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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

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    Weird Title hua? I have a very weird smell coming from the heat vents. It smells JUST like Maple Syrup. I was driving in the car with my girlfriend one night and all of the sudden we both looked at each other and said 'whats that smell?'. We both thought it smelled like maple syrup or some other sugar based stuff. Weve smelt it like 3-4 times not within the course of a week or so. What do you guys think? I havent had any work done on the car latley. What the HELL could this be? It acutally smells kinda nice, like it doesnt bother my girl or I. Its actually kind of nice, but i gotta know what it is for me to be happpy with it. ha.

    PS - Im not a pig, and i dont eat in my car. lol
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  2. #2
    Veteran Member Four Rings Kyle H's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Is it only when the heaters on, or can you smelll it with just the vents too?


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  3. #3
    Forum Moderator Four Rings A4Rob's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Did you park under a maple syrup tree? Replace your cabin filter if it bothers you.
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  4. #4
    Veteran Member Three Rings Larson7.62's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    This may sound like an obvious question, but you didn't happen to spill maple syrup down your vents, did you?
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  5. #5
    Awaiting Confirmation Four Rings AElucky83's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    did the previous owner have a addiction to waffles or pan cakes??

    was the previous owner an owner of a IHOP as well??

    was the previous owner Aunt Jemaima??

    Do you have fat ex girlfriend who might be angry at you??

    Is your garage and/or house haunted?? The ghost might have been killed in a maple syrup incident

  6. #6
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    coolant has a sweet smell... not sure if it smells like maple syrup though...

    check the level your coolant tank to see if you are leaking coolant anywhere... if you are, my guess would be somewhere by the heater core...

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    AElicky83, that is quite the response. Dam. You guys are freaking funny, you almost made me forget about what i posted for.

    kbjy11, thats what i was thinking. i really hope that is not the case. i know that coolent can smell like that sometimes. This may be a stupid question but here is the heater core located? Maby i can check around there tomarrow.

    Can i get a cabin filter at PepBoys? How much?
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  8. #8
    Awaiting Confirmation Four Rings AElucky83's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    id check out ECStuning.com for the filter..probably best price ul find bud..

    sorry about the earlier post..i couldnt resist..

  9. #9
    Registered Member Four Rings B6JoeS4's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    i doubt pep boys will have one with charcoal. get it from germanfilters.com

  10. #10
    Active Member One Ring tafc1383's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    its not the cabin filter i hate to say it but your heater core is going bad. if you put your nose to a gallon of antifreeze it will resemble what you are experiencing. if you let it go any further it will eventually start to leak antifreeze into the cabin of the car and saturate your carpet which is impossible to get out.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Yeah sounds like heater core, and if it is its a bitch to replace. I doubht cabin air filter, a smell would probably get progressivley worse. Maple syrup sounds exactly like coolant. http://www.audiworld.com/tech/int54.shtml

  12. #12
    Stage 2 Banner Advertiser Four Rings winston@podi.ca's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    +3 on it being the heater core.

    I'd get it checked before it soaks your interior.


  13. #13
    Veteran Member Three Rings Bic-Ball's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    this is a problem? i want my heater core to go bad

  14. #14
    Veteran Member Four Rings A4 Effort's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Before calling it a day and saying the heater core is bad, do some investigative work.

    You didn't mention whether or not you've checked for coolant leaks inside the engine bay. It could be that your coolant sensor is bad and is leaking coolant onto your engine.

    Did you recently add coolant, or are you adding coolant at more than regular intervals?
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  15. #15
    Active Member One Ring tafc1383's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    it is possible for a sweet smell to be coming out of the vents if you had leak under the hood but it would have to be a very apparent leak one you would most likely see on your driveway or garage floor. from my experience if the smell is coming on only when heat is on then the heater core is going out because if it was coming out when the a/c is on then it would be more likely of a leak coming from under the hood. your could always pressure test your cooling system with the proper tools to verify an engine leak.

  16. #16
    Veteran Member Four Rings B5A4Kevin's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    bump for update? has the coolant level been verified, and engine area been checked for leaks?
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Three Rings werewolves182's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Just an idea but I have had old brake fluid spill in my garage and after a week or so it smells exactly like maple syrup. Maybe something to check up on.

  18. #18
    Veteran Member Four Rings 317ssayzarc's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    You are from NY lol...

    http://gothamist.com/2009/01/06/mapl..._a_mystery.php

    But if it's a consistent smell, you need a heater core... If that's the case, I'll pray for you lol, I HATE doing heater cores since they are generally a whore to replace

  19. #19
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Effort, i have added coolent probally about 1.5 months ago. I will have to check for leaks today.

    317ssayzarc, that is a very intresting link. wow, i have to read into that a little.

    how expensive is the heater core to replace?

    if i dont use the heat, will the leak still be a problem? or am i only putting coolent all over the place and into my interior if i use the heat? cause right now im already at $1500 for recent repairs and if i have to pay any more money im literally going to cry.
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  20. #20
    Veteran Member Three Rings B5Burn's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Is it a former Canadian car? :)
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  21. #21
    Veteran Member Four Rings Tifun's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    I bet it's a headgasket. Smell is coming in through the cabin filter.

  22. #22
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Why head gasket?

    And if its the heater core...If i dont use the heat will i keep my interior safe?
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  23. #23
    Veteran Member Four Rings Tifun's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    If it's a heater core you can simply do a bypass, you wont have heat, but you can atleast keep the coolant out of the interior of your car. The reason I say headgasket or similar is that I usually attach the maple syrup smell to coolant mixed with oil. Just what I've noticed over the years of working on cars.

  24. #24
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    What would i need to do for a bypass? I really would put off heat for the rest of the 2 months of winter just to not have to spend anymore money at this point in time. What can i do to see if it really is the heater core? Where is it?
    Black On Black 98' Audi A4 2.8L 30V 5spd. Quattro "Esabell"


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  25. #25
    Veteran Member Four Rings Tifun's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    there are two feed lines that are on the firewall that directly connect to the heatercore from the engine bay. Simply go to autozone and get the coolant flush kit....it has a couple of fittings and cost like 10bucks or whatev. Simply disconnect the lines from the firewall and join them together with the fitting that fits and the clamps. It just cuts the heater core out of the line, and still keeps the flow proper. Gonna be really cold. No defrost, just rear defrost, and heated seats.


    The kit looks like this and can usually be found in the coolant section or the DIY/Help asile.


  26. #26
    Senior Member Two Rings EuRoSp1c's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    have u done tranny fluid change.. or is it leaking... i changed my fluid today and many people said it smells like maple syrup and it actually does... tranny fluid and maple syrup smell similar

  27. #27
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Shit, no defrost is bad. I really need to figure out whats going on.
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  28. #28
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Holy SHIT. I just read that audi world DIY and thats stupid long work for something so simple. wow. i dident think it was going to be that bad. Ok, gona have to think here...there is no way that my pops is going to allow me to take up that much space and time in my garage, with THAT much stuff taken apart hes going to have a heart attack. If it is my heater core i will have to wait at least another 2 weeks until i go back to school and can do it in the parking lot in the freezing cold, great.

    How do i know for SURE that its the heater core without taking 5 hours to take everything apart?

    Do i NEED to do that bypass in order to keep from damage? or can i just not use anything to do with heat besides my engine. (defrost, heated seats ect.)
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  29. #29
    Veteran Member Four Rings Tifun's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    If you really think it's the hc, and u r driving the car. I would suggest the bypass. You will be loosing pressure in your cooling system and coolant at the same time. I would also suggest keeping some coolant with you in the Car in the mean time until u get this figured out. How does your coolant resvoir look? Milky maybe?????

  30. #30
    Veteran Member Three Rings audiluxary's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    My 98 A6 I owned had the same sweet smell and I checked my coolant resevoir and it was a little damp and white around the rubber hoses but it ended up being my water pump. The pump was leaking and my coolant was running out slowly. Same smell though and even stronger when the heat was on.
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  31. #31
    Site Moderator Four Rings onemoremile's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    It is the heater core. A quick way to diagnose it for 22 bucks is to pick up a jug of audi coolant. Drain the radiator and do a quick flush. Fill the coolant tank with nothing but distilled water. Then fire up the heater and if the smell is reduced or gone then it was the core.

    Be sure to get some coolant back in there so it doesn't freeze up on you. That happened to me earlier this year and it is no fun at all.
    Last edited by onemoremile; 01-12-2009 at 10:42 AM.
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  32. #32
    Established Member Two Rings Jkilla71's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    My vote is the heater core too. Like Tifun said, do a simple bypass and run it like that if money is tight.

  33. #33
    Site Moderator Four Rings onemoremile's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    I wouldn't bypass it. I'd just live with the smell. When I had this problem I would set the temp on high and use the fan speed to regulate the interior temp. Less fan equals less smell.
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  34. #34
    Veteran Member Four Rings Tifun's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    I still suggest it, based on the fact that now the cooling system has been comprimized with an interior coolant leak. I had a blown heatercore in my Corrado(who would have guessed that to happen) and I had coolant on the floor and the vents were wet. Just think about that. Your heater core is a sealed unit, like a radiator that sits inside of a plasitc box that air blows through. Now if you continue to drive like that, you may 1, over fill the box and start to dump it into your interior, 2 the moisture will and can cause premature wear on things like blower bearings etc, 3 the smell may be stuck in the car forever if you can't get your vents clean enough, 4 loose enough coolant= locked up motor(don't count on your idiot lights to save you enough to pull over and fill her back up.) It might be too late and you may have overheated your block which can never be repaired unless you get a new block. If you truly think it's your heatercore, I would at least bypass it until you get it repaired, or park it.

  35. #35
    Veteran Member Four Rings Euro-Tuner's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    I popped an o-ring on my coolant flange and it smelled just like maple syrup today, it reminded me of this thread, GL!

  36. #36
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    I will most likley look for leaks soon. I havent been using my car latley. Even if i think at all its the heater core after taking a look, ill do the bypass before i go back to school.
    Black On Black 98' Audi A4 2.8L 30V 5spd. Quattro "Esabell"


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  37. #37
    Site Moderator Four Rings onemoremile's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Quote Originally Posted by Tifun View Post
    I still suggest it, based on the fact that now the cooling system has been comprimized with an interior coolant leak. I had a blown heatercore in my Corrado(who would have guessed that to happen) and I had coolant on the floor and the vents were wet. Just think about that. Your heater core is a sealed unit, like a radiator that sits inside of a plasitc box that air blows through. Now if you continue to drive like that, you may 1, over fill the box and start to dump it into your interior, 2 the moisture will and can cause premature wear on things like blower bearings etc, 3 the smell may be stuck in the car forever if you can't get your vents clean enough, 4 loose enough coolant= locked up motor(don't count on your idiot lights to save you enough to pull over and fill her back up.) It might be too late and you may have overheated your block which can never be repaired unless you get a new block. If you truly think it's your heatercore, I would at least bypass it until you get it repaired, or park it.

    I wouldn't change it unless the carpet is wet with coolant. Not until summer anyway. I did mine last winter and it isn't a project to take lightly.

    http://www.audizine.com/forum/showth...99#post2050099




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  38. #38
    Veteran Member Three Rings anmagro's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Oh man, what a job. For whatever reason i cant really smell it anymore. But i knew i was smelling something like the syrup smell of coolent.
    Black On Black 98' Audi A4 2.8L 30V 5spd. Quattro "Esabell"


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  39. #39
    Veteran Member Four Rings Tifun's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    Quote Originally Posted by onemoremile View Post
    I wouldn't change it unless the carpet is wet with coolant. Not until summer anyway. I did mine last winter and it isn't a project to take lightly.

    http://www.audizine.com/forum/showth...99#post2050099




    Looks as fun as my Corrado was lol.


  40. #40
    Site Moderator Four Rings onemoremile's Avatar
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    Re: Maple Syrup Smell Coming from Heat Vents

    I also did a 94 Jetta VR6. Big job on that one.
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