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Old 09-24-2008, 12:11 PM   #1
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Help! The Sweet Smell of Antifreeze

Guys,

I have what i think is a serious problem...

Every time I take out my Wrangler; when I return it to the garage, i smell that sweet smell of burned antifreeze.

Last week, I took it to my local firestone mastercare to pressure test the Radiator and Cap and found that the cap was faulty.. i had them replace the cap and they talked me into a flush.. Hey, they have been giving me cheap oil changes for years now, so i figured i would throw them a bone.

Anyway; they performed the work, but when I got home I noticed some water spots on my fenders.. Well, to my dismay, i popped the hood and found that the guys removed the cap without allowing the engine sufficient time to cool.. Low-and-behold, the entire engine compartment was coated with antifreeze.. I cleaned it and polished my intake to the best of my ability, but I still smell freaking antifreeze after I return it to the garage.. I was rather upset because you can literally eat off this engine it is so clean. Sorry, i just bought it and haven't wheeled yet!

Here are the details:

1.) No visible signs of leakage (anywhere)
2.) Radiator pressure tested at 18lbs.
3.) Jeep runs at the "Wrangler" 210 degrees and doesn't overheat
4.) The cap was replaced.

Are we talking about a head gasket, radiator, or Hoses here? Do i just need to drive it enough to burn off the antifreeze? It is NOT a daily driver and I have driven it all of about 4 times since last Monday when they performed the work. What do you think?

I am just at wits-end here. There is only one smell i hate more than antifreeze; cat urine..

I appreciate the help fellas..

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Old 09-24-2008, 12:35 PM   #2
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I would say first off to check around to make sure there isn't any new splash back from a potential leak in the radiator maybe lower end. Then if it's not a DD then definitely drive it a few times and enough to get it up to temp so that you can burn of any residual left over from the mess.

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Old 09-24-2008, 12:45 PM   #3
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Splash Back?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1BLKJP View Post
I would say first off to check around to make sure there isn't any new splash back from a potential leak in the radiator maybe lower end. Then if it's not a DD then definitely drive it a few times and enough to get it up to temp so that you can burn of any residual left over from the mess.
First, thanks for the help.. I am not a mechanic, so please excuse my ignorance, but what is Splash Back?
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:16 PM   #4
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Stick your nose by the tailpipe. Does it smell like AF? If you smell it out of the exhaust, then your engine it's burning it. Which means your head gasket is toast or you have a cracked head.
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:42 PM   #5
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Nothing from the tailpipe..

Quote:
Originally Posted by MOz View Post
Stick your nose by the tailpipe. Does it smell like AF? If you smell it out of the exhaust, then your engine it's burning it. Which means your head gasket is toast or you have a cracked head.
I just smelled the tailpipe and couldn't smell it there.

UPDATE:

I was just going to drive it again and it finally started leaking.. I could not for the life of me find out the leak's origin; however it seems to be puddling under the fan shroud and leaking from there. I also noticed a little bit of fluid in the flange on top of the radiator.

I leaked a nice puddle on the garage floor when I fired it up, so i didn't take it out to run some errands. Now, when i returned (less than an hour later), I tried letting it run in the garage as to reproduce the leak, but it didn't leak the second time.... WTF???

Thanks guys!
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:14 AM   #6
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Well...that's very good news...the rest is really academic. Here's some things to check:

- When the engine is cold, visually verify the coolant resevoir is filled to the appropriate "cold fill" line. If it's over filled, remove the excess using a turkey baster. (make sure you discard the turkey baster as glycol is not too good for you).
- Make sure the radiator cap and the back flush cap (located on the heater hose on the passenger side) is secured and visually check the hoses and radiator for leaks prior to staring the engine.
- Start the engine and allow the motor to warm to operating temp. Visually check for leaks.
- While in park, raise and maintian the engine RPM's (to approx 3000) and visually inspect the radiator, caps and hoses for leaks. Sometimes you may not notice leaks at idle.

It's possible the garage overfilled the system, did not purge the air out of the system, did not tighten the back flush or radiator cap or the system overpressurized and released some coolant. Flushing the system can sometimes be a messy job.

Let us know how it goes.

Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:37 AM   #7
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I would say it is leaking around the rubber seals on the plastic radiator tanks.They will swell and not leak after they get hot but once they cool they start to leak again.You could try taking it out for a short 5-10 minute ride just to get pressure in the radiator and then see if it leaks.I would take it back to the shop and let them know what is going on and let them pressurize the system to find the leak.
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Old 09-26-2008, 05:32 AM   #8
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I think SLF is on to something. TJ radiators have plastic tanks and metal cores...notorious for leaks. My 2000 came with a leak and I replaced it straight away. Plenty of after-market, all metal replacements out there, and it's an easy job.
Bert
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:51 AM   #9
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x2 on the radiator leak. drove me nuts for 3 weeks then i finally found it along the top where the plastic is crimped to the metal by the top hose. it wasn't much of leak at first but after awhile it snowballed. better to replace it now. 20 minute job.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:59 AM   #10
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just take it back and have them go through it. its prolly a loose hose or something easy.
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:08 PM   #11
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Hey Guys!

Well.. It was not only the radiator, but the Thermostat Housing as well. I went ahead and had them replace the Radiator, Therm housing, Thermostat, and Serpentine belt..

I should have done it myself... Oh Well... Thanks for all your advise guys!

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