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This is a somewhat common problem on Nissan products. The V6 engine has several small rubber hoses connecting the fuel lines, and when it is cold weather the hoses leak fuel. The heater - defroster picks up the fumes from the outside vent under the windshield. When you are moving the fumes flow under the van. If you can find the leak sometimes you can just tighten up a clamp or two.
A common problem with Nissan products, which this van is a Nissan Quest with Mercury trim. There are several small rubber fuel hoses around the intake. When the air temp is cold these hoses can leak and then stop leaking when the air temp warms up. When the air temp is cold, look around the intake with the engine running and you should see one of the hoses wet with fuel. Just tighten the clamp.
You should have the fuel injectors and the especially the "cold start injector" checked for leaks. The cold start injector only operates during cold starts. If you don't notice the problem during warm starts, then the cold start injector is the place to start.
I'm leaning toward a bad sensor, as in throttle body temperature, or coolant temperature sensor. The smell of too much fuel is probably from pushing pedal to start, which shouldn't be necessary on a fuel injected vehicle. What does it do if you leave your foot off the gas pedal during start? As far as fuel filter goes, if it hasn't been done in a while, I'd do it anyway just as preventative maintemance if nothing else.
The exhaust leak is almost always broken studs on the exhaust manifolds. It makes a tick noise when cold and usually goes away when the engine warms up. After a year or so, the noise doesn't go away.
Your heater-a/c air intake is at the base of the windshield through the screen on the passenger side. WHen the exhaust leaks from the manifold, the exhaust gas gets sucked into the air intake.
You can put the heater in recirc mode and it will draw air in from inside the car instead of though the outside air intake. You can't leave it in recirc for long in winter or your car will get ice or fogging on the windows from too much humidity. Take it off recirc after 10 minutes.