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My 00 Jeep Cherokee's engine smells sweet and hot?!?

I have a 00 Jeep Cherokee with 162k miles after I drive awhile the engine smells sweet and hot! I know that it’s anti-freeze because I go through about 1/2 gal. a month. It doesn’t leak or smoke? Drives great as well? Is this terminal???

Not Yet, Scott.

You need to find out where that coolant is going before you destroy the engine. It could be fairly minor, but many minor problems become major if left unattended.

Maybe just a bit of coolant escapes from a hose or from a gasket (such as intake manifold) and cooks on the engine and doesn’t show up as a leak.

If you like driving that Jeep and would like to hang onto it, get it checked out, soon (as in now).

If the smell is in the cabin more than under the hood, it could be a leaky heater core.


As CSA says, if it was the heat core you should smell it inside the passenger compartment and if you put on the defroster, I think you should see the mist on the windshield.

Check all of your clamps if they’re worm gear/screw type. The OEM’s are tension clamps and typically don’t go bad, per se~. Replacement clamps may need to be tightened.

Do a UOA (used oil analysis) just to rule out the 0331 head casting issue. It’s a casting flaw on the valve cover side of the head (IT’S NOT THE HEAD GASKET) and the fix is to clean it up and epoxy it. I’m unsure if you would smell that except that it would eventually make it to the exhaust via blow-by via the CCV (like PCV) system.

You’re due for a refit on the hoses. 10 years is enough. The lower hose doesn’t look all that fun, but the upper and the heater hoses are a piece of cake.