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Coolant Leak-Toyota Sienna

 
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SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 07/14/06
03:39 AM

Hi All,

I have a Toyota Sienna which is losing coolant. There is no coolant on my garage floor. When the reservoir is filled, the level does not go down as long as the car is not being driven. Upon starting the car and just letting it run, not driving anywhere, the level in the reservoir started to go up once the engine reached normal running temperature. Any idea what kind of problem I am looking at here? If I don't see it dripping anywhere, I *** this means that the coolant is possibly boiling out of the reservoir while driving? But what would be causing the overheating? Or could this still mean some kind of leak somwhere? Any insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Smile

Pam  

Vandy-1 Vandy-1
User | Posts: 199 | Joined: 04/06
Posted: 07/14/06
07:37 PM

First off check that your radiator cap is not worn.
If there is not sufficient spring tension on the cap this would
allow coolant to escape into the reservoir and boil off.
This condition would also not allow the cooling system to build up
the pressure it needs to effectively work properly and could be
causing the overheating. Also check to see if the thermostat is
sticking or not fully opening up. What are the signs that it is
indeed overheating ?  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 07/16/06
09:08 AM

Thank you Vandy for your response.  The vehicle is not actually overheating.  I can have a full resevoir but if I take the vehicle on a trip over 20-30 minutes when I get to where I am going I notice the resevoir is empty.  I did have an issue with overheating on a recent trip to Yosemite where it overheated when I had boiled out most of the coolant.  Once I filled it with coolant again it was fine.  Someone has mentioned that I could have a cracked head.  I have driven close to a 1,000 miles with the vehicle in this shape and have had no problems with power or noise.  I just recently had the oil changed and there was no coolant in the oil.  There is a plate covering a hose intake (I guess it is there for fitting the engine into a Camry), that I noticed had a deteriorated gasket.  I replaced the gasket but still seem to be having the same problem.

Thanks,
Pam  

Vandy-1 Vandy-1
User | Posts: 199 | Joined: 04/06
Posted: 07/16/06
11:52 PM

I would pressure test the cap or put a new one on.
I don't think a new cap would be over $10 for your vehicle
and see if that simple fix puts an end to your problem.
Please let me know the result.  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/03/06
02:17 AM

Hi Again,

Vandy, thanks for your response.  Sorry I am delayed in getting back to you.  I have been out of town for several weeks.

Well, I had the mechanic replace the radiator cap, water pump, and thermostat (and did the timing belt, while I was at it) and I am still losing coolant.  Again, it's not leaking out.  It seems to be boiling out.  They pressure tested the system and said it was fine.  I am at a total loss as to what's wrong!!!  Any ideas??

Thanks again for any info you can offer. Smile

Pam  

Vandy-1 Vandy-1
User | Posts: 199 | Joined: 04/06
Posted: 08/03/06
06:21 AM

Well now I'm stumped too, maybe take it to another mechanic and
have them pressure test it again to confirm it checks out fine.
Sorry don't know what else to suggest, Good luck !  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/04/06
07:09 AM

The mechanic I took it to said if the problem persisted it would most likely be a head gasket... but I am just not convinced of this.  No coolant in the oil.  No oil in the coolant.  No loss of power.  No smoke.

My uncle, also a mechanic, had looked at it about a month ago and found a small plate that had come loose.  He re-sealed it with silicon gel.  This seemed to slow the coolant loss down somewhat.  The mechanic said it was the water pump, because of two hoses, one was hot and one was cool...?

Oh well.  I have made an appointment to take the car to the dealer (ugh) on Monday.  Of course, this couldn't happen at a worse time.  I have company flying in from half way across the country, and had planned several car trips with her.  Anyway, if and when I find out what the problem was, I'll post again.

Thanks Smile  

automotivejtm-#001 automotivejtm-#001
Guru | Posts: 1019 | Joined: 03/06
Posted: 08/04/06
11:01 AM

good luck, let us know what they come up with  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/09/06
03:13 PM

Ok... after driving around town, I thought maybe everything was Ok.  Coolant level stayed the same.  But after driving 4 hours to LAX and back again, I could hear the coolant boiling when I pulled into the garage.  Sure enough, it was overflowing from the reservoir all over my garage floor.  I took it to the dealer and as it turned out, it was a restricted radiator.  I guess I should consider this a good thing, since another mechanic as well as the dealer's mechanic has previously speculated that it was a head gasket leak, based on the symptoms.  So, for $470 (parts and labor), I will be getting a new radiator.  I guess it could have been worse, right?  

Vandy-1 Vandy-1
User | Posts: 199 | Joined: 04/06
Posted: 08/09/06
04:52 PM

Thanks for posting back, at least the mystery is solved, you should be
good to go for a good while now, and yes it could have been worse ***
a head gasket repair would have been more costly.  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/12/06
11:56 PM

Yeah well... I'm not out of the woods yet.  Got the car back home and opened up the hood.  There was NO coolant in the reservoir.  I called the dealer, he said to top it off with just water.  I questioned this, but he said the went strong on the antifreeze when they filled it.  I just can't believe they didn't top off the tank after ALL of the coolant got sucked into the system.  Anyway, I drove to San Diego and back, about 120 miles, without any problems.  However, the next day I drove 40 miles to Big Bear (all up hill) and the car was overheating.  The reservoir looked full, but I watched it all get sucked right back into the system, and the tank was empty again.  It took over a gallon of fluids to refill it.  So.... needless to say, the car is back in the shop, still don't know what's wrong, and I am beginning to think this "Restricted Radiator" thing was just a crock.  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/15/06
04:32 AM

Ok... so now they say it IS the head gasket.  My car shows no symptoms (like coolant in the oil, oil in the coolant, white smoke, running rough in the mornings, etc), but he says there is coolant in the block.  They had done a block test previously and determined that it was NOT the head gasket, but the radiator.  So, after the radiator repair, the head gasket went?  Does this sound legitimate to anyone?  I don't know enough about cars to know.  But it seemed fishy to me that SO many things went wrong all at once.  Thermostat, radiator, and head gasket all at the same time?  I called the first mechanic I took it to and he says they tested the radiator and it was fine.  So now I am questioning whether the radiator was restricted or if the Dealer just guessed and misdiagnosed the problem.  Either way, I've already put $1050 into the car, and the head gasket repair is going to cost me another $2100 plus rental car!  UGH!  

Vandy-1 Vandy-1
User | Posts: 199 | Joined: 04/06
Posted: 08/15/06
06:31 AM

Icon QuoteSilverSagess:
Ok... so now they say it IS the head gasket.  My car shows no symptoms (like coolant in the oil, oil in the coolant, white smoke, running rough in the mornings, etc), but he says there is coolant in the block.  They had done a block test previously and determined that it was NOT the head gasket, but the radiator.  So, after the radiator repair, the head gasket went?  Does this sound legitimate to anyone?  I don't know enough about cars to know.  But it seemed fishy to me that SO many things went wrong all at once.  Thermostat, radiator, and head gasket all at the same time?  I called the first mechanic I took it to and he says they tested the radiator and it was fine.  So now I am questioning whether the radiator was restricted or if the Dealer just guessed and misdiagnosed the problem.  Either way, I've already put $1050 into the car, and the head gasket repair is going to cost me another $2100 plus rental car!  UGH!

One thing is for sure they told you a lot of things needed replacing
that didn't i.e.water pump,T-stat,radiator. This is a mis-diagnosis and means you should not have had to pay for it to begin with. You should demand your money back then run away from that dealer.Whats to say they
replace the head gasket and that still is not the problem ? as you
mention you do not have any tell tale signs of a blown gasket.I would
suggest looking for another mechanic, but if you decide to stay with
the dealer, BEFORE you have them replace the head gasket have it in
writing that you will not pay a cent if that does not fix the problem!!
If there really is coolant in the block then they should be confident
that replacing the gasket will indeed fix it.
I wish I could help you more but I'm all out of ideas.
Keep us posted on further developments.  

Civic2Koo4U Civic2Koo4U
New User | Posts: 36 | Joined: 08/06
Posted: 08/15/06
06:36 AM

I'd say its the head gasket too. My friends integra blew his gasket as we raced up a mountain. After that whenever he drove his car hard, not like daily normal driving but when he had to push it to get up a hill or something his coolant would start to boil and evaporate out. He replaced the gasket himself...but its a hard process for amatures. If you really want to try...you can but the hardest part about replacing your head gasket is that your need to make sure your cams are lined up right before removing them, and make sure you know how to adjust the rocker arms back to the stock specs otherwise you'll lose power and get rod knock.

I believe its your head...  

SilverSagess SilverSagess
New User | Posts: 11 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 08/16/06
12:19 AM

Vandy,

We opted to have the water pump and timing belt done, as the car has 90,000 miles on it.  The thermostat was, in fact, bad, so we had that replaced at the same time.  The mechanic who did this work was NOT the dealer, and he did the thermostat free of charge since we had all that other work done.

I figure, if I get the car back after replacing the head gasket and it STILL doesn't fix the problem, the dealer is going to have a lawsuit on his hands.  And I suspect I will fight him over the $525 radiator repair, even if the gasket repair DOES fix matters.  

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