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  #1  
Old 01-12-2011, 08:28 PM
1982 240D
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winston and Salem, North Carolina
Posts: 32
Smells like fingernail polish...

I pulled the radiator from my 82 240D over the Christmas break because I had to replace my fan shroud (the old one basically fell apart...). I took the opportunity to flush the radiator once I had it back in, then filled with coolant. The coolant level has been consistent, and the engine is running about 10 degrees C lower than it was before the flush (lots of crud in the radiator).

However, now I notice a strong smell like fingernail polish in the car, especially if it's been sitting for a while (for example, I really notice it when I get in the car to go home after work...)

Any thoughts?

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  #2  
Old 01-12-2011, 10:24 PM
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Location: central Texas
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Check under your seats... your wife dropped a bottle of finger nail polish remover... it is slowly leaking out.....
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2011, 10:45 PM
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The flush may have lodge some gunk in your thermostat and caused it to be stuck open causing your engine to run 10* cooler.
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  #4  
Old 01-13-2011, 08:34 AM
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Sounds like the odor of hot or burning antifreeze.
Maybe during your flush, some got spilled on your exhaust-system.
Or a heater-hose/valve sprung a leak and it's dripping on your exhaust.
Worst case - Your flush caused seepage from a weak heater-core and you're now experiencing the odor of hot antifreeze evaporating. This is often accompanied by severe windshield fogging when operating the defroster.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2011, 08:42 AM
1982 240D
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winston and Salem, North Carolina
Posts: 32
Thanks for the replies

I've checked...no polish in the car.

The operating temp is back in the range of "normal". I knew the coolant was getting old because the temp had been creeping up during operation. I'd consider my normal operating temp to be 80 degrees C (where it is now, and where it used to peg out). It had been creeping up to 90 to 95 degrees C.

The windshield's not fogging, so I don't have the worst case scenario.

One thing I didn't do (hanging my head in shame...) is do a complete coolant flush. I drained and refilled the radiator w/o flushing the engine coolant. I'm wondering if it's an interaction between the old coolant and new...

I'll probably flush the entire system this weekend to see if that helps matters any.

Please let me know if I'm not on the right track...
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2011, 08:43 AM
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I agree with Mark Desilvestro. A slight anti-freeze leak, from the heater core. Vaporized anti-freeze has a very sweet smell. You can almost taste it.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2011, 08:55 AM
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On very cold winter days, when the air is very dry, There may be very minimal windsheild fogging.
If there's only a very tiny seepage at the heater-core, severe fogging may only happen in cool, humid, rainy weather.

Happy Motoring, Mark
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2011, 10:36 AM
1982 240D
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winston and Salem, North Carolina
Posts: 32
At the risk of seeming to be an idiot...

Can I add a coolant sealant like bars leak as a temporary fix?

Other than the fogging, how can I check to see if this is actually the problem? How difficult is replacing the heating core?
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2011, 11:36 AM
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The best way to find a leak like that is with a pressure tester. It goes in the place of the cap and lets you pump up the pressure when cold. If you do that and watch the gauge it will confirm (or exclude) a leak.
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2011, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree Frog View Post
Can I add a coolant sealant like bars leak as a temporary fix?

Other than the fogging, how can I check to see if this is actually the problem? How difficult is replacing the heating core?
Do the pressure test that NHDOC recommends to do. If you discover that the heater core is leaking, you will have to remove the Dash and get into the heat A/C box . It is quite an involved job.

DMORRISON has a good write up on getting in there. this is for replacing his Evaporator, but the Heater Core is close by.

http://www.peachparts.com/Wikka/W123Evaporator

Hope it is something else,

Charlie
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  #11  
Old 01-13-2011, 12:27 PM
1982 240D
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winston and Salem, North Carolina
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by charmalu View Post
Do the pressure test that NHDOC recommends to do. If you discover that the heater core is leaking, you will have to remove the Dash and get into the heat A/C box . It is quite an involved job.

DMORRISON has a good write up on getting in there. this is for replacing his Evaporator, but the Heater Core is close by.

http://www.peachparts.com/Wikka/W123Evaporator

Hope it is something else,

Charlie
Holy crap! So do I! That's a lot more involved than I'd like...bar's leak is sounding better and better...
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  #12  
Old 01-13-2011, 01:06 PM
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Location: central Texas
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Some kinds of leak sealants ' SEE " normal or partly clogged tubes as ' needing' fixing....LOL
and that would be in the same ' system' as your radiator.... take care and think it over well.
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  #13  
Old 01-13-2011, 02:14 PM
Fold on dotted line
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree Frog View Post
However, now I notice a strong smell like fingernail polish
Any thoughts?
Acetone is in fingernail polish. It is also in some very caustic flush products
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  #14  
Old 01-13-2011, 05:22 PM
1982 240D
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Winston and Salem, North Carolina
Posts: 32
Okay, I feel like a dope...

After work I was checking the floor mats on the passenger side of the cabin to see if I could find any sort of wet spot...none. I did, however, notice that the smell was stronger around the glove box. So, I opened it up and pulled out the miscellaneous papers, notebook, light bulbs, fuses...and, lo and behold, there in the back was a tube of touch up paint that the PO had left. I honestly didn't remember it being there. The top had worked loose, and it was sitting in a puddle of half-dried liquid. I drove home w/ my windows open, and will probably park it w/ the windows open to air out....

So yes, I'm a dope, and leathermang wins the "you guessed it prize" I'm just thankful it wasn't the heater core.

Thanks again for all of your help suffering this fool.
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  #15  
Old 01-13-2011, 05:46 PM
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