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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to the dealership today for regular maintenance and complained of a "fresh oil smell"

It only happens after a hot start.

Cold, first thing in the morning the cars runs fine and smells fine. After I drive the kids to school and drive back home, if I get in the truck and start it about 1-3 hours later, I get a fresh smell of oil. Not a burning oil smell, like a leak or exhaust burnt oil. A fresh smell, like someone opened a quart of oil in the passenger seat.

Today the tech say he did smell it, but "I work in a shop all day long, I smell like oil when I go home"

Also, when the oil was changed today, it was not even on the dip stick. 6000 miles first change. Checked Crankcase to intake, sealed, no oil on the ground, etc. WTF? anyone?
 

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you need to check oil alot more often... not every 6000 miles.... more like every week- or every time you gas up. (even the manual states this).

Also--- I wonder if you have the issue of smelling 'gear' oil.
(you have the AWD?)

theres a TSB for this.. they are to install a Carbon filter (as opposed to just the cabin filter)
 

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I see you do have the AWD....

that must be your issue...



heres the info

2007-2011


Acadia, Enclave, OUTLOOK, Traverse - Gear oil odor in interior of vehicle


Do this---Add charcoal cabin filter


Don't replace any underhood components


10-01-37-002
 

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Gear oil smell was my first thought as well. I've started noticing it on our 2011. I still haven't been into the dealer yet for anything, but I will add it to the list for when I do go.
 

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screw991le said:
Also, when the oil was changed today, it was not even on the dip stick. 6000 miles first change. Checked Crankcase to intake, sealed, no oil on the ground, etc. WTF? anyone?
To add one more thing, although it's late now, I would recommend changing the initial oil fill from the factory a lot sooner than 6,000 miles. I always told people 1,500 miles when I worked at a dealership, but honestly, you would be fine with probably 2,000 - 3,000 miles, but don't go past this. Reason being is this initial oil fill had the break in particles left by rings, gaskets, silicone sealant, and other normal wear itmes, and it's best to get those out ASAP. The normal initial engine break in (as far as seating the gaskets, seals, and even some seating of rings should be done by 1,500 miles.

I will also say that I'll bet you are smelling the transfer case gear oil, or differential oil like was stated above. Check out the TSB, and have your dealership look into it.

Good Luck. :thumb:
 

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There was a discussion back in January that determined some of the new 2011 Lambdas were being built with the cabin air filters. I don't know if it was a later build option, or an early build option which was discontinued.

If you own a 2011 or newer Lambda, you can check to see if you have the factory installed cabin air filter by reading this post. There are a few pictures to show what you are looking for and how to open the glove box door far enough to see it.


http://www.traverseforum.com/index.php?topic=1542.0
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info. If the filter is the problem and I need a different filter. Where is the smell coming from? Leak? Vent?
 

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vaguely-- I think the AWD component has some sort of vent tube- and when new- the smell is very apparent once it heats up.. and gets sucked into the cabin...

I dont think Ive seen NON Awd model owners complain of this.
 

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Thanks for the info. If the filter is the problem and I need a different filter. Where is the smell coming from? Leak? Vent?

rbarrios is correct, the fumes are being sucked into the passenger compartment because there is a vent under the hood. AWD is the only configuration which has this vent and the smell is corrected by the TSB which adds the cabin filter.

There are two types of cabin filters. One is just a paper which captures larger particles, and one is carbon impregnated, which captures smells and odors. Make sure you have the carbon type to stop the odors. Naturally they are more expensive than the paper one.
 

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Here's the GM bulletin which explains the problem and the solution. The bold print is mine.



#10-01-37-002: Gear Oil Type Odor in Interior of Vehicle - (Dec 9. 2010)
Subject : Gear Oil Type Odor in Interior of Vehicle (Install Cabin Filter into HVAC Module)



Models: 2008-2011 Buick Enclave
2009-2011 Chevrolet Traverse
2007-2011 GMC Acadia
2007-2010 Saturn OUTLOOK
Build Prior to October 11, 2010

Condition
Some Customers may comment on a gear oil type odor in the interior of the vehicle. The odor may be coming in through the air vents when the HVAC system is in the non-recirculation mode and can be misdiagnosed as an HVAC concern. The condition is most noticeable when the vehicle is idling at operating temperature after an extended drive. The odor will typically dissipate when the HVAC system is placed in the recirculation mode.

Cause
This condition may be caused by PTU transfer case fluid odor being pulled into the vehicle through the HVAC air inlet due to the location of the PTU vent.
 

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It still baffles me as to why not ALL of the Traverse's ( or Lambda's for that matter ) don't just come with the cabin air filter. **** my 11 year old truck had them, stock. You think it would be a normal practice now, and they would be out a whopping $10 per vehicle, if that based on the volume they would be purchasing.

I would have the TSB completed, to add the tube, then have the cabin air filter changed as well, as if you have one, it may be saturated already with this Gear lube smell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Looks like its back to the dealer with the TSB in hand. Anyone know the part number of the charcoal filter, So I can make sure they do it right.
 

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screw991le said:
Anyone know the part number of the charcoal filter, So I can make sure they do it right.
Cabin Air Filter, CF179C, GM part # 20958479 :thumb:
 

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ls973800 said:
Here's the GM bulletin which explains the problem and the solution. The bold print is mine.



#10-01-37-002: Gear Oil Type Odor in Interior of Vehicle - (Dec 9. 2010)
Subject : Gear Oil Type Odor in Interior of Vehicle (Install Cabin Filter into HVAC Module)



Models: 2008-2011 Buick Enclave
2009-2011 Chevrolet Traverse
2007-2011 GMC Acadia
2007-2010 Saturn OUTLOOK
Build Prior to October 11, 2010

Condition
Some Customers may comment on a gear oil type odor in the interior of the vehicle. The odor may be coming in through the air vents when the HVAC system is in the non-recirculation mode and can be misdiagnosed as an HVAC concern. The condition is most noticeable when the vehicle is idling at operating temperature after an extended drive. The odor will typically dissipate when the HVAC system is placed in the recirculation mode.

Cause
This condition may be caused by PTU transfer case fluid odor being pulled into the vehicle through the HVAC air inlet due to the location of the PTU vent.

ANyone aware if there is an actual fix rather then the band-aid TSB fix? We recently had the cabin filter installed in our '11 but lately I noticed that we are still getting the gear oil odor when taking longer trips. THere has got to be a way to deflect the intake or something to keep this from occurring. It's been better since having the filter TSB completed, but it's still very noticeable especially when driving for longer then 30min.
 

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All the different statements about smells inside the Traveres vents. :eek:hno: Here is what I know for sure. The smell is coming from the gear oil and is leaking fumes from the vent of the transfer case under the hood. GM has had a ticket for this since at least 2008 that states a charcoal filter will fix the smell. My 2012 has that filter installed from the factory and OMG do I get a smell from the vent when I stop at lights or even pull into my driveway. The solution from the dealer was to use the recycle air button until they figure out what can be causing the problem and how to fix it. Well that worked for the summer and in some cases the smell reminded me to turn it on (it defaults to OFF). Now that the colder weather is here that doesn't seem to work any longer because the recycle air won't turn on due to the temp difference from outside and inside. Still no solution from GM. I have had good luck with the GM products lately but this could change my decision on the next replacement. History on the internet tells me that GM isn't doing enough to resolve this issue. Now I know why there were so many used Traveres on the lot when I bought mine. Good luck with yours but until GM finds a correct fix, we will all continue to breath in the fumes! :banghead:
 

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as far as I know- this is an AWD version issue-- or at least thats what Ive noticed here..

I wonder why they cant just run a longer hose-- to expell the fumes-- past the rear...

Im thinking out loud-- as the other day I was under my 2003 Trailblazer--- and saw the rear differential had a little hose way at the top to vent the differential-- and I thought of this issue on the Traverse's.
 

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What I find a little strange is still smelling the venting gear oil when you exit the vehicle. I've even had people comment that they smelled a natural gas smell coming from my Traverse when I have pulled up to where they were. What I dont get is I have had numerous other vehicles with 4WD/AWD and never have I smelled gear oil from the car inside OR out??

On another note, I have the charcoal filter and I still get a smell sometimes too - it doesnt annoy me really because I know what it is but I do agree that the so called "fix" should be better than just a filter...
 

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The fumes can be smelled from outside simply because the engine compartment is like a fish bowl. It holds the smell inside. On a wet day the steam comes out of the grill and stinks like the gear oil.

Knowing the smell or not, when you pay more then $40,000 for a car it shouldn't smell. More so when prior owners of 2008 and 2009 models complained of the same smell.

The problem is that people keep buying them. My dealer told me that GM never heard of this issue and maybe it was the smell of the car in front of me!

Go figure!
 

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Got the charcoal filter fix installed in our 2011, and since it's been in the issue is gone.
 
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