I was driving on the freeway and I smell something funny.. not so strange with the windows down. It could be exhaust from a nearby vehicle. The smell stays, however, and I note that it doesn't smell like burning grease or oil. My fiance notes that it smells somewhat sweet, maybe like coolant. Uh oh.
As I exit the freeway, I notice that my temp gauge is high. Stopping the car at a light allows the radiator fan to bring the temperature back down, but it quickly rises as I begin to drive again.
I arrive at my destination and lift the hood, only to find lots of smoke..and the front of the engine covered in coolant spray. I check the exhaust and find that it is not smoking or smelling funny. Good, but my coolant overflow tank is empty and things are hot. I shut it down, and let it cool before beginning any diagnostic.
I add some water to the radiator, and after the car warms back up, my father notices that there appears to be a leak in the upper radiator hose:
Upon lifting it, we find that it had contacted the radiator fan, and overtime had rubbed through.
The hose has just barely worn through (although the fan did make it through both the outer cover and the hose itself), and I was very lucky to have arrived at a place where I could troubleshoot and repair this issue (since I don't have this capability at home, and have recently taken the car on a long trip).
I purchased a new hose from subaru, which was very slightly shorter than the original one. The new hose was no where near contacting the fans or power steering/alternator pulleys which the other one touched.
At least the problem is now fixed. Too bad my car bled out on the freeway and was potentially exposed to engine-killing conditions.