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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My ‘18 Q4 breathes fumes into the cabin when slowing to stop. I’d describe the smell as something like hot machine oil, or some kind of petroleum-synthesized chemical smell.

I’d initially thought that it was weird, but something that was related to the 10mi on the odo when I picked the car up and which would burn of. One week in, at 242mi, it’s still there, though perhaps diminished a bit (if I haven’t become somewhat inured by exposure).

Is this a known issue? I did some searching here and found a TSB for MY17 cars, but I figured that would have been addressed, then, for MY18s.

I’ll take it into the dealer to have them check it out, but of course it’s usually good to have some idea of what’s going on to help guide them and make sure they address things properly, so annoyance and a second trip in can be avoided.
My dealer says I have an Alfa certified tech assigned, so maybe the experience will good; we’ll see.

Any insight is appreciated!
 

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Yes it is, and I am noticing it too with my new Quad. I think there was a seal on the air plenum at the windshield that needs to be extended? Mine is a 2018 so it may just be too new still. I also left the desiccant bags in the trunk. They are huge! I also added about 500ml of oil and the level meter hardly budged (pretty much middle). Still can't see much if any on the dip stick either. I have noticed valve tap at idle the few times I've hopped out of the car with the engine running.
 

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Yep these cars are pretty stinky when new. Besides the sour dough smell of interior materials off-gassing, several people including myself have reported smelling what can only be described as “engine” fumes. Some have reported the smell goes away after a few weeks and many hundreds of miles. Speculation is that it’s normal and a byproduct of the engine break-in process. My car has been at the dealer for nearly a week now so I can’t comment on whether the odor still lingers.
 

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Check the TSB thread. There is a known issue with the lack of sealing of the hood openings/cowl areas.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So Alfa issued a TSB for a problem they identified as relating to cars built on or before 2/17 but did not correct the problem on cars built 7 months later (my build date is 9/17)? Weak, Alfa, really weak.

I'll ask the shop to check it out, mention the seal and TSB #2303717, and see what turns up.
 

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Did you see the photos of the hood underside? They put caps over the holes toward the rear of the hood.

It's pretty easy to see if the holes are sealed or not.

How is the car parked? If you have it parked in a garage all the time, the new car smell is going to last a seriously long time. I've had mine for over a year now and there aren't any windows in the garage and it still smells new.
 
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I had this too on my 2017. When I mentioned it to the dealer, he said there is a coating that is put on the turbo and that it would burn off. I read somewhere that at somewhere between 1000 and 1500 miles, this goes away.

That was my experience. After approx 1400 miles, no more odor.
 

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Yep these cars are pretty stinky when new. Besides the sour dough smell of interior materials off-gassing, several people including myself have reported smelling what can only be described as “engine” fumes. Some have reported the smell goes away after a few weeks and many hundreds of miles. Speculation is that it’s normal and a byproduct of the engine break-in process. My car has been at the dealer for nearly a week now so I can’t comment on whether the odor still lingers.
OMG! I thought I was the only one that noticed that sour dough bread smell. It's definitely the cars with the rougher grained leather. The ones with the lusso package or sports seats that have the smooth leather really don't smell like that.
 

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My '17 does it too. I have noticed it's really diminished over time, but every once in a while, when coming to a stop, I get the smell. Those holes in the hood are sealed.

I've got about 1700 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did you see the photos of the hood underside? They put caps over the holes toward the rear of the hood.

It's pretty easy to see if the holes are sealed or not.

How is the car parked? If you have it parked in a garage all the time, the new car smell is going to last a seriously long time. I've had mine for over a year now and there aren't any windows in the garage and it still smells new.
Yes, and those holes are sealed, so I'm assuming the windshield cowl gasket was upgraded as well.

I park it outside, so it's well ventilated. I've even been keeping the windows open to vent the smell while driving, despite the near-freezing temps. Actually, Friday and yesterday were up more than 20º over Wednesday's high of 28ºF, so it was really nice! But I digress...

It's an unusual smell to me; not really motor oil or combustion related, but more chemical and acrid. The closest thing I've been able to come up with is machine oil, or that smell that everything at Harbor Freight has!

I've got the car going into the body shop for some collision repair (ugh, don't ask!) this week, so I won't be getting it into the service techs until after that's done. I'll report back with their findings.
 

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While I don't get that smell, I do get an odor when using the windshield washer.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had this too on my 2017. When I mentioned it to the dealer, he said there is a coating that is put on the turbo and that it would burn off. I read somewhere that at somewhere between 1000 and 1500 miles, this goes away.

That was my experience. After approx 1400 miles, no more odor.
My '17 does it too. I have noticed it's really diminished over time, but every once in a while, when coming to a stop, I get the smell. Those holes in the hood are sealed.

I've got about 1700 miles.
Hopes lifted, and then dashed on the rocks!

Regarding the hood holes and cowl gasket, it's not really clear to me those would have been the sources in this case, because a) it's not an engine smell as I know them to be, and b) I've checked under the hood after smelling the odor in the cabin, and don't find it in the engine bay.

At the concentration and intensity level I smell it, it also seems unlikely that were it coming from the engine bay, by the time it got dragged over to the fresh air intake under the cowl (either through channels in the hood or vacuumed over the gasket by low pressure at base of windscreen) it would have been diluted substantially more and smell less strong.

Anyway, the odor exists despite the mod (or hopefully, mods).

I think it has diminished somewhat, so I'll hold out hope it is some turbo gunk or other weird coating yet to burn off completely. Or better yet, that the dealer will find and fix the source of the problem.
 

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We have 3,800 miles on our QV, and we still get this smell, so I'm not inclined to buy the "it'll burn off" response.

We notice it most often in stop and go traffic or just in suburban areas where we stop at signals frequently, most often in warm weather areas, but not exclusively for any othe those. We took the car in and had the TSB applied (yes, car that arrived in November did not have the seals or improved hood gasket on delivery) . We will be taking the car on another longish drive in six weeks or so and will be curious to see/smell if this recurs. Seems ot not happen here in chilly/wet Seattle area.

As for describing the odor: I liken it to the smell I associate with an ancient window air coniditioner or refrigerator/freezer that has sat for a few months unusued, then started. Sort of a combo of eletrical smoked stuff and lightweight oil, and kinda sweet, but mostly, just unpleasant. Definitely coming out of the air handling system, so I get the instinct to blame underhood items cooking off and venting into the cowl where fresh air comes into that system. Putting the A/C system into recirculation mode seems to minimize the smell, but not eliminate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We have 3,800 miles on our QV, and we still get this smell, so I'm not inclined to buy the "it'll burn off" response.

We notice it most often in stop and go traffic or just in suburban areas where we stop at signals frequently, most often in warm weather areas, but not exclusively for any othe those. We took the car in and had the TSB applied (yes, car that arrived in November did not have the seals or improved hood gasket on delivery) . We will be taking the car on another longish drive in six weeks or so and will be curious to see/smell if this recurs. Seems ot not happen here in chilly/wet Seattle area.

As for describing the odor: I liken it to the smell I associate with an ancient window air coniditioner or refrigerator/freezer that has sat for a few months unusued, then started. Sort of a combo of eletrical smoked stuff and lightweight oil, and kinda sweet, but mostly, just unpleasant. Definitely coming out of the air handling system, so I get the instinct to blame underhood items cooking off and venting into the cowl where fresh air comes into that system. Putting the A/C system into recirculation mode seems to minimize the smell, but not eliminate it.
Thanks for sharing your experience. What a weird thing, eh? It has really ruined the "new car smell" honeymoon for me! If I can learn anything about a fix, I'll certainly be sharing it with the forum.
 

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I wonder if the desiccant bags might be a source as well? Too bad about the body work. I roll down the window and stick my head out, use the mirrors, back up cam and park assist. I will be driving her like a truck in low speed situations for some time. My Miata really is tiny ;)

Oh, I checked my hood seals when I was adding oil. The corner boxes are soft and pliable too. I did not look for the hood caps but I think my 2018 is up to date. It's probably turbo coating or all of those new fancy hi temp plastic in the engine bay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I haven’t gone through the trunk yet, really, but I’ve not seen any dessicant bags in the car. They’re not in the air system, are they? Could the dealer have failed to remove them, is that what you're suggesting? Normally those things don’t have any order that I’ve ever detected, but I’ve never seen them in use in new car use.
 

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No No No. I still have mine because I asked them not to touch the car before my detailer did. ... in fact, now I wonder if my spring retainers were properly removed ;) The turbos and new plastics are new tech on these cars.
 

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I have a 2018 Q4. I'm up to 2500 miles now and I still get good doses of this smell. Sometimes. I seem to get it most when the engine auto-stops as part of the stop-start feature. It seems the A/C turns off recirc when that happens, which might not be a coincidence.
 

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I also have a 2018 Q4 and still have the smell. About 1200 miles. Though the frequency of the smell has decreased over time.

For me, I sometimes get the smell when the auto start/stop kicks in and when I reverse the car.

I did take it to the dealer, but they said the TSB didn't apply and the car already had the seals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I also have a 2018 Q4 and still have the smell. About 1200 miles. Though the frequency of the smell has decreased over time.

For me, I sometimes get the smell when the auto start/stop kicks in and when I reverse the car.

I did take it to the dealer, but they said the TSB didn't apply and the car already had the seals.
Again, not encouraging! I'm in the wine biz, so my schnoz is probably more attuned to aromas than most, and this smell I find pretty unpleasant and irritating.

Did your dealer explore the issue at all, or just shrug and say you're all set by the TSB?
 
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