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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, Jim from Western NY here. Just picked up my first newer car, a 2013 Cruze Eco with the manual trans. its got 13,600 miles. I got it to replace my 2001 Buick Regal 3.8L because it's got 175k now and I'm only getting around 24mpg average. I have a 100 mile commute each day, this morning was the first day I drove the Cruze and I got 38.5mpg, awesome!

However, 5 minutes into my drive my nose and eyes were offended by a strong odor of antifreeze. It's so bad I have to open a window because it makes my eyes water. Hence me joining this site. I see this has been a common problem from a quick Google search and by reading some threads here. It doesn't appear to be low on coolant at all. Of the topics I have read there seem to be many possible causes, heater core leaks, coolant tank proximity to heater, improper shielding, water pump leaks, I even read one thread that stated a "glycol based grease was used in the heater box which thins and melts" giving off the same odor as coolant.

I hope my dealer can find and fix the problem quickly. I would hate to think my 15 year old 175k mile ($1,500) car is a better vehicle than the 2 year old 3k mile ($12,000) one I just purchased.

Those of you with similar issues in the past, was the problem identified and taken care of?

Thanks all, and I look forward to reading and posting help and tips in the future.

~Jim
 

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Take a look at http://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/25-s...e-cabin-odors-sources-resolution-summary.html. I bet you have the old HVAC box with the crap grease. This thread will give you and your dealership a path to resolution. My 2012 ECO MT had everything listed in this thread. Get it fixed while the car is still under the B2B warranty, which passed to you when you purchased the car.

Welcome to CruzeTalk and enjoy the car.
 

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Five minutes into the drive.......I'd be looking for a leak or a bum radiator cap seal.

IMO that heater box business takes far longer to make a odor......takes a while to get the grease hot enough to stink (assuming yours is an affected unit).

Shouldn't be too tough to isolate the cause.

Rob
 

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Happens in the older Cruzes (hah, 3 years ago is OLD). Once repaired it's fine and you'll continue to love the car. Welcome and Congrats!
 

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My 2013 Eco had the exact same smell. It was the HVAC grease. My dealership fixed it under B2B warranty. Just make sure you go in with the correct PI printed and ready to show the service writer.
 

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One of the key tests is to test for antifreeze smell outside and under the hood. If all clear outside - then it's either heater core or the grease. If you smell it under the hood, fix that first.
 

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Hope you lifted with your legs and not your back when you picked it up. Welcome and good luck.
 
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Sorry you joined under these circumstances but welcome to Cruzetalk! Your dealership will find the problem and if anything show them that thread. Many of our members have and they found a resolution to the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Driving home from work I put the car in recirculate mode as to hopefully separate outside smells from inside smells. I didn't really notice it on the way home, I experimented cranking the heat, putting it in floor mode, then vent mode etc. After about 15min of my drive I switched the recirculate off. I still didn't smell anything the rest of the night. Today on the way to work I may have smelled a hint of it, but not the strong odor I had when I picked it up Monday. It's supposed to be 47 today so I will pop the hood and look for signs of external leaks and see how the gaskets look near the hood by the coolant tank.

Thanks for all the tips guys (and gals)
 

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Driving home from work I put the car in recirculate mode as to hopefully separate outside smells from inside smells. I didn't really notice it on the way home, I experimented cranking the heat, putting it in floor mode, then vent mode etc. After about 15min of my drive I switched the recirculate off. I still didn't smell anything the rest of the night. Today on the way to work I may have smelled a hint of it, but not the strong odor I had when I picked it up Monday. It's supposed to be 47 today so I will pop the hood and look for signs of external leaks and see how the gaskets look near the hood by the coolant tank.

Thanks for all the tips guys (and gals)
This makes me wonder if the problem was spilled coolant residue on the surge tank. The main cabin air intake is about 12 inches directly behind the tank. The coolant warms up pretty quickly and you may have been getting the "burn off" of excessive coolant. Also, what is the manufacturing date (on the door placard label) for your Cruze?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No visible leaks at the water pump, or any hoses or the tank. I had all the underbody plastics off of it so I could oil the chassis so I had a pretty good look while I was in there. The other night I smelled under the hood for it, and if I got really close the the coolant tank I could catch a hint of it. I noticed the cap doesn't seem super tight, like it turns easy. I'm going to try and get them to change the cap out for now. Then if I still smell it I'm pretty certain its a heater core, or that glycol based lubricant on the doors.

I will have to double check on the build date.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Took the car in, there is a TSB (technical service bulletin) for coolant smell, the fix was to replace the entire heater box which included a new heater core, evaporator, and doors. all that was reused was the actuators. My friend, the tech, said that glycol grease was everywhere inside there and would never melt or burn off in 50 years. I got the car back 4 days ago and now I have scent free heat, problem solved.

Side note, got my Curt hitch , wiring, and Weathtech mats installed last night.
 
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