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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-19-2009, 05:35 PM
Bimmerblues1 Bimmerblues1 is offline
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Crayon smell from trunk!

I purchased a used 2003 330I coupe an year ago and have been suffering from the toxic oder coming from the trunk area. It smells like crayons with a chemical smell. Not rotten eggs. I changed the battery, left the removeable floor piece out, shampoo'd, etc. Nothing helps. I believe it is from the materials used in the trunk.
Has anyone ripped out all the trunk lining and deck lid insulation? if so please let me know if that took care of the smell. The smell is toxic and does cause sinus and lung burning.
I believe BMW knows what it is but is keeping quite.
Please lets all get together and put it back on the manufacturer..BMW.
Thanks..
Joe
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2009, 05:39 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Welcome!

You're not the first to inquire about this. Use the search function and you'll find about 15 threads on the topic.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2009, 05:47 PM
Bimmerblues1 Bimmerblues1 is offline
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Thanks Jeff,
I am new to this forum and still finding my way around. I hope someone is having the same problem today in may 2009 and wants to get together to take it to BMW....its their problem. something in the materials that is very toxic.
Help!
Thanks!
Joe
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2009, 05:48 PM
The BlizzardMan The BlizzardMan is offline
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uhhhhh!!! mine does that tooo!!!!!!!!!
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  #5  
Old 05-19-2009, 05:57 PM
Bimmerblues1 Bimmerblues1 is offline
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Hey Blizzard man,
Our cars look like twins. same exact color and everything. same smell. I work at the airport and park my car there all day. After a day in the sun the smell is 10 times worse. its there most of the time but less in the morning when parked in the garage...so heat and sun seem to effect the strength of the crayon chemical oil smell. If I open the trunk and lift the trunk floor board that covers the spare tire the smell seems to lessen. However If I drive with the window open, cracked and or the sun roof open...forget it..the smell is horrible. So... I have to have both windows open or both closed. Only one open causes the smell. Its 100 percent coming from the trunk. On an old thread post someone said it was a rubber piece but I have no idea what they were talking about. I am not interested in hiding or masking the smell..I want to find the cause and remove it.
Thanks!
Joe
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2009, 06:56 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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I dont know what ya'll complain about..Mine doesnt smell...
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:08 PM
bmwtoxicsmell25 bmwtoxicsmell25 is offline
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I have a 2002 325xi. For the last 18mos , I have noticed a chemical smell coming from the trunk , mostly in warmer weather. I've had the car detailed twice without success. Now, I'm starting to develop some difficulty breathing. Has anyone ever had this problem before? How was it fixed? How did BMW deal with it?
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2009, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Welcome!

You're not the first to inquire about this. Use the search function and you'll find about 15 threads on the topic.
[QUOTE=bmwtoxicsmell25;4334536]I have a 2002 325xi. For the last 18mos , I have noticed a chemical smell coming from the trunk , mostly in warmer weather. I've had the car detailed twice without success. Now, I'm starting to develop some difficulty breathing. Has anyone ever had this problem before? How was it fixed? How did BMW deal with it?[/QUOTE]

See quote in BOLD above your comment....
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  #9  
Old 07-09-2009, 01:22 PM
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CarlsonTheFlyer CarlsonTheFlyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwtoxicsmell25 View Post
I have a 2002 325xi. For the last 18mos , I have noticed a chemical smell coming from the trunk , mostly in warmer weather. I've had the car detailed twice without success. Now, I'm starting to develop some difficulty breathing. Has anyone ever had this problem before? How was it fixed? How did BMW deal with it?
If it's so bad that you have health issues, then maybe you need to do something about it, although not sure what, short of a gas mask or another car.

We all have this problem, just at different levels. Some people also may have less sensitive noses. I can smell it in my car's trunk if it's been sitting in the sun all day, but generally I have to stick my head deep in there to smell it, which I am sure if Trick did, he would smell it too. Maybe the smell gets much worse if moisture is present.
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  #10  
Old 07-09-2009, 01:27 PM
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It's the insulation in your back dash. Some of the production e46's have this issue, and I at least had the insulation replaced for free once I mentioned it. I believe there is a TSB regarding this issue, but I can't remember where I found it.

As for the smell being toxic, not so much. The smell is a definite irritant, but certainly not toxic. It may be a random coincidence that you are particularly allergic or some such. Park with your rear dash in the shade if you can manage it until the issue is resolved. If you are having true respritory distress, go see a doctor for your own sake.
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2009, 01:32 PM
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  #12  
Old 07-09-2009, 08:42 PM
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I never even noticed it on mine, my mother and my wife were in the back seat and mentioned it. The only reason I even had a clue was because I happened to read about a similar problem on the fest earlier in the day.
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  #13  
Old 07-09-2009, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bimmerblues1 View Post
Thanks Jeff,
I am new to this forum and still finding my way around. I hope someone is having the same problem today in may 2009 and wants to get together to take it to BMW....its their problem. something in the materials that is very toxic.
Help!
Thanks!
Joe
I very seriously doubt its harmful to your health, its just the insulation around the trunk, I think it smells good, like a BMW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwtoxicsmell25 View Post
I have a 2002 325xi. For the last 18mos , I have noticed a chemical smell coming from the trunk , mostly in warmer weather. I've had the car detailed twice without success. Now, I'm starting to develop some difficulty breathing. Has anyone ever had this problem before? How was it fixed? How did BMW deal with it?
Okay, who created this profile? One post and the S/N is related to the thread?
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2009, 09:09 PM
Alexbo Alexbo is offline
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I don't seem to have this problem. Then again, I have tinted windows, so my "back dash" never gets sun. Maybe tinted windows are the key to preventing the cheap-o BMW foam from breaking down?
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2009, 09:13 PM
slyfocks slyfocks is offline
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Originally Posted by Alexbo View Post
I don't seem to have this problem. Then again, I have tinted windows, so my "back dash" never gets sun. Maybe tinted windows are the key to preventing the cheap-o BMW foam from breaking down?
Seattle? You mean those two days a year when you get sun?
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  #16  
Old 07-10-2009, 05:47 AM
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scottvlaiku scottvlaiku is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerblues1 View Post
I purchased a used 2003 330I coupe an year ago and have been suffering from the toxic oder coming from the trunk area. It smells like crayons with a chemical smell. Not rotten eggs. I changed the battery, left the removeable floor piece out, shampoo'd, etc. Nothing helps. I believe it is from the materials used in the trunk.
Has anyone ripped out all the trunk lining and deck lid insulation? if so please let me know if that took care of the smell. The smell is toxic and does cause sinus and lung burning.
I believe BMW knows what it is but is keeping quite.
Please lets all get together and put it back on the manufacturer..BMW.
Thanks..
Joe
Same smell in my 05 330i... I thought I was alone in this until today. People get in my car and ask "Why does it smell like crayons in here?" I always reply with a big ol'
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  #17  
Old 07-12-2009, 10:07 AM
dauble2k5 dauble2k5 is offline
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Yeah, I just bought an '04 and if I open the trunk, there's definitely a smell. I asked the dealer why it did that and they said it was the leather that BMW uses, and that after time, it starts to smell like that. I don't notice it too much when I'm in the car or have the AC on, but if I open the trunk, I definitely smell something. I like to think of it as BMWs way to remind you that you love your car.. everyone loved Crayola as kids
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  #18  
Old 07-12-2009, 10:14 AM
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Bucknekkid Bucknekkid is offline
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Originally Posted by dauble2k5 View Post
Yeah, I just bought an '04 and if I open the trunk, there's definitely a smell. I asked the dealer why it did that and they said it was the leather that BMW uses, and that after time, it starts to smell like that. I don't notice it too much when I'm in the car or have the AC on, but if I open the trunk, I definitely smell something. I like to think of it as BMWs way to remind you that you love your car.. everyone loved Crayola as kids
My first question to the dealer would have been "then why doesn't my entire interior smell like this ?"...If there ever was a lesson to be learned here, it would be don't believe everything someone tells you, including Doctors, Lawyers and especially Service Writers...
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Last edited by Bucknekkid; 07-12-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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  #19  
Old 07-12-2009, 10:31 AM
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I just wonder if there are wire issues in the trunk lid. I had electrical problems and I found worn bare wires in the tube between the body and the trunk lid. Smell went away for me when wires repaired.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dalekressin View Post
I just wonder if there are wire issues in the trunk lid. I had electrical problems and I found worn bare wires in the tube between the body and the trunk lid. Smell went away for me when wires repaired.
Just a coincidence. Wiring problems in the back of the e46 are usually the bulb carriers for your tails.
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  #21  
Old 07-13-2009, 06:04 AM
dauble2k5 dauble2k5 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bucknekkid View Post
My first question to the dealer would have been "then why doesn't my entire interior smell like this ?"...If there ever was a lesson to be learned here, it would be don't believe everything someone tells you, including Doctors, Lawyers and especially Service Writers...
Well, I do notice it some on the inside; I've talked to several of my friends who've had them and they've said the same thing. Apparently it's pretty common in some of them. I guess some do, some don't. Yours doesn't?
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:47 AM
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Well, I do notice it some on the inside; I've talked to several of my friends who've had them and they've said the same thing. Apparently it's pretty common in some of them. I guess some do, some don't. Yours doesn't?
With all honesty I can say I have never noticed the smell, in the trunk or interior...I do understand it's a common problem, but as far as what your Service Writer told you about it being the leather, it only makes sense to me that if it was the leather, then the entire passenger compartment would smell worse than the trunk...Afterall, how much leather is in the trunk ?...
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:12 PM
dauble2k5 dauble2k5 is offline
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Touche.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:19 PM
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Leather doesn't smell like crayons, especially when there is no leather in the trunk, or even in the vinyl upholstered cars. Leather smells like: leather. If not, clean it with some saddle soap.

The crayon smell is from the sound-proofing used through out the car. If you take out the trunk lining on the sides, you will see some black waxy stiff fragile stuff covering the shock towers on the sides. It smells like crayons. This stuff here is easy to remove. The problem is there is something like 46 lbs of it throughout the car.
Also found the stock trunk mat smells like crayons, and it becomes very noticeable if you flip it over, carpet side down (if you can call that cheap fuzzy stuff carpet). Don't know if it is because it also has a wax base, or if it is because the foam-plastic it is made from absorbs the crayon smell like a sponge.

Also sometimes have the crayon smell coming through the front ventilation ducts, but mostly after they have been running for a little while, which seems inuitively backwards (wouldn't moving air through it flush it out?). Haven't yet taken the dash apart enough to figure out where the sound-proofing is buried there.

Does anyone have a copy of the Service Bulletin on the crayon smell?
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  #25  
Old 07-13-2009, 11:35 PM
slyfocks slyfocks is offline
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Originally Posted by Suki View Post
...

Does anyone have a copy of the Service Bulletin on the crayon smell?
See following attachment. Not really much to it. (note example part # referenced is body style specific)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf unpleasant odor from trunk SIB512607.pdf (11.2 KB, 1050 views)

Last edited by slyfocks; 07-13-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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