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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,
I have a 2004 CRV AWD with Auto Trans.

I have a long uphill to my new house and this winter I have noticed a burning rubber smell coming from the passenger side rear wheel area. A google search has found many CRV owners with similar complaint but not one actual diagnosis. Many guesses that it is salt spray on the muffler but we don't use roadsalt here.

I live in snow country and I am concerned this is related to the AWD system. It is NOT brake related and my tire and hub are no hotter than any of the other 3 tires.

Anyone know what the diagnosis is? Please don't write to tell me you have had it too unless you found the reason and a solution. I have just read 100,000 similar posts. ;-)

Is there anything about the AWD or rear differential that would cause this?

Cheers
 

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Sure, have you actually checked if you are leaking gear oil and have you replaced it ... a very simple DYI. You have already eliminated a sticky brake and you have already taken the tire off and visually checked boots for leaks....so..
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Sorry Gents, I should have been more specific.

I pressure washed the underside of the car and there was no build-up on the muffler or any other components. There were no visible leaks anywhere either before or after the wash. I put a firm grip to everything and nothing is loose (axles, shock mounts, brakes, muffler, etc).

Rear Differential level was correct and the fluid, DP-II, which only has 1,500 miles on it had no burned odor. If it were the clutches burning then then I would think the fluid would smell quite burnt?

CV Boots (inner & outer) were not torn and appeared fine with clamps still firmly in place.

The tire has no signs of uneven tread wear or bulges/blisters/exposed belts and the tire pressure is in the correct range at 32-33 psi cold.

The disc brakes pass a visual inspection and are not seized. The disc is not scored and are polished to suggest the pads are making proper contact when brakes are applied. Both pads are still attached to the backing plates.

The only two things I could not inspect easily:

1) I have NEVER re-packed rear wheel bearing on this vehicle but the hubs were not hot to the bare touch and the wheel is solid and has no slop consistent with bad bearings nor is there any bearing noise.
Still, I intend to repack the wheel bearings in the next couple of days. Does anyone have any good DIY? I have not searched yet.

2) I only had the one RR wheel jacked up and the wheel would not spin more than a few degrees in either direction. I will grab some jack stands today and raise both rear wheels to check free spin.

Right now, I am leaning towards the Exhaust Gas Temperature being hotter than my normal driving now that I have moved to the mountains and have a 10-mile uphill grade to my home. The engine has to work harder for this uphill climb and the higher EGT results in a hotter muffler than my previous "flatlands" driving. The muffler is only about 3" from the inside wall of the tire and the added heat the muffler is throwing off heats up the rubber enough for it to smell like hot rubber.

I have read many threads by CRV owners who experience similar odor from same location and some of them have 4x2 rather than AWD, which likely rules out Rear Differential as the root cause.

Anyone with direct mechanical experience about this issue?

Thanks for the responses so far and I welcome further suggestions.
 

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This is a very common issue. Always right side rear. There have been many threads about it. Many theories. Far too many :D. Many possibilities. Nothing definite, ever. I've had it. Never actually found the cause. It went away. It came back. It went away. I stopped worrying about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Greenzter,

I hear ya. I have read so many posts of similar issue but no clear resolution and no one actually writing about a mechanical failure.

After hours of research online and under the vehicle, I tend to agree with you, its not worth worrying about.

I am 90% confident it is the raised EGT issue I wrote about and I could probably wrap some heat shield on the side of muffler nearest to tire and if it eliminates the smell then I will have finally nailed it down. In all the posts I have read, I have not found one where anyone has actually gotten under the car. The only actual inspections have been performed by a Honda Service Dept or Independent Garage whose main objective is typically to sell lots of new parts. There are posts where Honda convinced the CRV owner they needed new FRONT brakes when the issue is at the rear axle. Another Honda Dealer convinced someone they needed an entirely new rear differential !!

Thanks
 

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My work truck has this burning rubber smell your mentioning. Like others have mentioned it seems to come and go. I don't worry about it and nothing has failed or become an issue. Seems like I notice it when there is lots of water on the roads from inclement weather. And it is only on the side where the exhaust runs.
 
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