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Old 05-17-2017, 03:51 PM
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I smell coolant.

I've been thinking its always the car beside me in a parking lot. Not the case. After I drive and park say in a store parking lot I get out and smell the hot coolant smell. No drips in the driveway or on the lot at work. I'm 23,000 miles on a 2015. I looked today and the coolant bottle is almost empty. I'll be calling for an appt at the dealer. Where do they leak?

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Old 05-17-2017, 05:52 PM   #2
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Thermostat housing is known to have a crack and weep.
But the most often culprit is the radiator, drivers side seam. It leaks only enough for you to smell it, but not touch the ground. Most dealerships will tell you nothing wrong, but we are finding out, if you pull the shroud, you will likely see some red staining along the edge of the radiator, that the dealership won't see because they will not pull the shroud. You will need to find it if the dealership says they cannot find it.
There are many posts on here about it. I'm in the same boat on my 2014, but I am not losing coolant. I took it to the dealership and they said can't find source of smell, and is typical. But I pulled the shroud just recently due to another forum member doing so, and sure enough. I'm now out of warranty though.

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Old 05-17-2017, 06:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Eugene_Jeep View Post
I've been thinking its always the car beside me in a parking lot. Not the case. After I drive and park say in a store parking lot I get out and smell the hot coolant smell. No drips in the driveway or on the lot at work. I'm 23,000 miles on a 2015. I looked today and the coolant bottle is almost empty. I'll be calling for an appt at the dealer. Where do they leak?
Most likely radiator like mentioned. Fluid gets caught by skid plate or plastic air dam, and also blows out while driving because it only leaks while under high pressure.

Mine didn't start leaking until 120k miles and it took me a long time to finally find it but others have reported it happening as low as 8K miles.

I found it by purchasing a radiator pressure tester kit. Here's what made it even more difficult to find. Our radiator caps are 18psi. While using the pressure tester, there was no observable leak present until I brought the pressure up to 18psi. At that point, multiple leaks from the driver side rad end cap exposed themselves. It's the seal around the end cap that goes bad and the seal is holding good enough until the rad pressure raises high enough to push the end cap out far enough to expose the leaks.

I got the Harbor Freight rad pressure test kit for $70 and it ended up paying for itself after spending 3 months trying to track down that leak. Wherever your leak is at, a rad pressure tester is the right tool to help you track it down. You just don't want to raise the pressure much higher than the PSI rating printed on the rad cap.

Other reported leak problems have been thermostat housing and intake manifold gasket but radiator end cap is most common.
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Old 05-17-2017, 07:25 PM
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Thanks guys. I'll have them look and if I get no resolution I'll pull the shroud and look.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:00 PM   #5
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I smell coolant.

This thread has some good info on this very topic:

https://www.wranglerforum.com/showthread.php?t=1575994


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Old 05-18-2017, 04:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Eugene_Jeep View Post
Thanks guys. I'll have them look and if I get no resolution I'll pull the shroud and look.
Pulling the shroud really didn't help me. It's pretty difficult to see anything along the radiator end caps even with the shroud removed.

Only after using the pressure tester while having that shroud off, I could see/hear the leaks and this is what I was able to capture with that shroud off after visually seeing where the leak was under pressure. So it wasn't an obvious find even with the shroud off.

Looking from the top, driver side of radiator with shroud off.



Zoom of above.

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Old 05-18-2017, 06:11 AM   #7
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Same issue here, 2015 with 28,000 miles, thankfully it was under warranty.
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Old 05-18-2017, 06:34 AM   #8
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I recently noticed the smell when parking in garage. I'm at 15k miles.
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Old 05-18-2017, 07:36 AM   #9
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This is a very highly debated topic here on WF... but, here is my experience.

There are some who will argue that the smell is normal, that OAT antifreeze has a stronger scent than the original HOAT used in our JKs and that the system is not "closed" and the cap for the reservoir is vented and can smell stronger. While certainly plausible - I disagree.

My opinion (just that, an opinion) is that, if you smell it, it is leaking. When I bought my new (to me) JKUS in December, I smelt it, but could not find a leak. I assumed it was normal based on what I read on here. I searched high and low to find a leak, but couldn't. It was only when the temps got to 4 degrees outside that I was able to find it - as it finally dripped and pooled on the lower part of the driver side on the bottom of the radiator.

New radiator (had a pin hole leak, that as others say, would leak when under pressure, then burn off from heat of engine) and never smelt it again.

So, my opinion based on my experience (and others confirm) is that, if you smell it, it's leaking - it may never leak enough for the tank to be empty, but, yeah...
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:31 AM   #10
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My son's 2014 Cherokee is having the same issue with the mystery disappearing coolant so don't think it is isolated to the Wranglers.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:04 AM   #11
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Gonna check my coolant this weekend
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:30 AM   #12
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A few weeks back I started to smell it. No obvious leaks until today. I crawl under there and sure enough there is a single drop at the bottom of the radiator on the drivers side. New radiator on order.
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Old 06-02-2017, 03:41 PM   #13
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I have 31000 miles on my 2014 and I am on my 3rd radiator. I could smell coolant when the windows were down and running at 23-30mph. I never had a drop on the garage floor
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Old 06-03-2017, 05:46 AM   #14
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Yep take it in they replace the radiators. Started smelling mine around 20k ish
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Corky4man View Post
I have 31000 miles on my 2014 and I am on my 3rd radiator. I could smell coolant when the windows were down and running at 23-30mph. I never had a drop on the garage floor
So what rad will you buy after your warranty expires?
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:24 PM   #16
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So what rad will you buy after your warranty expires?
I am open to suggestions!

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