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They see me rollin'
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I think I have a leak in my cooling system somewhere. I have had to add coolant 3 times in the last 2 months. It never over heats but the temprature gauge will bounce all over the place. Then when I add coolant it holds steady at a little less than half way. I smell coolant when I get out of the car but I don't see any on the ground ever. Any suggestions? 2001 GT 5spd 85,500 miles
 

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BoomGoesTheDynaMitt
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Your car's exhaust isn't smoking is it?

Have you tried burping the air out of the coolant system by repeatedly squeezing the upper radiator hose while the engine is running?

Assuming there is no smoke and no leak then I would guess the coolant you smell is just spilled coolat being burned off of the exhaust manifold :dunno:

How many miles, I4 or V6, and have you done any mods under the hood recently?
 

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(b)org banugee
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I agree. It definitely sounds like their is air in the line. You could also have a bad thermostat. Those are the two cheap fixes.

When you add coolant, make sure the radiator is full. The level in the reservoir doesn't mean squat. Adding coolant to a running warm engine at the radiator, waiting for it to get sucked in, and repeating until it stops taking more coolant is a good way to know that it is actually full.
 

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They see me rollin'
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81 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your car's exhaust isn't smoking is it?

Have you tried burping the air out of the coolant system by repeatedly squeezing the upper radiator hose while the engine is running?

Assuming there is no smoke and no leak then I would guess the coolant you smell is just spilled coolat being burned off of the exhaust manifold :dunno:

How many miles, I4 or V6, and have you done any mods under the hood recently?
It's a V6. no smoke from the exhaust. No mods. I haven't tried "burping it" I didn't know anything about that. I wonder if my radiator cap could need replacing. Could it be something as simple as that? I did notice what looked like an attempt to patch the upper hose with a bigger diameter piece of hose. I wonder how that fits into the equation or if it does at all?
 

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BoomGoesTheDynaMitt
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That "patch" is OEM. I'm 99% sure it was on mine as well. I think it just keeps things from rubbing the hot radiator hose. I would fill the radiator and then burp the system and see what happens. If that doesn't cure it replace the thermostat. If that doesnt fix it you may need a new water pump :( That could cost the same as having a timing belt changed($$$) so lets hope its not the later.
 

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They see me rollin'
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That "patch" is OEM. I'm 99% sure it was on mine as well. I think it just keeps things from rubbing the hot radiator hose. I would fill the radiator and then burp the system and see what happens. If that doesn't cure it replace the thermostat. If that doesnt fix it you may need a new water pump :( That could cost the same as having a timing belt changed($$$) so lets hope its not the later.
I appreciate the advice. Can you give me a step by step on the burping process. I think for good measure I'll replace the cap too.
 

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Premium Member
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check all the clamps for tightness and don't forget about the heater
and tb hoses. Sounds to me like you have a very small leak that's vaporizing
as it escapes or hitting the exhaust or something else that's hot. That's why
you don't see any leak. Took me a couple months to find one on my
truck. Hopefully, the other replies will work.
 

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(b)org banugee
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If your temp rises at idle, but drops if you give it some gas, it's the water pump. That doesn't sound like the issue here. Check that after you get the coolant level and temp's more stable. If your water pump was so bad that you were loosing coolant, you'd see puddles.
 

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They see me rollin'
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If your temp rises at idle, but drops if you give it some gas, it's the water pump. That doesn't sound like the issue here. Check that after you get the coolant level and temp's more stable. If your water pump was so bad that you were loosing coolant, you'd see puddles.
When it's low on coolant it'll jump all over the place. Doesn't matter if I'm idling or driving down the highway. When I put coolant in it holds steady. So I'm almost convinced that it's a leak from somewhere. But I don't notice any steam when I park it. Even if I turn it off when the gauge is reading high. I just smell it.
 

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BoomGoesTheDynaMitt
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I appreciate the advice. Can you give me a step by step on the burping process. I think for good measure I'll replace the cap too.
Ya, cap is only like $5. This is how I burp:
1) let car cool.
2) open radiator cap and fill with coolant.
3) install cap.
4) start car
5) squeeze the upper radiator hose repeatedly
6) shutdown car
7) repeat the above steps if the coolant is still not filling the radiator.

If you have to do that more than twice I would start looking for a leak. I use te above method because I do ot like the idea of running my engine with the radiator cap removed (even if its just for a minute). I'm prolly just paranoid or don't fully uderstand the system but I have had no issues when using my method.
 

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If your temp rises at idle, but drops if you give it some gas, it's the water pump. That doesn't sound like the issue here. Check that after you get the coolant level and temp's more stable. If your water pump was so bad that you were loosing coolant, you'd see puddles.
Every time I've had the temp lower because of revving, it's been the thermostat that's been bad. The water pump *should* last for at least 70k miles.

While you're looking for the problem, if you do replace anything, get real screw down hose clamps instead of the shitty stock squeeze clamps. They loose their tension over time and allow leakage.
 

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GO SOX
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If your temp rises at idle, but drops if you give it some gas, it's the water pump. That doesn't sound like the issue here. Check that after you get the coolant level and temp's more stable. If your water pump was so bad that you were loosing coolant, you'd see puddles.
Not to hijack the thread or anything, but that would usually happen to me after getting an oil change...I would just fill it up with coolant and it would be fine again. Hopefully the water pump has been changed (when I got the car it had 102K on it and I did a timing belt change just in case, but not the water pump because of the cost) or it is still good.
 

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They see me rollin'
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Every time I've had the temp lower because of revving, it's been the thermostat that's been bad. The water pump *should* last for at least 70k miles.

While you're looking for the problem, if you do replace anything, get real screw down hose clamps instead of the shitty stock squeeze clamps. They loose their tension over time and allow leakage.
Well I have 85k on my car right now. But I seriously don't think my water pump is bad. Is there any troubleshooting that can be done on the water pump aside from what I'm doing?
 

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Well I have 85k on my car right now. But I seriously don't think my water pump is bad. Is there any troubleshooting that can be done on the water pump aside from what I'm doing?
I'd start by flushing the coolant. While you're doing that, take the thermostat out and throw it in boiling water. If it doesn't open, it's bad. Inspect all the hoses and keep an eye out for green crusty shit coming out of the ends. I really doubt the water pump is bad especially if it was replaced when the belts were done as part of the 60k treatment.
 

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BoomGoesTheDynaMitt
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Well I have 85k on my car right now. But I seriously don't think my water pump is bad. Is there any troubleshooting that can be done on the water pump aside from what I'm doing?
Just burp it and swap out the thermo. If that doesn't work then worry out the pump. That is the last thing that should be checked as it is the most expensive and hardest to reach part of the cooling system.

Burp that baby and let us know what happens. Takes all of 5 mins.
 

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Grammar Police
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I am having a similar problem. I checked under my hood and my coolant plastic container is empty and i noticed the hose running off to the side (not to the radiator) is not connected to anything. Idk if it needs to be or not, also one of my exhaust pipes is smoking, the other one isnt. Any help with this one?
 

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Ah yes...
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THe tube that isnt running to anything is the overflow tube, it should run to nowhere just the ground.


As for burping the system you burp with the lower hose, not the upper hose. check all of the clamps this is a known issue in these cars, get some radiator hose clamps and replace them. Also check around the hoses that run into the heater core. Those have clamps too and can leak on the exhuast manifold and just evaoprate the fluid. The thermostate is an unlikely thing to be causing this. Make you you check the cap, hoses, clamps. As well as one of the hoses could have formed a small leak that isnt seen. Run the car at idle for about 20-30 minutes and just look for the problem, it might be something simple.

The fluid has to go somewhere if its not the in the system, so just look for the exit ;)
 

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BoomGoesTheDynaMitt
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...one of my exhaust pipes is smoking, the other one isnt. Any help with this one?
What does it smell like? If it is kinda "sweet" smelling I'd say your coolant has leaked onto that pipe and it is burning off and smoking when the exhaust gets hot. If that is the case I would spray the (cool) exhaust with a hose or wipe it down to remove the coolant. It would all burn off on its own but I hate a smoking car and that smell can get ill after awhile.
 
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