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Old 09-02-2014, 06:41 AM   #1
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Smell coming from Jeep after tow.

Guys, hoping you can help me figure this one out. I tow a 2013 Jeep Unlimited Sahara behind my 2013 Thor ACE. No problems at all, just put the transfer case in Neuteral, and the auto trans in park, and it works great. Problem is when I unhook and drive the Jeep for the first time after towing, I smell a burning odor. To me it smells like a burning plastic smell. It only lasts a few minutes and it's gone. For the life of me, I can't find where it's coming from. And it doesn't happen every time.

I'm just concerned I'm hurting something. Any feedback appreciated! Thank you!

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Old 09-02-2014, 06:56 AM   #2
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That's normal on a lot of vehicles being towed. After you unhook and drive the towed vehicle for a while it smells like burning rubber. Drove me nuts the first time. Here is what one person said it is and others say the same.

It is usually caused from towing and rubber from the road is thrown onto the exhaust pipe and when it gets hot you smell it.

So I would not worry!

Another link here.
Burning Rubber Smell

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Old 09-02-2014, 07:01 AM   #3
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I too smelled what seemed to be burning rubber the first 2-3 times I towed my brand new Wrangler Unlimited. It seems to have gone away now. Hoping it is gone for good.
Roy and Bonnie
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:10 AM   #4
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I bought an infared temperature gauge. They are about $20 at HF. I've been having problems with the AC in the house and I would usually put a thermometer into the air duct, then wait until the temp was settled in. That usually took a few minutes. With the I gauge you know in a second. I can check all registers in about 10 seconds. I've also started making homemade wine. I bought an expensive thermometer but later realized that I can also use my I- gauge and know the must temp in a second and don't have to take the lid off or get anything into the must either. Great little tool and very accurate. Just point and push a button.

That said, If I had a smell like you are having right after I stopped driving I'd check the temps of the: tires, engine oil, transmission oil, transmission case, differential case or anything else that for what ever the reason could heat up if it were spinning and you didn't know it. I realize nothing should be turning but stranger things have happened. I would feel much better if I knew for sure nothing was turning. Yes you may be burning the rubber accumulating on the exhaust once you fire up the engine but I still would want to make sure nothing else is getting hot.

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Old 09-02-2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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As others have stated, this is normal and evidently is from rubber dust on the road blown back into the engine compartment. Mine Jeep Commander did this yesterday after only an 80 mile tow. I had to leave the garage door open for a while to let the smell out. It smells like either burning rubber or brakes.
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:43 AM   #6
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There have been many threads on this topic, one I started a number of years ago, for the same reason.

Yup, it's "normal", and should go away fairly quickly. I can only guess that the exhaust manifolds or system is somehow more exposed to road debris in the Wrangler than most. It was actually worse in our '07 Wrangler than in our '12.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:05 AM   #7
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We have been towing our little Tracker for years now and we have never noticed that smell. Could the big mud flap thing under the coach be preventing it? We are moving up to a new Wrangler (if it ever gets here) soon so I am happy to have a heads up if we smell it.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:19 AM   #8
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Thanks for all teh good feedback. I just looked at the Jeep and notice a fine mist of rubber on the front bumper... almost like dust. Would be great if it was that simple!

thanks again.
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:28 AM   #9
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It's not just "rubber" dust, it's what ever kind of road dust, any dust, debris etc. that gets deposited on that exhaust system. When driving a vehicle, that same dust comes in contact with exhaust parts/pipes/manifolds etc. and is immediately burned off and, for the most part, you never smell it. But, when the toad is being drug behind the coach, the exhaust of the toad is not operating and, things get deposited on not only the exhaust of the toad but, the entire undercarriage of the toad.

We've smelled it for years. We've towed Jeeps and thought we fried the transfer cases and other components. All our buddies smelled the same exact thing, right after disconnect and driving them around for the first mile or two. Even our present toad, a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended Cab 4x4 does the same thing. It's all normal.

If you don't smell it, within the first mile after disconnecting and driving the toad, you're just lucky.
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:29 AM   #10
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Thorchini, another thing that helps the smell is to make sure and turn the heat and ac controls to off on the toad before towing. I have towed F150's, an Explorer and now my Jeep and they all did it.
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:50 AM   #11
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My Malibu does this every time after a long tow. Just road debris burning off the exhaust as said above.
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Pulling my 2012 Malibu w/Blue OX & Patriot brake unit
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Old 09-02-2014, 03:46 PM   #12
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One of the things my owners manual (not a jeep) says to do before towing is to select the air re-circulation feature so that outside air is not drawn into the passenger compartment while being towed. This might help as I have not smelled anything after being towed.

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