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I'll do this starting at present and go back in time - Driving tonight the heater stopped working - blows, but cold. Online research suggested low coolant. A few weeks back had timing belt replaced, mechanic told me I was low on coolant and he topped it off at that time. Few weeks before that, told same thing (low, they filled it up). 1 April I replaced the radiator, and now since then I keep going low on coolant. Here's the thing, there is never any fluid on the ground, but the other day I thought I smelled something odd from the front after driving for 45 minutes. Made a mental note, but forgot about it til tonight, when the lack of heat brought me back to 'low coolant.' The only other distressing thing is since the timing belt was replaced, the trans has been shifting hard, between 1st and 2nd and sometimes 2nd to 3rd. Occasionally 3rd to 2nd too. Does anyone want to hazard a guess at either why the coolant is going low, and whether any of the recent work could be contributing to any of these symptoms? Hubby just left for work travel, thought I'd see suggestions I might get from this forum. The trans was replaced 2 years ago, still under warranty, just haven't taken it back to them yet with recent shifting concerns. Worried they would say somehow the timing belt work is at fault, but I digress...
 

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Check your engine oil, on the dip stick right after a drive..
If it looks milky.. coolant is seeping in the oil system
If exhaust gases are a dense white when engine is at full operating temp.. coolant leaking in the cylinders..

my 2c
J.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oil seems ok, not milky. Radiator fluid is full, overflow wasn't as low as I thought by the time I got a flashlight out to check. Maybe coolant is fine, and there's another reason why the heater isn't working. I may have misread the coolant level when I checked earlier. But heater definitely is blowing cold.
 

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Check your trans ATF for contamination w/ coolant. It will have a pinkish, milky appearance if contaminated. Fix immediately to avoid trans damage. This has happened to others. Corrosion of the radiator ATF cooling fitting is cause.

Was water pump changed w/ timing belt? A coolant leak from water pump is possible. I changed my TB and water pump. A static leak check showed a leak before I installed TB. Removed, recleaned surfaces, lubed, and reinstalled. I started engine w/ timing cover removed to allow a dynamic pressure check on water pump. thankfully all good.

good luck
 

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Similarly, you could check your oil (dipstick on the left as you look at the engine, low one on the right is transmission) It should be amber if new oil or brown if older. Should not have gobules of oil and water mix.

There is a plastic pan under the engine so take a flashlight and look down with the hood open under the radiator and left side (as you look at the engine) to see if it looks wet.

Also check your carpet both front and middle seats along the center console, and front corners where your feet normally go for dampness in case it?s leaking on the inside from the heater cores. You might have to lift the mats and press down. If dry and there is no coolant smell in the car, you can probabaly rule that out.

Good luck.
 

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Re no heat, also remembered that my 06 X has a heater valve that diverts coolant to the heater core. I believe the 01 X has one too. It is controlled from the cabin with a cable. It could be stuck and/or the cable could be stuck or broken. Picture attached shows where it is on an 06. Basically, look behind the engine on the fire wall about halfway down, passenger side, where the coolant hoses enter the cabin.

To check if the valve is working, it's easier if one person looked at the valve while another person was in the cabin and changed the heater temp from cold to hot and back, (key in position II). You might have to start the engine and then be very mindful and careful of the rotating/moving pulleys and belts. You should see the valve arm where the cable is connected move back and forth. The picture is when the temp was set to 75F. When the temp is set on "Low", the valve arm swings counter-clockwise to approx 3 o'clock. If the cable or arm isn't moving, when the engine is COLD and OFF, you could reach back there and try turning the arm by hand to the hot position, then start the engine, and check when it warms-up if the heater blows warm air.

To your question on the timing belt change affecting the transmission shifting, it should not. If coolant is in your trans, it could affect the shift quality and be damaging the trans.
 

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Not the same vehicle but I had the same problem of losing coolant on my 2005 Acura 1.7 EL.
Can’t find any leaks.....

The problem was the head gasket it was warp. So coolant was slowly leaking unnotice. Brought it into dealership and it was fixed. Cost about $900 with timing belt change
 
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