Leaking antifreeze but can't find leak.

Tiny
CIPRIMM23
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 HYUNDAI TIBURON
  • 110,000 MILES
For a while now I have noticed that when driving 15 plus miles, when I park, I can smell a burning oil smell on the passenger side of the vehicle near the dash. Occasionally I am able to see a very faint steem. I check my oil level and it was fine. I check the antifreeze resevoir and it was dry. I added antifreeze to the overflow resevoir and then added antifreeze straint to the radiator until full. I drove the car for appoximately one week, (still smelling the burning when driving 15 plus miles). After driving it for the one week, I checked the coolant levels again. The overflow resevoir was nearly empty, but the radiator was full. I am assuming the smell is burning antifreeze from a leak, (please correct me if this is wrong). The temperature gauge in the car never exceeds the halfway point so it doesn't seem to be overheating. I just need to figure out what this smell is. The car runs normally, just driving it distances the smell shows up. Please help. Thank you.
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 AT 8:09 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Your observations suggest an external coolant leak. It could be a leaking cylinder head gasket but chances are it something less serious. Seepage from the water pump would be a logical guess. With such a slow leak a pressure test is likely to be inconclusive. A better alternative is to add a small bottle of dark purple dye. After the level in the reservoir goes down a little you search with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you follow back to the source.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 AT 8:36 PM
Tiny
CIPRIMM23
  • MEMBER
Great idea. My thoughts were the water pump as well due to the smell coming prominently from the left side of the engine (Engine is turned sideways in the car making it near the passenger side dash). What kind of dye would I need to get/ where do I get it? Also will I still be able to find the leak even though I have never found any sort of puddle under the car after driving a distance?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 AT 4:18 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
That's the advantage of the dye. It shows up where the coolant doesn't, typically because the leak is so slow that the coolant evaporates before it can form a puddle. You can buy the dye at auto parts stores. There is one for petroleum-based oils like engine oil, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid. Another one for glycol-based products like brake fluid, and one for engine coolant. Many auto parts stores borrow or rent tools and they will likely have the black light.

A lot of engines have water pumps that are driven by the back of the timing belt so they are hidden by a plastic cover. There is also a tube plugged into the backside of the pump with an o-ring that can leak. The clue there is the lower radiator hose will attach to that metal tube on the driver's side of the engine above the transmission.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 AT 1:46 PM
Tiny
CIPRIMM23
  • MEMBER
Thank you. Picked up the dye and black light today. Will add the dye tomorrow morning while the engine is cold and then search for a leak after I run around town. Ill let you know what I find out.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 AT 4:48 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides