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.
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.
Am I correct that where the small green puddles are is the automatic
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