Coolant small after timing belt and water pump replacement

I have a 1998 Toyota Camry (LE)with 92,000 miles on it. Recently I had the timing belt and water pump replaced for preventive reasons.After the job was done, there was a smell of coolant in the front of my car and a few drops in my carport.

I took it back to my mechanic who replaced the o rings on the flip side of the timing belt and thermostat. He said he wasn’t working in that area but did this anyway. There is still a smell of coolant which increases after 15-20 minutes of driving. This is maddening because I have had no problems with the car…I bought it at 65,000 miles. What is causing the coolant smell? Is the timing belt too tight? How would I know?

If there’s drips in your carport, there should be some leaking evident in your engine compartment or drops on the bottom of your engine somewhere. However, these clues might be erased by you driving it your mechanic, so you may need to do some looking yourself in the morning or let him have it overnight. My guess is that it will either be obviously leaking from a hose connection or from the radiator, in which case it’s a worn-out unrelated component, or it will be leaking from behind the timing belt cover (which will be behind where the external belt is) in which case it’s probably either a water pump connection or possibly a defective water pump.

If it’s either of the latter two possibilities, he’ll have to basically re-do the repair on his dime, so try to be understanding that he wants to be sure before he does that. Also, if it is something leaking unrelated to the water pump area, it’s not unheard of that something that doesn’t leak on a weak older water pump will start to leak with the correct pressure generated by a new water pump.

I don’t know how the water pump attaches on a '98 Camry, but a few months ago I replaced the timing belt and water pump on my wife’s '90 Celica. On that engine (5sfe) the water pump bolted directly onto the engine block. There are o-ring seals around the input/output holes on the water pump that keep the coolant from leaking. If it’s leaking there though, then as GreaseyJack said it would require re-doing the job to correct it. I think there were three holes in the back of the water pump and maybe another two hoses that attached near the thermostat, plenty of places for a leak to happen. Hopefully it’s leaking from someplace easy to fix. BTW, the tension on the timing belt wouldn’t cause the coolant smell.

Wow! Greasyjack and barky 2, you guys are great! I understand so much better about what could be causing the leak. My mechanic is great and my car is there now since he told me he might have to “go deeper” and remove the timing belt cover (I think that’s what he said).

Should I reimburse him for his time? What do you guys think? And thanks very much for your responses.

No need to reimburse him unless he finds something totally unrelated. Your mechanic’s labor rate and parts mark up take into account a certain number of re-do’s.

nice play fellows,please! fear factor rerun

what parts were listed on the original list?

if there was NO water pump seal (usually listed as waterpump oring, or seal) listed, then the guy did an incomplete job.

time to find a new mechanic. i hope you are not trolling at the dealer!