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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi folks, long time reader, first time post.

I have an 03 mazda 6i with 115k miles.

over the past six months I've had a mild exhaust type odor (like dry stale air); myself and any passenger I have had complain of dizziness, extreme tiredness, cotton mouth, headaches and or sore throat after any moderate travel (10+ minutes). Last winter it would sometimes start within 50 feet of leaving my driveway and I would have to alternate periods of driving with the windows open on the highway.

Cognitively speaking I've found that after long periods of driving I loose some short term memory, cannot finish sentences and basic spelling errors and transposing numbers which are personally uncharacteristic. I also noticed that I break out acne on particularly busy driving weeks but clear up if i stay out of the car for a few days. (took a rental to Annapolis for a week as example)

Thinking it could be a broke up cat or bad weld I took the car to a major local exhaust shop who put the car on the lift (running) and used a crow bar to twist the exhaust looking for leaks.(half-assed attempt in my opinion) they could not find a problem and gave me the speech that exhaust is odorless blah blah blah. . i get it.

The service manager at the local mazda dealership looked at me like I was on crack (no exaggeration, anyone else would have knocked the dude out) when I tried to explain the symptoms. They talked me into a 200 dollar muffler and sent me on my way, *slight* decrease in problem.

Through my own troubleshooting I've found that driving at normal in town speeds with the passenger side windows down feels like I have exhaust being piped into the car. I thought it could possibly be heater core related but I have not been able to find any dampness around the heater core area on the floor and no change in coolant level.

I'm beginning to believe either this is in my imagination and anyone who rides in my car's imagination OR there is something so f*cked up with my car that mechanics (and dealers) do not want to take responsibility for fixing it - which is counter intuitive, I'll happily spend the dough.

based on the symptoms I think its safe to say something toxic is entering the cabin - Freon, Antifreeze, "excessive" exhaust fumes are all potential causes? no?

the only long shot possibility which I think is a long shot is I backed into a jersey barrier (barely a crawl, more like rolling backward)when backing into a parking space *over 2 years ago

I also have a very loud and annoying exhaust rattle (sounds like a heat shield or missing hanger) when ever the car is idling, in P, N , D ; so bad that I have to put the car in neutral at the drive thru, even during *light* excelleration you can hear the rattle over the normal engine and road noise that no one can locate.

Please Help! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

:(:confused:
 

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thats the problem. happened to my buddy's mazda3
 
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