1991 Toyota Camry coolant leak

Tiny
ELLEE
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 TOYOTA CAMRY
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 380,000 MILES
Radiator drains very quickly even when the engine is off. First indication: driving @ 80km/hr, after about 5 km from home I smelt a strange smell. Then thin, white/grey smoke came up through the vents, especially the demister vent, clouding the windscreen. Pulled over, let the car cool down, checked the radiator. Seeing no coolant, I walked to a shop & bought a 1.5 Lt bottle of water. Putting that in the radiator didn't fill it. There was also no coolant in the overflow chamber. Walked to a house nearby & was able to fill the bottle again at their rainwater tank. Still didn't fill the radiator. Carefully drove the car the 1/2 block to the house to finish filling it. Man at house checked it was filled properly. Drove perfectly back home. Thought I had just let the coolant run out because I never check it. Drove out of town next day another 5 km, then back in. Nearly home & same thing happens - smell, then smoke. Let the car cool 3/4 hr then drive very slowly home, 1/2 km. No coolant again. Wet patch on the floor interior passenger side. Thinking my drinking water bottle had leaked, dried it out as best I could & refilled the radiator. There was no drip from under the car and I couldn't find any obvious leaky spots under the hood or under the car. Next day, it took 2 Lt to refill the radiator after the car had just sat there overnight. But water had pooled in the front passenger side of the interior again, so my initial rookie suspicion that it was something to do with the heating system led me to check under the dash & I found the spot it is coming through, but the leak itself is further back I think. Next I checked the internet & the info I've got on your site is pointing to a leak in the heating core or somewhere around there.
That's as far as I've got. I'd really like your opinion on this before I take it to the mechanic on Monday, or maybe some pointers for a more mechanically minded friend, if it's not too complicated. Any ideas are appreciated.
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Friday, December 6th, 2013 AT 8:09 PM

1 Reply

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Sounds like a leaking heater core to me.
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Friday, December 6th, 2013 AT 8:17 PM

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