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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New to the forum. About 6 weeks ago I got my first Taurus - a 2015 SE with 19K miles. I love it so far! Ever since I bought it I have been intermittently catching strong but brief whiffs of coolant. Several times when I have smelled the coolant I've quickly turned on my blower motor and stuck my nose in the heater/AC vents (did this with different vents on both driver and passenger side), and the smell is definitely not coming from the vents -- it's coming from outside the cabin. There are no drips from the heater core and no residue to indicate past leaks. The car never overheats. I constantly datalog with an SCT X4 tuner and/or Actron CP9670 scan tool, and the coolant temp stays perfectly normal with no fluctuation even when I smell it. The cooling fan activates properly and operates at the speeds commanded by the ECU. I have been watching under the car frequently (perhaps obsessively) and the car never leaks a single drop of anything whatsoever. I've been all over every square inch of the engine and engine compartment with a snake camera and there is absolutely no hint of any leaks, past or present (no active leaks, and no residue from past leaks). There's no coolant in the oil, and no white smoke or coolant odor coming from the exhaust. I've been checking the coolant reservoir every morning before starting the engine for the first time of the day, and the coolant level has not budged one tiny bit (I put a dot on the reservoir with a sharpie). A cooling system pressure test checks out 100% perfect. I am aware that there is a channel on the water pump that will drain coolant out through a weep hole behind the alternator in the event of a water pump leak. I checked the weep hole very carefully with the snake camera and there is no discharge or residue to indicate any past discharge. Despite all of the foregoing, I'm definitely catching very strong and unmistakable, but very brief, whiffs of coolant 5-10 times per day, and it's definitely coming from my car. So, as this is my first Taurus, my questions are as follows. Is this coolant smell normal for the latest generation Taurus? Do any of you experience this coolant smell with your Taurus? If the smell is not normal for the Taurus, what on earth could be causing it? Thanks in advance!
 

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New to the forum. About 6 weeks ago I got my first Taurus - a 2015 SE with 19K miles. I love it so far! Ever since I bought it I have been intermittently catching strong but brief whiffs of coolant. Several times when I have smelled the coolant I've quickly turned on my blower motor and stuck my nose in the heater/AC vents (did this with different vents on both driver and passenger side), and the smell is definitely not coming from the vents -- it's coming from outside the cabin. There are no drips from the heater core and no residue to indicate past leaks. The car never overheats. I constantly datalog with an SCT X4 tuner and/or Actron CP9670 scan tool, and the coolant temp stays perfectly normal with no fluctuation even when I smell it. The cooling fan activates properly and operates at the speeds commanded by the ECU. I have been watching under the car frequently (perhaps obsessively) and the car never leaks a single drop of anything whatsoever. I've been all over every square inch of the engine and engine compartment with a snake camera and there is absolutely no hint of any leaks, past or present (no active leaks, and no residue from past leaks). There's no coolant in the oil, and no white smoke or coolant odor coming from the exhaust. I've been checking the coolant reservoir every morning before starting the engine for the first time of the day, and the coolant level has not budged one tiny bit (I put a dot on the reservoir with a sharpie). A cooling system pressure test checks out 100% perfect. I am aware that there is a channel on the water pump that will drain coolant out through a weep hole behind the alternator in the event of a water pump leak. I checked the weep hole very carefully with the snake camera and there is no discharge or residue to indicate any past discharge. Despite all of the foregoing, I'm definitely catching very strong and unmistakable, but very brief, whiffs of coolant 5-10 times per day, and it's definitely coming from my car. So, as this is my first Taurus, my questions are as follows. Is this coolant smell normal for the latest generation Taurus? Do any of you experience this coolant smell with your Taurus? If the smell is not normal for the Taurus, what on earth could be causing it? Thanks in advance!
Good day. I had the same issue with my 2013 taurus. Water pump. I had a phathom leak and smelt coolant. Turned out to be a coolant pump. The motor should be dropped amd would be a lot easier to get at. This repair is not cheap. Recommend timing chain replacement as you have to remove it to remove pump. I wish it was an easy fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Good day. I had the same issue with my 2013 taurus. Water pump. I had a phathom leak and smelt coolant. Turned out to be a coolant pump. The motor should be dropped amd would be a lot easier to get at. This repair is not cheap. Recommend timing chain replacement as you have to remove it to remove pump. I wish it was an easy fix.
I was afraid someone was going to say that. Thanks for the response nonetheless. I have a shop manual for the car and am aware of what is required to replace the pump. :sick: I understand the reasoning behind the design, but in real-world practice it's a horrible idea to put a water pump inside the timing cover. I'm still astounded that the pump would fail with < 20K miles on it. How many miles did yours have on it when it failed? Would I really need to replace my timing chains with such low mileage?
 

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Not a Taurus expert (though I've driven, maintained and repaired mine for the past 15 years) but if the temp is normal and coolant level stays more or less the same, I wouldn't be tearing anything apart on a car with only 19K on it! Perhaps the smell is simply emanating from the reservoir breather, or someplace else.
 

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Just a thought, is it residue from a previous repair to the heater core that was not cleaned thoroughly? I have a '17 and there is no smell in the cabin. Access to the bottom of the heater core is fairly simple behind the glove box and antifreeze will stay for quit a while.
 

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I was afraid someone was going to say that. Thanks for the response nonetheless. I have a shop manual for the car and am aware of what is required to replace the pump. :sick: I understand the reasoning behind the design, but in real-world practice it's a horrible idea to put a water pump inside the timing cover. I'm still astounded that the pump would fail with < 20K miles on it. How many miles did yours have on it when it failed? Would I really need to replace my timing chains with such low mileage?
I didnt replace mine. Shopping around and i was shocked at the variance in price. $200 to $1500 to what appeared to be the same style kit. Mine had 200000km when i replaced it but i remember the smell around 50000km. I tried warranty...they couldn't find the problem...so they say. I when to rockauto to order part. The ac delco fit fine and knock on wood no issues. I replaced my pump when i noticed a significant drop of coolant weekly. Lucky there was no coolant in the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I wish it was an easy fix.
I'll tell you this much: if it does turn out to be a pump failure at only 19K miles and I have to go to the trouble of dropping the engine, I'm going to fabricate a bypass to eliminate the internal pump (keeping the sprocket in place) and implement an external electric pump.

Edit: On second thought, if it does turn out to be a pump failure at only 19K miles, I'm getting rid of the car. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just a thought, is it residue from a previous repair to the heater core that was not cleaned thoroughly? I have a '17 and there is no smell in the cabin. Access to the bottom of the heater core is fairly simple behind the glove box and antifreeze will stay for quit a while.
No, before posting, I inspected the heater core for active leaks or residue from previous leaks. There's no hint of any present or past leaks anywhere in the air box or around the heater core.
 

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I replace my water pump in Oct 2019 for about $1550 of which 200 was for the pressure test at the dealership. 5K if I let it go and water dumped into crankcase and I had to replace engine. The only clue I had was slight smell of coolant and a gradually lowering of my coolant level. After reviewing schematics I realized that once the first partition of the gasket fails from the inside out, there is a weep hole that it leaks/evaporates out of. No other warning otherwise catastrophic engine failure. FU ford bean counter/engineers!
 

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just a hopeful thought.
you did check your radiator cap for a good gasket and seal?
check sides of radiator for any signs of dampness?
you never know...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I replace my water pump in Oct 2019 for about $1550 of which 200 was for the pressure test at the dealership. 5K if I let it go and water dumped into crankcase and I had to replace engine. The only clue I had was slight smell of coolant and a gradually lowering of my coolant level. After reviewing schematics I realized that once the first partition of the gasket fails from the inside out, there is a weep hole that it leaks/evaporates out of. No other warning otherwise catastrophic engine failure. FU ford bean counter/engineers!
How many miles were on your pump when you replaced it?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
just a hopeful thought.
you did check your radiator cap for a good gasket and seal?
check sides of radiator for any signs of dampness?
you never know...
I did check all over the radiator, with the naked eye, and then with a snake camera (to get into areas I cannot see with the naked eye) recorded to video and played back several times. There was no moisture, and no dried coolant from any previous leak.

I followed this procedure from my shop manual...

1 Turn the engine OFF.

2 Check the engine coolant level and adjust as necessary.

3 Attach the Pressure Tester to the degas bottle nipple and overflow hose. Install a pressure test pump to the quick connect fitting of the test adapter.

NOTICE: Do not pressurize the cooling system beyond the maximum pressure listed in the Specifications table in this section or cooling system components may be damaged.

NOTE: If the plunger of the pressure tester is pressed too fast, an erroneous pressure reading results.


Slowly press the plunger of the pressure test pump until the pressure gauge reading stops increasing and note the highest pressure reading obtained. If the pressure reading exceeds the maximum cap pressure listed in the Specifications table, install a new pressure relief cap. [It did not exceed max pressure.]

5 If the system does not hold pressure, remove the pressure relief cap and wash in clean water to dislodge all the foreign material from the gasket. Check the sealing surface in the filler neck of the degas bottle for nicks or cuts. Install the pressure relief cap.

6 Pressurize the engine cooling system as described in Step 4 above. Observe the gauge reading for approximately 2 minutes. Pressure should not drop during this time. If the pressure drops within this time, inspect for leaks and repair as necessary.

7 If no leaks are found and the pressure drops, the pressure relief cap may be leaking. Install a new pressure relief cap and retest the system.

8 If no leaks are found after a new pressure relief cap is installed, and the pressure drops, the leak may be internal to the engine. Inspect the coolant for engine oil and the engine oil for coolant. Refer to Section 303-00 to diagnose the engine.

9 Release the system pressure by loosening the pressure relief cap. Check the coolant level and adjust as necessary.


The Specifications section states 14 PSI for my engine, so that is the pressure I used for the above relevant steps. During step #6 above, I waited for 5 minutes, during which time I lost exactly 1 PSI pressure. During the first 2 minutes as specified for the test I lost about 1/4 PSI, which concerns me because the manual says, "Pressure should not drop during this time," but at the same time I've never seen a car that doesn't slowly lose pressure over the course of 2 minutes. I then placed a large piece of white cardboard under my engine, big enough to cover the entire engine area and catch any drips from anywhere on the engine, making certain that the entire area beneath the weep hole behind the alternator was covered. I then re-pressurized the system to 14 PSI, waited 15 minutes, and then pulled the cardboard to inspect for any drips/moisture. There was not a single drop of anything. I then checked the oil for any signs of coolant - there was none. I then wedged a folded paper towel between the alternator and weep hole such that the paper towel was covering/pressed against the weep hole, re-pressurized the system to 14 PSI, waited another 15 minutes and pulled the paper towel, which was bone dry, without a single drop of coolant.

I may repeat the pressure test, pull the spark plugs and use the snake camera to see whether there is any slow leak into a cylinder. After that, I'm out of ideas.
 

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No, before posting, I inspected the heater core for active leaks or residue from previous leaks. There's no hint of any present or past leaks anywhere in the air box or around the heater core.
And I'm sure you checked, but checked on the floor underneath the vehicle and on all the metal, frame, steering, etc... everything is dry as a bone in the desert. Right?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
And I'm sure you checked, but checked on the floor underneath the vehicle and on all the metal, frame, steering, etc... everything is dry as a bone in the desert. Right?
Actually, no, I didn't, and thanks for the suggestion. When I ran the snake camera under the hood I looked over every square inch of the engine, firewall, wheel wells, hood liner and transmission. I didn't think to look atop steering/suspension components, under the frame, etc., but I will do that tomorrow and report back. Great suggestion to be thorough - thanks!
 

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Interesting...searching here for similar problem. Have faint coolant smell from my 2013 Limited. Only smells from the engine, not the interior. Faint but obviously it’s coolant. Smell seems to be more prevalent on passenger side. No leaks, no drips, no puddles. Engine dry. In fact, no evidence whatsoever of anything wrong physically in and around the engine, except for that very faint odor. Dissipates within minutes after shutting off car. Replaced reservoir cap with new, no change. Engine temperature normal. No drop in coolant level. Vehicle has 24,000 miles. May visit dealer soon for check. Please keep us posted on your results. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Interesting...searching here for similar problem. Have faint coolant smell from my 2013 Limited. Only smells from the engine, not the interior. Faint but obviously it’s coolant. Smell seems to be more prevalent on passenger side. No leaks, no drips, no puddles. Engine dry. In fact, no evidence whatsoever of anything wrong physically in and around the engine, except for that very faint odor. Dissipates within minutes after shutting off car. Replaced reservoir cap with new, no change. Engine temperature normal. No drop in coolant level. Vehicle has 24,000 miles. May visit dealer soon for check. Please keep us posted on your results. Thanks!
I'll keep you posted, but it's going to be at least a few days before I continue this investigation. This past Saturday night I ran over a ladder on the highway and it did quite a bit of damage - ripped off the passenger side front/rear rocker panels and door moldings, busted the driver side front rocker panel, broke a fuel line, ripped the exhaust flex pipe out and blew out the driver side front and passenger side rear tires. :mad: There was an 18-wheeler behind me, so I couldn't slam on the brakes too hard, and a pickup to my left and a concrete wall to my right, so I couldn't swerve. I saw it coming and had to just bite the bullet and brace for it.

Just before the ladder incident, a mechanic friend of mine looked at the car with me. Of course it wouldn't emit the coolant smell while he was present. He speculates that what I'm smelling is the wax that the factory puts on the engines (there is still quite a bit of wax coating on mine), but I am extremely familiar with the smell of coolant and it's definitely coolant I'm smelling.

I've learned some things about the water pump design that really concerns me. There are actually two gaskets on the pumps - an inner gasket and an outer gasket. When the inner gasket begins leaking, it will channel out through a weep hole behind the alternator, so you get at least some indication of a problem (if you pay attention to your car). However, when the shaft bearing/seal leak, the water falls straight down into the oil pan and in a great many cases results in sudden, catastrophic engine failure with no warning. There is actually a class action suit that describes the problem in detail. See the federal petition. It seems Ford knew about the problem and covered it up and further omitted the water pump from the regular maintenance schedule. Ford claims that the water pump should last for the "useful life of the engine," which Ford says is 150K miles. However, it seems there are a great many instances of water pumps failing and destroying engines at 40K-80K miles. All of this has me very nervous, even though I'm not losing any coolant and have been religiously checking my oil for signs of a leak and finding none.

In any case, when I get the above-said damage repaired I'll continue trying to pinpoint the source/cause of the coolant smell and report back. Before the ladder incident my plan was to pressurize the cooling system and look into the cylinders with a snake camera for any signs of leakage, which is where I'll start once I get the damage repaired.

You said the smell seems to be more prevalent on passenger side of your car. I know that in some cases when the inner gasket begins to leak and the engine is hot, the weep hole won't drip the coolant out, but instead will emit steam from the weep hole. So, look not only for drips from the weep hole, but also for steam. The weep hole is directly behind the alternator (which is on the passenger side). You might try what I did, which is to wedge a folded-up paper towel between the alternator and weep hole and drive the car around for a while, so that any steam from the weep hole would be caught and condensed on the paper towel (steam or drip - the paper towel should still become wet). Also look for possible signs of past steam emissions on your hood liner.

If you're interested, I have a shop manual for the car in HTML format (you can view it in your browser). It's for 2014 Taurus, but everything is basically the same for your car and mine. If you want me to get you a copy, message me.

Please also keep me posted if you do take your car to a dealer!
 

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I'll keep you posted, but it's going to be at least a few days before I continue this investigation. This past Saturday night I ran over a ladder on the highway and it did quite a bit of damage - ripped off the passenger side front/rear rocker panels and door moldings, busted the driver side front rocker panel, broke a fuel line, ripped the exhaust flex pipe out and blew out the driver side front and passenger side rear tires. :mad: There was an 18-wheeler behind me, so I couldn't slam on the brakes too hard, and a pickup to my left and a concrete wall to my right, so I couldn't swerve. I saw it coming and had to just bite the bullet and brace for it.

Just before the ladder incident, a mechanic friend of mine looked at the car with me. Of course it wouldn't emit the coolant smell while he was present. He speculates that what I'm smelling is the wax that the factory puts on the engines (there is still quite a bit of wax coating on mine), but I am extremely familiar with the smell of coolant and it's definitely coolant I'm smelling.

I've learned some things about the water pump design that really concerns me. There are actually two gaskets on the pumps - an inner gasket and an outer gasket. When the inner gasket begins leaking, it will channel out through a weep hole behind the alternator, so you get at least some indication of a problem (if you pay attention to your car). However, when the shaft bearing/seal leak, the water falls straight down into the oil pan and in a great many cases results in sudden, catastrophic engine failure with no warning. There is actually a class action suit that describes the problem in detail. See the federal petition. It seems Ford knew about the problem and covered it up and further omitted the water pump from the regular maintenance schedule. Ford claims that the water pump should last for the "useful life of the engine," which Ford says is 150K miles. However, it seems there are a great many instances of water pumps failing and destroying engines at 40K-80K miles. All of this has me very nervous, even though I'm not losing any coolant and have been religiously checking my oil for signs of a leak and finding none.

In any case, when I get the above-said damage repaired I'll continue trying to pinpoint the source/cause of the coolant smell and report back. Before the ladder incident my plan was to pressurize the cooling system and look into the cylinders with a snake camera for any signs of leakage, which is where I'll start once I get the damage repaired.

You said the smell seems to be more prevalent on passenger side of your car. I know that in some cases when the inner gasket begins to leak and the engine is hot, the weep hole won't drip the coolant out, but instead will emit steam from the weep hole. So, look not only for drips from the weep hole, but also for steam. The weep hole is directly behind the alternator (which is on the passenger side). You might try what I did, which is to wedge a folded-up paper towel between the alternator and weep hole and drive the car around for a while, so that any steam from the weep hole would be caught and condensed on the paper towel (steam or drip - the paper towel should still become wet). Also look for possible signs of past steam emissions on your hood liner.

If you're interested, I have a shop manual for the car in HTML format (you can view it in your browser). It's for 2014 Taurus, but everything is basically the same for your car and mine. If you want me to get you a copy, message me.

Please also keep me posted if you do take your car to a dealer!
Thanks for the update and sorry to hear about the accident. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Car goes in on Tuesday for evaluation. Shame, nice car and I like it a lot, but the water pump issue has me seriously reconsidering my ownership of this vehicle. I’ve only had the Taurus a short time but never would have considered the purchase if I was aware of this potential problem beforehand. I wonder just what the actual percentage of failure is compared to unaffected engines. Thanks again for the suggestions, I’ll update once I get more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
And I'm sure you checked, but checked on the floor underneath the vehicle and on all the metal, frame, steering, etc... everything is dry as a bone in the desert. Right?
I got my car back from the body shop yesterday and looked everywhere that any leaking coolant could possibly fall or be blown/sprayed onto and can't find even a hint of a leak.
 
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