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Old 05-20-2012, 10:27 AM   #1
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2002 Cavalier - Coolant Smell

Hey guys, my fiance is having an issue with her 2002 Cavalier and I need some help. There is a faint coolant smell inside the cabin, which becomes stronger if the A/C is used. I see no puddle under the car at rest and I've checked the hoses, none of them seem loose and none of them are covered in coolant. I also placed paper towels under the dash to see if it was leaking from the inside (heater core) and they are still dry. Has anyone dealt with this issue before and are there any shops in Raleigh you'd recommend to fix this at a reasonable price? Thanks in advance for your help!---Dan
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:50 AM   #2
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Just because you're not getting any antifreeze on the towel does not rule out a bad heater core. If the smell is worse with the ac on, that's the first place I'd go. There is only one place you'd get a coolant smell inside the car....
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input, I have no clue where to start on this. Know of any local shops I could check out?
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:03 AM   #4
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First and foremost are you having to add any coolant?
Ive seen mold/mildew build up on A/C components that the smell could be mistaken for coolant I guess
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:11 AM   #5
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First and foremost are you having to add any coolant?
Yes I am. The reservoir was about 1/4 of the way full yesterday, and I filled it up. Did a couple of errands with it (about 2 hours of driving total) and it was 1/2 full by the time I got back home.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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There is a drain for the air box on the front side of the firewall. My guess is that it's dripping coolant when the engine in warm and the system is pressurized. Mine is an 04, but your girlfriends car should look similar, if not identical. It's the black piece between the ac lines...


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Old 05-20-2012, 12:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the picture. I'll check it out.
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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Looks like you might be right...would it leak this bad just from the drain itself?







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Old 05-20-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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Those cars are notorious for heater core issues, and as you've seen mentioned above, there is a catch can that drains out the firewall.

The good news is, it's actually an easier job than most cars. The dash doesn't have to be removed.
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:58 PM   #10
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Those heater cores are fairly easy to do. If you don't want to tackle it yourself, you can bring it to my shop in eastern Raleigh. While I can't get you any sort of discount, I can guarantee a good job and a 3 year 36k warranty. The shop is USA Automotive. PM me if you want more info.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:29 PM   #11
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Those heater cores are fairly easy to do. If you don't want to tackle it yourself, you can bring it to my shop in eastern Raleigh. While I can't get you any sort of discount, I can guarantee a good job and a 3 year 36k warranty. The shop is USA Automotive. PM me if you want more info.
Props to Matt for helping me out with this, car is running superbly!
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:48 PM   #12
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If anybody is wondering, you don't completely have to remove the dash, but I did have to roll it forward a bit to get the heater core cover to clear a dash bracket. Nice meeting you Dan.



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Old 05-31-2012, 02:52 PM   #13
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Good deal guys. If mine pops, I'll be in touch lol.
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I like it black as I can get it.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:39 PM   #14
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Pics of girlfriend or ban.
jkidding.
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:33 PM   #15
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I have had a few of these gm j-body cars and gotta be honest. I have never seen a heater core gone bad on one. I have always flushed the dex-crap out of mine though. Im guessing thats what caused the problems with yours?
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:42 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Pics of girlfriend or ban.
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I worked on the car and I didn't even see this mysterious girl. Hmmmmmmmm


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I have had a few of these gm j-body cars and gotta be honest. I have never seen a heater core gone bad on one. I have always flushed the dex-crap out of mine though. Im guessing thats what caused the problems with yours?
Heater core was leaking where the tubes meet the side tanks. Certainly not the first or last cavvy to do it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:00 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=GTA matt;1735994]I worked on the car and I didn't even see this mysterious girl. Hmmmmmmmm

Ok I'll bite, lol





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Old 06-04-2012, 12:43 PM   #18
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Definitely a looker, too much clothes though. Props for being a good sport lol
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:17 PM   #19
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Tell her she ie very pretty,but I am sure she already knows.
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:38 PM   #20
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Thank you sirs.
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:44 PM   #21
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Just because you're not getting any antifreeze on the towel does not rule out a bad heater core. If the smell is worse with the ac on, that's the first place I'd go. There is only one place you'd get a coolant smell inside the car....
+++ this 1
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:03 PM   #22
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If anybody is wondering, you don't completely have to remove the dash, but I did have to roll it forward a bit to get the heater core cover to clear a dash bracket. Nice meeting you Dan.
I'm having a similar problem with my 2002 cavalier. There's a coolant smell when the car gets too hot, and it's getting too hot because somewhere the coolant is leaking out. My grandpa and I have traced it to a suspicious 90 degree rubber hose on the firewall that we're guessing is the drain for the AC and Heater Core. We're not entirely sure what it is though and we'd like a second opinion before we buy a new heater core and go about replacing it. I'm a little far away so I probably won't be able to make it to your shop XD, but we'd appreciate some advice. I can post pictures if necessary.
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