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Discussion Starter #1
I have started noticing a diesel smell inside the cabin when the car is sitting still or idling. Never had this before but I am noticing that now. It has 113,000 miles on it and it’s a 2009. What could cause this?


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yup. i have been struggling with this for about 18 months. First it was a drivers side flex pipe... got that repaired and 10,000kms later it got really bad this week... the worst it has ever been. Took it in yesterday and found out today its leaking from the actuator on the turbo-a non serviceable part. bottom line turbo replacement $2,000 usd installed. hope your situation has less expensive solution. (2009 V6 TDI).
 

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I have started noticing a diesel smell inside the cabin when the car is sitting still or idling. Never had this before but I am noticing that now.
Might be just your Webasto auxiliary heater kicking in because of the weather getting colder. Or door seals not sealing properly anymore, allowing fumes entering the cabin. Or the exhaust pipes - or more likely: the exhaust manifold - having cracked somewhere, and now leaking. Or DPF cracked, and there's now unfiltered exhaust passing by it. Or, or, or...

You can't really know until you at least visually inspect the car from the bottom while running. If there's nothing obvious, a pressurized smoke test might yield some clues.
 

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I can't tell from your post if it is raw fuel or exhaust you are smelling.

If it is the smell of raw fuel, you probably have the fuel flange cracked problem. There is a active VW recall on many of the Touaregs for this problem.
 

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it is exhaust- all my recalls are current.

also Gnits - sadly no Webasto heaters on North American V6 TDIs - only V10s.
 

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Check cracks on exhaust manifold
 

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FWIW: The diesel smell is more "classic" diesel before the DPF.

So strong diesel exhaust smell would have me looking at the exhaust system closer to the engine, before the DPF. The lighter "cleaner" smell would have me looking for leaks after the DPF.

Also Singh is correct. The exhaust manifold is a known problem child.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok so more info. I’ve had this issue for 3 weeks now. Took it to dealer on Monday and they said they couldn’t smell anything. Now this is not a VW dealer but a private dealership that’s trained in VW vehicles. Been going to them for four years now and they do awesome work. So was surprised when they didn’t find anything. I picked up the car and drove 15 minutes home. I let the car idle for second and back came exhaust smell not fuel smell. However today I drove it and no smell at all. Temps are warmer today but seems to me something with a hole or cracked would still cause a issue. Does this help narrow things down a bit?

By the way normally when I stop with vehicle running I begin smelling exhaust within 30 seconds It happens quickly and by 1-2 minute its very strong causing me to roll down the windows.

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I had this issue for years now, and because it never surfaced in warmer weather, and is loosely coupled to activating the A/C, it's definitely related to temperatures. I do not always smell exhaust, but if I do, it's either right after the car has been started after sitting for a longer period of time, or right after I turn the heating on.

Because of that I'm theorizing, that it might be because of a tiny crack or gasket leak somewhere along the exhaust or auxiliary heater exhaust systems, which hover seals itself, through thermal expansion, as soon as its surroundings reach operating temperature. And in the summer it's not actually there to begin with, because the ambient temperature is high enough to not allow for the crack/leak to actually open/appear.


One interesting this is, however, that since I've added Liqui Moly Super Diesel Additive to the tank a week ago, I didn't smell the exhaust a single time - not even under circumstances, when I otherwise did. I guess this is because this additive makes the fuel combustion more efficient/perfect, and thus reducing the fumes and/or the strength of the smell of the raw exhaust.
 

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further update to my exhaust smell issues- once the turbo was removed the pipe running from the exhaust to the EGR was also found to be leaking through a crack on the accordion like area of the pipe... see pictures. pictures also show all the black soot like accumulation around where the vane actuator enters the exhaust side of the turbo. the small cracked pipe has a filter screen in it and this little pipe was $740 Canadian.

overtime my Diesel smell got stronger and stronger to the point it became painful at idle or stuck in traffic. on the open road moving it was not noticeable.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok thanks for the info. I just noticed tonight some exhaust smoke coming from area around left front headlight. The leak is apparently in that area.


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Ok so today it was cold and I stopped at gas station with engine running. To my surprise I seen a little smoke coming front right or passenger headlight. So I opened the hood and also noticed the oil dip stick was not fully seated and had a little smoke or steam coming out of it. Both locations smelled like diesel exhaust. The smoke around the headlight is coming from below as I could not see where it was coming from up top. Any ideas on this? Could the dpf be clogged causing increased back pressure?


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Could the dpf be clogged causing increased back pressure?
Even if your DPF would be clogged up and pushing back exhaust, that would only choke the engine, but couldn't exit the system - unless you had a leak somewhere. And if you have a leak in the system somewhere, then exhaust will exit there, even if your DPF is not clogged up. Also, a clogged up DPF would be most likely detected by the ECU and trigger a CEL.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I agree just wondered if maybe a dpf sensor might not be working properly. I have appointment next week so will see what dealer says.


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I have started noticing a diesel smell inside the cabin when the car is sitting still or idling. Never had this before but I am noticing that now. It has 113,000 miles on it and it’s a 2009. What could cause this?


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Mine has the same issue and confirmed today that this EGR lower pipe is cracked in the flex part. Getting this replaced by VW under warranty. Thanks for sharing as VW could not figure anything. I tore into this and found it cracked.
 

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Solution?

G'day mate, did you solve your issue? I have smoke coming from my engine bay and into the cab, same as you. Have to drive the car with aircon on recirculate all the time now because I don't think those fumes are particularly healthy. Another friend who also has an R50 has also suggested they look at the EGR as some has suggested here. It would be good if you could let me know what the outcome was. Thanks mate.
 

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Seems to be a common issue with diesel Touaregs, especially when they get old.

Egr pipes and cracks in the exhaust manifold seems to be the issue contributing to the foul air which goes into the cabin
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Seems to be a common issue with diesel Touaregs, especially when they get old.

Egr pipes and cracks in the exhaust manifold seems to be the issue contributing to the foul air which goes into the cabin


Believe it or not that was the oil fill cap. Can’t remember if it was damaged and had to be replaced or just loose. Either way they fixed it never had an issue since.


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G'day mate, did you solve your issue? I have smoke coming from my engine bay and into the cab, same as you. Have to drive the car with aircon on recirculate all the time now because I don't think those fumes are particularly healthy. Another friend who also has an R50 has also suggested they look at the EGR as some has suggested here. It would be good if you could let me know what the outcome was. Thanks mate.
Yes new EGR pipe, gaskets etc. Slew of parts on the list replaced under warranty thank god.

I did not have smoke, that sounds like an oil leak to me.

My solution was replacing the EGR pipe shown above.
 
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