Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Car overheating? or umm...steaming? I have no idea Firebird

I have a 1995 3.4l v6 automatic Firebird with 98,035 miles on it. When the temperature gauge reaches 190 degrees smoke/steam comes from under the hood like clock work. It has a smell to it (which is why I assume it’s smoke not steam) but I can’t put my finger on what the smell is. I have put in a new water pump and new thermostat, and fuel pump/line. The car also heats up to about 230 degrees then the fan kicks on and cools to about 200+/-. It seems like after the fan kicks on I have no more smoke/steam almost like it is blowning away to where I can’t see it or it just ceases to exist. Also, I first notice the smoke on the driver side (where oil filter is) and then it progress to come out from everywhere under the hood. Also, my heater stopped working (I state this because I read here that the heater sometimes can be effected by the water pump not working correctly). Anyone have suggestions on where this mysterious smoke is coming from or what steps I should take to fix it? Thanks in advance!

Does the odor smell somewhat like maple syrup? It’s antifreeze. You are now low on coolant. That’s why your heater quit working properly too. It’s leaking somewhere. Top off the radiator when it is completely cooled off, and fill the plastic coolant reservoir to the appropriate level. The temperature and pressure will spike probably five minutes after you shut it off. Pop the hood then, and look for leaks. Under the high pressure, you should see something leaking somewhere. My guess is it will be the water pump bolted to the front of the engine. It has a “weep hole” on the bottom which will be the place to look. Another tell tale sign of a leaking water pump is the serpentine belt slinging coolant onto the hood. Also look at all of the hoses, and the plastic ends of the radiator.

Smoke under the hood, if it is smoke and not steam, is usually caused by an oil leak onto the manifold or something else that’s hot. It could also be tranny fluid or power steering fluid.

MAPLE SYRUP!!! that’s what the smell is…I checked my radiator and the coolant reservoir…both bone dry. I can see a leak…it’s right on the mainfold. So if I understand you correctly I have two leaks? oil(or tranny,power steering fluid) and coolant?

Check the other fluid levels, including PS, transmission and oil. Make sure they are OK and that you are not loosing fluid. Also find the coolant leak and get it fixed.

We know there is a coolant leak, the others we don’t know about.

BTW if you have not changed the brake fluid in the last three years, it is due. Change that one for safety sake.

Your cars body style likes to trap debris and prevent the radiator from getting a good supply of cooling air,check it out.

Everything else is fine. When I let some of the fluid drip onto a napkin right above the mainfold it was clear like water but nothing I had smelled before…

What have you been refilling with, proper coolant. If you have been putting water in, it will boil easier. Check the cooling system cap or just replace it. It might have failed.