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Coolant smell

Texas Chaser

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Having what is turning out to be an unusual problem in that I cannot trace.

About 2 months ago, I started noticing a faint smell of antifreeze just after I shut the engine off, and right after I turn it on after it has been run for a while. Within the last 6 month..ALL of the coolant hoses have been replaced, along with the heater core. I have checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked all the hose fittings/connections, all around, over, under, and behind the engine....as well as all around the radiator. No leaks found. I have changed the oil twice, no sign of coolant. Cooling system was flushed when all of the hoses where changed. There are no visibile leaks ANYWHERE, as well as no puddling, and get this...NO OBVIOUS COOLANT LOSS! Also, the odor is on the outside of the truck.

Even checked the overflow tank, and radiator has a new pressure cap on it as well.

I am totally puzzled. What I have learned about vehicles over the years is that when you can smell coolant, something is usually leaking/overflowing somewhere. I can find nothing, and have been over and thru it 10 times at least!

Also, to cooling problems either, runs at a nice, consistant level.

Posting here where I have read lots of good ideas from many owners, hoping that maybe someone else has had this and found a solution?????? It's bugging the hell out of me. I know, some people will say, don't fix it if it ain't broke......buy I have to know the cause! =)

Thanks!
 



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shooter_1000

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City, State
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 XLT 4x4 & 2002 XLT 4x
I am pretty sure that Ford has used radiators with plastic tanks on either end for a number of years and still does. My 92 had an antifreeze smell on the outside as well and I traced it to some weeping between the radiator core and the tanks. It also did not leave puddles, just stains on the rad where it was weeping.

If this is the case, you could try and re-crimp the tabs holding the tanks to the core, or go out and get a new rad.

Good luck, at least this is 1 more spot to look at.
 






RobbieJ

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Year, Model & Trim Level
91 XLT
is the smell inside? Check the heater core. RobbieJ
 






Texas Chaser

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No, mainly it is outside the vehicle, although I did check the heater core, even though it was replaced only a few months ago.

That's the whole funny thing about it. I can smell, strong sometimes. But I damn sure cannot find a leak anywhere and not loosing coolant level to speak of.
 






AgExplorer

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Houston, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 Sport Trac XLS
Depending on the year model you have, it may be the heater control valve. They are notorious for leaking but you never see any coolant on the ground. Fairly easy to replace and the part is pretty inexpensive. Also check the tightness of all the hoses.
 






mdrut

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Inverness, Fl.
Year, Model & Trim Level
'91 sport
First off..Welcome to the site..Have you checked the freeze plugs? My have a small pen hole in one of them..Also, pull your O2 sensor and check it for water stains..
 






Texas Chaser

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Well, it's a 92 and no, it has no heater control valve. As I stated all the hoses are almost new and I have checked all the connections at least 3 times.

I have tried to look at the freeze plugs with what limited visibility there is around down there. (God I hope I don't have to replace one of those...that has to be worse than spark plugs!)

I have actually laid under the truck and thoroughly examined everything I could see for any sign of leakage. I clean my engine at least twice a year, so it should be evident.

I am getting more inclined to think what one reader posted...perhaps a pinhole in the radiator? Probably small enough that I couldn't find it with a pressure tester.

Just another thought also to confirm something. The 92 model does NOT have an EGR valve right? I was having the pinging problem for a while and noticed some other posts pointed to the EGR valve problem....but I'll be damned if I can find one anywhere on that engine! Anyway...the pinging has left on its own.

Thanks for the replies.
 






maxxus

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head gasket problem

head gasket problem. A friend of mine told me a ford engineer once told him that early model explorers had defective head gaskets....they would even leak coolant into the exhaust system and rot them out quickly. Are you sure that there isn't a sweet odor through the exhuast tailpipe??? Does your motor oil appear contaminated with coolant....any whitish foam/residue?? the coolant leak doesn't always show up externally.............good luck!
 






Texas Chaser

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>>>head gasket problem. A friend of mine told me a ford engineer once told him that early model explorers had defective head gaskets....they would even leak coolant into the exhaust system and rot them out quickly. Are you sure that there isn't a sweet odor through the exhuast tailpipe??? Does your motor oil appear contaminated with coolant....any whitish foam/residue?? the coolant leak doesn't always show up externally.............good luck!<<<

Perhaps you didn't read the first post entirely, where it said that the oil was changed twice since I have smelled it and "no sign of coolant". I was a past ASE certified tech, so I am not a total idiot when dealing with my vehicle. Sorry if that sounds rude, but your post toned that way. Besides I am not of the school of mechanics that goes for the worst and most expensive thing right out of the gate. Check the least and the obvious first. I have seen high dollar head gasket jobs done to find out later it was a small leak in the radiator. Too much of that going around, which is one reason I don't mechanic for a living any more. I don't like dealing with other techs that are like that.

Also, a new muffler and rear tailpipe was installed last June to replace the ORIGINAL 1992 ones. Nothing unusual you wouldn't expect to see after 9 years.

Again, I never said there WAS a leak, only the odor. The coolant level never significantly depreciates, so I sure its nothing more than a pinhole, if even that.

I know ever make and model of vehicle have their own little quirks, I thought I would check to see if maybe this is a quirk of this one.

UPDATE:...I think today I might have accidentally found it. There was some sort of build up beside the thermostate housing that looks like water sediments you typically see on faucets. It was in an area where you would never find it unless you were looking sideways out of your head while hanging from the hood with one foot on the roof. In other words...completely obscure, like most of the spark plugs! LOL Probably a pinhole leak in the gasket, maybe in the housing.
Cheap to fix but unfortunately not all that easy to get to.
 






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