My '86 22RE exhaust smells like gunpowder(?)

'86 4Runner, 22RE, 180Kmi.
Under acceleration with the tailgate window open, I get a strong whiff of sulfer(?) that smells like the shooting range. I did lose the
tailpipe aft of the muffler a few months ago, which resides just above the axle, but WTF?
A year or so prior to the exhaust failure/loss, I replaced the plugs, wires, cap, and rotor, and checked the timing per the Toyota manual. Passed Wisconsin emissions prior to tail pipe ejection and tail pipe loss and never noticed sulfer odor.
Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The FAQ section at toyota.com has this answer regarding sulfur odor from the exhaust:
*** A sulfur odor emitted from the vehicle's tailpipe does not necessarily indicate that there is an issue with the engine's running condition. It is most likely directly related to the fuel. Sulfur is a natural component of crude oil from which gasoline is refined, and the amount of sulfur can be decreased through the refining process. While the amount of sulfur in fuel sold in California is regulated, gasoline sold in other states can have substantially higher sulfur content. Sulfur content may vary between gasoline brands and locations; switching gasoline brands may help. The more sulfur present in the gasoline, the stronger the sulfur odor can be.
In order to properly assess your vehicle, we recommend you contact the Customer Relations Manager at your local Toyota dealership.
***
The sulfur smell tends to be stronger if you back up or drive with the rear tailgate window open because the exhaust is drawn into the passenger compartment.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The smell you are referring to sounds very much like the "rotten egg" smell that is a good indicator of a defective Catalytic Converter. The "loss" of your tailpipe and continuing to drive that way is also a good way to burnout a converter! Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The rotten egg smell is not an indicator of a defective catalytic converter, and the loss of the tailpipe has no effect on the catalytic converter.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry Ray, but I beg to differ with you! Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Bill,
You are not differing with me, you are differing with the product engineers I used to work with at Toyota Motor Sales. Since their jobs are to design and analyze short and long term servicability of the cars, and they seem to be designing pretty good cars, I assume that the information they provided to the district service managers like me was good.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ray:
Thanks for the intelligent response. Nice to see That type, rather than a "flame".:>) Not saying I am totally right/wrong, but like you have "many years" of mechanical experience and will hope that the OF.UP. will let us all know just what he found to be the problem. Cheers; Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OOOPS! That should have read "O.P.". Gotta use spell check all the time !
Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Intelligent and civil discussions are the best kind!
I'm no rocket scientist, I just pass on what I was told.
BTW, I bet that the OP's complaint will go away after switching fuel brands.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ray O wrote:

Not a one brand man so I don't see that as a culprit. Tail pipe broke off at the back of the muffler. So while I may be catching the odor if it was fuel related I should be smelling it from other cars as well.
Somebody mentioned a failing converter. 186Kmi. Might be time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The broken tailpipe is allowing the odor to enter the cabin. You should consider getting that taken care of to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is possible that the converter is failing but a bad converter will not make the exhaust smell like gunpowder. The exhaust from pre-converter cars did not smell like gunpowder.
After you get the engine good and warmed up, like after a highway run, open the hood on a dark night and make sure the exhaust manifold is not glowing red. If it is, it may be cracked or leaking. Also take a look at the converter and make sure it is not glowing. During the day, inspect the exhaust manifold for leaks and check the condition of the air filter.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ray O wrote:

I'll check the manifold.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The only indication here is a fuel quality problem. THe sulpher is in the fuel not the CAT and it will not smell like that unless there is a source for the sulpher, ie the fuel. If engine is a bit over rich it can aggrevate it some. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
KaiS. wrote:

Usually when the tailpipe is intact, all the fumes exit to the rear of the vehicle. If part of the tailpipe is missing then fumes can and will enter the bed under a shell, or enter the rear window at the back of the cab. You've gotten some good advice on the cause of the smell, but don't forget there is carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and etc., which can kill you. I suggest you get the tailpipe fixed immediately. HTH, Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
you dont say that you repaired the exhaust system, is the tail pipe back on and in the same position as before? The pipe may be placing the exhaust in a different air flow stream and you are noticing it now. However you shouldn't be driving around with the tailgate open as exhaust gases in the cab can kill you! The sulphur smell is normally there but not too strong, the fuel batch in your area might be the reason. Joe

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Another possible source of sulphur smell is the battery.
I once had a voltage regulator go bad. The function it has of stopping the alternator from overcharging the battery quit working. So it was constantly overcharging and overheating the battery, and boy did it stink when the battery really started to get toasted.
GC

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.