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Burning smell

Jun 23, 2019
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I'm new to this, towing something as big as a caravan behind me. We have a Fleetwood Sonata Prelude, MRO1100kg, MPTLM 1425kg, but actual towed weight would be closer tp 1300kg with whta we had in. It was towed by a skoda superb 2.0 diesel, 150bhp (2wd) . The car pulled ok (i didn't know what to expect) with more than usual changing gears....and fuel consumption halved., but the most worrying thing was a feint burning smell. i couldn't get it all the time, but my wife could. i read that this could be the dpf working overtime, clearing the excess fuel consumption, should i be worried about this smell
 
Jun 23, 2019
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that did worry me, but not really strong enough. also only 33000 miles on the car, and the smell is constantly there
 
Sep 29, 2016
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If the smell is constantly there then pop in to a local garage, most mechanics will at least be able to identify a clutch or brake lining smell.
 
Mar 24, 2014
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Do you get the smell only when towing? Or is it there all the time, even when not towing? If the latter, it is probably something to do with the car. If the former, it could be coming from either the car or the caravan and one candidate on the caravan could be the brakes binding. Has the caravan been serviced recently?
 
Oct 8, 2006
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An overheating clutch smells a bit like sewage.
If it is brakes the drums (and likely the wheels) will be very hot.

Have you checked the noseweight? Could be car rear tyres rubbing?

Also check the oil temp whilst towing - you should be able to bring it up on the MFD. Normal is in the high 90's - but towing it can get to 110-115C. If it is in that parish you should take advice about fitting an oil cooler.

We have a Passat Estate (same engine) and tow 1450Kg with no overheating problems.
 
Jun 23, 2019
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Woodentop said:
An overheating clutch smells a bit like sewage.
If it is brakes the drums (and likely the wheels) will be very hot.

Have you checked the noseweight? Could be car rear tyres rubbing?

Also check the oil temp whilst towing - you should be able to bring it up on the MFD. Normal is in the high 90's - but towing it can get to 110-115C. If it is in that parish you should take advice about fitting an oil cooler.

We have a Passat Estate (same engine) and tow 1450Kg with no overheating problems.
I did notice the oil temp getting higher maxing out at 115, even though the needle was reading 90. When you say "no overheating problems" do you mean temp staying around the 90-95 markr?
 
Oct 8, 2006
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jayw said:
Woodentop said:
An overheating clutch smells a bit like sewage.
If it is brakes the drums (and likely the wheels) will be very hot.

Have you checked the noseweight? Could be car rear tyres rubbing?

Also check the oil temp whilst towing - you should be able to bring it up on the MFD. Normal is in the high 90's - but towing it can get to 110-115C. If it is in that parish you should take advice about fitting an oil cooler.

We have a Passat Estate (same engine) and tow 1450Kg with no overheating problems.
I did notice the oil temp getting higher maxing out at 115, even though the needle was reading 90. When you say "no overheating problems" do you mean temp staying around the 90-95 markr?
No, it does run a pace above 100C but backing off the speed a bit - to 55 or even 50 on a motorway - and not making the engine labour will bring it down easily enough. On our two 140bhp Passat Estates we used to get about 28mpg or a little higher going from N Yorks to Dover or Somerset: with the current 150bhp we have been getting as high as almost 34mpg just by keeping the speed a tad lower and using 5th as the highest gear. OH, and don't use cruise control as that keeps tweaking the throttle and results in higher fuel consumption - your right foot is much more sensitive.
 
Jun 23, 2019
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Woodentop said:
jayw said:
Woodentop said:
An overheating clutch smells a bit like sewage.
If it is brakes the drums (and likely the wheels) will be very hot.

Have you checked the noseweight? Could be car rear tyres rubbing?

Also check the oil temp whilst towing - you should be able to bring it up on the MFD. Normal is in the high 90's - but towing it can get to 110-115C. If it is in that parish you should take advice about fitting an oil cooler.

We have a Passat Estate (same engine) and tow 1450Kg with no overheating problems.
I did notice the oil temp getting higher maxing out at 115, even though the needle was reading 90. When you say "no overheating problems" do you mean temp staying around the 90-95 markr?
No, it does run a pace above 100C but backing off the speed a bit - to 55 or even 50 on a motorway - and not making the engine labour will bring it down easily enough. On our two 140bhp Passat Estates we used to get about 28mpg or a little higher going from N Yorks to Dover or Somerset: with the current 150bhp we have been getting as high as almost 34mpg just by keeping the speed a tad lower and using 5th as the highest gear. OH, and don't use cruise control as that keeps tweaking the throttle and results in higher fuel consumption - your right foot is much more sensitive.
I think you're hitting the nail bang on the head here, although I will take the advice of the other posters, check the nose weight, get it serviced etc. Thanks. To think that a tankful could get me from Cherbourg to Royan (and possibly back,) now towing I'll have to refuel on the way.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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The 90 deg C on the dashboard gauge is your coolant temperature. The MFD oil temperature is your engine oil temperature.
My 170 ps will sometimes reach 110-115 but comes down quickly to 100 if I ease off a bit.

I can’t imagine your DPF would be regenerated that much that you smell burning so frequently. I’ve never smelt burning on mine in 45000 miles. Some VAG owners who have had the emissions fix have reported higher oil temperatures.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Not a VAG owner so cannot comment on the Passat - but in 10 years of running a diesel car with a DPF I've never smelt anything in cabin nor have I ever been able to tell when a re-gen is being performed both solo & towing. (FWIW I use cruise and all available gears, admittedly I had to stir the box towing with a manual but the auto XC60 would not like being kept in 5th at 60mph)
 

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