset, UK
twotribes Offline
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Kent & Dorset, UK
Originally Posted By howard
A cat has been sleeping on your warm bonnet and has peed on the engine.


Is that what your Lotus dealer used to tell you? - do Elises still smell of trimethylamine/urea - or as a boat owner, did you not notice the smell of fibreglass? boat


Stuart
"There's no skill substitute like cubic inches."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579520
03/06/19 10:15 PM
03/06/19 10:15 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 4,322
Llanelli
Ray Offline
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Llanelli
I once had an Escort that would periodically chuff out a strong smell of H2S. It uesed to cause some interesting arguements between the passengers.


.+8 Now gone for a 1800 4/4. Duratec in bright yellow.
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: twotribes] #579556
04/06/19 07:13 AM
04/06/19 07:13 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,480
howard Offline
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Originally Posted By twotribes
Originally Posted By howard
A cat has been sleeping on your warm bonnet and has peed on the engine.


Is that what your Lotus dealer used to tell you? - do Elises still smell of trimethylamine/urea - or as a boat owner, did you not notice the smell of fibreglass? boat


Fibreglass? I love the smell of styrene from fibreglass, but thats not a bit like ammonia.

Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: howard] #579631
04/06/19 03:03 PM
04/06/19 03:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,814
Kent & Dorset, UK
twotribes Offline
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Originally Posted By howard
Originally Posted By twotribes
Originally Posted By howard
A cat has been sleeping on your warm bonnet and has peed on the engine.


Is that what your Lotus dealer used to tell you? - do Elises still smell of trimethylamine/urea - or as a boat owner, did you not notice the smell of fibreglass? boat


Fibreglass? I love the smell of styrene from fibreglass, but thats not a bit like ammonia.


Depends what monomer is used in the resin - polyester, epoxy, styrene or typically a mix depending on whether you want flexible/strongest/cheapest.

Epoxy is strongest but least flexible - so maybe that's why styrene is used for boats (or because people will pay more for the 'new boat smell' laugh2).

My wife flat refused to entertain a Lotus because the luggage space "smelled of wee" - so I'm guessing Lotus use(d) a high epoxy mix and not all the amine hardener (NH3) forms bonds with epoxy groups on each resin molecule, some reacts with water in the air to form ammonia (NH4).

Peter J could probably tell us whether that's a Bronsted-Lowry or Lewis Acid Base reaction. All I know is I didn't get my Lotus!


Stuart
"There's no skill substitute like cubic inches."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579767
05/06/19 10:35 AM
05/06/19 10:35 AM
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Posts: 4,480
howard Offline
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I very much doubt that Lotus used anything other than the cheapest polyester resin just like all but a small number of high end race boat builders. When you get to epoxies you start using autoclaves and I never saw any of those in the Lotus factory. Yes the amine hardener does deteriorate with time and stink of ammonia but I have never found the resulting epoxy laminate smeel that way even when as a fully fledged cheepskate, I continue to use stinking hardener.

To go back to the OPs issue , I remember when domestic light fittings stank of amonia as the bulb heated up. The problem was the urea formaldehde resins they were made from. I wonder if the OP has some component in that plastic in his engine bay. I think its also used in particle boards if MMC have started to move away from trees.

The other possibility is some silicone sealant .

Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: howard] #579791
05/06/19 12:47 PM
05/06/19 12:47 PM
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Posts: 1,363
Yorkshire
CooperMan Offline
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Originally Posted By howard
To go back to the OPs issue , I remember when domestic light fittings stank of amonia as the bulb heated up. The problem was the urea formaldehde resins they were made from. I wonder if the OP has some component in that plastic in his engine bay. I think its also used in particle boards if MMC have started to move away from trees.

The other possibility is some silicone sealant .


MMC use MDF in place of plywood in some locations, problem is it often contains Formaldehyde


Jon M
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #579869
05/06/19 09:05 PM
05/06/19 09:05 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 477
Beaumont de Lomagne, France
P
Philippo Offline
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Beaumont de Lomagne, France
Hello Nick

I regularly got a smell of ammonia on my Aero S1 at high load full throlle and this for the whole 10 years and 30,000 miles that I owned it. I recall someone telling me it was to do with the cats (maybe the chap that sold it to me) and I never worried about it.

Cheers


Philip

4/4 4 seater 1974 (to be replaced soon by in-build 1985 +8 4 seater)
Malone F1000
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #580193
07/06/19 11:58 AM
07/06/19 11:58 AM
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Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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The smell (for now) seems to have gone, no traces of poo or resin bodges so not entirely sure.. perhaps the cat wee'd on the exhaust?

Either way maybe it is an excuse to get some sports cats.. innocent


Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: Philippo] #580194
07/06/19 11:58 AM
07/06/19 11:58 AM
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Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Originally Posted By Philippo
Hello Nick

I regularly got a smell of ammonia on my Aero S1 at high load full throlle and this for the whole 10 years and 30,000 miles that I owned it. I recall someone telling me it was to do with the cats (maybe the chap that sold it to me) and I never worried about it.

Cheers



Glad to know its not just me, I wonder if it is the cats somehow..


Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #580246
07/06/19 04:50 PM
07/06/19 04:50 PM
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Newcastle Upon Tyne
James B W Offline
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Newcastle Upon Tyne
Nick

- just caught up with this thread.

I can confirm that, like Phillipo, I also get the ammonia smell from my Aero under hard load.It doesn't happen all the time so I really can't shed much light on how/why it happens.

I think the major suspect is probably the cat(s) but I'm not sure of the science behind it (and therefore whether I should worry or not!!).

As long as it is not something friable/combustable buried in the engine compartment , I am content to continue in my happy ignorance...... woohoo

James


Aero8 , Series 1 - Boston Green
Range Rover Evoque
Smart Brabus Convertible
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: James B W] #580367
08/06/19 09:10 AM
08/06/19 09:10 AM
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Posts: 1,161
Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Buckinghamshire
Originally Posted By James B W
Nick
I am content to continue in my happy ignorance...... woohoo


You and me both! cheers


Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #580413
08/06/19 03:17 PM
08/06/19 03:17 PM
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Posts: 11,751
Salisbury, UK
Peter J Offline
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Originally Posted By NickCW
The smell (for now) seems to have gone, no traces of poo or resin bodges so not entirely sure.. perhaps the cat wee'd on the exhaust?

Either way maybe it is an excuse to get some sports cats.. innocent


Have you change fuel supplier? A combination of a tired catalytic converter and supermarket fuel can cause this effect, according to some web reports on other car forums.


Peter,
Tarka the 'Otter Mog
2014 Plus 8


Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: Peter J] #580561
09/06/19 04:00 PM
09/06/19 04:00 PM
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Buckinghamshire
NickCW Offline OP
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Originally Posted By Peter J
Originally Posted By NickCW
The smell (for now) seems to have gone, no traces of poo or resin bodges so not entirely sure.. perhaps the cat wee'd on the exhaust?

Either way maybe it is an excuse to get some sports cats.. innocent


Have you change fuel supplier? A combination of a tired catalytic converter and supermarket fuel can cause this effect, according to some web reports on other car forums.


I usually use Shell V-Power (think its actually 100ron now) and in Malvern there are a lot less Shell stations and an abundance of BP, so I was using BP Ultimate 97.. could well be this, would love to know the science behind it though.


Aero 8 S1

"What we do in life.. echoes in eternity."
Re: Ammonia smell.. [Re: NickCW] #580657
10/06/19 09:56 AM
10/06/19 09:56 AM
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howard Offline
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After reading this thread I did notice an ammonia smell from the tailipie of my Merc diesel. Sure it wont be the same chemistry but the relevance to the OP is the possibility of the smell being from the exhaust which in turn would suggest some sort of exhaust leak since the smell is coming from under the bonnet.

The smell having gone away doesnt mean any leak, if any, will also have gone

Last edited by howard; 10/06/19 09:57 AM.
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