Hard starting, coolant odor from exhaust at start on 2002 Nissan Sentra

At start: rough idle for 3 seconds, and coolant odor from exhaust. Had "check engine" light but it went away. Runs normally but twice I had to crank it until almost draining battery.

by in Naperville, IL on November 15, 2009
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1 answer 3 comments
ANSWER by , November 16, 2009
When the check engine light comes on, a code is stored in the engine module memory, and the code remains even if the light goes out. Check the code and post it here and we can provide some more info. Are you losing coolant, have you had to add any?
COMMENT by , November 16, 2009
YES - loosing coolant. Overflow tank went from max to MIN in 1 week. Checked when car sat overnight. I made appt. with friend's mechanic. Estimate is $600 parts & labor if head gasket is the problem.
COMMENT by , November 16, 2009
Good Call, I would guess that is your problem. How many miles do you have on the engine?
COMMENT by , November 16, 2009
93,000 miles. Regarding codes, "Check engine" came on this evening after starting for third time today. In the past, a "mechanic friend" said there were no codes stored. I'll keep you posted on the resolution. Should be all done by Saturday morning. Girlfriend decided to trade the car in for a 2011 Honda Civic in Jan. 2011. We were lucky to get the heater working and drove it in to the dealer to trade it in. Strangely she saw the car on the road about 3 weeks later. Thanks for all your time and help!