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My '12 Camry is coming up on 100K miles so I decided to change the coolant myself instead of having a shop or the dealer do the job. I've flushed antifreeze out of a 1/2 dozen or so vehicles in my time, but this is the first time for a Toyota ... and one of the most perplexing too I might add. Since this car's AR2FE engine has no block drain plug I had to drain, and re-drain the radiator until I thought all the factory installed coolant was out. Will explain further, but now that I'm finished I'm left wondering if I really did get all the original coolant out. Plus, as much as I searched Toyota Nation, Google, YouTube, and so on, there really wasn't much available showing a coolant change for the 7th generation Camry 4 cyl's.

OK, my weapons of choice were the Lisle funnel (thanks to the Toyota Nation posters who tipped me off to this cool little gadget) and some OEM brand concentrated Toyota coolant Pep Boys was selling on Amazon a few months ago. At $12/gallon I thought it was a steal too good to pass up.

PEPBoys coolant.JPG

lisle funnel.JPG

All I did was open the radiator drain valve and wait patiently for the coolant to flow into the catch pan. It was slow ... took about 15 minutes for the antifreeze to stop draining. I figured about 5 quarts came out with each drain. I pulled off the lower radiator hose a couple of times, but nothing came out, as the drain valve seemed to empty the radiator completely. The pic I posted of the lower hose shows what I saw the moment I pulled it for the 1st time (i.e.: nothing).
 

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All together I refilled the radiator 4 times with distilled water, ran the engine until the upper hose got real hot and then drained it. You can see how the coolant got progressively more diluted with each flush. The Lisle funnel worked okay. After the first drain a bunch of foam came percolating to the top of the radiator ... and I mean a bunch. Not sure what to make of that, but the foaming eventually stopped after the 2nd flush.

4 flushes.JPG

foam.JPG

foam1.JPG

My issue is that the lower radiator hose never got hot with return fluid going back into the engine past the thermostat. Even though the subsequent flushes out of the radiator were hot, the lower radiator hose never got warm. I even took the car on a 15 mile drive before the last drain. It's cold outside right now. In the 40's, so I'm guessing that may have something to do with a slow opening or partially opened thermostat, but I found it a little disconcerting nonetheless. We'll drive the car a bunch now and see how things turn out.
 

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While I was at it, I took the time to clean other stuff on the car. I decided to remove the underside splash shields to make the draining job easier, so I ended up washing 5 years worth of dirt off them too before reinstalling. Even cleaned and lubed the bolts. Lastly I removed the coolant reservoir and gave it's inside a good cleaning. In closing I must say, the inside of the radiator seemed to be clean as no dirt or debris came out with the old coolant.
 

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イリジウム
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Looks clean! The only problem I see is with the prediluted coolant Toyota doesn't recommend flushing with distilled water. Because afterwards it will be hard to bring it up to 50%. With a more diluted solution the corrosion rate will increase. I'd recommend an EBay refractometer, pretty cheap and fun to use. Get one with automatic temperature compensation, and calibrate it first with a drop of distilled water.

You can also use $12/gallon premixed Valvoline Zerex Asian coolant at Walmart, or Pentofrost A4 at many parts stores.

Here is the Motor.com article on the Toyota Pink coolant. It's mainly about non-aluminum components, but just FYI:

From an old thread (http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/103-camry-3rd-4th-gen-1992-1996-1997-2001-1st-gen-solara-1999-2003/399086-toyota-coolant-questions-change-toyota-pink-stick-green.html):

http://www.motor.com/article.asp?article_ID=816
"Results of industry standard tests of the new Toyota extended-life coolant now show a substantial weight loss (corrosion), both in a 50-50 mix and in a 33% coolant mixture (solder corrosion is much greater in this more diluted solution). If you have to change a radiator or heater core, use aluminum."

Specifically it's the solder used in copper/brass heat exchanger. Besides the solder the Pink only offers "a small amount" of protection for brass/copper. I guess that's why Toyota still sells both the Red and the Pink coolants. Since Toyota jacked up the price of the Red to nearly $30/gal, an alternative is NAPA's Valvoline Asian Vehicles formula ($11/gal pre-diluted). Looking at the ingredients list it's similar to the Toyota Red, with sodium benzoate as the primary inhibitor (vs the Pink's sebacic acid, or 1/2 of Dexcool which also contains the dreaded 2EHA acid).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't understand what you are trying to say. The coolant I used was concentrated coolant (i.e.: 100% coolant), not prediluted. Since the owners manual shows that the coolant system capacity is 7.7 quarts, by adding 4 quarts of concentrated coolant I should end up with a 53/47 mixture of coolant to water once the system is filled up. If I were to use a 50/50 prediluted mixture, I would never have bothered to flush the system. In that case I'd simply drain and replace the drained coolant with an equal amount of fresh 50/50 coolant.
 

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Oops, my bad. Looks like OEM changed their formulation. They used to have a prediluted Pink version and a concentrated Red version. Now it's like Zerex Asian, all the same. In this case I'm not sure if it's really a Pink formulation or a Red formulation. :) The Pink version shouldn't be used in older Toyotas. I suspect this new OEM coolant is closer to the Red than Pink, as is the case with Zerex using benzoates as the primary inhibitor vs sebacic acid in the Pink.

If you have a voltmeter, dip the positive probe into the coolant in the radiator, and touch the negative probe to the negative post of the battery. You should have a millivolt reading, like 120-250mV. Check it every year, it would creep up.

Pep Boys has it on sale $14 a concentrated gallon. Normally $21 or so. Good deal. I personally go with Pentofrost.
 

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Nice write up! Going to be changing my 12 here soon. Figure new hoses and a serpentine belt are in order to
True on the serp belt if it has 60K miles or more, but no on the hoses. Toyota uses cool 180 degree thermostats on nearly all engines plus ultra durable upper and lower radiator hoses - they stay soft and pliable (hence seal well and don't crack or develop bulges) for at least 25 years or 500,000 miles (if cooling system has been well maintained to prevent the engine from ever running hot). Also, do not replace the factory hose clamps with aftermarket screwdriver adjusted clamps.
 

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Nice write up! Going to be changing my 12 here soon. Figure new hoses and a serpentine belt are in order to
True on the serp belt if it has 60K miles or more, but no on the hoses. Toyota uses cool 180 degree thermostats on nearly all engines plus ultra durable upper and lower radiator hoses - they stay soft and pliable (hence seal well and don't crack or develop bulges) for at least 25 years or 500,000 miles (if cooling system has been well maintained to prevent the engine from ever running hot). Also, do not replace the factory hose clamps with aftermarket screwdriver adjusted clamps.
Why not use the screwdriver clamps? I mean, I like the factory ones better, but been using screwdriver clamps forever with no problems, just careful not to overtighten
 

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The factory squeeze clamps are better. If you over tighten a worm type clamp on the plastic radiator necks, they will break! Trust me on that.... LOL
 

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"Flushing" is not needed if the owner uses factory original coolant and changes part of it periodically. Why? There will be zero corrosion or scale buildup so no rust, scale or other foreign material will come out of the system if you flush it.

I just drain and refill the radiator every 2 years using factory original Toyota brand coolant and mixing it with distilled water (if using the Toyota Red concentrate). This changes about 60% of the coolant. No radiator leaks, overheating or cylinder head gasket failures for 44 years (1974 Toyota pickup) 29 years (1989 Corolla) or 25 years (1993 Toyota pickup).

The 1974 pickup did run aftermarket Prestone yellow-green coolant early in its life because genuine Toyota Red antifreeze was not available in the USA until 1989.
 

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Worm-gear clamps can loosen up over time. If you cram it down even a little more then it's overtightened compared to constant pressure clamps. The constant pressure clamps are waaaaay better!

Why not use the screwdriver clamps? I mean, I like the factory ones better, but been using screwdriver clamps forever with no problems, just careful not to overtighten
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I just drain and refill the radiator every 2 years
Get honest time ... the older I get, the more I subscribe to this approach. I did it that way with my Ford Escape, and will do it that way with my new Honda. So easy & effective. My Camry was the last of my vehicles where I will bother with the full drain and refill I described in my original post.
 

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Thanks so much for the write-up! I plan to do this myself soon and I ordered a Lisle funnel and big drain pan for the job.

What diameter was the plastic tubing you used to drain?

How many gallons of coolant did you go through?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I used concentrated coolant, not the 50/50 premixed. Once drained, the empty radiator took about 5 quarts of fluid, so all I needed was 1 gallon of coolant. Then I simply topped it off with distilled water. After a few days of driving I figured the concentrated coolant in the radiator mixed well enough with the water left in the engine block from all the drain & refills that it was good enough to test. And the tester showed a strong readout which I figured it would since I put 4 quarts of concentrate into a 7.7 capacity system.

The tubing was 3/8 ID. 1st time I've ever used a Lisle funnel, and I must say it made the job easy and mess-free.
 

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Stupid question here, but isn't the timing belt required to be changed at 90K? And when you do it, it's a perfect time to replace the water pump, right? And if you replace the water pump it is a perfect time for the radiator flush, no? Just wondering as that is what they told me for my '04 Sienna.
 

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I guess you can do all that, but an 04 Sienna is not a Camry. My Camry's owners manual does not cal for any of that work at 90K.
 

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"Flushing" is not needed if the owner uses factory original coolant and changes part of it periodically. Why? There will be zero corrosion or scale buildup so no rust, scale or other foreign material will come out of the system if you flush it.

I just drain and refill the radiator every 2 years using factory original Toyota brand coolant and mixing it with distilled water (if using the Toyota Red concentrate). This changes about 60% of the coolant. No radiator leaks, overheating or cylinder head gasket failures for 44 years (1974 Toyota pickup) 29 years (1989 Corolla) or 25 years (1993 Toyota pickup).

The 1974 pickup did run aftermarket Prestone yellow-green coolant early in its life because genuine Toyota Red antifreeze was not available in the USA until 1989.
Woud you use Valvoline™ ZEREX™ Asian Vehicle Antifreeze / Coolant to drain and refill radiator? Why or why not or just preference?
 

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Zerex Asian is what I use. Valvoline makes good stuff and the price is right.
 
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