Diesel Exhaust Odor From 2008+ Diesel Vehicles

Have you ever notice a traditional diesel exhaust odor from a 2007+ diesel vehicle

  • Yes, diesel exhaust odor is clearly noticeably at all times

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, but only slight diesel exhaust odor

    Votes: 1 9.1%
  • Yes, but only during DPF regeneration

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • No, diesel exhaust odor is not detectable

    Votes: 8 72.7%

  • Total voters
    11
  • Poll closed .

wxman

Veteran Member
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Location
East TN, USA
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Other Diesel
I have seen multiple comments on some "green" car sites which claim that the exhaust of "clean" diesel vehicles still has very noticeable "diesel fumes" smell.

When I have challenged the characterization of the exhaust as having any smell whatsoever, I have been accused of either lying or have very weak sense of smell. I have actually inhaled exhaust directly from the exhaust pipe of our diesel car many times, and it has absolutely no detectable odor that I can tell. I'm approaching "senior citizen" status, so I suppose it's possible that my olfactory senses are not what they used to be.

Has anyone with a modern diesel vehicle noticed a distinct "diesel fumes" smell from the exhaust?
 

wxman

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Thank you for your response. The smell of the exhaust during regeneration in my car seems more like an oven burning food to me. I don't notice any traditional diesel exhaust smell even during regeneration.

Here's a specific example of a response I got on another discussion board after mentioning that I don't detect any odor from my diesel car and citing the ACES Phase 3 report showing lab animals exposed to concentrated exhaust from a 2007-compliant truck engine showed no significant health effects of the lab animals exposed over the normal lifespan of the animals...


"...It may be the obvious comment, but I suppose your excrement doesn't smell either. Why should we believe that your personal assessment of the fumes from your diesel car exhaust is any more reliable. If it is so benign, I suggest you route the exhaust into your HVAC system instead of releasing it for others to endure.Those of us who hate having to breathe that, regardless of your opinion as to validity, surely have a right to expect that it be ended ?And hope the politicians are not swayed by this bunch of Big businesses pushing their barrow.Shame on Carlos Ghosn, whose organisation also gives us a number of good EVs."


Thoughts? Just let it go?
 

JSWTDI09

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Thoughts? Just let it go?
I would just let it go. Mark Twain said something to the effect of; never argue with a fool. bystanders can't tell the difference.
Or to paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Never enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.
Or to quote Foghorn Leghorn: "My mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts, son"

Have Fun!

Don
 

tadawson

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2013 Passat TDI SEL, 2015 Passat TDI SEL
Thank you for your response. The smell of the exhaust during regeneration in my car seems more like an oven burning food to me. I don't notice any traditional diesel exhaust smell even during regeneration.

Here's a specific example of a response I got on another discussion board after mentioning that I don't detect any odor from my diesel car and citing the ACES Phase 3 report showing lab animals exposed to concentrated exhaust from a 2007-compliant truck engine showed no significant health effects of the lab animals exposed over the normal lifespan of the animals...


"...It may be the obvious comment, but I suppose your excrement doesn't smell either. Why should we believe that your personal assessment of the fumes from your diesel car exhaust is any more reliable. If it is so benign, I suggest you route the exhaust into your HVAC system instead of releasing it for others to endure.Those of us who hate having to breathe that, regardless of your opinion as to validity, surely have a right to expect that it be ended ?And hope the politicians are not swayed by this bunch of Big businesses pushing their barrow.Shame on Carlos Ghosn, whose organisation also gives us a number of good EVs."


Thoughts? Just let it go?
Wow . . . . that's a mouth breathing, helmet eligible idiot right there . . .

Best to let it go - he clearly is blind to facts and evidence, and as the old saying goes:

"It's impossible to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man"

- Tim
 

wxman

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Location
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Advise taken. The problem is that many other comments from "diesel haters" claim the same thing. This was just one example.

I would still like to know if anyone can detect typical diesel exhaust smell from the exhaust of current-generations diesels and I'm just "olfactory challenged".
 

VeeDubTDI

Wanderluster, Traveler, TDIClub Enthusiast
Joined
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Location
Springfield, VA
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‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
I have noticed a faint chlorine smell from the DPF and DEF equipped vehicles. Definitely NOT your traditional diesel smell. Non-DPF engines like ALHs are a bit more pungent, but still nowhere near the old non-cat diesel smell.

Your friends are the ones who don't know/understand what they're smelling, or imagining things. ;)
 

GoFaster

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Haha, I'm pretty sure I know which website you are talking about, and who the other poster is (Harvey ...), and I'm pretty sure I can put two and two together to figure out who you are on that site.

I look at that website occasionally for a laugh. It is filled with EV-and-nothing-else trolls who have no respect for what the auto industry has to deal with, no respect for companies actually having to be able to sell what the EV trolls seem to promote, no consideration whatsoever for having to live and operate within today's real world.

People with a shred of common sense can pretty easily separate the trolls from the truth. Go ahead and post the truth once (and answer direct questions in case you missed covering something) but otherwise let the trolls feed amongst themselves, and don't let it get to you.

I've bitten my tongue many, many times when I read the stupidity over there. Honestly, I don't know how the website survives.
 

tadawson

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To clarify - my Cummins is in a 2011 RAM (non DEF), and the odor is only occasional, and only if a regen is running at idle, and can make your eves burn on a calm day. It acts as if it over injects a bit, and some a fuel odor. I have never smelled a thing from our 2013 TDI. Unfortunately, owners report that is not uncommon on this engine (the Cummins . . .) . . .

As others have said, post the facts from authoritative sources. That way, even if the boob doesn't get it, others will see how clueless he/she/it is and learn.

- Tim
 
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wxman

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East TN, USA
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Other Diesel
Brian,

Thanks and you're correct about the website. It's been hijacked by the "EV-only" crowd.

I've gotten the "even the latest model diesel cars 'stink'" comment so often (and not just on that website) that I was beginning to wonder if my sense-of-smell really was insidiously diminishing.

Thanks to all for the comments.
 

tadawson

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Start a discussion on all the toxic heavy metals in the EV battery, and the severe energy/pollution in making it and watch the fun. EV only looks good if you restrict the view to purchase through sale, and ignore the rest of the lifecycle . . .

And unless they have magic beans that make electricity, they need to consider that thier electricity likely came from coal, oil, or nuclear . . .

- Tim
 
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gloaming

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Start a discussion on all the toxic heavy metals in the EV battery, and the severe energy/pollution in making it and watch the fun. EV only looks good if you restrict the view to purchase through sale, a d ignore the rest of the lifecycle . . .

And unless they have magic beans that make electricity, they need to consider that thier electricity likely came from coal, oil, or nuclear . . .

- Tim
This is so true and one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of electronic cars. While having no tailpipe may be cool, you're still probably just as bad in the long run as the guy rolling coal unless you have solar power at your house (or a windmill).
 

JSWTDI09

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Location
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Start a discussion on all the toxic heavy metals in the EV battery, and the severe energy/pollution in making it and watch the fun. EV only looks good if you restrict the view to purchase through sale, a d ignore the rest of the lifecycle . . .

And unless they have magic beans that make electricity, they need to consider that thier electricity likely came from coal, oil, or nuclear . . .

- Tim
One minor correction. Most EV and Hybrid cars use Lithium Ion batteries. Lithium is a very light metal, not a heavy metal. However, it is still quite poisonous and very definitely toxic waste when it is disposed of. You are also correct that the mining, and processing of the Lithium and battery production itself is far from ecologically "clean".

I would just end the discussion with these EV nuts by telling them that it is their choice to drive a coal powered vehicle if they choose, but that you prefer to be more environmentally friendly.

Have Fun!

Don
 

wxman

Veteran Member
Joined
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Location
East TN, USA
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Other Diesel
Well, I'm afraid this commenter has sufficiently gotten under my skin that I've continued the discussion.

I responded to...


"...I did read that 12/013 study showing that Lab. rats survived breathing truck diesel exhaust, but that was just rats, renowned survivors of unhealthy conditions such as sewers, rubbish tips etc. And if you think that lower Pm concentrations can justify higher than permitted NOX levels, think again, because NOX is what causes that horrible choking effect experienced by our bicycling friends above. You may claim that I am smelling "non-existent odours" but that is just your clearly prejudiced opinion. Arguing about what you or I can or cannot smell is a pointless exercise, unprovable either way. I shall continue to assert that neither I nor anybody else should have to breathe what I am aware of every time I have to follow even a latest model diesel vehicle on the road, and if you want to believe it holds no health hazards, then you breathe it.But please do not come here attempting to justify your use of it by claiming you cannot smell it, even in your garage.I and no doubt many others can do so, and dislike it intensely.
Lastly, in referring to the signatories to the open letter which was the subject of the original report here, as 'Big Business', I was being quite factual, with no suggestion of any Conspiracy theory. They were, in pressing such views, clearly, simply "pushing their Barrows", a saying which I suggest you familiarise yourself with, to understand its meaning, and spelling."


With...


"...Rats have been used routinely in inhalation studies. LC50 levels have been established based on lab rat survival rates at various concentrations of subject gases/vapors. NO2 (a component of NOx; NOx = NO + NO2) was the limiting factor in the ACES diesel exhaust study. The 4.2 ppm NO2 limit in the "high exposure" chamber is almost 100 times the ambient air quality standard limits for NO2 (0.053 ppm in the U.S.)

Even if real-world NOx emission rates from late-model diesels are as high as the one study you cite suggests, it's still less than half what the U.S. EPA says 1990s-era petrol cars emitted (~2 grams/mile). Even then, all areas in the U.S. meet the NO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and have since 1998. And there's still the study that shows that real-world NOx emissions from diesel trucks have been reduced by 98%.

In fact, I breath diesel exhaust regularly, not only from my own diesel car in an enclosed garage, but following diesel cars and trucks on the highway. New diesel pickup trucks can easily be identified from behind; the tailpipes are large and ventilated. The large OTR trucks have DEF tanks clearly visible. I never smell any odor coming from the post-2007 diesels, yet I can clearly smell the exhaust of pre-2007 diesel trucks and buses. I can smell the exhaust of diesel farm tractors from as much as 1 km away if the wind direction is right.

Europe effectively required filters (DPF) on diesels after September 2011 (Euro 5b). I suspect the commenters here are misidentifying pre-2012 diesel car models for post-2012 models."


We'll see if the commenter wishes to continue this discussion.
 

GoFaster

Moderator at Large
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Location
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
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2006 Jetta TDI
Here is a random example of the EV trolls at work. Somehow *everything* has to be analysed from whether it's relevant to an EV, and nothing else matters.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2015/07/20150716-magna.html#comments

I can't be bothered informing the troll that a lot of underbody parts in his much-vaunted Tesla Model S are supplied by Magna already. I know, because I've worked on the tooling! I can't speak for that "in-house" gear reducer but I will 99.9% guarantee that it's being built by some other supplier that does this sort of thing - just not Getrag.

Tesla does final assembly using parts supplied by all the same suppliers that everyone else in the automotive industry is using. That it happens to be an electric car makes NO difference. I don't know what that poster's point is, but he clearly doesn't understand how Tesla operates. The fact that they are using all the same suppliers that everyone else uses, is likely a large part of why that vehicle has seen some degree of success - they're dealing with suppliers that know what they're doing ...

It's the same with the exhaust odor thing. Somehow the magic solution to everything is EV, EV, EV and nothing else will do.
 

wxman

Veteran Member
Joined
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Location
East TN, USA
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Other Diesel
Here is the last comment posted in that blog post because I'm not going to respond to someone who has nothing but ad hominems left in their arguments...


"...You simply refuse to get it don't you. It doesn't matter how many studies you quote, I am a human not a Lab. Rat, and there is nothing you can say which will convince me that I should put up with the annoyance of having to breathe the foul smelling exhaust pumped out by you and, no doubt, others just like you in the region where I live as you drive along in your precious diesels. More, I am quite capable of identifying late models from their plates, so that argument fails. Further, You are not me, so it is absolutely impossible for you to be able to claim that you know what I can or cannot smell, and your continued arrogant and stupid insistence upon being able to is most enraging. You do of course have the freedom to believe there to be no health hazards in breathing current model diesel exhaust, and long may you continue to do that safely, but I look forward to the day when regulatory bodies around the world feel the need to raise the standard to a level which forces every last one of these vehicles off the roads.I don't forsee it happening in my lifetime, but I at least may shuffle off with a smile of anticipation on my face."


Even if some can smell the exhaust of new technology diesel engines, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's some highly toxic mixture, as is clearly concluded in the ACES Phase 3 study.

I don't like the smell of Bradford Pear trees when they blossom in the Spring. Yet I know the smell is not harmful. Does anyone think I would be justified in demanding that all Bradford Pear trees be cut down in my community and sales of new trees be banned just because I don't like the smell?

I've worked for over 30 years in air quality in some capacity. I have more than cursory knowledge of the subject. :mad:
 

TDI_G

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Sugar Hill, Georgia
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None Currently- 2008 BMW 335I
I've been told driving behind my car is like driving behind a bus...

Oh wait, we're talking about clean diesel...
 

GoFaster

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I am pretty convinced that no one pays serious attention to the website in question. It's completely infested with trolls. I don't know why whoever owns the website even bothers to continue it ... I don't know how they're making money. It is a pretty fair argument for shutting down comments on news-type websites.
 

wxman

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Location
East TN, USA
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Other Diesel
I am pretty convinced that no one pays serious attention to the website in question. It's completely infested with trolls. I don't know why whoever owns the website even bothers to continue it ... I don't know how they're making money. It is a pretty fair argument for shutting down comments on news-type websites.
I agree!

I find GreenCarCongress useful for breaking research, but I wish that site would just shut down the comment section.

Using emotions and perceptions on which to base comments is not appropriate on what is supposed to be a technical site.
 

GoFaster

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Brampton, Ontario, Canada
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Perhaps today's EV-related incident is worth a chuckle or two.

While hauling my gas-powered race bike back from the racetrack in my gas-powered van, a line of traffic was encountered on a two-lane road (Hwy 7 east of Stratford, ON, not that it matters). Fortunately I was 4th in line, but it quickly grew longer, to as far back as I could see in the mirrors. This particular road has just enough hills and just enough traffic to make overtaking difficult.

The offending vehicle ... was a Nissan Leaf, being driven at 70 km/h in a posted 80 km/h zone (and standard practice here is 15 - 20 km/h above the posted limit) - hence the line getting longer and longer.

At the earliest opportunity, which took frustratingly long to arrive, I managed to get past all three vehicles in front - the Leaf, and the two following, who were too timid to overtake ...

Message to the Leaf driver: You may think you're saving the rest of the world, but the rest of the world just sees your Leaf as a lame pile of junk. Maybe if you're taking a trip someplace, you should take a vehicle that can actually get there and back without having to be driven like that.
 

MacBuckeye

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Location
North Carolina
TDI
2009 Jetta
I would agree the VW Clean Diesel is hard to detect.

Simple study:
My 2009 2.0 CR TDI vs. Wife's 2007 Honda Accord 4cyl V-Tec

My TDI runs inside the garage for 1 min + ...... no smell at all.
2007 Honda runs for 30 seconds or less ..... nasty car exhaust smell.

Now, after a mod, the opposite happens. I think it's called... wait for it....
DPF Delete. cough cough, hack hack
:eek:
 

ATR

Top Post Dawg
Joined
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Location
Baltimore
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Most gasoline powered cars have alot of exhaust fumes that make it past the cats when they are cold. And even when they are warmed up (I see this from time to time on the highway) I see a cloud of smoke emit from their tail pipes. This is with a direct injection engine no less!

Newer Clean diesels that are equipped with a DPF are MUCH cleaner for the air we breath then pretty much any gas powered car on the road today. Clearly the trolls at that website are brainwashed to believe that EVs are the future and nothing else will ever do.

Move on and ignore the comments of that website. They seem to be almost as toxic as the batteries that their EVs have in them :p
 

LarBear

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Billings, MT
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The only time I can smell anything remotely diesel like on our Jetta is when my wife pulls it into the garage and the DPF is regenerating. She now leaves the garage door open and the engine running, and I get to go turn it off with barely a hint of diesel odor. The RAV4 gasser if left to run for a minute in the garage produces more stink.

I guess I'm just insufficiently delicate and easily offended by things I've been told to believe about things I have some experience with. I'm also absolutely amazed that I've managed to live for nearly 3/4 of a century while inhaling pre-clean diesel exhaust, untreated gas engine exhaust, coal burning furnace fumes, and other terrible stuff that was supposed to have killed me long ago.

If the EV folks are asked where their precious batteries come from they probably don't know, and if they do don't know that only countries with minimal environmental laws like China can produce those batteries. But they're wonderful and environmentally safe. :rolleyes:
 

El Dobro

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NJ
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There is a slight smell during a regen, I could never narrow it down, but the chlorine comment would be close. You had to be pretty much on top of the exhaust to smell it, but it was nothing objectionable at all.
 

ihatespeed

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holbrook, ma
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I used to smell a sweet odor, similar to a corn ensilage trench (for those of you from farm country) when the car was idling, especially in cool wet conditions, but never diesel, as for regen I found it to smell like I had got a plastic bag on my manifold. Now my car smells mildly of diesel when cold and not much of anything when warm.

There is a place at the table for ev's, hybrids, clean diesel and gas, people need to be better educated to choose a vehicle that is efficient for their needs. Right now my commuter of choice is my 147hp triumph, yeah it only gets 38mpg compared to the jetta's 45, but I can go in the HOV lane and get nearly guaranteed parking, and in Boston, that's something.
 

VeeDubTDI

Wanderluster, Traveler, TDIClub Enthusiast
Joined
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Location
Springfield, VA
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‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
I experience three distinct "diesel" smells, so my selection in the poll doesn't totally fit my observations.

1.) Raw diesel exhaust - no cat, no filter
2.) Catalyzed diesel exhaust - cat only, no filter
3.) Catalyzed and filtered diesel exhaust, cat + DPF

#1 is generally the most pungent and classic diesel smell
#2 is much more muted when the engine is warm
#3 smells a lot like a mild chlorine to me.

There may be other nuances between the smells of vehicles with exhaust fluid, but I haven't really picked up on that. If you're burning a biodiesel blend, everything changes, as well.
 

boomer1

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Location
State College, PA
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2013 TDI Passat
LarBear, you hit the nail on the head. I am in my late 60's and could not agree with you more. In addition, I was a chemistry major and inhaled, absorbed, etc all manner of chemicals over my 40 year career in this science. I guess we are lucky; some folks seem to be very sensitive, but nevertheless, we made it through.
 

GT Beetle

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B.C Canada
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Black 98 N Beetle
I think gasoline cars should be abolished , the gas from fumes from gas stations is not only sicking its ridiculously explosive and often explodes..


I love the smell of Diesel in the morning , smell like economy and money savings me.
 
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