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      02-22-2020, 01:07 PM   #1
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Exhaust smells like Ammonia

After cold starting my truck I notice a very strong ammonia/ Urine smell. No cel lights or any drivability issues but the scent is very noticeable. Can the CATS be bad already on it? Truck only has 5k miles
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      02-22-2020, 01:16 PM   #2
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I would call the dealer and have them take a look if you think the cats have gone bad. There might be something else wrong that is burning off and giving the smell.
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      02-22-2020, 01:32 PM   #3
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I definitely am, I just made a service appointment for Monday. Just wanted to get some of you guys thoughts before I brought it in. Thanks....on another note, I’ve been struggling to install Shadowline exhaust trim myself so after calling a few dealerships the smallest quote I received was $612, while making this service appointment at a. Different dealership, they said 30 min labor $80!
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      02-22-2020, 11:37 PM   #4
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mine smells like this after a cold start. let me know if the dealer finds anything worrisome, I figured it was due to the catalytic converter or maybe some residue being burned up?
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      02-23-2020, 12:38 AM   #5
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I have had this too when entering my car in my past car. It disappeared after a couple of minutes driving. My current one I have 2 months and doesn't have it.

It smelled like a cat pied in the airconditioning. But than the smell wouldn't go away while driving. It should become worse.

One of my neighbors had the same and they replaced the rubbers around his windows and it was solved. I will ask him about this.
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      02-23-2020, 11:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by nvsocr7 View Post
mine smells like this after a cold start. let me know if the dealer finds anything worrisome, I figured it was due to the catalytic converter or maybe some residue being burned up?
That's exactly what happens with mine. Bringing it in tomorrow, they're giving me a loaner so I'm sure they'll have it for a few days. I'll let you know for sure when I get some feedback from the service department.


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I have had this too when entering my car in my past car. It disappeared after a couple of minutes driving. My current one I have 2 months and doesn't have it.

It smelled like a cat pied in the airconditioning. But than the smell wouldn't go away while driving. It should become worse.

One of my neighbors had the same and they replaced the rubbers around his windows and it was solved. I will ask him about this.
I'm having the same smell, smells like cat piss or a strong ammonia. Luckily though I'm most getting any smell Inside the car, hopefully I don't. Interested in hearing what they diagnosed your neighbors car with
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      02-23-2020, 11:21 AM   #7
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Could you also describe the smell as a faint smell of "death"?
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      02-23-2020, 11:28 AM   #8
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Could you also describe the smell as a faint smell of "death"?
Kind of, it's really strong and noticeable upon cold start. I Still smell it when it's warm, just not as noticeable
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      02-23-2020, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMBX23 View Post
After cold starting my truck I notice a very strong ammonia/ Urine smell. No cel lights or any drivability issues but the scent is very noticeable. Can the CATS be bad already on it? Truck only has 5k miles
Btw why do you think the smell comes from the exhaust? I am not sure it is. First I thought it was in one of the floor mats. I am really not sure. Thought turning of the car refreshed the air and this took care of the smell.
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      02-23-2020, 12:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by X5 45e View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMBX23 View Post
After cold starting my truck I notice a very strong ammonia/ Urine smell. No cel lights or any drivability issues but the scent is very noticeable. Can the CATS be bad already on it? Truck only has 5k miles
Btw why do you think the smell comes from the exhaust? I am not sure it is. First I thought it was in one of the floor mats. I am really not sure. Thought turning of the car refreshed the air and this took care of the smell.
The smell I'm referring to is outside the vehicle and it is clearly coming from the exhaust itself. I have no scent inside the car other than my morning fresh air freshener lol.
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      02-23-2020, 12:51 PM   #11
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Literally hundreds of posts on different forums about this and no obvious answer.
All models of cars and going back years!!
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      02-23-2020, 02:04 PM   #12
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I had a faint smell from my vents when first starting up after the X5 sat for a long time in my garage. It would be for the first 3 seconds then disappear. Stagnate air sitting in the vents.
It no longer does this and I posted a thread on how to take out the cabin air filters, etc.. It wasn’t that at all. What I found in damp or snowy weather was the smell of wet road grime burning off the exhaust giving a dank/death smell but soon went away and didn’t ever come back until the exhaust got wet either from car washing or wet roads. It seemed to be like a self cleaning oven. It’s pretty common. Another smell can be from faint mold in the ac unit that comes from running the ac hard on high humid days and turning the car off. This tends to be very common in warm humid climates with most luxury cars. The cure is to turn off the ac about 5 minutes from home and the air dries the condenser before shutting down the car. This doesn’t allow mold to grow.

Last edited by MystroX5; 02-23-2020 at 02:10 PM..
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      02-23-2020, 05:38 PM   #13
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Interesting.....I've heard of this smell quite a bit as others have mentioned but never a cause.

My F15 had this smell intermittently, I would notice it when hooking up to my trailer as I'd be standing right next to the exhaust. Not all the time though. Nothing from the G05 as of yet. I'd expect a smell like this from a diesel considering DEF/urea but from a petrol car not so much.

If you bring in for service....keep us posted.
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      02-23-2020, 08:00 PM   #14
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I have the exact same issue with mine with cold starts and musky smell in the vents for a couple a seconds during startup! Interested to find out what you find too. Much appreciated 👍
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      02-24-2020, 12:01 PM   #15
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So when I brought it in this morning for service, I told my advisor the “symptoms” eg. ammonia smell upon cold start. The first thing he says is “I don’t think we’re gonna be able to help you with that” so immediately I’m annoyed and say what do you mean? There’s clearly a smell and it’s not normal to smell like that so you HAVE to do something for me, and let’s just let the mechanic see if he can figure it out. I feel like they’re being completely lazy, and I usually have received very good service at this location, with the same advisor mostly. When I mentioned it needed a software update he told me it’s up to date (which it’s definitely not) and that the car gets it automatically over the air. I argued both of those statements with him as well and told him to have it updated. He said he’ll look into it and let me know, hopefully it doesn’t take too long to diagnose.
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      02-24-2020, 02:06 PM   #16
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How pathetic. Yea I would say they are lazy not even investigating it. It’s almost like they are being dismissive and that’s when I show how much of a pia I can be by getting the service manager and dealership manager in for a group meeting. I then had to reiterate my expectations when purchasing a vehicle.
I have only had to do this years ago when my vehicle was damaged during a oil change. The mechanic said prove my wheels were not damaged when I brought it in. Huge mistake, epic. Heads did role and after that only the service manager was authorized to address any of my service appointments. This was at a Jeep/Ram dealership.

My current BMW service center can’t do enough and even made sure all the latest firmware was truly the latest version when I had my first oil change in Dec knowing I was taking it on a long Florida road trip.

I would talk to the service manager and even place a call to BMW and see if you should just live with a “odor” when such a priority in cabin environment is addressed by BMW that they offers a fragrance dispenser. It would seem counterintuitive for a owner with a BMW of this level to just “live with” a foul odor. Use the exact words when you call BMW that you feel the service dept is being “dismissive to my concerns”. That is a customer service trigger word to get their attention.

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Originally Posted by CMBX23 View Post
So when I brought it in this morning for service, I told my advisor the “symptoms” eg. ammonia smell upon cold start. The first thing he says is “I don’t think we’re gonna be able to help you with that” so immediately I’m annoyed and say what do you mean? There’s clearly a smell and it’s not normal to smell like that so you HAVE to do something for me, and let’s just let the mechanic see if he can figure it out. I feel like they’re being completely lazy, and I usually have received very good service at this location, with the same advisor mostly. When I mentioned it needed a software update he told me it’s up to date (which it’s definitely not) and that the car gets it automatically over the air. I argued both of those statements with him as well and told him to have it updated. He said he’ll look into it and let me know, hopefully it doesn’t take too long to diagnose.

Last edited by MystroX5; 02-24-2020 at 02:11 PM..
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      02-24-2020, 05:21 PM   #17
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How pathetic. Yea I would say they are lazy not even investigating it. It’s almost like they are being dismissive and that’s when I show how much of a pia I can be by getting the service manager and dealership manager in for a group meeting. I then had to reiterate my expectations when purchasing a vehicle.
I have only had to do this years ago when my vehicle was damaged during a oil change. The mechanic said prove my wheels were not damaged when I brought it in. Huge mistake, epic. Heads did role and after that only the service manager was authorized to address any of my service appointments. This was at a Jeep/Ram dealership.

My current BMW service center can’t do enough and even made sure all the latest firmware was truly the latest version when I had my first oil change in Dec knowing I was taking it on a long Florida road trip.

I would talk to the service manager and even place a call to BMW and see if you should just live with a “odor” when such a priority in cabin environment is addressed by BMW that they offers a fragrance dispenser. It would seem counterintuitive for a owner with a BMW of this level to just “live with” a foul odor. Use the exact words when you call BMW that you feel the service dept is being “dismissive to my concerns”. That is a customer service trigger word to get their attention.

Thank you, I was second guessing myself earlier wondering if I was being too “finicky”. But you’re 100% right, 1. its a $94k Truck I shouldn’t just have to “deal with it” and 2. They do seem to be dismissive and I was very aggravated this morning when those were the SA literal first words lol. I received a text about an hour ago stating they are reprogramming the car and would call me tomorrow to let me know when it was done. I replied asking about the exhaust smell and received a response of “NOTHING YET”. I’m definitely going to contact BMW and say what you said, thank you for all the input and advice i really appreciate it. This forum is really great.
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      02-24-2020, 07:19 PM   #18
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Strange. I've had this smell on my current M3 and also on a different brand. I always associated it with the AC not evaporating and going moldy. Would be odd on something so new.
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      02-25-2020, 12:57 PM   #19
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I just got back from picking up my truck from Service. They told me over the phone when I called that there was moisture in the oil due to lack of driving. He said they inspected the motor and everything is fine but I need to start driving it more often. The car has been in the garage since October and only driven a hand full of times since then on the “warmer” days here in CT, but I always start it and let it run a few times a week other than when I was on vacation for 2 weeks last month. Here’s the thing that made me uncomfortable, on the paperwork it says they compared it to other vehicles of the same model and there was no difference and no issue found. When I showed up to pick up my car, my SA wasn’t around since there was a meeting upstairs, so I didn’t get to ask any questions. What do you guys think? Leave it alone and see what happens or bring it to another service dealer and see what they say? I just get nervous leaving it with these dealerships for days at a time
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      02-25-2020, 01:18 PM   #20
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Moisture is common in the Northeast from the temp changes. Driving it more dissipates it but your always are going get minute amounts of condensation. New cars sitting on the lot gets this. It’s unavoidable. What’s the airflow like where the car is stored?
I store cars all winter long for the last 30 years. Battery tender and stabile in a full tank of gas is about all a car needs for a few months of rest. That has nothing to do with the odor.
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      02-25-2020, 01:29 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by MystroX5 View Post
Moisture is common in the Northeast from the temp changes. Driving it more dissipates it but your always are going get minute amounts of condensation. New cars sitting on the lot gets this. It’s unavoidable. What’s the airflow like where the car is stored?
I store cars all winter long for the last 30 years. Battery tender and stabile in a full tank of gas is about all a car needs for a few months of rest. That has nothing to do with the odor.
I have it in my garage, its not heated or anything, very cold since its been freezing here for the past 2 months. When the weather warms up a bit I usually leave the windows open in the garage to get some air flow but other than that, all doors closed. I’m kind of annoyed since the SA first words yesterday was that they wouldn’t be able to do anything for me for the issue, and they didn’t lol. Makes me wonder if they really tried investigating it thoroughly
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      08-17-2020, 01:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by MystroX5 View Post
Moisture is common in the Northeast from the temp changes. Driving it more dissipates it but your always are going get minute amounts of condensation. New cars sitting on the lot gets this. It’s unavoidable. What’s the airflow like where the car is stored?
I store cars all winter long for the last 30 years. Battery tender and stabile in a full tank of gas is about all a car needs for a few months of rest. That has nothing to do with the odor.
I have it in my garage, its not heated or anything, very cold since its been freezing here for the past 2 months. When the weather warms up a bit I usually leave the windows open in the garage to get some air flow but other than that, all doors closed. I’m kind of annoyed since the SA first words yesterday was that they wouldn’t be able to do anything for me for the issue, and they didn’t lol. Makes me wonder if they really tried investigating it thoroughly
I just noticed the same smell on my M50i. Never had this smell before on any other X5.

With working from home, I do not drive as much but I feel that is not the cause.

I smelled it on the start up. Drove about 20 mins, parked for 30 minutes and started it back up. Same smell.

Did your ever come back or did it go away?

Thank you
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