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Smoke/steam from rear of engine bay

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I've been having a great time this month performing a small "overhaul" on my '97 ETC. Just got it back from having some paint/body work, and it's going in next week for the suspension links and bushings.

I've been trying to find the source of a nasty odor that comes through the vents when I'm stopped after highway driving. Once the engine is hot, especially after its been driven for a while at speed, I'll get a heavy and acrid steam/smoke rising out of the left-hand side of the hood. It's sort of alarming at first, but usually burns off and stops smoking in a few moments of being stopped.

If I open the hood quick enough, I can see the smoke rising from the area between the brake booster and EGR valve (driver's side, rear of engine bay), but with all the flashlights in the world, I can't find the leak! It's obviously *something* that's hitting the exhaust manifold and burning off, but I can't find it!

It really doesn't smell like oil burning off the manifold, its more of a hydraulic-ish type of odor. It makes my eyes water, and burns my nose, even in the car! The car doesn't leave any puddles of fluid, and I haven't had to top anything off in months. I'm stumped! I'm beginning to think it may be coolant, but I can't find a leaking hose!

As always, thanks for the help! B)


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It could be one of the coolant pipes that runs along the back of the engine is leaking onto the exhaust, The power steering pressure hose is also in that area and that could be leaking. Check the level of the PS fluid in the PS pump reservoir. If that's OK then it's most likely the coolant pipes.

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I didn't think to look for the power-steering line! It really smells like burning p/s fluid, or something vile like that.

I noticed the last time I was under the hood that the p/s cap and surrounding pump/resovior area was moist with fluid, but didn't make anything of it. I'll take a closer look and see if its somehow leaking from the pump or surrounding lines and dripping onto the hot manifold.

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