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Old 09-01-2012, 03:29 PM   #1
miketporsche
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Default Coolant smell but cannot find the leak

I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts here.

I have a pretty strong coolant smell coming from the driver side radiator area up front. I have not seen any coolant on the ground or by the radiator (I have the front bumper and air ducts off right now).

The smell appears only after the cars is at operating temperature and has been running there for 10 - 15 minutes.

I bought a Stant pressure tester and tested the system with about 15 psi. No leaks appeared and the Pressure tester didn't appear to lose any pressure.

I am not missing any coolant either.

Has anyone encountered something like this?

I feel like my only option right now is to wait it out and keep an eye out for things to get worse.

Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:17 PM   #2
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Since you have the lines exposed -- you could put some soapy water around the fittings and see if there are any bubbles which would indicate some leaking.
Is there any residue?
clean the radiator and see if that helps (maybe the fan is picking up something splashed up on there
and smelling similar or from another vehicle?)

m
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:17 AM   #3
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I looked over the radiator carefully and didn't notice any residue. I ran the car around while the bumper was off untill i smelled the coolant as well and didn't see anything. I've since then cleaned out the debris from the radiators. Haven't run it after cleaning though.

I'll try the soapy water to see if I can get some bubbles. Thanks.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:08 AM   #4
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Had a similar prob, ending with two new rads, a few new hoses and no more increases in temp.
It was a month long process at the shop replacing one piece after the other.
I hope your problem isn't as $$$ as mine was!
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:22 AM   #5
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No loss of coolant or pressure in the system.... I wouldn't go chasing rainbows like the last poster unless you want it to cost an arm and a leg. Keep your eye on the system. If you have to add coolant THEN look further into it.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:30 PM   #6
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Did you get it pressure tested? I had the same issue and a pressure test did NOT reveal any leak. Turned out one of the hoses/fittings had a tiny leak that was dripping on the exhaust and burning off the coolant. Suggest you check this area carefully.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:12 PM   #7
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Just keep an eye on it. G 12 will leave pink or purplish crust and residue wherever it leaks once there is a noticeable leak.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jury_ca View Post
Did you get it pressure tested? I had the same issue and a pressure test did NOT reveal any leak. Turned out one of the hoses/fittings had a tiny leak that was dripping on the exhaust and burning off the coolant. Suggest you check this area carefully.
I didn't get it pressure tested at my Indy. I tested it myself with a Stant tester. No leaks appeared and the tester was not losing its pressure.

I did the pressure test with a cold engine. Is this the correct way to do it?
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Old 09-03-2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miketporsche View Post
I didn't get it pressure tested at my Indy. I tested it myself with a Stant tester. No leaks appeared and the tester was not losing its pressure.

I did the pressure test with a cold engine. Is this the correct way to do it?
It is one way to test the system for pressure integrity but it may not turn up the leak.

Another way is a bit cruder but can help you find a leak, a leak I suspect very strongly your car's cooling system has.

The few times I've smelt coolant/anti-freeze there's been a leak.

Be sure the radiator cap is new. That was one leak.

If the cap is ok then drive the car around enough to get the engine fully up to temp. Run with the A/C off. You want to hear the radiator fans come on then after a while go off.

Once you've heard that once or twice head home and park the car in a convenient spot (one easy to for a tow truck to get access to just in case) and raise the rpms to 1500 and hold until the fans come on.

Then turn off the engine. The fans will stop running.

But the engine being hot will raise the coolant temp and its pressure. This coupled with things being very warm, soft, pliable, at their weakest...

It was doing this that made a slightly cracked coolant tank -- that would seep a few drops of coolant out which is what I was smelling -- finally fail outright.

After the car sat a night and got completely cold I drove it less than the 2 miles to the dealership where the old split tank was replaced.

Now the leak might not be at the tank, but at a radiator, or a hose, a fitting, and of course the water pump.

So you have to be handy with a flash light and ready to get down and look at places from where a leak might be. Listen too. You might hear a sizzle as hot coolant drops on hotter exhaust pipes.

Also, be careful. The tank in my Boxster split with no warning and had I been under it I would have gotten a scalding.

Sincerely,

Macster.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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I have a similar issue. I also have no loss of fluid. I think that mine comes from using the windshield or headlight washers. The fluid pag or the stuff from auto pars
Ts store has an alcohol in it for cleaning or anti freeze purposes. This can have an odor similar to antifreeze and would be coming from left front. Consider this possibility as well.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #11
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Default I'm leaking!

Yep, been there...suffered that....replaced coolant tank, and then the gaskets for both the headlight washer pump and windshield washer pump. Now everything's dry as a bone.

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Old 09-04-2012, 12:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relinuca View Post
Yep, been there...suffered that....replaced coolant tank, and then the gaskets for both the headlight washer pump and windshield washer pump. Now everything's dry as a bone.

relinuca
Does the washer fluid smell like coolant when it evaporates?
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:52 AM   #13
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Default smells the same-well, no

Good question, but "no", they don't really smell the same and actually neither fluid evaporates at a discernible rate. Anti-freeze odor is easy to detect even in miniscule quantities...while windshield washer fluid is nearly indiscernible unless in 100% undiluted form and in a substantial quantity.

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Old 09-05-2012, 04:28 PM   #14
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welcome to my world :\

You can see steam coming up from the front left wheel well when it's cold and at night.

Dealer had the car 5 times.

new rad cap
new coolant tank
Pressure tested fine.
Replaced Right rad (wtf?)
Found a damaged seal on a bypass valve (?) on the left rad...replaced

Every time, the dealer said it's fixed. No leak or smell, etc.

Every time when I drive out of the dealer, I can smell it when it gets hot. (and see it at night)

Last time the dealer had it was 5 months ago. I've had to put about 1 litre of coolant in since then. It's a very sloooooooow decline.

Now it's out of warranty and I'm left to troubleshoot the issue myself. I really hate smelling coolant whenever the car gets hot. It also gets some pretty ignorant comments from passerby's which is extra irritating.

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Old 09-07-2012, 04:33 AM   #15
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Mine was a little different, ended up being being seepage from my water pump.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:33 AM
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