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Author Topic: Smell of coolant in the car  (Read 238 times)

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Andy A

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Smell of coolant in the car
« on: 11 May 2018, 20:59:27 »

Got an intermittent smell of coolant in the car on my Desmond. It's been like that for a long time. Started a couple of years ago. I thought it's about time I got to the bottom of it if possible. Coolant level doesn't seem to drop but it does seem to be worse when heater temp is set to 18c.

Anyone else experience this or know what might cause it?
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cam.in.head

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #1 on: 11 May 2018, 22:07:30 »

if the coolant level never drops then it sounds like a minor seep from the heater matrix or associated pipes or o rings. if the matrix is goosed and may need changing in the future then no harm popping in a bottle of barrs.i always put in in every car ive ever had when i do a coolant change with no problems but others will frown on it because it can cause a blockage in the matrix.
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Nick W

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #2 on: 11 May 2018, 23:25:52 »

if the coolant level never drops then it sounds like a minor seep from the heater matrix or associated pipes or o rings. if the matrix is goosed and may need changing in the future then no harm popping in a bottle of barrs.i always put in in every car ive ever had when i do a coolant change with no problems but others will frown on it because it can cause a blockage in the matrix.


And Omegas are already prone to blocked matrices.
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Andy A

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #3 on: 12 May 2018, 10:44:48 »

Is the heater matrix inside like the radiator where the water is fed up the side channels and then all horizontal pipes all get fed at the same time or does it work different to that?
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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #4 on: 12 May 2018, 16:01:31 »

Is the heater matrix inside like the radiator where the water is fed up the side channels and then all horizontal pipes all get fed at the same time or does it work different to that?
Exactly that :y
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Migv6

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #5 on: 12 May 2018, 17:15:01 »

Officially the whole dash needs to come out to replace it, but there is a quicker method which has been done by a few on here.
Cant remember exactly where, but if you search the site you should find details. :y
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cam.in.head

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #6 on: 12 May 2018, 17:22:51 »

If you cannot smell or see any signs of coolant under the bonnet esprcially at the rear and the two pipes going through the bulkhead grommet to the heater look ok (and grommet intact) then its possible to see the pipes from the inside as they enter and go into the matrix.they are only sealed with o rings which could leak .you may be able to see signs of leakage or smell it more down there. If its the actual matrix then due to the awkward job it is to do a replacement properly(without cutting dash) there has to be no harm in trying a leak sealer .after all its going to do one of two things. Either seal the leak but may cause a slight blockage that would reduce heat output a bit or it could do nothing .if the matrix is past its best you would not be damaging a good part that would have to be replaced anyway in the future.
Also its worth noting ,has this smell been there for ages or just started happening and is it accompanied by any misting up/steam.   I had one in a viva that misted up the windscreen every time you turned on the heater but only for the first minute.you could smell it slightly but no water loss.when i removed the matrix it was only the slightest bit discoloured in one corner but enough to seep a very very small amount of steam.
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Andy A

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #7 on: 12 May 2018, 18:23:52 »

If you cannot smell or see any signs of coolant under the bonnet esprcially at the rear and the two pipes going through the bulkhead grommet to the heater look ok (and grommet intact) then its possible to see the pipes from the inside as they enter and go into the matrix.they are only sealed with o rings which could leak .you may be able to see signs of leakage or smell it more down there. If its the actual matrix then due to the awkward job it is to do a replacement properly(without cutting dash) there has to be no harm in trying a leak sealer .after all its going to do one of two things. Either seal the leak but may cause a slight blockage that would reduce heat output a bit or it could do nothing .if the matrix is past its best you would not be damaging a good part that would have to be replaced anyway in the future.
Also its worth noting ,has this smell been there for ages or just started happening and is it accompanied by any misting up/steam.   I had one in a viva that misted up the windscreen every time you turned on the heater but only for the first minute.you could smell it slightly but no water loss.when i removed the matrix it was only the slightest bit discoloured in one corner but enough to seep a very very small amount of steam.

The smell has been there intermittently for well over a year. Occasionally the windows will mist up when the smell occurs but I put that down to the cold weather.
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cam.in.head

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #8 on: 12 May 2018, 19:16:52 »

See what you can find down by the pedals ! You never know you may get lucky and find the pipes are leaking only ?
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Andy A

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Re: Smell of coolant in the car
« Reply #9 on: 12 May 2018, 19:55:49 »

I'll have a good look tomorrow with a mirror and torch.  :y
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