86 328GTS intermittent Coolant smell... ideas? | FerrariChat

86 328GTS intermittent Coolant smell... ideas?

Discussion in '308/328' started by Nationaltec, Jan 3, 2004.

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  1. Nationaltec

    Nationaltec Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    North County
    Full Name:
    Ok guys..

    I'm getting a little frustrated with this.. any ideas? ...

    I occasionally get a VERY BRIEF whiff of coolant while driving... Ever So Slight. It's so brief I cant even determine the source from within the car with the windows closed...

    Here's the facts.

    1. Coolant level is perfect... No loss noted and perfect coloring.
    2. No overheating, car runs in normal temp range while driving hard or easy.
    3. No drips in noted in my garage, or after a side of the road pit-stop after a 50 mile trip ( cruising at 80mph ).
    4. Waterpump pre-failure spout checked a few times.. (no problems)
    5. Hoses are less than a year old and all clamps and connections have been verified. ( *see comment on this statement below *)
    6. the rare smell has happened with the heat on and while off ...
    7. I've noticed the smell sometimes within 5 minutes of driving, other times not until more than an hour or two. ( it's happened in the morning within (5min) then after 50miles briefly, then nothing the rest of the day (>70miles returning home). wtf?

    8. I've tried smelling the front and rear compartments to isolate the source of the coolant smell.. and nothing....

    9. No steam or moisture from within the cockpit noted. i.e. no windows fogging or typical heatercore symptoms.

    10. It's not the tank overflow..

    Damm, I'm kinda feeling stupid at this point... Anyone ever have these symptoms ??

    Any help would be appreciated...

    ** verified the front radiator connections but not between that point and the engine compartment.** Not sure of the actual layout/path between the two {I'm still waiting for manuals to come in}

    ** one other hint ** One cold San Diego morning (yeah, like 45 deg) I could of swore I saw a tiny bit of steam come from my front hood vent/slots after stopping at a traffic light. (about 10 minutes time from startup). I pulled over with the engine running, popped the hood and nothing...! damm.. Yes heater was on that time.

    hope that helps...
  2. sduke

    sduke Formula Junior

    Mar 10, 2003
    The Hub City, Texas
    Full Name:
    Steven D
    Have you pressure tested your radiator cap? If the cap is a little weak it will allow just a bit of vapor to escape into the overflow tank which is vented to the atmosphere. If the cap is quite weak the system will purge fluid into the overflow causing the level to rise.

    There is a disclosing dye you could add to the sysytem if you are really bothered. The good stuff requires a blacklight to reveal the point of leakage. The cheap stuff just dyes the coolant and leaves stains.

    just a thought
  3. vref

    vref Karting

    Dec 18, 2003
    1 Hr North of Housto
    Full Name:
    What about your heater core? Get a pressure tester, pressurize the system and stick your head under the dash. Listen to see if you hear anything.
  4. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Silver Subscribed

    Jul 30, 2001
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Jim E
    My 328 smells of coolant every time I turn the heater on. I'm pretty sure my heater cores need repair because I never smell it unless they're on.
  5. Darolls

    Darolls F1 Veteran

    Jul 2, 2003
    Full Name:
    At this point, I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    I've noticed this phenomena on a few of my cars.

    As long as everything remains static i.e., coolant level, no signs of coolant migrating into engine oil etc., it may not be anything.

    Do do a leakdown test on the cooling system, as the previous poster suggested.

    There is a coolant hose underneath the f.i. intake plenum that can go undetected.

    If it's leaking slightly, coolant will drip onto the engine and be undetected, as engine heat will evaporate it before it drips on the ground.

    If it's leaking an occasional drip, it will be a long time before you'll notice a coolant level decrease.

    Again, to be on the safe side, do a pressure test on the cooling system.
  6. Nationaltec

    Nationaltec Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    North County
    Full Name:
    Thanks guys,

    I'll remove the intake plenum and verify the hidden location, then follow your advice and have a pressure test done.

    I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with this problem... but it's gets a little nerve racking constantly looking for indications.

    Do you think a common radiator shop is worth a try for a simple test and or repair?

    (It's not a matter of money, just 47miles to the nearest F-car shop)

    Appreciate the help...
  7. Darolls

    Darolls F1 Veteran

    Jul 2, 2003
    Full Name:
    If you have a reputable automotive repair shop in your area, that's probably your best bet. Most of them should be able to pressure test the system, and repair the leak if one is found.

    Most radiator repair shops I know of, at least in my area, only repair carry-in radiators. They don't test cooling systems or R&R radiators.

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