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burning smell and smoke


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Hi all, my name is Jon and this is my first post on this forum. Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to seek advice and gather knowledge from everyone on this forum and I will do the same if I can help.

I operate a 2001 d2 4.0 Bosch and recently I have had a loss of coolant in my overflow tank. It will maintain a constant level however the level that it stays at is well below normal. I would hang my head to the cylinders and dish out the cash for new head gaskets. But accompanied to the coolant loss is a burning smell and a small amount of smoke coming from the radiator.

So would a radiator that is getting ready to fail cause a low coolant level or could I have coolant loss due to a head gasket or vice versa could a bad head gaskets cause your radiator to keep a low level which in turn cause burning smelt etc...

The truck has 150,000 miles on it, I do not have service records prier to my owning it and have not changed the head gaskets myself. Also I have not flushed my radiator yet. If anyone has had this problem or can help with the issue it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all

Thanks all

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Welcome :)

You may find that the "burning smell" is actually hot antifreeze - the best comparison I can think of is rotten fish, the OAT antifreeze really stinks when you get a leak on to something hot, does not smell anything like conventional ethylene glycol antifreeze. The 'smoke' could therefore be steam, and yes the radiators are a known weakness - my 02 has already had a new one and it only has about 45k miles.

What happens is that the rad is made out of metal fins and plastic end tanks which are crimped on, and sooner or later the rad starts to leak around the crimping, time for a new one. I put up with mine for about a year. Look for tell tale pink/orange staining up and down each side of the rad, if you can see that, it's your problem. The good news is that the rads are not too expensive as far as I remember.

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