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Old 01-03-2011, 20:08   #1 (permalink)
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coolant odor after bumpy trip

I was on a trip in my 06 TC that I've owned for 1.5 years w/no problems and I went over a bumpy bridge(wavy up and down non jarring)doing 60mph and after that I caught whiffs of coolant whenever I opened the window after a bump, hill or hard corner. I looked under the hood and underneath the car and there was no leaks or coolant smell. The overflow tank was down about a half inch from the line. I topped it off at home when it completely cooled off and drove it again and it still has the coolant smell after corners and bumps. The coolant level seems to be staying the same now. I checked closely around the intake manifold, water pump shaft, thermostat housing and all underneath the car. The oil has no signs of water and the overfill tank has no signs of oil in it. There's no white smoke from the tailpipes either. There's no smell coming from the a/c vents and no steamy windows like from a bad heater core .Could an air bubble have been caused by the bumpy ride causing vapor to come from the pressurized cap? It all started after those bumps. Imagine going over ocean swells in a boat. That's what it was like on this bridge . I had to slow down a lot because it was getting scary. Thanks for any help.
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Old 01-03-2011, 20:56   #2 (permalink)
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Re: coolant odor after bumpy trip

The bumpy ride had to be coincidental to the problem. I'd bet it would have done that at that particular time no matter where you were. The heater core could have a small leak and not show up since it's probably too small yet. I'd do a pressure check and see what you come up with. It co8ld be a small leak anywhere in the system.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:22   #3 (permalink)
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Re: coolant odor after bumpy trip

I figure the same. I'll have to get a pressure tester. Hopefully Auto Zone will rent one. I would think a heater core would be tough to pinpoint for a leak considering it's buried. I did notice the next day that there was still some pressure in the system when I took off the pressure cap. I would think it would've leaked down overnight. I would also think the coolant smell would come in through the vents rather than only from outside. I have to also check the plugs to see if any of them are xtra clean. I would't think a 4.6 would blow a head gasket at only 50K though. I never beat on the car. The intake manifold has the metal crossover but even those aren't fail safe. Like you say though, the pressure test is the next obvious way to go. I wonder if UV Dye would work after that to help pinpoint the leak?
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:09   #4 (permalink)
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Re: coolant odor after bumpy trip

I wouldn't worry about the dye. See what the pressure test reveals first. The heater core leak smell usually comes from the vents inside? If the coolant has been changes routinely, the heater core usually doen't leak unless someone flexes the tubes going into it under the hood while removing the hoses. The head gasket is very rare. We've never had one leak in our fleet. Keep us posted.
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Old 01-04-2011, 14:00   #5 (permalink)
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Re: coolant odor after bumpy trip

It'll probably be a few days before I can get a pressure tester. Luckily this car is a secondary car for trips. The old 90 TC 302 seems to be a lot more reliable. I'll update in a few days.
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