: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!



luisrobles
09-20-04, 06:30 PM
about once a month I have to add water/antifreeze to my radiator but I cannot find a leak anywhere. There is never water/antifreeze on the ground yet every time i drive my car i smell antifreeze. Is there anyone out there who might have some idea about what the problem might be?

Leloz
09-20-04, 07:00 PM
Head Gasket is my guess.

luisrobles
09-20-04, 07:12 PM
if it were the head gasket wouldn't there be water in the oil?

Ralph
09-20-04, 07:17 PM
I never smelled coolant, but my level would drop occasionally. Are you using the GM recommended supplemental sealing pellets? Since I put those in the level has remained unchanged.

Also a good way to look for leaks, etc. park you car in a darker area like a garage, or underground parkade and get a good flashlite like a maglite. I find that leaks show up nice and shiny like this and I check every once in a while.

eldorado1
09-20-04, 08:23 PM
Leaky heater core. Check your front passenger area for steam/water/coolant. I don't recall where the heater core is on these cars, but I'm sure someone can point it out, and tell you how long it'll take to replace. When it's put on "hot" and vent, do you smell the antifreeze?

BeelzeBob
09-20-04, 11:20 PM
read some of the posts in the string below about overheating and coolant.

Search the forum archives using "coolant" "overheating" and "coolant supplement" "head gasket" and read up.

Look under the intake manifold thru the small gap just behind the power steering pump. The valley is dry and if coolant leaks down into there it will smell but will not show as a leak due to the fact that it evaporates.

Replenish the cooling system with fresh coolant and add the coolant supplement/sealer to the cooling system in the radiator hose..NOT the surge tank.

luisrobles
09-21-04, 02:22 PM
thanks guys, I will try all of your suggestions and will keep you guys posted.

zonie77
09-21-04, 08:48 PM
One more thing: Leaky head gaskets don't always put water in the oil!! Esp on a N* !!

caddyshack24
09-24-04, 08:58 PM
i smelt coolant for awhile in my car, 6 months now. occasionaly steaming up the windsheild. coolant level dropped very slowly, was praying it wasnt headgaskets.. 30 minutes ago my heater core busted. apparenty its behind the glovebox, should cost around $60 and a few hours.. vs $300+ at the dealership

first steam rolled across the windshiled, fogging it good. next was a huge puddle on the passenger floorboard. heh heh

eldorado1
09-25-04, 08:44 PM
i smelt coolant for awhile in my car, 6 months now. occasionaly steaming up the windsheild. coolant level dropped very slowly, was praying it wasnt headgaskets.. 30 minutes ago my heater core busted. apparenty its behind the glovebox, should cost around $60 and a few hours.. vs $300+ at the dealership

first steam rolled across the windshiled, fogging it good. next was a huge puddle on the passenger floorboard. heh heh

That's definately a tell tale sign - any amount of steam on the windshield (when it's not rainy out ;) ) Or if you have any kind of slippery residue on the windows.

Adam
09-25-04, 09:09 PM
i was having this same problem in my car so heres what i did: i took it to the dealer and had them pressure test it, radiator was fine. i left and i could still smell it so i took it back and they tested it again and nothing wrong. i had them test the cap and, guess what, that was the problem so, get it pressure tested (radiator and cap) and if thats not it, i dont know. oh, when was the last time you had your radiator flushed?

Ranger
09-26-04, 09:49 PM
When I pull in the garage I can get a whiff of coolant but my coolant never seems to go down. After several searches I found a drop on the underside of the water pump cover near the loer front corner. You can't see it. The only way I found it was to remove the air box to give me access and put my hand down there and feel with my finger tips. I have a new gasket on my work bench but it is such a minor leak it is not a priority.

caddyshack24
09-30-04, 09:22 PM
update: assuming this is a stock heater core, the end caps are plastic. appears it became brittle and cracked under pressure. hairline fracture from the outlet tube to the very base, a good 3+ inchs with 2 pinhole leaks along the way.

as ranger was saying, prolly "old age" and me mixing a slightly higher amount of antifreeze (lowered the boiling point) which caused the failure.

heads up: Dealer wanted $500 for this, Indy shop $325. total time involved is about an hour and $40.

Wolfpath2004
11-29-04, 08:50 PM
I smelled coolant for a while in my 98 deville. be sure to chech your water pump. reach underneth it and see if there is any precence of coolant.
my water pump was leaking but i didnt see any coolant underneth the car because it was running down to the exhaust manifold. just check and see

fuldun
11-30-04, 02:26 AM
Just replaced waterpump on 2002 STS after smelling coolant from outsid of car. Cost $488.00.

BeelzeBob
11-30-04, 03:18 PM
Just replaced waterpump on 2002 STS after smelling coolant from outsid of car. Cost $488.00.


Out of curiosity who charged you that much for a Northstar water pump replacement?? They hosed you pretty good in any case,

The Northstar water pump is one of the easiest water pumps in the world to replace and the water pump cartridge (you only have to replace the pulley/bearing/impeller assembly...not the whole casting and such) is relatively inexpensive. It takes less than an hour for an experienced tech to do....way less than an hour.

caddywhizkid
12-15-04, 10:37 PM
if it were the head gasket wouldn't there be water in the oil?

NO. Most caddys when they blow hg's they leak from the coolant passage to the cylinder so they will actually burn the coolant at a very slow rate.