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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm back again hoping that I can call on some of your expertise once more.

I have got a 2008 Clio III which has been through the mill a bit (engine replacement 2 years ago, and a lot of mileage from previous jobs with long commutes etc) however generally she's pretty reliable and overall a good runner.

Since lockdown I have worked from home so the car barely gets driven (a couple of miles per month!), however I have needed some work doing on it lately, and wonder if this is where my current issue stems from (had a clutch replacement around 2-3 months ago)...

This week I drove the car for the first time in a month or 2, and when I pulled up where I was going, I noticed that there was a strong smell coming from under the bonnet. It didn't smell like burning oil, it was much stronger in smell. When I got home I noticed it again. Later on I popped the bonnet and checked oil and coolant (I do have form for not checking coolant and have let it run dry before - sorry! :censored: ) but all fine there. When I looked further down, to the right (where I am told the gearbox is located) I could see some sort of liquid sat there on the top, and it looked sort of greenish in colour when I wiped it with kitchen roll. A little bit of googling told me it could be Transmission fluid?

So....if this is the case, how do I go about further investigating this - why it's there and what to do to resolve? When the mechanic replaced my clutch in March he commented in the invoice notes 'cracked engine block between 1st and 2nd cylinder'. He didn't bring it to my attention at the time and I am unsure of the relevance, if any. Going back to this green-ish fluid, I don't recall seeing any large patches of fluid on the road where my car was, but I might need to go and take another look to be sure.

Just wondering if some of you knowledgeable folk can help me to figure out the issue and next steps?

Thanks very much, as always i do really appreciate it.
 

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Super Moderator Technical Supremo Platinum Member
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When someone mentions Green fluid my immediate thought is coolant.
Or Fairy Liquid but that isn't normally found on gear boxes.
Couple this with gear box top which isn't too far from thermostat and coolant hoses???
What colour is your coolant?

Second thought in that area is brake fluid but not come across that being described as greenish in colour.
And have never come across green gearbox oil but that just means I haven't come across it.

Your clutch guy seems pretty knowledgeable to be able to spot a crack between cyl 1&2 when changing the clutch.... most people have to take the cylinder head off to be sure of a crack between pots.... are you sure that note wasn't to do with the original engine?????
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When someone mentions Green fluid my immediate thought is coolant.
Or Fairy Liquid but that isn't normally found on gear boxes.
Couple this with gear box top which isn't too far from thermostat and coolant hoses???
What colour is your coolant?

Second thought in that area is brake fluid but not come across that being described as greenish in colour.
And have never come across green gearbox oil but that just means I haven't come across it.

Your clutch guy seems pretty knowledgeable to be able to spot a crack between cyl 1&2 when changing the clutch.... most people have to take the cylinder head off to be sure of a crack between pots.... are you sure that note wasn't to do with the original engine?????
Hi there, thanks for replying :)

It's definitely not Fairy! Good question - I'll check the coolant tomorrow and report back. It was still just below the max line yesterday though? It didn't look like I had lost any.

The clutch guy was a mobile mechanic off 'Who can fix my car' - he didn't have any prior knowledge or notes about my car, or the fact that it was a replacement engine.

If it is in fact engine coolant, would this tie in with the cracked cylinder, or could it be a leak elsewhere? I don't think I can afford another engine so am hoping there are other fixes, even if short term!
 

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If it is in fact engine coolant, would this tie in with the cracked cylinder, or could it be a leak elsewhere?
Yes, if the block is cracked it could be coolant escaping but I cannot think of anyway that Mr Fix It could identify a crack inside the engine.
Far more likely is that you have a leaky pipe or thermostat housing... if indeed it is coolant.

I have to ask on the colour, not a clue what would be in yours.....
Renault use an OAT coolant specially made for them...was always golden orange but now some seems to be green.
Glycol coolants were blue and then some got called universal and were green.
Normal OAT is usually Red.
And some makers choose their own colour without regard.

Normally coolant smell is sorta pungent sweet and sour.... not sure I can describe, just know what it smells like.
 

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Because of the smell after driving, I would also say that he has a coolant leak.

Colour additive that shows a leak in AC system is also green. But it doesn't smell and there is very low quantity of it.
 

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sure its not water thats trapped under the scuttle panels.
This then has spewed out as you drove the car, and ended up on top of the gearbox,
so now you have stagnant water, old engine oil, with possibly a touch of brake fluid, and even possibly a drop of gearbox oil, all combined

Check water level
If good.
Check Scuttle panels for leaves and dirt stuck underneath, not allowing water to drain out correctly
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, if the block is cracked it could be coolant escaping but I cannot think of anyway that Mr Fix It could identify a crack inside the engine.
Far more likely is that you have a leaky pipe or thermostat housing... if indeed it is coolant.

I have to ask on the colour, not a clue what would be in yours.....
Renault use an OAT coolant specially made for them...was always golden orange but now some seems to be green.
Glycol coolants were blue and then some got called universal and were green.
Normal OAT is usually Red.
And some makers choose their own colour without regard.

Normally coolant smell is sorta pungent sweet and sour.... not sure I can describe, just know what it smells like.
Hi there. So I've finally been out to have another look under the bonnet and now whilst I am not sure it was green, I am sure that it isn't coolant because there was only water in the reservoir. After a short drive today, I noticed more of whatever this fluid is at the front. Will try and attach photos.
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It appears to be mostly on the top of the gearbox, it was pooled inside the channels or grooves. It absolutely stinks. I could even smell it when I walked past my car the other day.

One thing I was wondering, was whether the guy who replaced the clutch maybe just spilled transmission fluid because I don't think he took the gearbox out (as he did the job in something daft like 2 hours).

What I've done is tried to mop it up with blue towel, then used wd40 de greaser and then washed it out. Taken it for a little drive and am just waiting for it all to dry out and will have another look under the bonnet tomorrow.

Just wondering what you think about that? Thanks for all the help :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Because of the smell after driving, I would also say that he has a coolant leak.

Colour additive that shows a leak in AC system is also green. But it doesn't smell and there is very low quantity of it.
Hi, thank you. I'm not sure it's coolant as I only had water inside the reservoir as the last time I was running low I was put of coolant so just used water. I opened it up and it doesn't smell in there at all. I really don't think it's coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
sure its not water thats trapped under the scuttle panels.
This then has spewed out as you drove the car, and ended up on top of the gearbox,
so now you have stagnant water, old engine oil, with possibly a touch of brake fluid, and even possibly a drop of gearbox oil, all combined

Check water level
If good.
Check Scuttle panels for leaves and dirt stuck underneath, not allowing water to drain out correctly
Hi there and thanks.

I don't think so, a couple of months we cleared out all of the scuttles as it had backed up and leaked into the footwell. Everything looks clear there now.
 

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Hi, thank you. I'm not sure it's coolant as I only had water inside the reservoir as the last time I was running low I was put of coolant so just used water. I opened it up and it doesn't smell in there at all. I really don't think it's coolant.
Green stuff looks like oxidation from the bottom of battery.
Liquid should be gearbox oil from overfill. But then, that should not smell that bad unless it is dripping on exhaust and burning.
It is not possible to change clutch in just 2 hrs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Green stuff looks like oxidation from the bottom of battery.
Liquid should be gearbox oil from overfill. But then, that should not smell that bad unless it is dripping on exhaust and burning.
It is not possible to change clutch in just 2 hrs.
Ah that makes sense as we did some work in the battery housing a few months ago so it's probably all that oxidised stuff just crumbled off.
If it was overfill would it not have been doing it right away? There wasn't any spills the day he did it, or immediately afterwards - seems to be after driving. Is it possible he left off some bungs or something and it's spilling out when driving? Just wondering how I can find out where it's coming from. It really smells strong around my car again this morning. It may have been 3 hours, I can't recall exactly, but he definitely did change the clutch...!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It smells so bad that it still smells further down the street where it was parked previously.
 

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Green stuff looks like oxidation from the bottom of battery.
Yup, exactly that.
Which makes me wonder if it is battery acid you are smelling..... again difficult to describe but a sharp, pungent smell. If it reacts with other things can smell like rotten eggs (stink bombs)
I would be pulling the battery to have a good look.

Have a sheet of polythene ready to put it on, wear gloves and eye protection, fill a bucket of water and stand it by the car.
May seem like overkill but batteries are filled with sulphuric acid, it will burn, it will blind, it will eat through jeans or cotton in a flash (Don't ask how I know)
If you do get a splash, plenty of water, immediately.
If it does turn out to be a leaky battery, inside the engine bay needs washing out with lots of clean water...avoid electrics if you can.
 

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It smells so bad that it still smells further down the street where it was parked previously.
Plenty of suggestions but untill we know which fluid, you won't get right answer.

Gearbox oil overfill was leaking several weeks on my car and only while moving. Don't know why. Maybe it's coming out of the vent on top, if it exists.

Go to garage, let them drain excess oil and then you can clean it. Any grease solvent is good sad long as you rinse it with water.
 
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