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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Folks:

Our 2000 with 151,000 miles will frequently have the smell of antifreeze when you stop it and are parked in the garage (obviously outside it smells but a breeze makes it hard to detect). I've also noticed I now have to add replacement fluid to the reserve tank as it is clearly losing coolant.

I replaced the cap (easiest attempted fix, I figure). I've look over the radiator and seen no apparent leaks.

Where are the best places to look next? I've inspected both the top and bottom hoses (flow in and out) and both squeeze fine and are not wet.

I suppose I should check the train plug as maybe it is slightly (ever so) open.

Keep in mind the odor is only when it is hot (up to pressure) and when you are near the front end. To me, it is leaking and not "burning" coolant as that is a very different smell and clearly comes out the exhaust.

Oh, and the water pump was replaced when the timing belt came off around 110K.

Thoughts?
 

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Check the seams, top and bottom, where the plastic meets the metal of the radiator -- these separate after time. Also the water pump may have failed again -- there is a weep hole where fluid drains if the seals fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Update:

I took a flash light and inspected the top and came across a very small area (one column) that appears to have issues. See the attached picture. Its on the driver side, a few inches from the edge. I suppose this is a clear indication of a leak; however, I find it hard to believe such a small area would produce odor, but I'm guessing this is the cause. Perhaps under pressure it just vents off enough to make it smell. I only have to replace fluid into the back up tank once every few months.

Looks like it is time to replace my radiator.
 

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It takes a VERY small coolant leak to make a smell. Also, the fans on the radiator whip that odor around which doesn't help.

With the new radiator, I would totally drain and re-fill the coolant system. It's a good time to go ahead and do it. I typically get a jug of Prestone and a 1 gallon jug of distilled water, which is 80 cents or so. Don't buy the 50/50 mix antifreeze, mix it yourself for MUCH less. The one gallon of antifreeze and the one gallon of distilled should be enough to do the whole system.

Check the rubber hoses and replace if necessary, Honda used a good grade of rubber so they last a VERY long time. Re-use the stock spring clamps if at all possible, they seem goofy but they work EXTREMELY well. They maintain constant pressure on the hose with expansion/contraction and don't cut into the hose like worm drive clamps.

Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dale:

Would you try to flush out the old fluid from the block before putting the new radiator in? This might sound a bit anal retentive here, but I'm confident my fluid is too old and caused premature wear on the inside.

I just think that once I've got the old one out, I don't want the fluid that remains in the block and pump to flow into the new system and fluid.

Hummm..

Also, what is the "right" way to dispose of coolant?
 

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Dale:

Would you try to flush out the old fluid from the block before putting the new radiator in? This might sound a bit anal retentive here, but I'm confident my fluid is too old and caused premature wear on the inside.

I just think that once I've got the old one out, I don't want the fluid that remains in the block and pump to flow into the new system and fluid.

Hummm..

Also, what is the "right" way to dispose of coolant?
Good luck with opening the block drain -- it is a PITA, hard to get to and I have never been able to get good purchase on it with a wrench in order to open it. Apply sealant if you are successful.

Unlike waste oil, most parts stores will not accept waste anti freeze -- so you will have to go to your city hazardous waste place.

There is a whole thing about using only Honda brand antifreeze because it does not attack aluminum, etc. -- but the argument rages for and against, and that is for another day and time -- suit yourself on this. Crack open your old radiator and check for corrosion and clogging.
 

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Forget the block plug. Drain rad and replace. Also, check the coolant crossover passage on the trans side of the heads. Some have a coolant leak from the gaskets.
 

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Dale:

Would you try to flush out the old fluid from the block before putting the new radiator in? ***snip***
I would certainly drain the block at this time. In fact, it's impossible to drain all the coolant from the system because of the rear heater. So drain as much as possible to minimize contamination of the fresh coolant with the old. (There are two block drain plugs, front and rear.)

As Dale said, check the rubber radiator and heater hoses. In fact, I would go one step further and just replace them for the peace of mind. It's not much extra work since you are draining the coolant anyway.
 

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If it were me, I would consider replacing the 11 year old thermostat too at the same time as the hoses, if you go this route.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good points on all accounts. I think I'll drop a new thermostat in. They are not that much and DO fail eventually. I'll inspect the hoses closely. Right now they look like they are in excellent condition.

I could use some opinions on the replacement radiator. I'm not going OEM. Can't justify the cost for what I'm going to get on a Van with 150K.

Local O'Reilly store has them for $199.00, life-time guarantee.

So I looked up a few on ebay. It is really hard to tell what is quality and what isn't. In fact, I can't tell.

So please give me your opinions are on the following options. I'm numbering them on this post to make easier to reply.

#1
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 HONDA ODYSSEY RADIATOR - eBay (item 320525171062 end time Mar-26-11 10:34:05 PDT)

#2 (same seller, different price)
New 1 Row Aluminum High Quality Radiator - eBay (item 390284011298 end time Mar-27-11 16:28:09 PDT)

#3
Honda Odyssey Radiator 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 - eBay (item 200560765923 end time Apr-01-11 18:37:58 PDT)

#4
1999-2004 Honda Odyssey Radiator - Replacement P2270 - Aluminum core, OE replacement
 

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Rockauto has radiators for under $100. I bought a Spectra from them. One of the oil cooler bulkhead fittings was loose which caused an initial small drip, but once I snugged it up, it's been fine (about 5 months so far).
 

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I recently had to replace the rad in mine....what a PITA!!!:rant:

Unfortunately, cause I'm broke, I had to find the cheepest possible rad...I ended up driving into Toronto to purchase one at an "Asian Only" specialty import parts store.

I found no problems with fit or function. Works just like the original. Although the factory "temp gauge" is nowhere near an accurate instrument, the needle rises no higher at operating temp than it did before-so the new rad's doing it's job.

I only got a 90-day warranty on the thing, but wtf? It was half the price I was quoted as "trade" at my local NAPA dealer and my close bud who is a Honda parts manager couldn't do me any better, either.

The one caution I would offer when replacing is this: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, TRY TO SHORTCUT ON THE REMOVAL/REPLACEMENT PROCEDURE IN THE SHOP MANUAL!!! Trust me on this one, I lost WAY too much blood that day...:mad: You have to remove every piece Honda tells you to in the shop manual or you ain't gettin' that POS out!:mad:

Hope this helps.:dunno:

Regards,
Shea:)
 

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IMHO, I think the "Use Honda Antifreeze" is BS. Use GOOD antifreeze like Prestone and distilled water and drain/fill every year or 2. Been doing that in my RX-7's since forever, the rotary engines in those cars use a sandwich of cast iron and aluminum housings that are VERY susceptible to corrosion. Using the above, I've never had problems, and I've broken down the motors that I've run and seen how the insides look.

The biggest trick on antifreeze is simply CHANGING it and using distilled water to mix with it. That's really it.

I haven't tried to access the block drain on my Oddy, on the RX-7 it's a piece of cake to get to, so I'll say that others may have more experience there. But, that's the only way to really get all the old stuff out, you only get maybe half draining the radiator. You can get those flush kits that let you hook up a garden hose and flush it out - that does help and can be a solution, but you're running plain tap water through, a lot of which remains in the system. Some areas have better water than others. But, that can be a way to go if all else fails.

Dale
 

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IMHO, I think the "Use Honda Antifreeze" is BS. Use GOOD antifreeze like Prestone and distilled water and drain/fill every year or 2. Been doing that in my RX-7's since forever, the rotary engines in those cars use a sandwich of cast iron and aluminum housings that are VERY susceptible to corrosion. Using the above, I've never had problems, and I've broken down the motors that I've run and seen how the insides look.

The biggest trick on antifreeze is simply CHANGING it and using distilled water to mix with it. That's really it.

I haven't tried to access the block drain on my Oddy, on the RX-7 it's a piece of cake to get to, so I'll say that others may have more experience there. But, that's the only way to really get all the old stuff out, you only get maybe half draining the radiator. You can get those flush kits that let you hook up a garden hose and flush it out - that does help and can be a solution, but you're running plain tap water through, a lot of which remains in the system. Some areas have better water than others. But, that can be a way to go if all else fails.

Dale
Yep, x2 on the Honda Antifreeze.

One of my best friends is a Honda Dealer parts manager-think I mentioned that earlier. When I asked about this very thing, he said I didn't need to bother buying Honda coolant, just use good quality Aftermarket. I used Prestone "Multivehicle" premixed (yeah, I'm lazy:DD). Just check the back of the label for compatibility with Honda vehicles.

Draining the whole block would be good, but I'll admit I didn't. I'll try and do it next time, but "next time" I won't be laying in 6" of snow in my driveway in mid-January-I'll wait until warmer weather!:DD

One other tip I'll share, via my Honda bud-Apparently, the majority of coolant leaks they've seen at their dealer were from corrosion failure of the spring clamp on the lower rad hose. Mine was also rusty and weak. REPLACE that thing! A screw clamp will work just fine as long as you don't overtighten it, remember the rad tank is only plastic!

Hope this helps, best of luck with your rad swap!

Regards,
Shea:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm doing it tomorrow. Bought a new Rad for about $130. It was a bit nicer than some for $100. Overall not a bad price. I'll let you guys know how it goes and if I learn anything new. I've taken advice read from other posts (e.g. put card board around it while inserting to protect your fins, etc). Here's to a garage full of coolant and oil.....
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Done. Took longer than expected. 4 hours total, but I also changed the oil while I was down there. Worst part was the ATF lines and those LAME clamps. I used the OEM clamps; looked tight still. As soon as I was done I noticed the replacement radiator shipped with worm clamps in the bottom of the box. OUCH. I could have saved a good 30 min by using those clamps. If I find it slowly leaks over the next weeks I'll put them on.

Good job to keep my mechanic skills sharp. It did get a bit frustrating being under and trying to find some of the screw holes into the fans. They are not visible unless you lift your head up against the oil pan.

All in all, I'm just glad it is done. I'm sure I saved $200 or more in labor.

(By the way, my radiator had more than just one leak. It had five or six areas that have been leaking over time. All were hidden by the fans. It really needed to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So a quick follow up for those in the know. After I had replaced everything and added coolant, I squeeze the upper tube in an effort to burp some of the air out. Please keep in mind I didn't do a full flush, etc. So I don't expect a lot of air got into the system. Anyway, I drove it around the block (1/2 mile) only in 2nd to try to generate some heat. Temp. gauge went about 1/2 way up as usual; fans never kicked on, which doesn't surprise me as it's 50 degrees here. I did get the a/c fan to kick on when I turn on the air.

To my question, is there more bleeding I need to do to ensure no air is in the system? Wouldn't any air flow into the radiator and stay at the top? When it cooled down I was able to add another 10 to 14 oz. of coolant. I figure that difference was probably the air that was in the system.

Thoughts?
 

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***snip*** To my question, is there more bleeding I need to do to ensure no air is in the system? Wouldn't any air flow into the radiator and stay at the top? When it cooled down I was able to add another 10 to 14 oz. of coolant. I figure that difference was probably the air that was in the system.

Thoughts?
That should do it. If you didn't already, run the heat at maximum for a while to purge any air from the front and rear heater plumbing. Then you should be good to go.
 

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Yeah, you're probably okay. I found when i did mine, it took a couple of days' driving to get rid of all the air-my drive to work is only 5km each way.;) I think I only had to add a litre or so (1/4 gallon for my U.S. friends:DD).

Don't worry about "leftovers," I found the threaded inserts to mount the fans in the bottom of the box after I ran to the store to look for a suitable replacement.:rollingeyes:

Glad it went well.

Regards,
Shea:)
 
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