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Major problem! Antifreeze in #2 cylinder, please help!

firesniper20 firesniper20
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 05/11
Posted: 05/16/11
09:06 AM

hey guys, I'll try and be as descriptive as possible..

I have a 1996 toyota camry 2.2 liter LE, 5sf3 engine (dual overhead cam). I bought it from my wife's friend a few years ago, the car only had 80k miles on it, and for $600 bucks, I said why not...but now I have a major problem. I have antifreeze/coolant coming into the #2 cylinder, which is causing it to misfire, the other cylinders are all dry, and working perfect.

Now I know what you're thinking, I must have blown my head gasket, and that's what I thought at first.. (i'm an intermediate home mechanic, so I replaced it myself) put everything back, and I still have the same problem. Antifreeze is STILL getting into the #2 cylinder.. so it has to be a faulty head, right? I ordered a rebuilt head, installed it, bought a NEW gasket with it (from toyota), AND new head bolts (also from toyota), torqued every bolt/nut to toyotas specifications, and lo and behold, I still have the problem.

At this point, it could only be one thing right? The engine body ITSELF probably has a small hole or crack in which the coolant is leaking into the cylinder. So I do a compression test, leakdown test and vacuum tests on all the cylinders, and they all look fine. I speak to a few mechanics around my area, and they all tell me it's the engine I take the plunge, and buy a rebuilt engine. I installed it last weekend, the engine runs very smooth, and I thought the problem was solved. I decided to change the spark plugs, so I'm out there changing the second spark plug...and to my surprise, I pull it out and what do I find? ANTIFREEZE!

So, I changed the head, the gasket, the engine BLOCK, and still, I'm getting coolant in the #2 cylinder, and the others are dry. My question is, why is this happening? Has anyone here every seen/ heard of anything like this before?

if you have ANY questions, please ASK AWAY! I'll be here to answer them asap, and I would like to get any kind of comment/opinion. It would be greatly appreciated. thanks!  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4545 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 05/16/11
10:39 AM

there is antifreeze/coolant circulated through the idle air control valve..       there are 2 hoses on the bottom that have coolant..   hook them together bypassing the throttle body all together..  see if that cures your problem..  

there is engine coolant in the left 2 openings.. and engine vacuum in the right two openings...

there is only a gasket to separate them....

it takes about 20 minutes to remove the throttle body from the intake with the idle air valve still on the bottom..    do you have a hand vacuum tester.. brake bleeder hand pump..????      or a radiator pressure tester.. so you could hook it directly to the throttle body coolant connectors and block the other side and test it..

please post what you find..

you could also look at the manifold. see if the second cylinder path is lower than the others..  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4545 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 05/16/11
10:47 AM

i don't know right now how far the coolant passes up to and around inside the throttle body..  

i have done tests..  using a compression tester hose with the valve core removed and safely stored..  adapted to hood directly to shop air..     one spark plug at a time removed and the hose installed.. a remote starter switch to position the crank..   bouncing the button off something instead of using my thumb.. give a shorter pulse to the starter.. can move it tiny amounts..

the full pressure shop air into the cylinder with the valves closed. and the radiator cap open and the system filled to the top.. does the coolant rise when you hook up shop air.. ???  test all the cylinders..  this is a sure and easy way to tell and to verify a head gasket failure..  

there are tools like cylinder leak down testers.. but they have restrictor in the hose to limit and calibrate the amount of air let through.. so they just don't have enough air flow to do this test properly..

the engine will many times spin..  just use the remote starter to reposition..   DO NOT TRY TO LOCK OR HOLD THE CRANK or engine from spinning..   just be sure that nothing can get caught when it does turn..  

firesniper20 firesniper20
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 05/11
Posted: 05/16/11
01:09 PM

WOW the pics are a HUGGGGGEEEE help! thanks!

I will get a vacuum tester and do those tests on wed, when I'm off from work.

I forgot to add that when I first replaced the head gasket, I noticed that the water outlet (the thermostat housing) was rotten on the inside, and was developing a small hole on the side, so i replaced it. Turns out the same thing was happening on the pipe on the right side of the engine. (where the temp sensor hooks up to). I just replaced that piece last week. SO apparently the lady who had this car before me, NEVER maintained the car (changed the oil/antifreeze).. i know  Shocked

So the coolant ate away at the water outlet and the pipe, and the idle air control valve is the next stop the antifreeze maybe there IS a small hole or something in there... the only way to find out is to do the test and take it out and visually inspect it. But if you're right, if there IS a hole...WHY is the antifreeze only appearing in the #2 cylinder? if it's leaking into the throttle body, and leaking into the intake, it SHOULD be getting into every cylinder... this is so weird.. I guess I'll know more when I'm off from work. but thanks again, i WILL keep you posted..this is very strange to me as well  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4545 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 05/16/11
04:55 PM

i would bet that if you look at the shape of the intake manifold inside.. the number 2 runner is probably the lowest internally.. so any liquid would run into there... but thats just a guess.. when you have the throttle body off.. with a bright flashlight inserted into the intake...   you might be able to see...

the only one of these that i work on is over 100 miles away currently...  i will have to take a look at the intake manifold gaskets see if there are any passages with coolant flow between the head and the intake...    you have had this apart recently...   was there any

this looks like the intake side of the head...

i wonder offhand.. if the center opening has coolant in it..   so a leaking intake might leak into the intake port..

wait... maybe this is the intake side...


firesniper20 firesniper20
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 05/11
Posted: 05/18/11
09:57 AM


I did a vacuum test on the idle air, and it held a vacuum, so theres no hole or leak, which means the anti freeze isn't getting into the #2 cylinder from there...

what the hell is going on? Frown  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4545 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 05/18/11
11:38 AM

can you borrow a radiator pressure tester.????   do the same test....   the cap adaptor does come off the hose...

there is still a chance with the type of silicone gaskets.. that it could leak with pressure.. but not with vacuum...

pressure expands the seal... vacuum contracts it..

is there coolant anywhere else....   taking the throttle body all the way off the car and taking the idle air control off the bottom is the next step...   carefully reading the impressions the gaskets have made..

the coolant probably makes a loop inside the throttle body also...

take a look at the intake.. is there any more coolant lines hooked up to the intake..

is there any coolant passages in the intake down where it bolts to the head...  

i don't have a car to examine.. but i have a friend with a factory service manual.. i will see if i can stick my nose in it later today..  or early this evening..

please... be prepared..   have a Pozidrive screw driver set there.. as the screws that look like phillips.. but have a +,   a plus shape with a period on one corner is pozidrive or ISO screw driver..    i have sent my former snap on tool man into a tizzy looking for an ISO screw driver set or bits..   finally handed me a set of pozidrive bits... on the side was marked PZ1 PZ2 PZ3..

02 Screwdriver Bits  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4545 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 05/18/11
11:54 AM

just had a flash... how about the thermal vacuum switch down on the thermostat housing...   its connected to coolant and has vacuum hoses on it..   its just above the transmission on the drivers side of the  cylinder head... mounted in the housing.. or water outlet..

i wonder if there are any more?????

a few decades ago... on many cars and trucks that used GM coolant temp sensors and the properly assembled weatherpac connectors...  there was sometimes strange places for coolant to leak under the dash board of the cars...  dripping from the computer.. usually wiping it out..   even land rover discoverys had the problem..   would not go over 25MPH..    seemed the coolant temp sensor leaked internally..   the weather pack connecter was pressure tight.. forced the coolant up inside the wiring insulation..   causing the computer to go into engine protection mode on the rovers... but not setting a trouble code..   oops..   i know a shop who rebuilt the transmission and it still would not go over 25MPH.. i ask why the rover was sitting there.. when he told me i got the hood open and showed them..  i got a free transmission rebuild for that one..  he was really happy..  

440t4 440t4
Guru | Posts: 1009 | Joined: 04/09
Posted: 05/18/11
10:18 PM

If i did all that work and still had the problem i would have destroyed that car with a sledge hammer by now.  

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