Loss of coolant expansion tank still full

Submitted: Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 17:40
ThreadID: 137379 Views:2102 Replies:16 FollowUps:29
Hi to Everyone, I have a radiator problem since I flushed and changed my coolant from green to red.I think I flushed it all and it's the third time I have done it ,never had a problem before.I read that you should have the key on to keep the heater open? I thought I had an air block to start with as when I pushed it the temp rose and dropped quickly when I backed off. So I refilled it, it is using coolant and the reserve tank is not working ,the hoses to the tank are fine. The tank stays full and the radiator loses coolant. No obvious leaks. Thanks I will appreciate any advice. Wayne B16
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Reply By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 19:30

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 19:30
Hi Wayne what type of car or 4wd is it,and how old??
Some cars have electric water pumps, when refilling the cooling system , you have to turn the ignition on to run the pump to bleed the system, and the heater tap
open on either system.
coolant loss can be a few things, very hard to see if it is a small weep from the radiator core.
Rob
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 19:44

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 19:44
Rob S
Which vehicles have an electric water pump? Interested to know of one.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:10

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:10
RMD
Various Later model BMW have electric water pumps,ie E90 325i, X5 etc etc
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and that's when I thought I was wrong!

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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:34

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:34
Thanks Rob. Haven't looked into a BMW. I wonder how reliable they are.
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Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:52

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:52
Thanks for the replies , just read Robs so I forgot to mention 2001 troopy Natural diesel 227,000 km never missed a beat before this will now read the rest ,thanks
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:23

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:23
RMD
Yes probably not as reliable as a belt driven pump they will give you a warning, like leakage or noisy bearing, when they are about to die.
Electric ones just usually stop no warning, they usualy only get around 160k klm out them, if I owned one I would carry a spare in the boot!
Mine has a belt driven pump, but has a small electric pump for the heating system,
Have to make sure you turn on the heater fan to operate the pump to circulate the coolant when doing a flush.
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and that's when I thought I was wrong!

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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 19:49

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 19:49
Have you dipped your oil to see if the level is rising?
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Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:57

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:57
Thanks Pete oil is fine
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Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:01

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:01
Wayne B16
As Rob S mentioned, it is a great thing to know what vehicle you are talking about. There are differences in the cooling systems.

The initial slight overheat may have been an airlock and it may have now been flushd through, so unless you replicate the conditions of use you possibly won't know if it has changed.

Q. Does the radiator level go down to around the same level of loss each time you look at it when cold?
The radiator cap has 3 seals which all work to ensure proper water flows as the system heats up. If one seal is compromised, then the system won't work properly.

Unless the overflow tank has a bottom feed to the radiator cap neck, the hose from rad to O'flow bottle should go to the port in the Oflow cap which has the drop tube, so the rad can draw coolant from the Oflow bottle as the system cools down. ie, the tank at it's low level and hose and radiator should be full.
The overflow tank should never be FULL at any stage, only to the upper level when hot.

The radiator cap uppermost seal HAS to seal in order for the radiator shrinking water size to draw coolant back from the Oflow tank. If that seal isn't sealing, the water expansion WILL always push out the fluid but then suck air as the coolant cools. That will result in the radiator being lower down in level every time it is checked when cold.

Of course there may be a fine leak which evaporates and is unseen but that would result in the radiator level becoming lower and lower with continued use, until overheating occurs.

Hope this helps track down the issue.

Normal use should see the radiator totally full if opened when cold, very time.
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Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:07

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:07
Thanks RMD, as far as I can tell the exp tank isn't working at all the hose is good and the cap looks good? I will change the cap Toyota only want $22 so I will start there. This all started with me flushing and changing the coolant and money right now is tight so I am not paying a Mechanic when I should be able to nut it out with a little help from my friends !!
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:28

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:28
Wayne.
Did you at any time remove the hose from the Overflow bottle filler and also it's vent pipe? Often if they have been removed the hoses may be inadvertantly refitted to the wrong pipes of the bottle.
If so that usually pushes coolant out the overflow bottle and that amount is lost each time the engine heats.
"Full" has been mentioned by a couple of people and an overflow bottle is never "FULL". Normal use is not below LOW when cold and not above the upper level indicator when hot, but never full. Just clarifying the terms used.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:34

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 20:34
As above, any leak in the cooling system will prevent the coolant being sucked out of the reservoir and back into the radiator.

Did you use a neutralizer before you filled will the new coolant, coolants should never be mixed, even topping up with the same type is to be avoided unless your absolutely sure nothing in the mix has changed as it can lead to rapid corrosion of the cooling system.

Assuming you have topped up a few times and it is continuing to loose coolant, check the heater core though if it was leaking you would most likely smell the coolant. Check for pipes leaking located in the exhaust of the cooling fan as the fan can blow the spray away. Look for stains under the engine in the morning, if you still can't find anything have the system pressure tested as you may have a leaky head gasket.
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Reply By: Athol W1 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:06

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:06
Wayne

What you are describing sounds very typical of the early stages of a leaking water pump seal. Water pump seals often allow air to pass into the system before you see any sign of water-coolant leaking out, air being thinner than water, and in this condition will often not leak when pressure tested.

ANY leakage of air into the system will result in the overflow bottle remaining full and the radiator level dropping.

Regards
Athol
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Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:18

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:18
Athol
Do you mean the air will enter during the cool down period and rather than draw fluid from the Overflow bottle through the caps one way valve, it ingests air through the water pump seal although it is under a positive system head pressure while cooling down?

Never seen that happen.
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Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:31

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:31
Great name Athol, what you have said makes good sense and I have been underneath today checking under the pump , I can't see a leak but You have a point. Here's comes a good whinge on a company. 2 years ago I took my car in for a timing belt replacement to the mechanics the previous owner used Robson Brothers in Welshpool.I said I wanted a full change eg, new pulleys and pump and what ever it needed , money wasn't the issue, the manager rang 1 hr or so after I left and said the belt was fine I replied I want it changed and he tried to talk me out of it . Ever heard of a mechanic knocking back work, So I got annoyed and said just do it and forgot about the pump and everything else . I have wondered if it will bite me down the track and maybe it has . So now maybe I know where to start from and it has never gone over 3/4 temp even under full load up hills so thanks and !?&;:.?! Robson bros of Welshpool WA
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Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:44

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 21:44
RMD

Yes, air can enter via the water pump seal as there is a low pressure caused via the radiator cap seals. There IS vacuum required to lift the return valve in the radiator cap and this vacuum can be enough for air to pass the water pump seal if it is close to leaking water, or if the spring that holds pressure on the seal is weak or broken.

Have seen it on several occasions. Can be very hard to detect.
Regards
Athol
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:35

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:35
IF and only IF the water pump seal did ingest air, the resulting relative water displacement will only be equivalent to the coolant volume change when hot or cold. ie, air above water in radiator. When engine runs the water gets hot so increases involume and the air is forced into the overflow bottle as bubbles and lost out the vent. No change in Oflow level register.
The radiator will be full while running hot. IF air has again replaced the cooling water volume, the system will find and equilibrium of level (as in old times with no bottles) and the engine won't overheat as no fluid loss is actually occurring much at all.
In that case the overflow bottle will remain at the same level hot or cold.
Now, is the pump really leaking air into the system?
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 11:14

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 11:14
I have had the radiator on my KIA nearly empty due to a leaking heater coupling that only leaked when the system was cold.

Now considering the coolant system was full initially and it is fully if I check it normally, when the cooling system heats up it forces the hot expanded coolant out of the radiator into the reservoir. As the system cooled down air was drawn in from the leaky coupling and also coolant dripped out.

Eventually the radiator was empty and the reservoir full, I can't see why simialr couldn't happen with a water pump seal?
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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 22:15

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 22:15
You should only ever use the genuine Toyota coolant, mixed in the correct ratio with distilled water, in Toyota engines.

The genuine Toyota coolant isn't expensive, and it is formulated to match the precise alloys and metals used in Toyota engines, radiators and components, to prevent corrosion in any form.

Using any other aftemarket coolant in Toyotas is inviting trouble.
Some of those cheap coolants are such poor quality, you might as well just use straight tap water.

The best part about Toyota coolant is the newest variety is long life, and in new Toyotas, you don't have to change the initial fill for 8 years, and subsequent coolant changes are at 4 yr intervals.

You should never swap and change coolant colours, nor mix them, as the additives between the two are incompatible.

If flushing the system, remove the thermostat, the radiator hoses and heater hoses, and pressure flush the heater core and the block and head, until clean water flows continuously.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 22:59

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018 at 22:59
I did everything You suggested Ron except use Toyota coolant and I don't believe Toyota hold the key to quality coolant, maybe I am wrong , so long as I sort it !
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:09

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:09
Ron
In what way is Toyota metallurgy any different to other engines?
I agree their coolant is good.
I used normal green coolant in my HJ61 Land cruiser for 25 years and it didn't corrode anything. Inside of system was still very good, almost unmarked at that 25 years. Sold with all original parts, hoses and water fittings.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:13

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:13
I can't see the coolant as an issue in this case. Seeing Wayne has changed it a few times previously with no problems.
The type of coolant doesn't cause fluid loss or sealing issues which weren't there before the change.
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Follow Up By: Tomdej - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 09:56

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 09:56
I may well be wrong but I thought that you couldn't differentiate coolant just based on colour. If you mix different coolants it can form a viscous gel that won't pump easily. It may be possible that when you drained the original coolant some may have remained in the system. When you refilled with the new coolant it may have formed a gel and you are not getting good flow.

I am offering this as a possible problem, but more to get comments back to improve my own knowledge.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 12:30

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 12:30
RMD - "in what way is Toyota metallurgy any different to any other engines?"

In the iron, alumimium, and magnesium alloys they utilise, as well as the range of thermoplastics, rubber and gasket and seal materials.

The range of new alloys in use in modern engines, is ever-increasing. Toyota are at the forefront of the newest metallurgy techniques, as regards engine alloys - from the basic iron alloys, right through to magnesium and aluminium alloys, that now contain a staggering array of additives.

Toyota use aluminium and magnesium alloys that contain varying levels of iron, copper, zirconium, silicon, manganese, nickel, zinc, and even ceramics and strengthening fibres such as silicon carbide and alumina-boria.

Varying alloying elements added to to the light alloys, affect the corrosion resistance of those alloys - sometimes improving the corrosion resistance, and sometimes worsening it.
Manganese is added to aluminium and magnesium alloys to improve corrosion protection. Magnesium suffers the worst from galvanic corrosion (dissimilar metals reaction corrosion).

Coolants have to be compatible with iron components, aluminium radiators and heater cores, alloy blocks and heads, magnesium-alloy engine components, gaskets and seals of varying material construction, thermoplastics used in piping, thermostat housings and radiator tanks, and a multitude of hoses and piping.

Toyota Long-Life coolant contains 934ml/L ethylene glycol plus a range of corrosion-controlling additives known as OAT's (Organic Acid Technology).

Those OAT's are proprietary (commercially secret) to Toyota, but are known to be sebacate, plus silicates, plus phosphate compounds, plus other proprietary protective ingredients, in small amounts.

The latest Toyota coolant is known as a H-OAT (Hybrid Organic Acid Technology - because it has phosphates added, and silicates reduced or eliminated).

The phosphate compounds in Toyota coolant generate a rapid coating on exposed aluminium and magnesium components, which can become exposed to air, when air enters the cooling system.

Light alloy components in engines and cooling systems can rapidly corrode when exposed to air at high temperatures, such as those found in hot engines.

There was a legal kerfuffle in the U.S. when an additive known as 2-EHA (2-ethylhexanoic acid) in Dex-Cool coolant, was found to be a plasticiser (a product that softens plastics and rubber).
Toyota coolant does not contain 2-EHA and as such, there is no possibility of plastics or rubber softening in engine components, when using it.

Toyota do extensive, long-term testing on their specific engine metallurgy, and many of the ingredients in those Toyota metals (and plastics) are known only to them, due to proprietary design and engineering.

For any company making aftermarket coolants, they would have to know the precise levels of each additive to Toyota metals and alloys, and the precise composition of every component in Toyotas engines, that is in contact with hot coolant.

I don't believe that is possible, and I believe that all aftermarket coolant manufacturers merely use a basic ethylene glycol content in their coolants, and throw in a few known additives - on the basis of a "one-size-fits-all" approach - and that they believe this then provides adequate cooling system and engine component protection on a general basis.

However, generalising in this manner, when each manufacturer uses different, and often company-specific alloys and metallurgy, is highly unsatisfactory, in my view.
I have personal experience of using "alternative" coolants in Toyotas, with resultant cooling system corrosion issues.

All of the above is just my .02c worth, based on over 50 years of very extensive ownership and experience of a substantial range of engines, equipment, machines and vehicles, and long experience with a wide range of corrosion issues in cooling systems.

My experience goes right back to early days of soluble oil being the only cooling system additive to prevent corrosion. My, how things have changed.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob S (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 17:40

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 17:40
Ron
I agree the metals have changed a lot in newer vehicles.
I just recently changed a sump gasket in a car and the sump bolts were single use aluminium, as the engine block is a magnesium alloy, and steel bolts just corrode. Not only have to buy the sump gasket but a set of oem aluminium bolts which aren't that cheap.
Cheers Rob
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Follow Up By: mountainman - Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 19:58

Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 19:58
I have talked to many radiatorshop.
By far they all say the toyotas running the toyota coolant is the cleanest when it comes to a strip down and re clean the cores.
Also for many high performance v8 of any kind
The toyota stuff is by far the choice
Very reasonably priced coolant.
Even at retail
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Reply By: Member - sweetwill - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:51

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:51
Wayne
Have you let the water temp rise enough to open the thermostat so the water can circulate.
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Reply By: Hoyks - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:52

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:52
EGR coolers are a new place for untraceable leaks. Coolant will dribble in there and evaporate out the exhaust, so no evidence in the engine bay.
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Follow Up By: Athol W1 - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 09:05

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 09:05
Whilst I do agree that the EGR Cooler can, and is, a source of coolant leakage in the modern vehicles it will not be the case in this vehicle, being a 2001 model and about 10 years before the advent of cooled EGR systems.
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Reply By: Wayne B16 - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 13:48

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 13:48
Thanks to Everyone's replies, I will change cap first then if it works I will have to flush my rad again and refill with Toyota coolant just to be sure.Now can anyone truly reccomend a good flush agent as I am not prepared to pull the tanks apart yet? What I have used before was Tectaloy neat I think? When I sort it I will post the solution for future reference , once again Thanks
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Reply By: swampy - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 14:28

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 14:28
Hi
Toyota coolant use to come in little bottles for the 1HZ engines . from memory it was glycol based coolant . The later Toyota coolant may well be OATS coolant .
What ever u do donot mix coolants .unless A thorough flush is needed with distilled water ,engine run and dumped then repeat with coolant .and refill .

When oats coolant arrived it was speced for GM petrol engines . It eventually made its way into diesel .
Tried it in a NEW Kubota engine it killed the dye colour =no good used glycol .
Tried in a Industrial Diahatsu /Toyota engine no problems


What use to happen with very old Toyota coolant is it crystalizes inside the hoses.
If this is the case replace all rubber parts flush and refill .

Toyota radiators in Cruisers seem to be a problem when the engine is pushed hard . There seems to be a lot of net chat about this .
Make sure this viscous hub oil is wiped out and topped up with 2 bottles of genuine silicon oil also . NEW genuine fan belts also .
AnswerID: 621745

Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 17:17

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 17:17
When you're losing coolant from a cooling system, start with the simple things first - radiator cap and tank neck condition. Then onto hoses.

As previously mentioned, the condition of the radiator cap seals is critical.
A new cap is a good start, they're dirt cheap. Then check the condition of the sealing surfaces on the tank neck. These can get damaged and cause air leaks.

Next, go onto hoses and clamps. This is an area where air leaks are prevalent.
The OEM plain spring clips are good until they're disturbed - then they can often leak air, because you can't tighten them like a regular screw-up hose clamp.

When hoses are disturbed (removed and replaced), you need to clean up the mating surface where the hose fits.
Alloy components corrode at the interface between the hose and the alloy. Even thermoplastics can get grotty and not provide a good sealing surface.

Clean up the mating surfaces with a wire brush, or even some ribbon emery, until you have a smooth clean surface, where the hose fits.
Throw away OEM spring clips and use stainless worm drive hose clamps - these don't corrode, and offer greater metal strength than plain steel hose clamps.

Use some sealant when refitting the hose. I've seen people use non-hardening gasket cement such as Permatex, RTV, or other silicone-based products.
All of these are quite satisfactory and help eliminate the potential for air leaks.

Next, check hose condition. Many hoses look good, but have hardened, may have developed pinholes (had that happen to me), or splits.
New, top quality hoses are cheap insurance against a fried engine.
My preference is Gates hoses, they're proven to be superior.

Look for joins in tubing/piping that may be leaking. Soldered joins are the first area to be attacked by chemicals in degraded coolant. Butt-welded joins can split with vibration.

Always look for traces of leaking coolant once the engine and cooling system has cooled right down and left for a few hours, this is when they will usually show up.

Trying to trace coolant leaks once you find them can be another struggle. Make sure you trace the leak trail right back to where it's coming from.
Sometimes the leak trail appears to be coming from one spot, but it's actually coming from somewhere higher up, or further along, and the coolant is running along other components, before dripping off.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 621746

Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 18:26

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 18:26
I don't think anyone has thought about the THERMSTAT being stuck. Barnray
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Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 19:07

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 19:07
I have thanks Barnray, but why am I losing fluid?
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 20:57

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 20:57
Stuck open or closed? A stuck closed thermostat will cause overheat and the resulting water will expel into the overflow reservoir.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 18:25

Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 18:25
Yeah, but when the block cools it *should* suck coolant back into the block.

If the water is getting out somewhere in that can also serve as a leak path for air to get back in, then as the coolant warms, pushes water into the expansion tank as well as out the leak, but after the pressure drop on cooling doesn't occur due to the leak the water doesn't suck back into the block.

A stuck thermostat may have caused the system to blow out somewhere, but wouldn't cause the symptoms described.
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Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 19:13

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 19:13
If the thermo is stuck you will have a air lock in the system.
AnswerID: 621749

Follow Up By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 19:17

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 19:17
You might need to bleed the system to get heat around the thermostat.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 20:52

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 20:52
No you won't.
All decent thermostats either don't completely seal all the flow, ie leak some through, or have bleed holes to eliminate airlocks. You can only bleed the system if a bleed port is provided.
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Reply By: Leigh H - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 21:49

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 21:49
Long shot but have you checked the EGR cooler if you have one?
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Reply By: mechpete - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 22:11

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 22:11
if this problem has only occurred since you chanced the coolant
most of these comments are irrelevant its a problem with bleeding it
I think .change the cap .fix the using water thing 1st before you
waste anymore Toyota coolant
mechpete
AnswerID: 621751

Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 22:22

Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 22:22
Thanks Pete , because I am aware of the problem I will not cook the motor ? Eventually I will sort it out , might take time but with everyone's input I will get there ! I am not a novice 59 yr old and driven Toyotas since the late 70s , moving to Wyalkatchem next Monday for good I will have all the time in the world to fix it . Everyone who comments I listen and when I fix it I will post the solution for all of us , because it is a bit unusual!
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Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 08:29

Friday, Oct 26, 2018 at 08:29
If the problems wasn't present before the coolant change then something you have done has altered the situation.

With any vehicle problem, always ask who touched it last and what did they do.
Usually narrows the search items considerably.
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Reply By: swampy - Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 22:38

Wednesday, Oct 24, 2018 at 22:38
HI
U need to pressure test radiator and the rad cap . If u donot your walking around with a blind fold on .
If u have the later alloy plastic tanked rad upgrade to a larger rad to cool . Many forums list 1hz cruiser rad issues .
AnswerID: 621752

Follow Up By: Wayne B16 - Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 13:29

Thursday, Oct 25, 2018 at 13:29
Hi Swampy, in my experience with HZ radiators is they never run hot if the fins are clean, mostly it's a blocked condenser and for the record I don't have air con it's an ex NSW police troopy
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