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2007 Highlander overheating in headlight area

622 Views 20 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  LargeDuck
Just picked up a 2007 Higlander 2wd, 4 cylinders. Doesn't look like it was maintained very well. Runs very well, almost so silent I'm not sure it's running.

Dashboard gauge is not showing the engine overheating, but I can smell water/coolant after a 20 mile drive.

Can also feel significant heat on the hood just behind the left headlight (facing the car) after a drive. The hose from the radiator to the overfill reservoir is loose. The liquid in the in reservoir looks clear so I'm not sure how much coolant is even in the car.

I need this for a medium mileage delivery job that I start in 8 days. I have $500 to spend on getting the car ready.

I've never done a drain and fill for engine coolant but believe I am capable. Just not sure what the best thing to do is since I might not have time to assess the car in full in those 8 days. Paying someone to change the coolant would be fine; would rather not pay someone a ridiculous price to change the hose. I'm assuming that part is easy but I've never done it.

If anyone can recommend the best course of action I would greatly appreciate it.

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Do the drain and fill with the SLLC pink pre-mixed coolant. Look up the cooling system capacity and compare how much you have to add with the capacity to see how much of the old coolant was in there. (It is hard to get it all out. I have not had luck with the block drain.) If you determine that there is a lot of old stuff left in there, then drive it for a while, then drain and fill again to get more of the old coolant or tap water, or whatever else is in there. Especially important if the previous owner put wrong coolant in. Toyotas need the right coolant to prevent corrosion of engine components. Maybe in six months, drain and fill again.

Change the oil, using full synthetic of the correct viscosity as written on the oil cap on the engine. I use Mobil One or the new Kirkland synthetic from Costco. If the old oil is nasty, consider changing again in a thousand miles or sooner. Use a Wix filter or Toyota filter.

Change the air filter. Consider changing the brake fluid and the power steering fluid. Easy to use a turkey baster to empty the reservoirs and re-fill once a week or once a month.

How many miles? If over 100,000, check your transmission fluid. Looks like your transmission has a dipstick, old style. Look at the fluid on the dipstick. If it's black or brown instead of a nice clear red, change it. While you are changing your oil, get another drain pan and drain the transmission. Re-fill with Valvoline MaxLife fully synthetic transmission fluid. You won't get the fluid that's in the torque converter, so plan on doing it again the next time you change oil. It will take three or so times to change enough.

Get some of those black plastic ramps and some wheel chocks. All the stuff you need to get to is at the front of the car, so you don't need to get under.

Front end on ramps helps get the air out of the cooling system, since the radiator is now more uphill.

Clean fluids are the key to long life on Toyotas. We buy them with 100,000 miles and sell them with 300,000. We just sold our 1999 Camry with 300,000 miles and got dozens of calls.

Good luck!
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