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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys ,

I have a 2003 highlander with a v6 engine. 201,000km.

The person that gave it to me said the engine cranks but no start. She was driving one night and engine overheated. She took it to mechanic and said she burned the engine. When I got it to towed here. Looking over things: I looked into the radiator and found oil And coolant dried up inside. Looking at the bank 2 under the valve cover no sign of coolant what so ever.

what is the best course of action to do before trying to replace the head gaskets. I am hoping for a way to confirm what I need to do. And if I might as well replace the engine as a whole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited by Moderator)
it’s definitely not ATF.

so apparently, the person didn’t drive the car until it shut off. The psrson noticed the car is slower. So they parked on the side of the road and then shut it off. After they opened up the hood and saw lots of steam coming out. Once they got back in the car would not start again.
 

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start the car with the rad cap off. see if you see bubbles? thats where id start.
then compression test.

i cant remember, if there's oil in the coolant its crack in the head and if there's coolant in the oil its a head gasket....???
something like that.

either way, if its like the 3.5 the engine is normally removed to take the heads off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It’s the 3.0. Trying to start the engine is very difficult. The engine cranks very very slowly.

there are no coolant in the radiator as of now. I checked if I have spark and fuel, and I do.

You see if it’s a head that’s cracked or a head gasket I am fine to replace them. Just scared it would be the block itself that’s cracked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also the person that drove the car never drove it until it shut off by itself. They stopped then shut off the engine. Then it wouldn’t start again. So I am hoping that the engine was saved before it got worse. Also, someone told me that the that flakey white stuff in the radiator is very cheap coolant that’s dried up. He touched it and said it very dry. If it was oil it would have been oily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sounds good, I got starter replaced and engine cranks much faster. Since the catalytic converters are not there, I see that whenever I crank the engine lots of gas comes out of the exhaust headers on bank 1. Bank 2 is normal. I am starting to feel very depressed as I think bank 1 might be shot. I am stating to disassemble the manifold, for the bolt that hard to l get to out. Now going to move things out of the way to have access to bank 1.

I will do a compression test and get back with the results.
 

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The fastest, easiest way to find an extreme case of blown head gasket is to remove the radiator cap when the engine is cold, and crank it. However, there is some risk of hydraulicing the cylinders and doing damage if there is water sitting in the cylinders.
The less aggressive way is to drain the oil, leave the plug out, and fill the radiator with water and see if it leaks out around the head or through the oil drain plug. Better if you get a cooling system test kit to pressurize the system to about 15 psig.
Note: Don't crank it yet. If you crank it with water in the engine, you may bend a rod or blow a piston.

Next: Remove and inspect all the spark plugs. This does mean removing the upper intake plenum to get good access. Keep track of which plug went to which cylinder and take pictures. You may need the information later.
Use a borescope to inspect each cylinder for drips while the cooling system is under pressure using the pressure test kit. Make sure the cylinders do not have standing water.
Turn the engine over by hand for at least two complete revolutions. See if you feel a lot of resistance at any point.
If it seems to turn over well, you can run a compression test
If you have a cylinder leak-down test (if you have a compressor) to determine which cylinders are affected. A compression test will show a leaking cylinder, and leak-down test will help determine where it is leaking.
In this particular incident from what you describe, you should be able to find the problem if it is a blown head gasket or other serious mechanical damage.
In the unlikely event that you haven't found a leak yet, and if the compression test and cylinder leak-down tests are OK and the cylinders are dry, then there is another reason why the engine won't start.
Once you get the engine to start you can do a combustion gas test. There are two ways to do the test and there are YouTube videos for each.
The first is chemical testing. The chemical kits are not expensive. Any shop can do it for you for a diagnostic fee.
The other way is to get a no-leak funnel for about $20 and do the bubble test, watching for continuous bubbling.
I usually do both.
CAUTION- BURN HAZARD. ether test can expose you to coolant being forced out by compressed air or exhaust gas if the leak is bad enough. Stay clear when starting the engine. Only remove a radiator cap when the engine is cold.

Options for repair that I see.
No perfect option.
1). You can try replacing the head gasket and see what happens, taking the risk that something else could have been damaged. I would inspect the combustion chambers with the heads off, and soak the rings
2). Replace the head gasket, but do more work to make sure there are no other problems. Have the heads and possibly the block tested for cracks and stripped head bolt threads and inspect for bent rods. Make sure the cylinders are not seriously scored and that it is not an oil burner.
3). Replace the engine. This is not without risk. You never really know the condition and history of a used engine. Unless it has been thoroughly inspected and tested, you don’t know if it has a blown head gasket, bad valve clearance, or scored cylinders.
If you can get a good JDM engine, it may be the way to go for engine replacement.

What you do depends on time and budget.
If you plan to keep it, I would pull the heads, check for flatness and pitting to see if the head gasket has a chance to seal, and do a surface dye test for obvious cracks. Inspect valve clearance and look at the valve and seat sealing surfaces for major problems. I might clean up heavy carbon and try to run some carbon cleaner past the rings. Then put it together with a new timing belt (probably not the whole kit) and hope for the best, but be ready to replace the engine if needed, or part out on EBay if you have a place to store it to help others keep their's running.

If you plan to hide the defects, patch it up, and sell it, please at least disclose the issues. and potential severity. I have seen too many working single moms and students get decieved and stuck with cars that are not cost effective to repair, and it can be devastating. Let your better angels rule the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thank you so much for the insight. So far I got the intake off and all six parks and coils out. I am about to head to the store to get a compression tester. Is doing the compression test useless right now?
 

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thank you so much for the insight. So far I got the intake off and all six parks and coils out. I am about to head to the store to get a compression tester. Is doing the compression test useless right now?
Do the compression test and post the results. The battery should be fully charged, the EFI fuse or relay should be pulled, and the throttle should be wide open.
 

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The sparks looked newish, just socked in gasoline. Or smell like gasoline. No coolant or oil.
Not surprising since you've been cranking it with a no start so the cylinders are getting fuel washed.
No signs of oil or coolant is good but could be just a lack of sustained pressure or expansion since it's cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know there is a coolant hose leak where, that’s why the car was overheating.l and caused the lady to stop and park the car on side of the road. Can I still buy the coolant pressure test tool and would still work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not looking good guys :((( I connected my battery to another running car to ensure I am always getting max crank from the battery. And I think my engine is toast.

this makes sense because I always felt the crank was very week compared to another vehicle with same engine.

Cylinder 2 = 40psi
Cylinder 4 = 18-20 psi
Cylinder 6 = 50-52psi

Cylinder 1 = 30psi
Cylinder 3= almost like 5 psi to 0
Cylinder 6 = 20-23 psi

Anything you guys think I did wrong?

I connected my tester normally. Non of the spark plugs are installed. And I don’t have the intake manifold installed and the throttle body is removed.
 

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Are the cams turning? Did the timing belt break? You should be able to watch the intake valves move as it cranks.
Also, were you watching the pressure gauge as it cranked? Sometimes on these loaner gauges the Schrader valve will be weak and not hold pressure, which can give you bad readings.
 

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Sorry - you may not be able to see the valves. When you said intake manifold, my thoughts went to the lower manifold, but you probably just have the upper plenum off to get access to the rear cylinders. But still make sure that the cams are moving.
 
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