Thanks guys! I have my laundry list together now, and will probably re-do some of it as I look toward VCG replacement as well as thermostat/housing/water pump/hoses replacement. Too many years without a good place to do PM, and it's all there waiting for me now! :-)
I'll be sure to add a conclusion if I find something or fix something that has obvious effect on the burnt rubber scent symptom. Hopefully this adventure will show up in searches much easier for future generations. Ha!