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  1. #1

    Question prestone smell, but cant find a leak..

    when my truck is at normal opperating tempature, i go outside, and i can smell prestone, but , cant find a leak, i check the water pump no leak, ans i check at the small holle of the water pump, its a 2001 tahoe with the 5.3 L engine, they have 214,000km, i check all hose and nothing, and nothing in my driveway.... i put 1 litter of prestone, for about 6000km...... do you have any idee for a common problem.....

    i thinj i heard something, the plastic from the overflow tank can have a small crack, my 1996 impalla ss do thaht thing..... but mostly, the samll is more prsent at the front of the truck in the midle of radiator ?

  2. #2
    Sr. Apprentice Rocky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Portland, Oregon


    I suspect a pinhole in a fin of your radiator. Allows steam to pass and dry almost intantly. Very hard to visually detect.
    There are products to use to help with this, but I feel bad about putting coagulants into a system that is supposed to flow freely to keep your engine cool.
    I would live with the odor for the time being, and be searching for a new radiator.
    0311 1st MarDiv 1983-87. Semper Fi !

  3. #3


    Have it pressure tested. Found my radiator leak that way. (called 1-800-radiator had a new 2 row delivered for 180.00) ....Al

  4. #4


    I had that problem in my 96 Suburban. I always smelled antifreeze, and my coolant reservoir would never stay full, but the truck wouldn't overheat and the radiator was always full. Never thought to pressure test it since the truck ran fine. One day, i finally noticed antifreeze on the ground, Looked like everything was dry. did the pressure test, it was leaking from the front of the radiator, near the top, almost undetectable. We replaced the radiator, I drove away. No my truck is smoking, go back to the garage, and it was a leak at the valve cover. with the crack in the radiator, it wouldn't allow enough pressure for us to realize it was coming from a blown valve cover gasket... Lol, moral of the story, do the pressure test, find it before it becomes a problem...
    00 Chevy Tahoe LT, 5.3 4x4

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