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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2003 Eclipse Spyder GT 6 cyl 3.0L with VIC, I recently replaced the rear valve cover gaskets, spark plugs, and spark plug wires and while I was back there I replaced the upper intake manifold gasket. After I put everything back together I noticed I had a vacuum leak on the left side of the intake manifold where all the rubber vacuum hoses are so I replaced all of those. I still hear a hissing sound coming from this area but my RPM is no longer bouncing on idle so I think I fixed the leak and the sound I'm hearing is just the vacuum moving through the pipes and hoses? My real issue is that when my car heats up there is smelly white steam coming from behind the intake manifold. I'm not noticing a significant decrease in coolant so I'm not sure if its a coolant leak. The threading on the manifold where one of the long 8M 100mm bolts goes (left one) is worn out so that bolt is not getting torqued to 13 ft/lbs, i was able to hand tighten it down to get it somewhat tight before it starts spinning (probably more like 5 or 6 ft/lbs). Idk if that's the issue though because I took the manifold back off and checked around that hole to see if i had any coolant residue and it didn't look like I had any. Not sure where it could be coming from if I have a leak if that even is the problem. I was planning on fixing that bolt with a tap and die set I was just going to tap it with a size up probably 10M so I could get a new bolt in there and torque it down to 13 ft/lbs. What do you guys think? Any info would help a lot.
 

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What does the "smelly white steam" smell like? Is it oil or coolant? Typically oil burning from behind and under the plenum is usually a valve cover gasket that leaks onto the exhaust manifold and thus the smoke. Antifreeze does turn to steam but it's usually accompanied with a strong antifreeze smell. Make sure your antifreeze in the radiator has no oil in it and your oil has no antifreeze in it. You'll have bigger problems if that's the case: head gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’m not really sure that it smells like either oil or coolant, it almost smells like burnt plastic. I also painted the intake manifold and valve covers with VHT Engine Enamel paint that’s rated for 550°F. Could that be causing what I’m smelling? I’ve been driving my car around lately and the coolant level is fine it stays pretty much at the same spot when I check my coolant reservoir after my engine warms up. Also I haven’t had any problems with it overheating, it just stays at operating temperature. I haven’t noticed anymore “steam” but the smell is still there when I lift my hood to check my coolant after my cars been running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m not really sure that it smells like either oil or coolant, it almost smells like burnt plastic. I also painted the intake manifold and valve covers with VHT Engine Enamel paint that’s rated for 550°F. Could that be causing what I’m smelling? I’ve been driving my car around lately and the coolant level is fine it stays pretty much at the same spot when I check my coolant reservoir after my engine warms up. Also I haven’t had any problems with it overheating, it just stays at operating temperature. I haven’t noticed anymore “steam” but the smell is still there when I lift my hood to check my coolant after my cars been running.
Also I know I can check my dipstick for froth if I have coolant mixed in with my oil but how would I check the radiator for oil? Same thing?
 

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You could open the radiator cap after it's been sitting and see if there is any oil floating on the surface of the coolant. Surge tank too.

Unless you see an obvious melting or burning object, I think the paint might be your culprit though. Most engine enamels go through a curing process whereby they harden using the engine's heat. Some of them smell when they are curing. Maybe get your nose in there and smell the intake manifold. Should give you an idea if that's what smells. Valve cover too. That's what I'd do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright that’s what I was leaning towards too. I recently took the manifold back off so I could fix that stripped threading and I checked all the wires, cables, and hoses around the manifold and valve cover to see if anything was melting but everything was fine so I ruled that out. The paint is most likely what’s causing the smell. I’ll let you know if anything changes, otherwise thanks for the help you guys
 
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