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Weird smell when I park the TA in the garage

This is a discussion on Weird smell when I park the TA in the garage within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hi guys. It's been a while since I post. I have this issue that happens randomly but I can't figure ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Weird smell when I park the TA in the garage

    Hi guys. It's been a while since I post. I have this issue that happens randomly but I can't figure it out. The car is still stock, no headers. When I park the car in the garage (and close the garage door) and I come into the garage like 5 mins later I can smell what almost seems is antifreeze smell. I have checked everywhere in the engine, hoses, radiator and I found no leak. I had this issue for months now. Everytime the car cools off and I check the radiator level is normal. I don't have the smell inside the car and i don't see a leak under the passenger side so im ruling out the heater core. I checked the oil and its normal. There is some oil leak from what is looks like to be the RMS but I never smelled oil like this before. The other leak is the rear end pinion seal which it leaks some but I just add when its needed which i dont add much (so it must be a very small leak). Now I can see the rear end leak is been going on since I have the car (2 1/2 yrs now) and I can see it stuck to the exhaust, and undercarriage. I tried smelling the inside of the exhaust tail pipe. It kinda smelled like it but I can confirm it for sure. The other leak I noticed is by the A/C compressor. I guess the seal is going back so I can see a clear fluid around the compressor and other parts but is not a big leak. I wipe my finger on it but it doesn't smell like it.

    Is there a possibility the smell is from burnt rear end fluid? The car still have stock OEM cats but I don't think they smell bad when the are old or going out. It really smells like antifreeze but with the level been normal and no leaks anywhere I can't really point out is antifreeze related. Can an ofset fuel trim cause this smell? I haven't done any tunning since I send my PCM to frost for basic tunning 2 yrs ago. The car has OEM stock O2 sensors and they have 115k in them. No SES light or codes stored. Any ideas? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Jay I hate to point out that the O2's are long over due.


    Have you checked under the TB, where the cross over tubes are? Those can leak and with the engine hot can burn off and make the smell but not leak to the point it is puddling on the floor. There are also the the ports of the LS1 coolant tubes. The rear ones can leak too with age.


    Didn't you do the LS6 VCT? Did you do the LS6 coolant by pass or no?

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    when I first started reading this I was wondering if you were slinging gear lube onto the exhaust from the pinion leaking.....which leads me to this question. If you're slinging oil onto the outside of the exhaust why would you smell the inside? Stick your head under the car the next time while everything is good and hot and see if it's stronger under the car back by the passenger rear wheel well. I discovered a leaky pinion in my wifes old durango this same way.....she parked it in the garage and I went out a little bit later and smelled hot lube. Gear lube though doesn't smell exactly like oil....it has a little different smell to it.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Scott, yes I did put new plugs and did the bypass with the LS6 VCT swap. I did used a mirror to check the plugs and there is no coolant coming out. I also look at the bypass and it was good. Yes I know the O2's are long do.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Orion I did stick my head behind the wheel well and didn't smell anything. I will jack the car up and check underneath next time I smell it. I never said the gear oil will smell in the inside lol. I was refering to a leaky heater core.

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    Member blackcar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    Stick your head under the car the next time while everything is good and hot and see if it's stronger under the car back by the passenger rear wheel well.
    INB4 trip to ER for burnt nose.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Great... Thanks Blackcar. Lol.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Well it appears that is antifreeze related after all. The low coolant light came on. I looked again and nothing obvious. I see some kinda oily residue around the front bypass tube and underneath the pump gaskets but not and active leak. I cleaned the areas with a rag but it doesn't smell like antifreeze.

    I'm going to talk to my friend mechanic. He used a dye in the engine oil of my wife's car to detect where a leak was coming from with UV light. I wonder if something like that can be used in antifreeze. The other option will be pressurize the system with a tester but I don't know if it will leak since it seems to be a small leak. Once the car cools off I will check the coolant level and see how much is down.

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    Member dav-02ws6-m6's Avatar
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    Is the engine making any noise? The reason I am asking is because when I had my 02 firebird v6 started with the smell then I notice some oily substance on my oil cap then the noise came sounded like a tractor haha. It was the head gasket.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dav-02ws6-m6 View Post
    Is the engine making any noise? The reason I am asking is because when I had my 02 firebird v6 started with the smell then I notice some oily substance on my oil cap then the noise came sounded like a tractor haha. It was the head gasket.
    Nothing out of the ordinary. I have checked the oil dipstick and it had been fine. Im going to check again once is cooler.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    ok so I checked the radiator level and it was normal. The reservoir was alittle low. I checked around again for anything obvious and nothing. I checked the oil and trans dipsticks and they were normal. My friend mechanic told me they make the dye he uses for antifreeze as well. I might get me some and try it out to see if I can pin point the leak. I haven't tried a new radiator cap. I will get one before I try anything else.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    could be the weep hole in the water pump......it'll drip dead center of the car at the front of the block. Park it on cardboard or newspaper and see where it's dripping.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0rion View Post
    could be the weep hole in the water pump......it'll drip dead center of the car at the front of the block. Park it on cardboard or newspaper and see where it's dripping.
    I changed the water pump about 3 months ago for a new one. I had checked with the car running and I really don't see any active leaking at least big enough. Thats why I want to use the dye to see it with the UV light. This is kinda pissing me off because I never had such a hard to find leak. I'm sure I will find it eventually... I'm going to clean the engine bay and pay closer attention.

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    another place to check are the vent ports on top of the heads where the crossovers go. Might be leaking up there and it's burning off before it gets to the ground. There's one on the front and back of each head.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    vents? I don't have a clue of what they look like. any shape i look for?

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    oh you mean the holes for the crossover pipe and plugs go? I checked those and look okay. I see some residue in the front area but doesn't smell like antifreeze so it might be oil. Im going to clean the engine real good tomorrow and keep an eye.

    Thanks for all the ideas guys I really appreciate it.

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    Member mike171562's Avatar
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    could be your reservoir has a slow leak, mine does

  18. #18
    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike171562 View Post
    could be your reservoir has a slow leak, mine does
    I don't think so since i don't see any antifreeze. I finally checked the level of the radiator today. It is down some. Im estimating like a 1/4 gallon. I didn't had any antifreeze with me and i was at NRA pistol class. I got home and the level is back to normal in the radiator and in the reservoir. I guess I have to let it cool down before I attempt to fill it. The funny thing is that I filled the reservoir to full and right now the reservoir shows full and the radiator as well. So why it was missing coolant earlier. I will think if the radiator level is back to normal then the reservoir will be low...

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    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    When was the last time the radiator cap was changed? I only ask as I had the same issue but my reservoir was leaking. Turned out to be a defective radiator cap that was allowing coolant to escape from the overflow tank and the coolant level would be low tripping the "LOW COOLANT" light. Only other things I could think of is possibly a cracked radiator with a very slow leak, possible loose thermostat housing, defective water pump, loose radiator hoses, broken return hose between the radiator and reservoir, or a leak from a freeze plug. I think I read on Alldata about an issue with freeze plugs leaking or weeping coolant.

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    Senior Member JayTA98's Avatar
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    the cap is not the original it was changed once. I want to get a new cap and try it out. I want to get an OEM type this time. I have been busy with class today and tomorrow. I might get one radiator cap from autozone to try it out.. As far as hoses they were all changed last year and there are no active leaks on them. I will check the reservoir as well this weekend. What do you mean by freeze plugs? I don't have any leaks on the ground thats the hard part. Water pump was changed last year. Thats why I want to try the cap 1st. If it continues then I will use the dye.

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