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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I have a 2011 Chevy Cruze LT, 1.4L. Recently, I have noticed while driving with my heater on, a nasty burning smell. When I turn the heater off, the smell dies down. One time, I even had a little bit of white smoke coming through the A/C vent. The smell does not happen immediately, but after around 10 minutes of driving time, and it seems to happen quicker if I accelerate hard (like entering the highway). When I opened the hood, the smoke is coming from what looks to be the exhaust, right under where the lower coolant hose connects to the engine.

For the longest time I believed this was oil related, however I fixed my oil leak (my valve cover seeps very little oil/I check the oil regularly and am never low) and this problem persists.

A few days ago I noticed my coolant tank was almost empty, so I know there is a leak somewhere and I believe the coolant is what is burning and causing the smell and smoke. I have been digging around under the hood and have found possible sources for the leak:

1) It is difficult to say the exact location because there is coolant really everywhere on the bottom half of the engine bay
2) Where my lower coolant hose connects to the radiator outlet, there seems to be a lot of fluid, also where it connects to the engine, but the middle of the hose is dry. The hose isn't damaged, and it is clamped on pretty tight on both sides, but I can wiggle where the hose connects to the radiator outlet, and move the whole thing up and down (assuming I have the right hose). There is also no coolant in that hose (not sure if there is supposed to be) as I can press the hose and not feel anything in it, with the engine cold.
3) Maybe the water pump, as I know it is in that area, and if it's leaking it would spew all around that area.
4) I'm assuming that the fluid I am finding in the lower hose area, is coolant. I haven't found the fresh coolant leak yet, and the fluid usually has sludge in it or is burnt, so I can't tell if it's old oil or burnt coolant.


I would like some insight to see if I am on the right track and some help with further troubleshooting. I can't afford taking it to the shop(just started back in school), but I have all of the tools I need, and have spent the past 2 days reading everything I can, learning as much as I can, about the cooling system. I know I can get it fixed!

I am considering buying the online Haye's manual for help getting the radiator out to check the lower outlet (a lot more hoses and things to disconnect and get out of the way, compared to my last car), I couldn't find any you tube videos for replacing the Cruze radiator. Wondering if the manuals are any good?
 

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Could you share your odometer reading, please?
 

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Are you the original owner? When was the coolant last changed? What kind of coolant was used?
 

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Sounds like you're looking in the right area. The water pump outlets have been known to leak...and that sounds like what yours is.

Pretty much all of the cooling system plastic connections on these cars leak at some point in their lives. While you're at it, since replacing that will mean dumping most of the coolant, I'd change the upper section near the cylinder head ("water outlet"), radiator hoses, and coolant (DexCool is rated for 5 years/150k, and sludges up if air is mixed in with it).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am not the original owner. I don't know when or if the coolant has ever been changed. I've had the car for about 2 years now (put 20k miles on it)
 

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So I have a 2011 Chevy Cruze LT, 1.4L. Recently, I have noticed while driving with my heater on, a nasty burning smell. When I turn the heater off, the smell dies down. One time, I even had a little bit of white smoke coming through the A/C vent. The smell does not happen immediately, but after around 10 minutes of driving time, and it seems to happen quicker if I accelerate hard (like entering the highway). When I opened the hood, the smoke is coming from what looks to be the exhaust, right under where the lower coolant hose connects to the engine.

For the longest time I believed this was oil related, however I fixed my oil leak (my valve cover seeps very little oil/I check the oil regularly and am never low) and this problem persists.

A few days ago I noticed my coolant tank was almost empty, so I know there is a leak somewhere and I believe the coolant is what is burning and causing the smell and smoke. I have been digging around under the hood and have found possible sources for the leak:

1) It is difficult to say the exact location because there is coolant really everywhere on the bottom half of the engine bay
2) Where my lower coolant hose connects to the radiator outlet, there seems to be a lot of fluid, also where it connects to the engine, but the middle of the hose is dry. The hose isn't damaged, and it is clamped on pretty tight on both sides, but I can wiggle where the hose connects to the radiator outlet, and move the whole thing up and down (assuming I have the right hose). There is also no coolant in that hose (not sure if there is supposed to be) as I can press the hose and not feel anything in it, with the engine cold.
3) Maybe the water pump, as I know it is in that area, and if it's leaking it would spew all around that area.
4) I'm assuming that the fluid I am finding in the lower hose area, is coolant. I haven't found the fresh coolant leak yet, and the fluid usually has sludge in it or is burnt, so I can't tell if it's old oil or burnt coolant.


I would like some insight to see if I am on the right track and some help with further troubleshooting. I can't afford taking it to the shop(just started back in school), but I have all of the tools I need, and have spent the past 2 days reading everything I can, learning as much as I can, about the cooling system. I know I can get it fixed!

I am considering buying the online Haye's manual for help getting the radiator out to check the lower outlet (a lot more hoses and things to disconnect and get out of the way, compared to my last car), I couldn't find any you tube videos for replacing the Cruze radiator. Wondering if the manuals are any good?
So I have a 2011 Chevy Cruze LT, 1.4L. Recently, I have noticed while driving with my heater on, a nasty burning smell. When I turn the heater off, the smell dies down. One time, I even had a little bit of white smoke coming through the A/C vent. The smell does not happen immediately, but after around 10 minutes of driving time, and it seems to happen quicker if I accelerate hard (like entering the highway). When I opened the hood, the smoke is coming from what looks to be the exhaust, right under where the lower coolant hose connects to the engine.

For the longest time I believed this was oil related, however I fixed my oil leak (my valve cover seeps very little oil/I check the oil regularly and am never low) and this problem persists.

A few days ago I noticed my coolant tank was almost empty, so I know there is a leak somewhere and I believe the coolant is what is burning and causing the smell and smoke. I have been digging around under the hood and have found possible sources for the leak:

1) It is difficult to say the exact location because there is coolant really everywhere on the bottom half of the engine bay
2) Where my lower coolant hose connects to the radiator outlet, there seems to be a lot of fluid, also where it connects to the engine, but the middle of the hose is dry. The hose isn't damaged, and it is clamped on pretty tight on both sides, but I can wiggle where the hose connects to the radiator outlet, and move the whole thing up and down (assuming I have the right hose). There is also no coolant in that hose (not sure if there is supposed to be) as I can press the hose and not feel anything in it, with the engine cold.
3) Maybe the water pump, as I know it is in that area, and if it's leaking it would spew all around that area.
4) I'm assuming that the fluid I am finding in the lower hose area, is coolant. I haven't found the fresh coolant leak yet, and the fluid usually has sludge in it or is burnt, so I can't tell if it's old oil or burnt coolant.


I would like some insight to see if I am on the right track and some help with further troubleshooting. I can't afford taking it to the shop(just started back in school), but I have all of the tools I need, and have spent the past 2 days reading everything I can, learning as much as I can, about the cooling system. I know I can get it fixed!

I am considering buying the online Haye's manual for help getting the radiator out to check the lower outlet (a lot more hoses and things to disconnect and get out of the way, compared to my last car), I couldn't find any you tube videos for replacing the Cruze radiator. Wondering if the manuals are any good?
Did you ever figure out what it was? my cruze is doing the same exact thing
 

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2012 Cruze ECO as of 2-26-20 car has 240k miles on it.
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I had the same thing and I found that my oil cooler was leaking oil and would drip on the exhaust from time to time after it was warm. I replaced oil cooler gaskets and it has not happened since. Of course you can find some youtube videos on this fix.
 
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