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Old 12-23-2010, 06:27 AM   #1
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Default Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

As the subject says, I've been getting this weird smell in the cabin. I only get it when revving the engine to high RPMs in manual mode (haven't tried in automatic). I'll go from a standing still position from gear 1 - 5 and then about 10-25sec later after plateauing my speed I'll get the smell described.

- I've tried doing it, then pulling over and burying my face in the engine bay while smelling around and I don't really smell it in there, it smells normal in the engine bay.

- I am able to reproduce the smell consistantly 100% every time in the above scenario.

- I have not added anything since doing this and my vehicle has been babied since driving it off the lot as far as all maintenance etc... (although I'm about to change the oil and replace the serpentine belt and AC belt as the belts are getting worn and the oil's getting a dark caramel color)

- I've taken it to Mazda and had a guy come with me and he said he "just barely smelled it very briefly" and couldn't figure anything out or think of anything. He also put it up on the lift and looked at the exhaust system for anything possibly rubbing or touching and heating up. He concluded it may just be fumes in the car building up and when i plateau my speed or slow down the smells go back up in the engine and exhaust system; but when i asked why it started happening just recently, he didn't have any answer for that. He suggested I bring it back during the week and let him call Mazda technician's # to discuss with them there. He also had me produce it and we pulled over and he smelled around and didn't smell anything; he smelled the exhaust and I then smelled it also and I think I smelled it in the exhaust but couldn't really say for sure

- One thing I am noticing out of the norm with it is when I'm in manual mode, it seems to have a slightly longer delay on shifting and it seems to be slightly more jerk-ish when it does actually shift.

I appreciate all info/tips/comments/suggestions, thanks in advance
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

Change out the trans fluid, that can start to smell bad once it goes bad.
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

I did already awhile back

It has only 52,000 miles on it and I changed it back around 35ish
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

I'd try giving the engine compartment, bottom shield, and undercarriage a good wash and rinse. Maybe you've got a chunk of roadkill stuck somewhere.

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Old 12-24-2010, 12:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

I went back there today and it didn't do it, I tried it also 2 or 3 times while driving there and it didn't do it. When the mazda tech came with me when I was trying to show it to him again he said that it could've been carbon build up going into the catalytic converter and burning off.

So I had them do a "Mazda Full Service" diagnostic on the vehicle while I was there just for the heck of it and they check everything for me and I usually go and do the work myself and they told me I needed a trasmission flush and power steering flush.

I found that a little odd that I needed a transmission flush after I already did it 15,000 miles ago.

Is this possible? When does the power steering usually need to be flushed?

My vehicle only has 52,000 miles on it
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Old 12-24-2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

99% of the time a power steering pump fails (other than it being bad from the factory), it is due to a leak which causes the fluid level to be low, OR some kind of strange circumstance occurred which allowed water or some other contaminant to get into the fluid. The fluid does not wear out or deteriorate - it is not subject to significant heat/cool cycles, it is not near combustion, etc. If you do, however, want to be really anal about it, you could siphon the old fluid out and refill it yourself. You don't need to pay stealership labor rates for something so simple.

Re: tranny fluid, I don't know how hard you drive, but imo its nearly impossible to believe it could be in need of a change after only 15K.

Yeah, I could see the smell coming from your exhaust system, if so, as long as your engine is running fine, its harmless.
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Old 12-25-2010, 03:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

Yeah i'm gonna try and do the power steering flush\syphon.

I checked the tranny fluid and it is a dark red instead of bright pink; I'm gonna do the tranny fluid again and I'm not paying some $200 for them to do it lol, I'll do it again myself...

I don't drive it hard at all, but I've read places that the Mazda 3s are hard on their transmissions...
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

[quote author=incarceration link=topic=183915.msg3891167#msg3891167 date=1293267559]
I checked the tranny fluid and it is a dark red instead of bright pink; I'm gonna do the tranny fluid again and I'm not paying some $200 for them to do it lol, I'll do it again myself...

I don't drive it hard at all, but I've read places that the Mazda 3s are hard on their transmissions...
[/quote]

I've never seen any data, or professional review, that states the Mazda 3 tranny is in need of more maintenance than anybody else' transmissions. And I've not seen any data indicating they have more breakdowns than anybody else' transmissions.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

[quote author=UrbanmanUSA link=topic=183915.msg3894512#msg3894512 date=1293687005]
[quote author=incarceration link=topic=183915.msg3891167#msg3891167 date=1293267559]
I checked the tranny fluid and it is a dark red instead of bright pink; I'm gonna do the tranny fluid again and I'm not paying some $200 for them to do it lol, I'll do it again myself...

I don't drive it hard at all, but I've read places that the Mazda 3s are hard on their transmissions...
[/quote]

I've never seen any data, or professional review, that states the Mazda 3 tranny is in need of more maintenance than anybody else' transmissions. And I've not seen any data indicating they have more breakdowns than anybody else' transmissions.
[/quote]

Well I can tell you my transmission fluid was dark red, didn't smell burned either and it's the 2nd time i've changed it\flushed it; I'm at 52,000 miles now as well. It also shifts a lot better too. Before I did this a couple days ago it was sticking when shifting and there was a delay when shifting (more so than normal)

I've read it on threads from other people, I don't remember where they were but I'm a member of about 3 different Mazda forums
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Weird smell, smells like hair salon\light burning hair

Did your weird smell go away?
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