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"01 Camry, Wife Sees Steam.Smoke, No Trouble Light

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Old 10-27-2013, 11:55 AM   #1
LeftyTom [OP] LeftyTom is offline
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"01 Camry, Wife Sees Steam.Smoke, No Trouble Light

The wife says she saw steam/smoke on the outside of the '01 Camry (163K miles), while running the heat. She noted it was on the passenger side, and thought it may have come in through the fresh air/heater vent on the passenger side.

I looked under the hood, and saw no wet spots, indicative of a bad hose. The hose from the bottom of the power steering reservoir, where it feeds into a steel fluid line, was darker than the rest of that hose. Wiped my hand on that, but came up dry. Fluid levels are OK. The check engine light is not ON.

I have not been able to get it to happen again, but I have only been chasing this an hour. It has been 2 hours since she reported the issue. At that time, she had only driven the Camry 4 miles to pick up lunch. At that time. she was sitting in the drive-thru line on level ground.

Of course, I am unable to get it to happen again.....
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:41 PM   #2
It burns when I pee....
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Bet that it's the heater core starting to go. You may not see any leaks under the car, but try near the kick panel where it meets and turns up to the firewall.

Even at that it may just be starting to go and not have enough of a leak to drop a large amount of fluid, or depending on design of the core and area it may be trapped. I did one on an Olds Firenza (Cavalier lookalike) that had a panel you swing down to remove the core and it was all collected in there.
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:36 PM   #3
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Thanls, ABA. I first told her it probably was the heater core going south. Out of curiosity, I pulled the glove box for a peek, and everything was dry under there. I'll keep an eye on it, as the trade-in value is $2500. I can get #3600 selling it myself, but I ain't gonna sell it with that not fixed (point of diminishing returns and all).

The wife will have to quit dithering over whether she wants a new Corolla or Scion FRS. She does not like the look of the new Camry.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
It burns when I pee....
ABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Guessing you did, but if not check the coolant and top it up if needed. Then just monitor it.

Ask her too if it had a sickly-sweet smell to the steam..that's the hallmark of it right there.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:27 PM   #5
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a leaky heater core will steam up your windshield.

coolant level okay? i just changed out the radiator in my wife subaru. modern radiators just arent as durable as old-school brass coolers. that pinch seam at the tanks is very suspect. leaks are difficult to find.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:38 PM   #6
It burns when I pee....
ABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aficianado View Post
a leaky heater core will steam up your windshield.

coolant level okay? i just changed out the radiator in my wife subaru. modern radiators just arent as durable as old-school brass coolers. that pinch seam at the tanks is very suspect. leaks are difficult to find.
Usually, yes..always, no. Had a core go in my father's old car and in a friend's car, neither of which did it
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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$675 @ dealer to replace heater core. $90 to check it out, then the $90 goes towards the heater core.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:33 PM   #8
It burns when I pee....
ABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shedABA180 is one of the sharper tools in the shed
 
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Actually not horrendous, although I don't know the process on this car..the ones I've done ranged from 3-6 hours.
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