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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I love this board !!! My husband is almost a Oddy mechanic :).

On my 2003 Odyssey EX (90k Miles), we have been smelling the faint smell of antifreeze for a few weeks. However, weekly checks of the antifreeze levels in the radiator and reservoir show very, very little drop in antifreeze, almost not noticeable except that we marked the levels and can tell.

So, our Honda dealer told us we have a very small hole in the top of the radiator, close to/under a mount. Of course, they want almost $700 to replace. No thanks!

My husband checked around, and found several at a reputable salvage yard for a fraction of that price.

My question is :

1) since the hole is so, so small, as evidenced by the reservoir levels hardly dropping, should it be huge concern to replace the radiator now ? <ie, will it get worse and/or damage anything else as long as everything stays the same> ?

2) other than replacing, is there any other fixes that would suffice for a hole this small ? <ie, what is the thought around stop leak and the like> ?

Thanks everyone for helping us keep our Oddy in great shape. My favorite vehicle ever !

Shannon
 

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My thoughts:

Don't use stop leak in a Honda cooling system.

Little hole on top of radiator: the top and bottom tanks on Honda radiators are made out of a fairly strong resin (plastic). I've patched small holes successfully before with JB Weld and a tiny bit of fibreglass cloth to reinforce it. You might try this first.

OF
 

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Have you seen the leak yourself or any residue from it? I had a repair shop pressure test our last van for a leak I knew was there (because of the smell) and they said the radiator had a leak. I checked later when the van was hot and finally located the leak in a small $5 hose near the firewall. There was no radiator leak. Your dealer may be telling the truth, but if you have not done so, I would look for myself when the van is hot and trace the smell to the leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies.

Yes, we have looked under the hood and cannot locate any visual leaks or indications of the leak. Also, there is never anything on our concrete floor after we move the van.

So, apparently the leak is so small that it is only smelling and is not able to be seen.

So, how do we locate the leak and try a repair such as jb weld or something similar.

Or, other than the smell, is there really any need to do the replacement at this time ? In other words, will it actually get worse, or, is there any pressure being lost that will affect other parts of the vehicle ?

Thanks!

Shannon
 

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bamagirl, Sorry, but I cannot answer your questions about it getting worse or a lack of pressure causing damage, but I would keep looking hard for the leak, probably everytime I returned from a drive where the engine got at least to operating temperature. It is likely that only while hot is the small amount of coolant coming out. If I could not see the leak from looking around the engine in the daylight and with a flashlight, specifically looking at each of the several hoses and the radiator, then I would at least try to isolate the area by where the smell is coming from (passenger side, drivers side, etc), and then keep looking. There are several smaller hoses that you can see under the hood, and some that might be hard to find. You can also identify some by looking at a diagram, like at this link below. These are just my two cents. Even if it is the radiator, I think you should be able to see where it is coming from, if you look while it is hot, but be careful. I hope it is not the radiator, but it could be. Before I let the dealer replace or even did it myself, I would want to see the leak. Maybe someone else can offer more help.

http://www.hondapartsnow.com/Page_Product/PartDetail.aspx?catalogID=50&productID=11&yearID=21&doorID=3&gradeID=8&areaID=2&transmissionID=7&originID=-1&colorLabelIDs=-1&colorLabelID=-1&sectionID=1&idAndImageID=8946 462331&isBigPicture=True&pageName=Water Hose (%2702-)
 

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The best tine to check for a leak that small is while the engine is warming up when the pressure is building up in the radiator but the radiator is not hot enough to quickly evaporate the coolant. Also look for the stain left behind by the evaporated coolant. If there are a lot of these stains or corrosion in the radiator it is probably best to just replace it. Look for a local radiator shop and get an estimate from them to repair it.
 

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Just a thought but check the reservoir tank. You might find that is has a small hole that only is reached when everything warms up.
 

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seriously, you guys are putting too much work into this. I've tried patching old radiators with the plastic on them and it works for roughly a month or two.

Youd be much better off getting a new one via ebay Like I have for every single radiator I've replaced.

You can go as low as 60 bucks or all the way up to 250. There isn't enough difference to justify the 250 dollar one over the 100 dollar one I've searched out for you below. Order it, and stop at a nearby autoshop to order replacements for all your coolant and heater hoses while you are at it. Its not a difficult job to do. Its just time consuming more than anything.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/00-01-02-03-04-99-Honda-Odyssey-KOYO-Radiator-A2270-3-5-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5889dfa13fQQitemZ380270256447QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

While you are at it, you may want to install a transmission cooler since you'll be disconnecting those same lines. You can order a cooler online too. Look for something rated about 10,000-16,000 in cold climates and 16,000-20,000 in warmer.

You can do everything at a local mechanic with the parts for about 500-600. Do it youself and its about 300.

To recap my reccomendation.

Radiator, 100 (you can search ebay yourself type in Honda odyssey radiator and look for whatever fits your own standard I chose a decent brand for you)
Transmission cooler, 50-125(depends on size and brand needs a 3/8 hose fitting)
Hoses, 60-100(haven't replaced them all yet so its my guess)
Mechanic, 200-300(optional)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Many thanks to everyone for all of the suggestions. We will continue to look for the radiator leak, then replace as needed. Love my oddy !
 

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There's also the possibility that coolant is leaking internally into the engine. One telltale sign of this is white exhaust. However, such a small quantity as you describe probably won't show itself this way. Just wanted to mention the possibility in case the coolant loss gets worse and you still cannot locate the source.
 
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