I'm getting a strong burn smell from under the hood of my 2001 Nissan Sentra...oil is fine, belts and hoses are fine, but I think I can smell the odor when I open the power steering resavoir. How can I change it with out it being on a lift? Thanks!
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Re: Power steering fluid
You either have the wrong type of fluid in it or the pump is going out. to change pump take the right side\passenger side tire off and remove the plastic cover and get to work (youll need a pully puller to get the pully off the pump fyi)
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The speed control of your fan has resisters that are in the venting system to blow air on them to keep them cool. If they overheat and or burn you will lose your low and medium speeds of the fan. If you run the fan at full see if the smell goes away. Your engine could be burning oil on the outside of the engine block, make sure that the weatherstrip where your hood meets the fresh air intake grill is sealing tight.
You may have a leaking valve cover gasket and oil is making it's way down to the exhaust or something else that gets very hot. Check your cylinder head for excessive oil dripping down off of the base of the valve cover. Check your power steering pump and hoses for leaks. After you get to where you're driving, look under the car and see where the oil spots are, if there are any. If it's dark or black in color, it's engine oil. If it's more like a red-ish color, it's transmission fluid. See where the oil spot is on the ground and check the engine and see about where it could be leaking.
I can answer some of your questions without being there in person. The smell inside the van is from fresh air entering the venting system. Not sure why you don't get it from all vents. The fresh air intake is in front of the windshield and will pick up any smells from the engine compartment. Loosing the serpentine belt would not necessarily cause you to loose ps fluid, but having a leak could drain the pump and damage the bearings in the pump, causing the pump pulley to drag on the belt. The ps pump could be in the final stage of failing. And the shaft seal in the pump could be leaking fluid onto the engine and exhaust.
Almost sound like your rack and pinion cylinder has gone bad. I would start by cleaning the area real well to get rid of the oil. With the car running have someone sit inside and turn the wheels from left to right while you stand and watch to see if you can see oil leaking and from where and also to see if you can tell where the grinding is coming from. Please do not try to clean the engine with it running as you will get burned from heat and your clothes may become tangled in moving parts.
It sounds as if you have a volume of air in your power steering system. This is causing the bubbling and also some of the noise you might be generating when you turn the wheels hard right or hard left. This air might have been introduced if your old belt was slipping so much that the pump was essentially not operating and fluid wasn't regularly circulating throughout the system. Another, more expensive possibility is that your old belt was slipping because the power steering pump itself was starting to fail, and the new, grippier belt is turning the damaged pump and showing you its lack of functionality.
The first and easiest thing to do would be to bleed the system. Open the hood and take the cover of the power steering fluid reservoir. With the engine off but the steering wheel unlocked, slowly turn the steering wheel all the way to one side and then to the other. Repeat this several times while watching the power steering reservoir. Is the fluid bubbling? If so, good, you're purging air out of your system. In general, this is easier with the front wheels off the ground, but that is not absolutely necessary (if you have strong arms).
Once you have purged the system, put the cap back on the power steering reservoir, topping it off if the fluid level has dropped to the fill mark. Now, restart your car and observe the power steering pump. Does it seem to be operating quietly and smoothly? If you touch the pump 1-2 minutes after the engine has been running, is it hot to the touch? It will probably be warm, but _hot_ is an indication that something is overheating inside the pump. Is the power steering fluid very dark colored or does it smell burned? This is also a sign that the fluid should be changed ASAP and that some internal damage may have occurred. Burned fluid isn't necessarily an indication that your power steering pump is bad. However, if after changing your PS fluid the new fluid quickly becomes dark and starts smelling burned, then it's probably time to start saving money for a new or rebuilt power steering pump.
Best guess it that your power steering pump has fail or that a power steering hose has burst, more likely the latter. The smoke and smell would be from the power steering fluid burning on the hot exhaust manifold. It is possible that the fluid also got on the brakes.
Your question is a bit unclear.
Inspect the engine. Is a belt broken? Look at the fluid level on the power steering pump.
Post comment with what you find and I will try to help you further.
The serpentine belt has nothing to do with the brakes. It does have something to do with the alternator which charges the battery. the burning smell is probably the result of wasted grooves on the underside of the belt. it is the belt you see just inside the car engine compartment that turns the AC unit compressor pully , the alternator, etc.it is connected to the crankshaft pully.. If you have a front wheel drive it is located on the side of the engine compartment.