2001 Mustang GT burning rubber smell (with photos underneath) - Ford Mustang Forum

LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013 Thread Starter
cawfebug's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 24
2001 Mustang GT burning rubber smell (with photos underneath)

Hi All. I bought a really nice, clean 2001 GT late July! My first GT!

It's got 49K and a manual transmission. The interior is a time capsule with not a spec of dust.

When I test drove it from the seller almost everything was perfect, drove straight, great brakes, clutch is fine, etc., but it seemed to have a bit of rear end noise, which at first, I thought maybe it was road noise (one tire was missing a balance weight), but then after a while I noticed that it was a consistent whirring at all speeds. So I thought it was a wheel bearing.

I looked all over for any leaks and stuck my head under the car with a flashlight and didn't see anything nasty.

So I took it into a shop to have some general maint., coolant and brake fluid. I told them to take a good look under and around the car for anything that needs attention. They said it was all good... and didn't say anything about the rear end noise.

After a few longer drives at Woodward Dream Cruise, I started smelling something like burning rubber, and it wasn't the tires folks. Wasn't too strong at first, but then this past week it seems to be getting worse. Seemed to be coming from the middle rear of the car, so I looked underneath and noticed what looked like oil or fluid of some sort. I know nothing about the underneath of a car, except for exhaust pipes so pardon my ignorance. Would the Differential be leaking near the exhaust pipes? The photos attached are from the drivers side. And it smells like burnt rubber, which seems like transmission fluid. I didn't notice any drops on the garage floor, but maybe something very slight (not like oil).

Any ideas? I really don't want to take it to a Ford dealer (not too impressed with the one in my area), but I probably should, since they see them most.

Thanks in advance!

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG1202.jpg
Views:	1053
Size:	976.6 KB
ID:	263857   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG1203.jpg
Views:	757
Size:	400.9 KB
ID:	263865   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG1206.jpg
Views:	639
Size:	840.2 KB
ID:	263873   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMAG1207.jpg
Views:	669
Size:	400.8 KB
ID:	263881  
cawfebug is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013
PONY Member
4.6L Member
Hood Time's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 271
I'm bad with pictures, but maybe pinion seal?

Pinion seal is at the front of the differential case and seals in the diff fluid. It's right behind the pinion flange, which is what your universal joint is bolted to. If your diff fluid is low, your rear end will start making noise.

Nothing better than factory smooth...
Hood Time is offline  
post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013
FloMaster's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2013
Location: Dallas
Posts: 61
Start looking at your differential, the leak might be coming from there. Maybe the previous owner hit something hard and caused it to crack or bend out of shape. The smell might be coming from the differential gears as to where the gears are running dry due to the leak and causing too much friction. Start there.
FloMaster is offline  
post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-03-2013
SHELBY GT 350 Member
Classic Member
4.6L Member
SoCal2V's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: see user name
Posts: 8,346
Don't take it to a dealer. Only thing those places are good for is nothing. Okay, maybe buying a car, but that's it.

You just need to keep looking around under there. I would also suspect it coming from the rearend as others mentioned, but those pictures don't show much besides oily residue on a frame rail. Feel free to post pics of anywhere it looks like it's leaking from, we'll let you know what we think.

Other than that, I would recommend you find a reutable shop local to you for any work you cannot or do not wish to do yourself. Amd fwiw, just because it's a Ford dealer working on a Ford car doesn't mean they won't screw stuff up from time to time and overcharge the crap out of you. Plenty of stories like that around here and elsewhere.

2001 GT Convertible
/1967 Coupe
All the usual bolt-on's /200 I6, C4

And a few Explorers too... 2008 4.0 XLT 4x2, 1996 XLT 5.0 4x2, 2003 Sport Trac XLT 4.0 4x4
SoCal2V is offline  
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-04-2013 Thread Starter
cawfebug's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 24
Thanks all! That sounds about right after reading some other threads here and a few other forums. Good to have an idea before going in.
cawfebug is offline  
post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-24-2013
Sh1noda's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: DMV
Posts: 83
Diff fluid smells like rubber like you smoked your tires. When you round a curd your car may make noise or squeel. But check the diff level on a level surface. I had to get my pinon seal changed out very easy job to do, I think it'a 21/22/23 mm nut you have to remove. But got mind changed out and I notice a big difference in my speeds and turns. But mans does that Diff smell bad. it's clear fluid, not pink or black. I wish you well.

1999 Mustang GT, 4.6L v8 281ci, Auto w/Shift kit
AEN intake, Ford racing Headers, Flow masters 40
Steeda Underdrive Pulley, Bassani X-Pipe
4.10 Gears/8.8 Rear, Custom Sound System, Alarm
Running 93 Octane only, DropZone Struts/Shocks
H&R Springs 2" drop, BBK 78MM Throttle body, Dual Red Top Optima Batteries. Accel COP's. Registered with Shinoda Racing (Legacy 004)
Lambo Doors, Saleen racing wheels Nitto 555
Sh1noda is offline  
post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013 Thread Starter
cawfebug's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 24
It ended up being the pinion seals and bearings! Good call to you all. Thanks so much for your help!! Drives MUCH better now.
cawfebug is offline  
post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013
SHELBY GT 350 Member
2oo5GT's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Valdosta
Posts: 5,090
Diff fluid is not clear. It looks like normal gear oil and the bad smell is the friction modifier. Grab a bottle and open it...you will know. I had a few extra bottles in my garage but gave them to a local shop after my garage smelled like crap due to it.

2014 Mustang GT, A6, Grabber Blue
2oo5GT is offline  
Sponsored Links

burning rubber smell , differential , leak , rear end whine

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Ford Mustang Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a VALID email address for yourself, otherwise you will not receive the necessary confirmation email needed to confirm, validate and activate your new AFM member account.

Failure to provide a VALID email address, will result in the cancellation of your new AFM member account registration.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome