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Given that the anti-freeze into the cabin ranges from none to immediate health issues I'm not surprised that GM is having a hard time tracking this down. I suspect there are a variety of problems that cause this issue.
 

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Here is an update on the work being done to my Cruze.....

I have had the seal replaced, hose added to bottle, and heater core replaced, all to no avail.

Next steps are to replace some of the heater core mounting structure with the thought that it is porous and may have soaked up antifreeze from the leaking heater core.
Has your dealership checked the material under the floor base carpet? It is porous and will absorb anti-freeze.
 

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Cruzex, welcome to CruzeTalk and thank you for your well thought out comments.
 

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Truepath - the Cruze has a relatively small interior and it tends to fog over quickly as a result. I'm not trying to belittle the anti-freeze smell issue as it is a serious issue that GM definitely needs to resolve, just noting that your breath exhaust is closer to the side window than you may be accustomed to.

Welcome to Cruzetalk and congrats on your Cruze.
 

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I'm assuming the statement
They tell me (3 different GM service garages) that they can't smell it.
indicates three different dealerships. The big question is are they owned by three different people.
 

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milehigh - did they at least refill your coolant level for you?
 

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The fill point in the Cruze is the highest point in the coolant system. You definitely need more coolant because your coolant level is so low that air will be sucked into the cooling system.
 

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I had bad smells from the heater when I first bought the car, but I just attributed it to new plastics, etc. I bought the car in the spring, and I just ran it with the heater on full hot with the windows down for ~30 minutes.

It still occasionally smells like hot plastic once it gets good and hot, and that's because it is just hot plastic. The vents and ducts get HOT - consider that a typical home gas forced air system puts out air roughly around 160-170F; the Cruze is putting it out well over 200F. That little metal thing on the vent hurts if you touch it.

I still think many are experiencing a smell from the expansion tank/cap itself, as it definitely smells like coolant OUTSIDE the car, and that vapor is drawn straight into the air intake.

This grease does also not explain why coolant smells suddenly started for people that had their car last winter and suddenly appeared with 10-15,000 miles on them.
Excessive glycol based grease can explain why it's taking so long for some cars to start stinking. The excess grease is overheating and breaking down, releasing fumes as it does so. It takes time for this to occur.
 

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I've read that thread already, I'm fairly skeptical that "Grease" is the culprit of this problem. Sounds like a really easy fix, that took 3 years to figure out? Sounds too good to be true.
Glycol based grease in the ducting would easily explain the smells I get. First, I only get them when I'm using the heater - I can run my fan on 4 with the A/C on or with just outside air and I get no smell other than from the feed lot I'm currently driving by or the diesel exhaust from the diesel SUV that just blew by me or vice versa, so I know I'm getting outside air. Second, the smell is only really bad when I use my windshield defroster. Any other position for the vents when running the heater is tolerable even though I do get some smell. This tells me the smell source must be either the heater core or in the ducting with the bulk of the duct based smell being in the duct that is opened when using the defroster.

As an engineer I can understand why it took so long to figure this out. If you look at all the reports of anti-freeze mysteriously dissappearing from the car, combined with a small percentage of faulty water pumps and water pump seals, combined with the fact that this grease and anti-freeze are both glycol based so they have very similar odors, you get a really strange set of circumstances that make troubleshooting extremely hard. Having a dealership technician find out about this grease was literally a stroke of luck and now allows GM to focus on not one large hard problem, but two smaller and separate problems - one (maybe two) in the engine bay and one in the passenger cabin. Having that same dealership's management feed this information back to GM corporate was priceless as GM is now passing this information along to all their dealerships.
 

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UPDATE: Got my car back, ran it back and forth to work and I'm still smelling coolant, so it looks like this did not work for me. Will be calling my dealership manager on Monday, to ask that we get the ball rolling on the buy back. Enough is enough with this issue, 3 unsuccessful repair attempts is plenty for me. I can hear the Toyota down the road calling me.
Get the dealership to actually show you what they have tried. Then see if there is something that someone has had success here that wasn't tried. Do you smell coolant when you're not running the heater (temp knob on full cold) and you're running the fan on 4 while pulling air in from outside? If so, are you smelling coolant under the engine hood? I ask because this issue is really starting to smell like two different issues - engine bay coolant leak/pressure relief problem vs. cabin ducts.
 

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There are two ABS tests. One can and frequently does occur while the car is sitting still. The other one requires the ABS hub being tested actually be spinning because it triggers the ABS system on the wheel. The clunk at 20 KPH is the second test.
 

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Outside air comes in from a vent at the base of the windshield, but outside the car. It does not come through the engine bay. However, if you're leaking coolant at the fill tank you may get fumes from the tank as the intake is directly behind the tank and in the line of the overhood air flow.
 

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Puller, did they check for and remove excess grease in the duct work? This grease appears to by glycol based and when it heats up and starts breaking down it smells very similar to coolant.
 

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The good news is that they actually have a place to investigate besides the engine compartment.
 

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The 1.4T engine isn't the problem. There are two issues with the coolant smell. One is a possible issue with engine coolant pressure causing the coolant cap to release coolant to protect the engine. The other, which is much more likely is that the smell isn't coming from the engine compartment at all. I have checked under my hood several times now and the smell I'm getting inside the passenger cabin is NOT emanating from the engine. I check by stopping the car, opening the hood, and sniffing. Definitely not the same smell. Also, I suspect, although I haven't checked, that the threads on coolant smell started only after the temperatures in the US and Canada started dropping and we started using the car heaters. If my recollection on the timing of this issue is correct then the coolant smell cannot be coming from the engine bay as it's not there when we're not running our heaters.
 

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I will agree that there are possibly two issues regarding the coolant smell. When I had the tape/tube/seal job done correctly there was a noticeable difference inside the cabin. As I mentioned in a previous posting the vapors were entering the cabin when my coolant temp was moving into the 170 range before the tape/tube/seal job. After the completion of the work the vapors were not noticeable until the temp was moving into the 200 range. So the question remains:

1 - Did the tape/tube/seal job work as designed keeping the engine compartment vapors out of the cabin? (Possibly "yes" if it is two issues--one in the engine compartment and one inside the cabin).
2 - If it tape/tube/seal job did work, why are the vapors still appearing? (Possibly coming from somewhere inside the cabin which we know could be the HVAC box lube)

So, hopefully we will soon see/hear what GM is doing behind the scenes. A redesigned HVAC box, surge tank or something else?
It sounds like your situation is exactly why this has been so hard to resolve. It appears you have had both issues. Having both issues has really complicated resolving either one.
 

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Any idea what the "certified engineering fix" is?
 

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Update: My service manager contacted me today and shared the following information

- A PI for the HVAC box procedure has been written and finalized for distribution
- The PI will not be released until the supplier has the parts available to support the PI procedure
- There are HVAC boxes built to start the process
- It appears that once the repairs begin that it may be an "exchange" process meaning that the rebuilt box goes in and the removed box is shipped back (possibly to rebuild for another vehicle). My service manager was not able to confirm this process, but it appeared that this may be the thinking to manage the repair procedure
- My service manager did seem to believe that something will surface soon.
For those of us who are waiting for a resolution to this issue this is a really good solution.

I suspect the HVAC box exchange is to send the original boxes back to be cleaned and re-lubricated. There doesn't appear to be an issue with the HVAC box itself, just the lubricant used. Because glycol is a known poison, this one may end up as a recall to avoid lawsuits down the road - cheaper to fix the problem than defend a glycol fumes related lawsuit.

This has been a real pain to resolve simply because the smell is so close to that of DexCool. Hopefully the PI will also instruct dealerships to replace any coolant surge tanks that had the earlier PI to reroute "coolant fumes" to the bottom of the engine compartment.
 

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Lets not freak folks out.

Glycol, injested, is a poison that will destroy kidneys.

Glycol fumes, in the concentration that would exist in the cabin are just that, fumes.
I imagine if the concentration could reach 50% it could be sickening......like I wanna puke, but I would hope one would've bailed out of the car at that point.

Unpleasant yes, life shortening, doubtful.

Rob
Thanks for the clarification. Unfortunately we have to think of the lowest common denominator - in this case an ambulance chasing class action lawyer who sees $$$ over this issue.
 

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This would not be necessary. As long as the surge tank has the ability to vent, it won't care where it vents to. I strongly doubt that any harm could come to the cooling system because of this modification. If it were a risk at all they would not have done it in the first place.
This modification eliminates the ability of the the car's cooling system to remain pressurized up to the rated 20 PSI of the cap. Basically unless there is a pressure block in this modification the coolant will boil at a lower temperature than the ECU is attempting to maintain, resulting in unnecessary loss of coolant. From the description I've seen on this PI the only pressure block in this mod is the pressure it takes to push hot gasses through a quarter inch tube. There is no risk to the engine assuming the car's owner is watching the coolant levels, but how many people today pay attention to their fluid levels. This is why we have the fill the gas idiot light - people not paying attention to the condition of their car.

<NOTE:> Don't stop reading here - Blue Angel was able to correct me on my statement here about the cooling system pressurization. </NOTE>
 
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