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Old 09-10-2012, 05:02 PM
racerx216 racerx216 is offline
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Location: Southeastern PA
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Mein Auto: 2012 X35d
2012 X5d - Strange odor from under the hood

I have a 2012 X5d with about 1800 miles on the odometer. Following a short (20 minute), unevenful commute home form work this evening, I noticed a strange and fairly strong odor from the front of the vehicle. I checked under the hood and the odor, which can best described as a burning electrical or brake odor, was localized under the passenger fender, maybe somewhere around the back of the headlight housing or DEF filler, but not easliy pinpointed. It definitely was not an oil smell.

The car is stock, with one [possibly] relevant modification. I did code the LED AEs to operate at 13.7v about 1000 mile ago. From what I have read on this and other threads, I am not aware of any issues related to this code.

Thoughts or suggestion on possible issue? If the odor was related to the re-coded LED voltage, wouldn't that affect both headlight housings? If it's DEF related, I am not familiar with that odor. It definitely was not the brakes as I did check both sides and the rims/rotors were only mildly warm and there was no odor from either side.

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Old 09-10-2012, 05:08 PM
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gresch gresch is offline
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Location: NY/NJ/LI
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 264
Mein Auto: '12 X5 35d
Did you hit an animal or something else?
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:21 PM
racerx216 racerx216 is offline
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Location: Southeastern PA
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Mein Auto: 2012 X35d
Nothing hit that I could tell.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:09 PM
ard ard is online now
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Location: Sierra foothills, California USA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 15,690
Mein Auto: '12 X5 35d/E39M5/996TTX50
did you search?!?

Very, very, very common issue. The first time the diesel does a SCR cat regeneration cycle, the various mfg materials are heated and burned off.

Keep it as simple as possible...but no simpler.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:49 AM
TheGeekNextDoor TheGeekNextDoor is offline
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Location: Atlanta
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 2012 Sonata
Is a "cat regeneration cycle" another phrase for hitting a cat with a car?
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:25 AM
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SteVTEC SteVTEC is offline
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Location: DC Burbs
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,452
Mein Auto: '11 E93 / '12 E70d
Yes it's probably SCR (selective catalyst reduction) regeneration cycle, which could be described as something like a strong electrical burning or brake burn smell. It notes in the owners manual that it will do this from time to time, and that it might smell a little funny, and that it's normal. The first time we noticed ours did it was after my wife had pulled it into the garage and she thought something was broken. Yep, definitely smelled quite a bit in the garage!!
2012 E70 X5d (IT'S HERE!) Deep Sea Blue / Sand Beige, Premium, 3rd Row, Multi-Contour
2011 E93 335i Deep Sea Blue / Oyster, Step, Premium, Convenience (PDC & CA), and that's it

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