I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!! in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; about once a month I have to add water/antifreeze to my radiator but I cannot find a leak anywhere. There ...
  1. #1
    luisrobles is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    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?

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    Leloz is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    Head Gasket is my guess.

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    luisrobles is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    if it were the head gasket wouldn't there be water in the oil?

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

    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.

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    eldorado1 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    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?

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

    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.

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    luisrobles is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    thanks guys, I will try all of your suggestions and will keep you guys posted.

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    zonie77 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    One more thing: Leaky head gaskets don't always put water in the oil!! Esp on a N* !!

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

    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

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    eldorado1 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by caddyshack24
    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.

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

    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?

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

    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.

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

    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.

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

    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

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    fuldun is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: I'm smelling antifreeze but can't find it!!!

    Just replaced waterpump on 2002 STS after smelling coolant from outsid of car. Cost $488.00.

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