Smoke coming out of the dash vents on a 2004 Saturn Vue

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Hello,

A friend has an intermittent problem with white "smoke" coming out of the
dash vents.

The vehicle is a 2004 Saturn Vue and has a V6 engine in it that has had the
100k timing belt service performed at around 115k. As I understand it,
there's no correlation to the service and when the problem started
occurring. Each time the problem has occurred the vehicle has been taken to
the dealer only for the owner to be told that they can't find anything wrong
with it. This has happened several times so far.

Upon searching for a possible solution, it was mentioned that it might be
cracked heater core. That might explain the intermittent nature of the
problem. However, I'm being told that the vehicle isn't losing any coolant
(Dexcool, I believe). Supposedly, the dealer pressure tested the cooling
system and found no problems with it.

Another strange symptom is that recently the low coolant light on the dash
comes on, yet the vehicle isn't low on coolant and the dealer says that the
vehicle is fine. I was also told that when this just happened the vehicle
ran rough.

Any thoughts as to what to look for or what the problem might be? This is
becoming very frustrating for the owner, who just wants to get the vehicle
fixed.

Thanks in advance to those who post a reply to the group.

Peter.



Re: Smoke coming out of the dash vents on a 2004 Saturn Vue
What does the "smoke" smell like? If it is acrid, possibly blower motor is
getting toasted. On my '01 lw300, I had problems with the blower motor that
caused a wire harness to burn out. Pulled out the radio and hvac control
panels to access the area behind them. Found a connector that had burnt.
Nothing necessary so cut out the offending wires and hard spliced them with
solder and heatshrink. Blower switch has fried twice but it's easy to
replace... got to replace the blower motor at some point.

Also had a coolant leak - not in the core but in one of the hoses leading to
the core. They use o-ring seals with plastic retainers. Some coolant sludge
had forced its way past the seals and then made a permanent leak. The
retainers crack when you take them off and they're unique. Wound up buying a
new set of metal feed tubes from saturn parts and just used the retainers.
Problem solved after flushing the cooling system, cleaning the o-ring seals
and installing the new retainers. I was amazed at how easy it was to get to
the heater core on my car. Most cars it is a royal pain but this one slides
out from a compartment on the passenger side... but I digress. There was a
film on the windows, a sweet smell and the passenger side carpet was wet
with coolant. But you said that there was no coolant loss.

I replaced the coolant reservoir a while back. The float that senses coolant
level sprung a leak and wouldn't actuate the reed switch for coolant level.
On this, an open circuit indicates low level. Shorted is normal.

When replacing the timing  belt (the 3L engine is a bear to do this on), the
water pump should be changed while you're in there. Coolant should also have
been flushed and replaced.

Hope this gives you some ideas - Oppie

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