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Old 04-02-2007, 07:50 PM   #1
WRX.357
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Default I smell coolant...head gasket or something minor?

I have a 2004 WRX with 76,000 miles and no mechanical modifications. Lately, I notice the smell of antifreeze after driving the car. I can't smell it from inside the car; it's definately coming from under the hood. It don't see any puddles of coolant or any obvious leaks. The fluid level in the overflow tank is near the low end of normal and the car has never over heated.

The smell is strongest directly above the driver's side cylinder head, which leads me to suspect a head gasket.

Could it be leaking somewhere else? The only cooling system work I've ever done on it was to change the antifreeze a year ago.

Is this a common problem?

Help!
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Old 04-02-2007, 07:58 PM   #2
Cation
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Sounds like it could be a leaking water pump or lower rad hose at the water pump. Get under the car and look near the water pump to see if there is any wetness. Check all coolant hoses and your radiator for signs of leaks. I doubt that it's a head gasket.
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:30 PM   #3
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or most likely leaking radiator. you usually don't smell antifreeze under the hood for head gaskets.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:45 AM   #4
abosworth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkramer View Post
or most likely leaking radiator. you usually don't smell antifreeze under the hood for head gaskets.
Yeah, I bet it's your radiator. Do a cooling system pressure check.
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Old 04-03-2007, 05:05 PM   #5
thewerxracing
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Hey wow, I just got done spending an arm and a leg having the dealership throw on a new water pump/ thermostat/ and hose.

I had the same problem, to the point where it would steam from the right side of the engine bay, right behind the radiator, after driving it. My water pump was leaking and dripping onto the exhaust manifold. It started small, like just a whiff of the 'freeze, and grew into a nice drip.

Thats my guess...
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:32 PM   #6
WRX.357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewerxracing View Post
Hey wow, I just got done spending an arm and a leg having the dealership throw on a new water pump/ thermostat/ and hose.

I had the same problem, to the point where it would steam from the right side of the engine bay, right behind the radiator, after driving it. My water pump was leaking and dripping onto the exhaust manifold. It started small, like just a whiff of the 'freeze, and grew into a nice drip.

Thats my guess...

So...what's the dealership get for a waterpump job these days?
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:49 PM   #7
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$6,000,000 + tax


I just had my coolant changed, noticed a small amount of sweet smell in the air a day later and 3 days later but nothing more since then. Its probably from the excess that spilled out of the radiator during refill though.
Ill look at the water pump to check for leaks when I do the next oil change.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:17 PM   #8
drewwrxrogers
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I had been smelling coolant also. The other day I did a few pulls. I then turned the key off and popped the hood. There was a coolant/water mix pouring out of the bottom of the car. I took it home and my gauge was past the H!!! I was out of coolant. I filled it, checked for line leaks, and radiator cracks, nothing. I then did a pressure test and nothing would leak. I even checked the lid. I drove around and everything was fine. It was kinda scary, but everything checks out. I guess I just overheated.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:17 PM   #9
r0n
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewerxracing View Post
Hey wow, I just got done spending an arm and a leg having the dealership throw on a new water pump/ thermostat/ and hose.

I had the same problem, to the point where it would steam from the right side of the engine bay, right behind the radiator, after driving it. My water pump was leaking and dripping onto the exhaust manifold. It started small, like just a whiff of the 'freeze, and grew into a nice drip.

Thats my guess...

Had the same problem.
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:03 PM   #10
thewerxracing
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I’m not home right now, and the receipt is sitting on my kitchen table.

Actually, I have a story about it, for those who care to lend an ear.

I first took the car in with the same problem, leaky, smelly, etc. They diagnosed it as a hose that ran into the pump. I waited a week for them to get me a hose.

Next visit, a week later I had the system flushed, tossed the hose on, and a new clamp.. Great. That was around 175$ (approx.).

Well, three days later, it turns out that wasn’t the problem. Now, I go back, they toss it back up on the rack, and diagnose it as a water pump; which, you guessed it, was out of stock.

Well a week later, they throw on a water pump, put in new antifreeze, a thermostat and misc. clamps: All for around 500$. It turns out they wont refund me the money from the first visit for the mis-diagnostics, and, here it comes, they even charged me for new anti-freeze for the second visit even though it was their fault it leaked out. Yay!
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:19 PM   #11
WRX.357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewerxracing View Post
Iím not home right now, and the receipt is sitting on my kitchen table.

Actually, I have a story about it, for those who care to lend an ear.

I first took the car in with the same problem, leaky, smelly, etc. They diagnosed it as a hose that ran into the pump. I waited a week for them to get me a hose.

Next visit, a week later I had the system flushed, tossed the hose on, and a new clamp.. Great. That was around 175$ (approx.).

Well, three days later, it turns out that wasnít the problem. Now, I go back, they toss it back up on the rack, and diagnose it as a water pump; which, you guessed it, was out of stock.

Well a week later, they throw on a water pump, put in new antifreeze, a thermostat and misc. clamps: All for around 500$. It turns out they wont refund me the money from the first visit for the mis-diagnostics, and, here it comes, they even charged me for new anti-freeze for the second visit even though it was their fault it leaked out. Yay!
Two more questions:

How many miles on your car?

Did you change the timing belt at the same time?
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Old 04-04-2007, 09:24 PM   #12
thewerxracing
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I just Turned 70k on a 2002 Sedan. I didnt have the belt changed, it's in great shape because I think it was changed before I bought it, by the 1st owner, or perhaps the dealership I bought it from. I got it around 50k.

Also: Everyone I've talked to said to check the oil. If it looks like theres something in there, like coolant, then its the head gasket. The coolant falls into the cylinder, That's how it was on my fathers Pathfinder. The oil looked a little messy, and it was the head gasket that went.
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