2004 Santa Fe leak source?

I have a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe with a 3.5L engine and 92,000 miles.
For the past week or so, I have noticed a very slight smell of antifreeze/radiator fluid every once in a while. I assumed that it is a
radiator hose leak or possibly a leak in the heater core. But, the vehicle does not overheat, there is no steam or fog inside that would indicate a possible heater core leak, and the radiator fluid level seemed full or almost full (although the radiator overflow container was empty). I added a little water to the radiator and filled the overflow container to make sure there was plenty of radiator fluid in the system.
I haven't seen any radiator fluid on the ground around the vehicle at any time. When I open the hood, I don't see any leaking hoses. I took off the engine cover to see better, and I don't see any leak around the water pump, or dripping from the pump, or dripping from any hoses, etc. But, BELOW the water pump is something made of cast metal that I am guessing is the automatic transmission(?) -- I really don't know what it is. And, sitting in some valleys or crevices in that part are small pools of green fluid that clearly looks and smells like radiator fluid with antifreeze.
I ran the vehicle for a long time while watching to see if I could create or see the leak or anything dripping etc. But I don't see anything other than those pools of green liquid just sitting there. I tried moving or wiggling the hoses, and nothing changed. I also tried keeping it running with the heat on high, then later with the AC on high -- still no change. Then I tried using paper towels and sopping up what I could that was in these valleys/crevices, then I drove it again (but only for about 4 miles so far) and I don't see any new fluid in the crevices or anywhere else.
Here are 5 photos that I took with the engine cover off while the green fluid was still there. The photos go from a wider angle overall view down to a view of the green puddles from a slight angle and then down to a top view of the green puddles.
http://i42.tinypic.com/2910z1t.jpg
http://i44.tinypic.com/10pbl3m.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/set7cg.jpg
http://i40.tinypic.com/1530d46.jpg
http://i43.tinypic.com/28fmx.jpg
Where you may see dark areas on the water hoses near the water pump, they are just shadows created by the flash or the sun or whatever. The hoses themselves are all one color and are not wet etc.
My questions:
Am I correct that where the small green puddles are is the automatic transmission?
Is it possible that there is some connection between that (the automatic transmission(?)) and the radiator cooling system?
Is it possible that the cooling system somehow also cools the automatic transmission (or whatever that is)?
If so, could the leak be right there -- maybe where that bolt or the other wire/connection piece is -- and the radiator fluid is coming UP from there?
Or, any other suggestions, of what this may be or where the leak is coming from?
Thanks.
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TomR wrote:

There sure are a lot of coolant transport pipes and gaskets right there. Go here and see: https://www.hyundaitechinfo.com /
I would put a pressure tester on the system. Thats the trans that is catching the coolant from above. It's not something to let go too long.
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Paul in Houston TX wrote:

Thanks. It took me a long time to figure out how to log in and access the information there, but I did it. Unfortunately, I can't find where it shows any of the coolant system or automatic transmission components or any views of what is there. At the top of the web page it says, "Shop, ETM, DTC, TSB, ECU Upgrade, and OBD-II" but I don't know what any of those mean. I tried opening each one but that didn't help.

I didn't get to try that yet. I'd have to take it to a shop somewhere for them to do that since I don't have a pressure tester.
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TomR wrote:

SHOP /Santa Fe/ 2004/ 3.5 DOHC/ Engine Mech. Sys/ Cooling sys/ Engine coolant hosepipe/ Components and Comp Location/ picture!
You should probably take it to a shop. They will put a pressure tester on it and find the leak. As I mentioned, Its not something to let go too long. Overheat that aluminum engine even a little bit and it is destroyed.
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Paul in Houston TX wrote:

Ahah! Thanks. That worked! By looking at those and some of the other drawings on the site, it looks like the green radiator/antifreeze fluid does have to be coming from above as you suggested. Looks like there is nothing in or on the automatic transmission that could be the source.
And, now that I looked at the drawings and then at the vehicle again, I think the leak may be coming from under or behind the water pump area. I think if I take the engine cover off again and also take off all of the air intake filter and hose assembly that seems to be blocking the view, I may be able to see where the problem is. I'll probably get to do that this weekend.

Thanks again. That makes sense. After I get to take a better look at this, I'll take it in to be diagnosed and fixed.
I'll post back here what I find out and what I end up having done to fix it.
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TomR wrote:

Hmmm... The water pump appears to be at the other end of the engine, near the belts and pulleys. Let us know what you find out.
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Paul in Houston TX wrote:

Good catch. Thanks. I checked again and I guess it's not a water pump that I am looking at. It looks like it is a manifold that is attached to the engine block on that end that contains the thermostat and has water hoses attached to it etc. I'm going to try to get a better look at it later today. Maybe it will turn out to be one of those gaskets where the manifold meets the engine that is leaking.
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TomR wrote:

Here's another follow-up. Still no luck in figuring out where the leak is coming from. I removed the air filter assembly and air intake hose to get a better view. Then I rinsed everything off thoroughly with a hose so I would start with a clean slate, and then ran the engine for a long time. No sign of anything leaking. After a couple of days, I looked again, and once again there is a small amount of green radiator water/antifreeze in those two little wells that I showed in the previous pictures that I posted. There is no sign of any dripping or drip lines coming from above.
Here's another photo of how it's looks today. This is actually two links to the same photo in case one allows the viewer to zoom in better than the other.
http://tinypic.com/r/zacyx/5
http://i40.tinypic.com/zacyx.jpg
I have a strange feeling that the green radiator water is actually coming up from where that hex bolt is that is in the center of the photo in between the pools of green fluid. That bolt connects to one of two approximately 1/4-inch metal tubes that I think go from there at the automatic transmission (assuming that's what that is) to somewhere in the area of the bottom of the radiator. I don't know what those metal tubes do or what they are for. Maybe I can find a repair manual that shows or explains what those two metal tubes are.
I am also going to buy a better mirror that I can place in the right position to see up from where the pool of green fluid is located.
The other option, of course, is to finally take it to someone and get them to pressurize the system as was suggested before and see if they can reproduce the leak in real time.
More than anything else, I am curious to find out exactly where the leak is coming from. I would really like to have a better idea of that myself if possible before having a shop tell me what they think it is. At this point, it is kind of a puzzle/adventure since the amount of fluid that leaks is so small that it is not a problem.
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TomR wrote:

Speculation without testing is pretty much a waste of time. The heater hose barbs and heated throttle body and all the hoses are right there. Its better to get it in now then have something blow out on the highway. If it does, then your choice may be either a new engine or junking the vehicle.
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The coolant won't be coming from below without making a very large mess. Look back at where the radiator hoses join the manifold above the transmission. Run your finger at the bottoms of the hoses where they attach to the aluminum. Often the aluminum corrodes here and causes a leak. Usually, the hose is deteriorated and has corrosion transferred to it. Replace any hoses in question and sand the corrosion off the aluminum where the hose attaches so you'll have a smooth surface again.
Also check the gasket where the top outlet attaches to the manifold. These will sometimes leak as well.
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hyundaitech wrote:

Thanks hyundaitech, Paul, Ed, Richard, John.
It looks like I solved the problem. After checking and checking, it appeared that there may have been a very tiny leak in the thermostat gasket. So, I decided to change that. While changing it, I took apart the upper hose connection where it connects to the thermostat cover. There was a small amount of corrosion/salt there on the underneath side that I couldn't see or feel with the thermostat and hose in place. The hose was in good condition, but I did sand and clean off the aluminum where the hose attaches and reconnected everything. So far, it all looks good -- no sign of any leakage anywhere.
Thanks again for all of the suggestions and ideas.
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TomR wrote:

And Thanks for the reply. Glad its working ok.
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On 4/18/2012 1:04 PM, TomR wrote:

This may be related. My 2000 Sonata leaks a tiny amount of coolant. The problem is that there's a short hairline crack at a junction of shapes in the plastic radiator close to the filler neck. It's intermittent and I'll bet that this defect has existed for years, even before I bought the car. It even doesn't seem to be affecting transfer to and from the recovery tank. The leakage is so small that I'm just living with it. Obviously, I'm not impressed with modern (stingy) technology in this case. There are places where plastic makes sense in an automobile. I don't think that this is one of them.
Richard
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Yes, most trans have cooling lines running to the radiator. Usually though, they carry oil to the radiator, not coolant to the trans.

Many things are possible but I'm not familiar enough with the system to say for sure. Leaks often occur under certain circumstances. The right temperature, the right pressure etc. There may be something common to this particular model that an experienced mechanic would know about and what to look for.
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In Australia it is common for GM/Fords ( not sure about others) to use a section of the engine radiator for auto transmission cooling. Purely a cost decison, obviously after a few years the barrier between the two rots away and engine cooling water is pumped through auto transmission. Probably why most people prefer to buy other makes these days.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I still haven't figured it out. I was able to completely wash off all of the coolant that was sitting there a couple of days ago while the engine was completely cold. Now, after driving it for a couple of days I see a very small amount of coolant there again -- maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons of fluid at the most. But, nothing on any hoses above it, nothing on the ground, etc. So, it's still a mystery, but I am still doing detective work to see if I can figure it out.
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