Q: tapping from under the hood, faint exhaust smell, poor performance

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I have an issue with a taping sound coming from under my hood. it is hard to locate while looking but however I do smell a faint gas smell as well as what seems like poor performance. I am not sure what it could be, but I have read that it may be an exhaust manifold gasket leak or the whole manifold. I would like to have an idea of what it is before I have someone replace something and not fix the issue.

My car has 133000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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