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Smelling coolant through the air vents

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  #1  
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Joseph A. Zupko
 
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Default Smelling coolant through the air vents - 07-27-2004 , 11:56 PM






I have 2001 3.1 Century with 23k. Sometimes when I start the car I can
smell the coolant through the vents. The hotter the car gets sometimes
the smell gets stronger. Is this normal? Is it because the heater core is
getting hotter and causes it to smell? Or could this be a sign that the head
gasket is leaking slowly. If so how can I check it? I also had this
problem with my former 93 Lumina and it had 125k and no problem came up. I
have 2 weeks left on the factory warranty.
Thank you





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  #2  
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R
 
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Default Re: Smelling coolant through the air vents - 07-28-2004 , 12:33 AM







"Joseph A. Zupko" <unmonitored (AT) sbcglobal (DOT) net> wrote

Quote:
I have 2001 3.1 Century with 23k. Sometimes when I start the car I can
smell the coolant through the vents. The hotter the car gets sometimes
the smell gets stronger. Is this normal? Is it because the heater core is
getting hotter and causes it to smell? Or could this be a sign that the
head
gasket is leaking slowly. If so how can I check it? I also had this
problem with my former 93 Lumina and it had 125k and no problem came up.
I
have 2 weeks left on the factory warranty.
Thank you

It could be a leaking heater core. The best thing you could do is take it
in and get it documented. They will probably fix it then and there. But if
they give you the old "could not find problem, then when it is found a month
from now you can get it done for free since you have documented the problem
while under warranty. It would be easy to call GM and get it covered after
it is documented if the dealer decided to give you any problem. Just make
sure if they don't fix it with some no problem found story that you leave
there with a work order with your complaint on it.




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  #3  
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Ken Weitzel
 
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Default Re: Smelling coolant through the air vents - 07-28-2004 , 12:38 AM





Joseph A. Zupko wrote:

Quote:
I have 2001 3.1 Century with 23k. Sometimes when I start the car I can
smell the coolant through the vents. The hotter the car gets sometimes
the smell gets stronger. Is this normal? Is it because the heater core is
getting hotter and causes it to smell? Or could this be a sign that the head
gasket is leaking slowly. If so how can I check it? I also had this
problem with my former 93 Lumina and it had 125k and no problem came up. I
have 2 weeks left on the factory warranty.
Thank you
Hi...

No mechanic, just an old guy... but I answer anyway

My century did just that... got antifreeze everywhere...
expecially cold weather when the defroster would coat the
winshield with it. Terribly difficult to remove.
And perhaps worse, a real bad poison.

So, get it fixed asap; maybe keep your youngsters out
if you're lucky enough to have them until it's fixed.

Mine turned out to be the heater core. Guess it could
also be the hoses or clamps where they enter the core.
Not too expensive for parts, lots for labor to change it.

Ken




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  #4  
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Ted Mittelstaedt
 
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Default Re: Smelling coolant through the air vents - 07-28-2004 , 03:27 AM




"Joseph A. Zupko" <unmonitored (AT) sbcglobal (DOT) net> wrote

Quote:
I have 2001 3.1 Century with 23k. Sometimes when I start the car I can
smell the coolant through the vents.
You should never be able to smell coolant. You have a pinhole leak in the
heater core. Overnight, the coolant drips out and puddles then in the
morning
when you turn on the vent there is a few minutes while it dries out, that is
when
the smell is the strongest.

Ted




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  #5  
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Woody
 
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Default Re: Smelling coolant through the air vents - 07-28-2004 , 02:53 PM



Is the coolant level going down in the overflow? If it isn't going down
chances are you don't have a leak. Are you sure it is coolant and not mold?
could be a blocked drain in evaporator. Can you see any coolant around the
head or signs in the dipstick?
Definitely get it in and documented as was previously mentioned...


"Joseph A. Zupko" <unmonitored (AT) sbcglobal (DOT) net> wrote

Quote:
I have 2001 3.1 Century with 23k. Sometimes when I start the car I can
smell the coolant through the vents. The hotter the car gets sometimes
the smell gets stronger. Is this normal? Is it because the heater core is
getting hotter and causes it to smell? Or could this be a sign that the
head
gasket is leaking slowly. If so how can I check it? I also had this
problem with my former 93 Lumina and it had 125k and no problem came up.
I
have 2 weeks left on the factory warranty.
Thank you





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  #6  
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GMdude
 
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Default Re: Smelling coolant through the air vents - 07-29-2004 , 07:23 PM



Joe,

I agree with R and Woody. Take the vehicle in, and get it documented.
It's very important.

Here is an example:

I have a '99 GMC Jimmy. The engine developed an acceleration rattle
noise at about 25k miles. I complained about it many times (documented),
before the warranty was out. There was no fix at that time. GM said it was
normal. When my truck had 68,000 miles on it, GM came out with a bulletin
that would fix the problem. To make a long story short, I went back, stuck
to my guns about the problem, and they fixed it, at 68k miles (About $800+
worth of work/parts). All I had to do, was pay the tax.

Your case is not this extreme, but get it documented.

Hope this helps,
GMdude



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