The car is an automatic 1997 2.2 liter Toyota Camry with ~134,000 miles. It was purchased recently from a friend and I have driven it very little. Recently I noticed a small vibrating noise coming from under the hood and a burning smell that seemed to be located near the front driver side wheel. The coolant was almost empty. I replaced the coolant and noticed some fumes coming from the vents (the ac/heater was off) which quickly fogged up the windows. The windows have always fogged up more than usual and I had thoroughly cleaned them with automotive glass cleaner because I thought this was due to the previous owner being a smoker. After driving less than 20 miles the coolant receptacle was empty (though the radiator seemed to be full to the brim).
In any case, I went to a mechanic and he told me the timing belt needed to be changed as this was causing the vibrating noise. He also said that the heater core is probably leaking (thought it would need to be inspected) and should be changed, and this is what is causing the fumes in the car. He said the burning smell is probably due to the recently changed catalytic converter getting “broken in”.
Could wear on the timing belt (and associated parts like the water pump) be causing the burning smell and fumes (rather than a leak in the heater core)? Is it standard to change the water pump when the timing belt is changed? Why would the coolant be disappearing so rapidly? How much should I expect to pay to change the heater core? Any other advice?
Thank you very much!