Thanks Mike. With regards to the HG testing kit, how do these work?
When I replaced the radiator cap I never bled the cooling system. The first cap I got didn't fit. The second cap was fitted at a auto parts store when the engine was hot. We took the cap out to the car (a diff one) and made sure it fitted then left it on. So yeah the engine was at normal temp when the new cap was fitted.
After returning home with new cap on, the overflow and radiator were topped off AFTER the engine cooled right down.
The reason I thought it was my cooling system all along was a couple of things. Note the thermostat was replaced Dec. last year. Last year just after I bought the car it started displaying erratic symptoms which I posted here seaparately at the time.
So I replaced the thermostat, cleaned the throttle body, replaced plugs and done oil and filter change. This didn't bother me as it was routine maintenance. However it turned out that it was the ECT sensor that was at fault.
After replacing ECT sensor all was well (apart from while the car was playing up I damaged the clutch somehow from bunny-hopping along grr...) Anyway.
So the car started playing up again a month or so ago. by this I mean missing at idle and eratic idle at startup - for approximately 15 seconds on cold start it sounded like 3 cylinders running - then the choke or something would bring the cold idle into line. it never missed under acceleration. as well as the miss it was loosing a lot of coolant. This is what made me suspect the cooling system. There was evidence of coolant loss around the radiator cap and under the charcoal canister purge valve (a reddish color) but it was always dry by the time I checked. I could never see any fluid leaking from the car.
As far as my driving is concered, as of late i've only been doing a few short trips here and there. But since the radiator cap was replaced I would have barely done 2 or 3 10 km trips. I stopped working about a month ago and previous to that the car was doing at least 40km round trip a day (about 300km a week) but it had started to loose coolant and miss while I was working but not to the extent it is now. In the past month this car's done about 200km. Hope that makes sense!!!!
Haven't cleaned out residue on cap yet, as soon as I saw the goo I thought I wouldn't start it until I knew it was safe to do so. Which btw i'm still not sure - the comments above indicate it would be ok to get to a garage but maybe not as it could screw the bearings somehow.
Other info: on my last drive (before discoverying goo) there was NO noticable loss of power at all. As previously posted at top of my thread, the white goo appeared ONLY AFTER THE RADIATOR CAP WAS REPLACED. prior to this I was checking the oil and water every 2 or 3 days - to top up water and to check for white goo as I was trying to prevent any head damage!!!!) So you could understand to my surprise when after replacing the radiator cap and then topping off radiator and overflow, checking oil - then going for a drive, when opening the bonnet next day after leaving car overnight. and first seeing NO water at all in overflow, the radiator empty, to immediately checking oil cap and finding the goo. Gutted lol. The air filter was also replaced 2 weeks ago as well.
This Camry has never had a CEL on since i've had it, and never been over half on the temp gauge.