Leaking antifreeze car heater wont heat up

Tiny
MICHAEL WRIGHT2
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 PONTIAC SUNFIRE
  • 2.2L
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 168,800 MILES
The other day I started my car, I turned the heater on and went back to check and it was still cold inside. Then I noticed a burnt antifreeze smell coming through the vent's. When I popped the hood I smelled the same thing. Then I noticed what appeared to be antifreeze leaking from the passenger side of the engine where the water pump is located, but I could not tell if that is where it was actually coming from.

There is still antifreeze inside of the housing container. I had the timing chain replaced about a year ago. But like and idiot I did not have them replace the water pump or thermostat.

I checked the oil and it had now mixture of water in it so I do not believe it is a head gasket issue. It seems as though the antifreeze is not getting to the engine like it should. Any advice? Thanks
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 AT 6:29 AM

8 Replies

Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Have it pressure checked for leaks if water in oil. It is probably a head gasket and maybe a heater core as well if coolant is inside heater housing.
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 AT 7:01 AM
Tiny
MICHAEL WRIGHT2
  • MEMBER
It is not the head gaskets there was no water in the oil. Now that I think about it I saw that leak on the passenger side. Maybe a few weeks ago I thought it came from me filling the container a little to full. But, the heater still functioned with no problems.

It has just recently stopped working when the weather turned colder.
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 AT 7:28 AM
Tiny
HMAC300
  • EXPERT
Get it pressure checked.
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 AT 7:59 AM
Tiny
MICHAEL WRIGHT2
  • MEMBER
Alright thanks.
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 AT 8:00 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If I may add a tidbit of value, your observation of no water in the oil is of no value. Cylinder head gaskets have holes in them corresponding to pressurized oil passages, drain back oil passages, coolant passages, air passages, and cylinders. By far the most common place for a head gasket to leak is between the cylinder and a coolant passage. Cylinders develop really high pressures. Coolant becomes acidic and corrodes the gasket material. This is a much bigger problem on GM cars, especially those that use the red Dex-Cool coolant, and is why they have so much trouble with leaking heater cores and radiators. That results in combustion gases being forced into the cooling system, and / or coolant being sucked into the cylinder and going out the tail pipe. Way down on the list symptoms is oil and coolant mixing, especially since both fluids are close to the same pressures, compared to the extremely high cylinder pressure. If you examine 500 leaking head gaskets, you might find one where the oil and coolant are mixing.

Your mechanic can perform a quick chemical test at the coolant reservoir for a leaking head gasket. That involves drawing air, while the engine is running, from the reservoir through a glass cylinder with two chambers partially-filled with a special dark blue liquid. If combustion gases are present, the liquid will turn bright yellow.

Another test involves adding a small bottle of dark purple dye to the coolant, then you check a day or two later with a black light. The dye will show up as a bright yellow stain that you can follow back to the source. If the head gasket is leaking, you'll find the dye inside the tail pipe. Auto parts stores will have the correct dye for the fluid being tested, and those that rent or borrow tools will usually have a black light.

Based on your observation of an external coolant leak, it makes sense that HMAC300 is recommending a pressure test. That works best when the leak is fast enough that you can see the coolant running out, and where it is coming from. If the leak is too slow, the dye is the next-best alternative.
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Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 AT 6:48 PM
Tiny
MICHAEL WRIGHT2
  • MEMBER
I'LL first get a pressure check and mechanic will tell me what I need to do from there. The car isn't over heating at all and the engine sounds normal. It a slow type leak coming from the passenger side looks to low to be a gasket issue.
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Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 AT 6:54 PM
Tiny
MICHAEL WRIGHT2
  • MEMBER
Just had it pressure checked it was the water pump had a leak in the weep hole $80 job thanks for the advice guys.
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Thursday, December 8th, 2016 AT 7:01 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Glad you could get it fixed please use 2CarPros. Com anytime we are here to help

Best, Ken
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Monday, December 12th, 2016 AT 10:46 AM

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