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A few days ago I noticed the sweet burning smell of coolant once my engine ran for a few minutes. I looked in the reservoir and it is at the proper level, however the liquid in there is not the bright green liquid that is in the radiator. I took the radiator cap off while the car was shut off, turned the car on, and noticed that the coolant in the radiator is not circulating.

** I get heat when the car is warmed up,

**the temperature gauge is not overheating (we have had extremely cold temps -9 to 19 degrees F), but it does rise past the halfway point.

** I do not see any coolant spray under the hood or on the engine.

Please give me some ideas as to what the problem could be so that I am informed when I take it to a garage.

Thanks

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Model?

Mileage?

Any recent maintenance?

 

When it's warm, is the top and bottom radiator hose warm/hot?

You really can see coolant flow in a Subaru.  Make sure the radiator is full when the engine is cold.  Sometimes the coolant is not pulled back into the radiator from the overflow bottle.

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Legacy outback H6 3.0 143000 miles. It has had spark plugs changed, left control arm, CO2 sensor replaced, brakes and rotors replaced.

I didn't check the top and bottom hoses for warmth. But I was able to open the radiator after driving it for 10 minutes. The cap was not hot and there wasn't any pressure build up. 

While we are discussing this particular vehicle, how long does it take for the computer to reset after having the spark plugs changed? I am having issues as far as the catalytic converter is concerned also. 

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the only symptom that's definitive here is a smell of coolant.  this generally means you need to find the leak.  

 

if the leak is so small that you can't find it and the system isn't loosing any appreciable amount of coolant - then you're not likely to find it without very close inspection.  try inspecting while it's cold and after it's been running. 

 

if the engine isn't overheating then the coolant temps/flow aren't problematic.  maybe the thermostat wasn't open, thereby limiting coolant flow.  

 

computer doesn't need "reset".  the plugs aren't likely to fix a P0420 or any oxygen sensor/catalytic converter code.  if they did it would be nearly immediate - like within a few minutes the catalyst efficiency would normalize. 

 

if the leak is so small that you can't find it and the system isn't loosing any appreciable amount of coolant - then you're not likely to find it without very close inspection.  try inspecting while it's cold and after it's been running. 

 

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