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Q: Coolant leak pulling left

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My van has a weird smell with some steam that comes out of the vents that fog up the dash area. I saw some dirty coolant leaking out all over the passenger side on the front floor, and it dripped down underneath the van. I think it’s the heater core but not sure. I want to get your opinion on whether it’s a pipe and or heater core. And I need some ideas on the brakes. I replaced both front pads, calipers, bearings and rotors on the passenger side. The van pulled really hard to the left before I replaced them. It straightens out after a second now. It might be either the alignment or the drum brakes, but I'm not sure. What are your ideas and thoughts on this?

A: Thanks for writing in about your 1993 Chevr...

Thanks for writing in about your 1993 Chevrolet G20. It is most likely a heater core. A coolant pressure test should be performed and the heater core inspected. A white or green residue at the of the coolant hoses at the inlet or outlet pipe of the the heater core may indicate just a loose hose connection and may save you the expense and trouble of a heater core. As far as the pulling issue, while a dragging drum may cause a pull and the rear brake adjustments should be checked, the front tires should also be checked. To eliminate tires as the pulling concern, the front tires can be switched from side to side and then a brake test performed again to see if the pull moves to the right. If so then, the pull is generated by the tires, if not then a possible cause if a steering or suspension component. A worn ball joint or control arm bushing can cause suspension misalignment during braking causing a temporary pull.

While slowly driving, have someone observe the left front tire when the brakes are abruptly applied to see if the front tire just rearward. If this is the case, the steering and suspension components should be inspected to ensure no excessive wear. If you perform this test yourself, make sure you are in an open area free of obstacles and the speed should be slow as to not compromise control of the vehicle. You may want to enlist the help of a mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, who has the training and expertise to both diagnose and repair both the coolant leak and brake pull issues.

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