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Propane or Natural Gas Smell

hspangler

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Havre de Grace
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1980
Hey everyone, I'm new here. Found the forum while searching for others maybe having the same problem. I did a search here but didn't see this exact issue.

I have a 2016 Explorer, bought in 2017 after one previous owner. I started smelling exhaust or some kind of odor about 2 years ago maybe. Took it to the Ford dealer, they "couldn't smell anything". It was never fixed. Been smelling it ever since.

About 4 weeks ago I started smelling a natural gas smell in the cabin. It was the first time I had run the A/C as it was getting hot outside, Just a local drive, I noticed it about 7 to 8 minutes into the drive. Took it to the shop again, they reset the HVAC in hopes that this would address the problem. Seemed ok for about 20 minutes and then the smell came back.

They can't seem to figure out what it is. I'm finding it hard to believe. I've read some articles and watched a youtube video about fumes leaking into the cabin and Ford knew about it in 2012. You can smell that natural gas odor coming off the car long after it's been parked and turned off and when I get inside it's just there all the time.

At the same time, I'm now hearing a rattling underneath at about 20mph and slower and then today my rear AC hoses were leaking. Don't know if these are related but it's all happening at the same time.

Sorry for the long message. I'm hoping to get some insight into this. I appreciate anyone taking the time to drop some knowledge on this.
Thanks!
 



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JAPeterson

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The last time that I smelt the sulfur smell it was the O2 sensor that was causing problems. Not on my Explorer but another vehicle. Once they replaced the sensor all was well.
 






hspangler

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The last time that I smelt the sulfur smell it was the O2 sensor that was causing problems. Not on my Explorer but another vehicle. Once they replaced the sensor all was well.
Ok thank you. Crazy to me that they can't seem to figure out what the issue is.
 






Mbrooks420

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Check your manifolds.
 












dvdswan

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Check the rear seal on the back gate/window. There may be some one-way flaps that allow air to escape when you close the doors that may have curled up as well.
 






hspangler

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Check the rear seal on the back gate/window. There may be some one-way flaps that allow air to escape when you close the doors that may have curled up as well.
That's great info, thank you!
 






PlatinumOwner

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Check the PTU, when my PTU failed the vehicle had a strong natural gas odor. They have re-designed the part (again) since the 2016 model year was introduced.
 






peterk9

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Bob1956

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Hey everyone, I'm new here. Found the forum while searching for others maybe having the same problem. I did a search here but didn't see this exact issue.

I have a 2016 Explorer, bought in 2017 after one previous owner. I started smelling exhaust or some kind of odor about 2 years ago maybe. Took it to the Ford dealer, they "couldn't smell anything". It was never fixed. Been smelling it ever since.

About 4 weeks ago I started smelling a natural gas smell in the cabin. It was the first time I had run the A/C as it was getting hot outside, Just a local drive, I noticed it about 7 to 8 minutes into the drive. Took it to the shop again, they reset the HVAC in hopes that this would address the problem. Seemed ok for about 20 minutes and then the smell came back.

They can't seem to figure out what it is. I'm finding it hard to believe. I've read some articles and watched a youtube video about fumes leaking into the cabin and Ford knew about it in 2012. You can smell that natural gas odor coming off the car long after it's been parked and turned off and when I get inside it's just there all the time.

At the same time, I'm now hearing a rattling underneath at about 20mph and slower and then today my rear AC hoses were leaking. Don't know if these are related but it's all happening at the same time.

Sorry for the long message. I'm hoping to get some insight into this. I appreciate anyone taking the time to drop some knowledge on this.
Thanks!
Had same issue. Dealer diagnosed leak on to the exhaust from the PTU (power transfer unit) on 4wd models.
 






patkelly1336

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Just responding on this because I had this when I first purchased my exploder. That natural gas or propane smell is usually from Mercon V leaking out of the PTU and dripping onto the hot exhaust. I have gone through 3 power take off units on my car and I just rolled over 150k on it.
 






Mbrooks420

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Definitely isn’t Mercon V.
 












Odrapnew

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Correction: PTU uses gear lube/fluid.
If you have Mercon (any version) in your PTU, there are other issues.

But, the natural gas smell is telltale sign of PTU leaking.
 






Chrisrj8084

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So on my 2016 sport with 105,000 I started noticing a smell like natural gas or rotten eggs when in the car and outside the car. Got so bad that when the car was in my garage you could smell it in the house.

Did my research and it appears my power transfer unit is shot. The PTU on AWD vehicles appears to be really close to the exhaust engine, and cat converter. This causes the oil in the ptu to break down and blow out onto the exhaust causing that smell.

I've had the car less than 2 weeks so it's at the dealership now so they can confirm this. Just wanted to give a heads up for anyone else experiencing this issue.

Thankfully I bought a warranty with the car so this should be covered.
 












mguy13sport

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It doesn't necessarily mean the PTU is overheating. The cheap gasket seals on the case are known to leak and land right on the exhaust pipe. You want to inspect around the vent area to see if oil is puking out as that would indicate overheating. I have 140k on my PTU and sometimes it seeps onto the exhaust and smells bad but its not overheating. Since you are new to the car highly recommend changing the PTU fluid asap. Most dealers wont touch it as Ford says its non serviceable but you can do it yourself.
 






Chrisrj8084

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So got the car back from Ford. When I had called them they said there was a bulletin from Ford about the smell so they were checking seals and everything. When I got it back they said they couldn't find any issues and the smell hasn't come back. Perhaps they tightened a seal or something and fixed it. Guess we will see what happens over the next couple weeks.
 






peterk9

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So on my 2016 sport with 105,000 I started noticing a smell like natural gas or rotten eggs when in the car and outside the car. Got so bad that when the car was in my garage you could smell it in the house.

Did my research and it appears my power transfer unit is shot. The PTU on AWD vehicles appears to be really close to the exhaust engine, and cat converter. This causes the oil in the ptu to break down and blow out onto the exhaust causing that smell.

I've had the car less than 2 weeks so it's at the dealership now so they can confirm this. Just wanted to give a heads up for anyone else experiencing this issue.

Thankfully I bought a warranty with the car so this should be covered.
Your thread was merged with this existing one. It is recommended to use the 'Search' feature before beginning a new thread to see if the issue has already been discussed.

Peter
 



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Chrisrj8084

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So not even two days after I got my car back from Ford the smell came back. One day it was really bad to the point where I couldn't even park in my garage because the smell was coming into the house.

Had my personal mechanic look and he said to make them change the PTU as it's a known issue. I bought an extended warranty which covers the whole drivetrain. Issue is actually getting them to do something as they said they couldn't find anything before.
 






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