Thread: Smelling coolant

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  1. #1 Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member LouF's Avatar
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    Are 2005 GTPs (L32) prone to coolant leaks (supercharger or head)?

    My sense of smell is not good, but I swear I'm smelling coolant (thought I have for a while, thinking back). I do not notice any film on the interior windows (heater core), and the engine compartment seems smelly.
    The oil in the dipstick looks normal, coolant level seems OK, no leaks on the garage floor.

    2005 GTP, 128,000 miles.


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    2005 Grand Prix GTP
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  2. #2 Re: Smelling coolant 
    Donating Users GT2000's Avatar
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    Check the Plastic coolant elbows on the alternator bracket. They get brittle and leak with age. Pretty common on the 3.8's
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  4. #3 Re: Smelling coolant 
    GrandPrix Junkie
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    Besides the elbows, I'd also check both rad hoses and the heater hoses if they are older. Only takes a little seep to cause a smell. Also give the radiator a look and see if there is a trail of dried up coolant on the side tanks or on the fins.
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  6. #4 Re: Smelling coolant 
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    Yes, the radiator, especially the cap. I got a Chevy venture for free that I was told had a bad head gasket. It ended up just being the cap was worn out, after I replaced that, the coolant level didn't move.
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  8. #5 Re: Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member LouF's Avatar
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    Thanks, all. All these things do look OK (radiator tanks are a bit difficult to thoroughly see). Maybe it's just me.

    Glad to hear gaskets aren't a resounding "yes".

    I meant to mention the radiator hoses are fairly new. I opted not to touch the plastic elbow at the front of the s/c when I saw that it looks like it doesn't come out short of taking off the s/c (no coolant traces in the area as of now).

    I will try and follow up with this post, but I'm going to put it off as long as possible.
    2005 Grand Prix GTP
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  9. #6 Re: Smelling coolant 
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    An no, the headgaskets on these engines rarely ever go bad, even if overheated. Usually it's the elbow(s) that will leak first, followed by the rad. A lot of times the rad. will leak when hot and under pressure then stop when it cools down. My 00 GT did this for about 4 months before I finally tracked it down to a bad drivers side tank seal that was right under the rad. hose.

    Hopefully you get through the bitter cold w/o whatever is leaking completely failing. Another thought would be to pick a warm~ish day and with a cold engine degrease the crap out of it and hose it clean. This would be a good place to start so you know you're not smelling something from a long time ago.
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  11. #7 Re: Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member GTP Mark's Avatar
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    It could be the lower intake manifold gaskets. As mentioned, it's rare for the head gaskets to fail on these engines. If the lower intake gaskets are leaking, you may have a bit of coolant pooling up in the area where the manifold bolts to the head. Look around the fuel injectors and you may find the coolant smell.

    Years ago I remember being able to smell coolant and found a very small amount leaking behind the supercharger because the LIM gasket failed.

    The updated GM gaskets are metal. Part no. 89017825
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  13. #8 Re: Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member LouF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FordMan77 View Post
    Usually it's the elbow(s) that will leak first, followed by the rad. A lot of times the rad. will leak when hot and under pressure then stop when it cools down.
    Thanks. Am I right about the elbow being the sharp plastic piece at the front of the s/c? Others?

    (Yes, the cold season is the deterant, LOL)
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  14. #9 Re: Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member LouF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTP Mark View Post
    It could be the lower intake manifold gaskets.
    I didn't think s/c models had LIM. Embarrassing. Thanks for the part number.

    I better do some better searching.
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  15. #10 Re: Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member LouF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouF View Post
    I better do some better searching.
    OK. I see the difference now.
    2005 Grand Prix GTP
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  16. #11 Re: Smelling coolant 
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    not sure where the tstat is on the SC engine but on my '08 non sc i had a small leak at the housing gasket i couldnt see unless i looked when i fired it up with the engine cold.
    08 grand prix NA3800
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  18. #12 Re: Smelling coolant 
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    I sort of had the same problem. My car would overheat thru the top of the overflow bottle and since I changed the rad cap it has been fine....
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  20. #13 Re: Smelling coolant 
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    I  sort of had the same problem. My car would overheat thru the top of the overflow bottle and since I changed the rad cap it has been fine... 5.3L GXP
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  22. #14 Re: Smelling coolant 
    SE Level Member LouF's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to be on the look out for these. For the time being, in bring this down to DEFCON 2.
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  23. #15 Re: Smelling coolant 
    GT Level Member mguzzo's Avatar
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    I would also check around the water pump. If the WP seal is leaking, there can be small drip from the weep hole but it evaporates on a hot engine before it hits the ground.
    --
    Current '98 GTP Coupe: Still stock and rust free. That will change.
    Old '98 GTP Coupe: VS Cam, 3.0, S2IC, 42.5#, TOGs, N*/LQ4, Corsa. it once ran a 13 flat
    Older '98 GTP Sedan: Pullied, rockered, SSIC, etc. Stock 14.33 @ 96.5 / PB: 13.89 @ 101
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