Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
We have a 192 Legacy wagon with 200k miles...lately we had started noticing a burning smell (generally a sweet smell) and sometimes white/grey smoke coming from under the hood. No more than normal smoke is coming from the exhaust.

So we took it to the shop a week ago, they found a plastic carrier bag had caught onto and melted on the exhaust manifold, so they scraped it off, sanded it and pressure washed the manifold. However, this morning we still notice the smell and the smoke is more visible. I'm wondering if it might be a coolant issue, but I can't see anything that might obviously be the problem under the hood.

Any suggestions on what to look for? The car seems to be running normally otherwise, and not running hot according to the temperature gauge which never goes past halfway.

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
Sounds like an intermittant coolant leak. You can have the cooling system pressure tested to reveal the weak points. At 200K, a headgasket is a possibility.

Richard
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Ditto to Twitty
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Thanks for that info. The shop did say the front cam seals were a tad leaky (I can see that they are) and they would need to replace them along with the timing belt/water pump soon. I'm a bit surprised as I think I had the water pump replaced (different shop) about 50k miles ago. Well, it is an old car and I guess a coolant leak could well have caused more problems again.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I had the water pump replaced (different shop) about 50k miles ago. Well, it is an old car and I guess a coolant leak could well have caused more problems again.

The work involved in removing the timing belt is the same for getting out the water pump on many cars. Once you pull everything apart many shops recommend replacing the water pump also. If you just had it replaced you should be able to keep the existing one unless you know of a specific problem with it (leaking etc).

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Actually I checked my receipts. The water pump, timing belt, cam seals, both cam cover gaskets, and right rear cam o-ring as well as the gasket thermostat were replaced at 164192 miles. The car is currently at 199200 miles. I can't imagine that 35k miles is enough for these to fail again unless the shop that did them botched the job.

I'm taking the car back to my curent shop tomorrow and will bring those receipts along.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Holy cow! I just looked under the hood (my wife had driven it today and told me about the smoke). Coolant all over the place. Looks like a catastrophic coolant leak now, the coolant reservoir is practically empty. Big clean-up on the cards.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Holy cow! I just looked under the hood .................................


If you look closely, you might be able to determine where it is leaking from.

With 200K, I'd look at the rad and hoses, and heater hoses if you can see them, real close then start looking elsewhere.


Pete
It usually better if you can tell the shop that it looks to you like it's the (whatever leaking) rather than simply say "I've got coolant everywhere, Help me"
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
If it's the radiator or hoses it should be a quick and relatively cheap fix. If it's the head gasket then you're looking at some bucks. My GF's Cavalier just blew its second head at 80k (I do not recommend this car) and the cost to replace is 1000-2000 depending on who does it.

An alternative, which a few recommended on this board, is stop leak. Seems GM sells the stuff at the dealership. It comes in small pellets and is made from almonds and ginger (gotta love the new advanced technology). The leak in her car was dripping right onto the block and smoke etc would be coming out quickly after a long enough highway drive.

I dumped all 4 pellets into the reservoir and give or take a few days and the leak is sealed. Needless to say, we went out and bought another car in the mean time since the starter started to go among a few other nagging problems.

At 200K, a head gasket replacement is probably more expensive then the car. Some stop leak may give you quite a while before you need to junk it.



Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
It comes in small pellets and is made from almonds and ginger (gotta love the new advanced technology).

LOL...yep, all the way up from eggs and black pepper.

ßillƒ
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I don't think it's the head gasket....no tell-tale white smoke from the exhaust, and even when warm the engine is running cool with the temp gauge below halfway. I am pretty sure it will turn out to be a cracked hose or maybe (worst case) a leaking radiator.

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Pete:

I told them last week that I thought it was a coolant leak and to check the coolant system. But that's when they diagnosed the plastic bag stuck to the exhaust manifold.

Today when I got to the shop it was far more obvious what the problem was.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I don't think it's the head gasket....no tell-tale white smoke from the exhaust, and even when warm the engine is running cool with the temp gauge below halfway. I am pretty sure it will turn out to be a cracked hose or maybe (worst case) a leaking radiator.

It's probably not.....but the Head Gasket doesn't just separate the oil and coolant.....it also separates both from leaking out if the engine. In the case of my GF's car, the coolant did not leak into the oil or cylinder but right onto the outside of the block.

Didn't know that was possible either so the first thing I did was check the oil for coolant.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
They are replacing the coolant hoses and thermostat. Is this the same thermo that often gets replaced when the timing belt is replaced or a different one?
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Should be the same one.
Print the post Back To Top