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Looking for ideas to find antifreeze leak


Dave Downs
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The vehicle is a 2004 GMC Canyon, 5 cylinder, 195,000 miles. And so far it is not really a leak, just the smell of antifreeze when it warms up.

 I can’t see anything, no signs of leak, drip or wet spots on hoses.

Replaced water pump 2 years ago.

 Do these newer engines have welch plugs (freeze plugs) that can leak, that used to common in the old days. Maybe a head gasket?

So I’ve got just an annoying smell now, any ideas of where to look or how to find it?

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My dad had a 3406E cat engine overhauled 8-9 years ago, every time you walk past it, can smell antifreeze, but no leak anywhere, and never have had to add coolant?! 
 

Have you tried to pressurize the system manually? Sometimes that works, other times that seals the leak, I’ve seen that as well?! My 2011 F-150, was leaving an antifreeze puddle, couldn’t find it for ever, finally talked to Ford dealer, the block heater center was the culprit.  

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Could the smell possibly be coming from the coolant overflow tank?  It's vented, isn't it?  Just a thought.

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Have read great reviews on that Bars liquid stop leak...in fact used it on my 656 on a external seep on the HG that showed up this summer.

Not a fan of liquid sealer but was not ready to tear down for a small external seap that was not getting into the cylinder so the sealer went into the rad, So far so good.

Scott

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Thanks for all the replies.

Don’t think it is heater core, smell is only outside of truck and no fogging on the inside of windshield.

Definitely doesn’t have original fluid.

I thought about a hose with a pinhole leak - I did not put new hoses on when I changed the water pump, which I now think was a bad idea……….

Thinking about radiator and maybe the replacement pump I put on it.

 I will keep on looking.

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11 hours ago, 460 said:

Bars liquid stop leak

Stuff does work well. My wife had a  5.3 Suburban with a cracked head. GM would supply a head under warranty as there was a SB about it, but only a bare head. It leaked exactly where the Sb said it would - under the valve cover, leaking into the oil. I didn't have time to deal with it and used Barrs. It sealed up completely: I looked!

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1 hour ago, New Englander said:

Stuff does work well. My wife had a  5.3 Suburban with a cracked head. GM would supply a head under warranty as there was a SB about it, but only a bare head. It leaked exactly where the Sb said it would - under the valve cover, leaking into the oil. I didn't have time to deal with it and used Barrs. It sealed up completely: I looked!

My gleaner combine had the whole lower seam on radiator leaking. The radiator cost more than the machine was worth so I found the biggest bottle they had and tried it. Haven't added coolant in 2 years since. Only time I ever used it and hope that's the only time I will. But I can promise it works. Not sure what it will plug up and damage in the process. lol

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8 hours ago, Missouri Mule said:

My gleaner combine had the whole lower seam on radiator leaking. The radiator cost more than the machine was worth so I found the biggest bottle they had and tried it. Haven't added coolant in 2 years since. Only time I ever used it and hope that's the only time I will. But I can promise it works. Not sure what it will plug up and damage in the process. lol

We kept that car for several years and never had any problems with heating or cooling. It seems that Barrs only seals leaks without plugging heater cores or radiators. If I wasn't so busy at the time I would have taken the bare head from GM, bought a set of valves and springs, keepers, etc., and swapped it but it wasn't in the cards. Some of the old time radiator sealers I know would plug the leak AND the heater core but a little internet research found that others had the same experience I ultimately had - it just plugged the leak and held under pressure!

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Was living in a mountain resort town and me and my cousin had to get to Edmonton 180 miles away on Feb 8, 1986, the only reason I know that date was it was the morning of the Hinton train crash that killed 23 people that we would be traveling past later. It was very cold that morning probably getting close to -30 and my roommate asked to borrow my truck to run downtown before we left, I thought it would be great that he would warm up it before we were leaving but when he got back the heater core had developed a leak with misting the passenger side windshield and that telltale smell. We bought the stop leak silver shards and instead of dumping them in the rad these 2 Einstein’s pulled the heater hose to direct this magic in a tube directly to the source and viola it worked...so well that it plugged off the entire core. Well we still had to make the trip so we dressed up as warm as we could, threw a -40 sleeping bag in and headed out in the 74 F250, we had to keep the windows cracked to prevent from fogging up and a vehicle related to the train crash almost created another accident close to the scene, now the Furd was not equipped with such luxuries as cruise control so after awhile my feet were numb, 2 hrs in I said we were going to have to stop at a cafe in Edson to warm up and I pulled out to pass a vehicle and got the Furd up to 70 which must have slightly increased the cooling system pressure and all of a sudden we start hearing flow through the core, I can flat out guarantee we were the 2 happiest guys in Alberta at that moment

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If you have too use stop leak stay away from the stuff like Aluma-seal with the particles!!

I had the overflow tube plug up with that stuff so it wasn't pulling from the overflow tank and the level in the rad was still going down!!

Was a aluminum head porosity issue I had leaking into an exhaust port that was the hail Mary fix till spring.   

    

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My 91 dodge cummins has had that smell for 20 years.

I've replaced the radiator, water pump, etc. It still has the smell. Only needs a little coolant every month.

I finally quit looking.

Thx-Ace 

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Buddy has a 2005 mustang, now it’s only 6 cyl base model, but he bought it new and he likes it. It’s his summer Dailey driver.  Has 150k on it and it started eating coolant. Car isn’t worth much, but he just ordered a $125 or $150 (!!!!!) bottle of some miracle sealer.  Said if it plugs up his heater….he doesn’t need heat in the summer anyway. I’ll let you know how it works.  I should Google it…. Maybe it’ll come up  if I search it as “most  expensive mechanic in a bottle ever”. 

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