Picking up faint smells of radiator coolant in the cabin of my 80

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Aug 31, 2005
Escondido, CA
Ok gents, looking for theories or confirmations here... My sometimes overly sensitive nose is picking up faint whiffs of radiator coolant in my '97 80. It began a few months back, but seems to be a regular occurrence now and perhaps a stronger smell. The odor sometimes seems to go away after driving for a while, but that could just be me getting used to the smell. I've looked at the coolant reservoir and it seems fine as does the radiator level, and there's not apparent evidence of a significant coolant leak in the truck. It's not really a problem at the moment, but might be a warning sign of a failure that I don't want to deal with when off road somewhere.

My thoughts tend to run to a faulty hose joint at the main heater core or at the rear heater core, perhaps with just a drip occurring now and then, and maybe only until it gets hot, expands and seals. Or maybe even a bad heater core itself...

The rear heater has not been bypassed as of yet and is a relatively easy and inexpensive thing to do.

I guess I could vacuum or pressure test the hose runs to the heater cores as well in an attempt to rule it out...

Anyone else ever experience this issue?
So in the interest of trying to bisect the problem between heater cores and the engine, maybe bypass one core at a time and see if the smell goes away? I haven't had to fix this on my 80 yet but in the past I had wet carpet when a heater core leaked.

I completely disconnected my rear heater and pulled it out.... So wits end has a by pass kit or was it landcruise phil

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