I smell coolant, but can't see/find a leak
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This is a discussion on I smell coolant, but can't see/find a leak within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; as the title says i can smell coolant coming from somewhere, but it doesn't seem to be getting low on ...

  1. #1
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    I smell coolant, but can't see/find a leak

    as the title says i can smell coolant coming from somewhere, but it doesn't seem to be getting low on on coolant and i don't see puddles under it or anything like that. no sign of it in the oil either. any ideas? only has 57K miles on it, so i'm not thinking it would be something like a head gasket....

    any thoughts/ideas would be much appreciated. thanks
    Josh
    Blue 08 WRX Limited-Cobb AP Stage 2-AEM CAI-Perrin Short throw/bushings-Turbosmart BPV

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Pressure test the system.
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    Registered User wrxjdm's Avatar
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    check the hoses, there probably is a small leak. Mine was leaking where I had my temp gauge in between the hose from radiator.
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    +1 on pressure test, sometimes a leak is so small that you just get a drop or two coming from the underside of a hose fitting. Very difficult to find visually, but the smell is there. Another possibility is that the hole in the overflow tank through which the hose from the radiator cap passes is a little bigger than the hose and a coolant smell wafts up from the overflow tank.

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    first things first, pressure test the system. but i have seen hoses leak under the intake manifold and the reason you will not see it is because it will puddle up on top of the block and steam, leaving you with just a smell. you might have to pull the intercooler to get a good look.

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    How do I pressure test it?
    Josh
    Blue 08 WRX Limited-Cobb AP Stage 2-AEM CAI-Perrin Short throw/bushings-Turbosmart BPV

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    you need a pressure tester. if you live around the panhandle in fl, you can come to my shop and ill do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 08wrx331 View Post
    How do I pressure test it?
    Unless you have the specialized equipment, you don't. But you can read up on the procedure so you know what is going to be done. Then try to find out from other WRX owners in your area (maybe use the Regional forum to start) the names of mechanics near Alamosa who have a good reputation for working on WRXs. Call the shops and ask them about pressure testing your system. When you get a good vibe and a good price, make an appointment.

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    Found the leak. Thermostat housing, drips right on the headers. I'm on 60k miles and it says to change out the coolant, so should I put a new gasket/o-ring in along with coolant and a thermostat in?
    Josh
    Blue 08 WRX Limited-Cobb AP Stage 2-AEM CAI-Perrin Short throw/bushings-Turbosmart BPV

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    Quote Originally Posted by 08wrx331 View Post
    Found the leak. Thermostat housing, drips right on the headers. I'm on 60k miles and it says to change out the coolant, so should I put a new gasket/o-ring in along with coolant and a thermostat in?
    The thermostat housing itself leaks where it mates to the water pump? Or is the hose leaking?
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    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
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    Leaks where it's meeting the pump I believe I can text you a pic
    Josh
    Blue 08 WRX Limited-Cobb AP Stage 2-AEM CAI-Perrin Short throw/bushings-Turbosmart BPV

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    That's OK about the pic, I know what you mean. This should not be happening. I'd get an authentic Subaru gasket and authentic Subaru coolant. If the leak were to come back, I'd get another authentic Subaru gasket and also change the thermostat housing itself with a new, authentic Subaru unit. You may as well change the thermostat; if you do, again use the correct part from a dealer.

    I've seen the housing pit and become very difficult to seal on the surface with the hose, but not on the surface with the pump. I suppose either is possible. Ask the dealer for the correct torque specs for the two bolts for your specific model.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Are original Subaru parts absolutely necessary? I don't have a dealership anywhere nearby
    Josh
    Blue 08 WRX Limited-Cobb AP Stage 2-AEM CAI-Perrin Short throw/bushings-Turbosmart BPV

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    Nice catch, that must have been a PITA to find. According to the manual for my 2002 (your 2008 may be different) you should install a new gasket with a new thermostat. Cheap insurance, especially if that mating surface is leaking. I did a thermostat install about a year ago with the car on the ground, which was a huge mistake because I could not move around enough or lift my head enough to see the housing bolts when I was re-installing the housing. IMHO you would do yourself a favor to lift the front end and put it on jack stands and remove the front tires. Save you time and aggravation in the long run.

    As to the question of genuine vs OEM, I'd second SD_GR's suggestion. You can order the parts over the web and have them in hand before you start. Or you can take a chance with aftermarket, check regularly, and be resigned to having to do the work again if a leak develops. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 08wrx331 View Post
    Are original Subaru parts absolutely necessary? I don't have a dealership anywhere nearby
    Imitation parts are not the way to go on this. If you cannot find something labeled "Subaru" you can use something labeled "Gates" with the exception of the thermostat gasket. This gasket is better in the named "Subaru" version than the "Gates" version. I'd only use an authentic thermostat but that's just me.

    I avoid imitation parts. There are reasons.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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