occasional coolant smell- normal?

skohler

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Aug 4, 2014
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I have an L3800 HST with 78 hours on it and on occasion I catch a very slight coolant smell. I would say I notice it under load- like driving through a field at a decent rate (for a tractor). It has never overheated, it does not smoke or loose coolant and the oil is not milky. 50 hour service was done in the fall at the dealer. On occasion I will notice the temp is up more than normal if hogging the field, but I just stop and clear the radiator screen and it goes right back to normal.


It is still under warranty, but I don't want to go through the hassle of getting it to the dealer if it is normal. This is my first tractor so all is new to me.


Thanks
Steve
 

Daren Todd

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Check all the hose clamps on the system after the engine has been heated to operating temperature. You could be getting an occasional drip that gives you the smell, but not enough to cause the level to appear low. The engine heat causes the clamps to exand a little and to actually loosen up slightly.
 

Grouse Feathers

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Check your overflow tank if the level is too high it may overflow when the radiator heats up and vents into the overflow tank. I got my tank a little high when I added coolant after installing a heater in the cab. Occasionally I get a whiff of coolant.
 

skohler

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Thank you both, I will check the clamps and overflow tank. I even thought perhaps it was a pin hole in a hose that leaked a bit when really working. If the clamps are able to be tightened, I may just go ahead and do it.

Steve
 

ShaunRH

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I found out on my L3200 that when worked, it BLOWS the coolant back into the tank and at pressure! It lets the tank act as an emergency radiator and pulls it back in but if you smell coolant, stop and check- right away. I didn't and within a couple of minutes it had blown almost all the coolant out of the reservoir.

I got it stopped and cooled down in time but I am all over that smell and the temp gauge now. I'm going to alarm the unit as well for over temp.
 

Tooljunkie

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Pressure-vacuum system. As engine heats up, coolant expands. At some point it expands enough to purge some coolant into overflow tank. As engine cools it draws that expelled coolant back into rad. So likely what you are smelling is that burp of hot coolant going into overflow. Marking tank when engine is cold and using that as a reference before starting will help you derermine if its leaking or not. A pinhole of any sort will leak. Will leak more when hot.

Hose clamps will seep if loose.

Had issues with rads that would leak in cold temps,aluminum with plastic tanks all seep in the cold.
 

Grouse Feathers

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ShaunRH It sounds like you might have a problem, maybe the thermostat or a bad radiator cap. The cap should just be letting the expanding fluid trickle out to the expansion tank. If its blowing out you have too much pressure, the cap is sticking or spring is weak.
 

silversurfer

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My l3800 has a small leak on the right side not sure where it's coming from I have 124 hoys on it. Should I put stop leak in it or take in in for repair?
 
Last edited:

Daren Todd

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I wouldn't put stop leak in, until you figure out where the leak is. If it's a slight leak by a hose clamp the stop leak won't fix it. I've had mixed luck with stop leak. And only use it in an emergency. Too much and it clogs the fins internally and have had it mess up thermostats on newer equipment. Some of the newer thermostats have extremely tight clearances when they open and doesn't take much to clog them up:)


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Tooljunkie

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Salesman's secret weapon. Pound the stopleak to is and flip it. Guess the weapon is a grenade -with the pin pulled-dint know when its gonna explode.

Had a sunfire in the shop-blown head gasket that seller tried to hide. Contacted him, pointed out the written warranty and mentioned court. He paid out for repairs without hesitation.

Moral of the story, buyers inspection- open rad cap and look. If it dont look right stay away.

A properly repaired leak is a better selling feature.
 

ShaunRH

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ShaunRH It sounds like you might have a problem, maybe the thermostat or a bad radiator cap. The cap should just be letting the expanding fluid trickle out to the expansion tank. If its blowing out you have too much pressure, the cap is sticking or spring is weak.
No, it was a mildly blocked radiator. It caused an overheat condition. I was cutting tufted grass with my rotary cutter and just enough of the little 'fluffy' tufts got through the screen and plugged enough of the cores to make it overheat. There is not much cooling overhead on these units. That is why I said to never assume it was a minor thing. Stop and check it out.
 

skohler

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Gettysburg, PA
I had it out this weekend and I can still smell the coolant. The overflow reservoir had coolant maybe 1/4 inch above the low mark, but the overflow tube was cold as was the overflow coolant. So it was not blowing hot coolant through the vent or overflow reservoir. With the hood up and engine running maybe 2000 rpm I can smell coolant around the left side of the engine, but can't see any leaks. Hoses were dry including around the clamps.

I went ahead and filled the reservoir up to the full line and made sure the radiator was full (it was).

I'll check the levels over the next few weeks and report back.

Steve