Chances are the leak isn't bad enough to leak into the passanger compartment. I'm very confident that it is the heater core. If you have an exhaust leak in the engine compartment, you would hear it.
I wish I was there because I could identify the smell in a second. If you could, take the car to parts store and have them smell it. CHances are they would know enough to identify it as coolant. If they can't, then I suggest taking it to a mechanic. I wouldn't think they would charge to you smell the car. At least I would hope they wouldn't.
Have that done and let me know what they tell you before you have them do any work. I have a 2000 and have had the same problem for 2 years now. It's bad when I first turn it on. I have been putting it off because it's a nightmare to replace. If you have AC, it system will need drained and parts removed then recharges when it's replaced.
Let me know what you find.
PS: I always leave my window cracked open for fresh air. I don't think too much of that smell is good for you.
Saturday, November 21st, 2009 AT 10:51 PM