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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, this is my first post, regarding a 2006 Sienna. A little over a month ago, I was told at a shop that the right tank of my radiator is leaking, but I am not losing radiator fluid and never see any on the ground (kind of redundant, sorry). My question is, will it be safe to wait until I start seeing signs myself? I have been putting quite a bit of money into this van (purchased used in 2017), lately. I will be going on the road for a couple months, as I am retiring next week. I won't be driving more than 150 - 200 miles per day that I drive, punctuated by periods of time where the van will be mostly parked. Thanks for any advice folks might feel like giving. ;)
 

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1995 T100 2WD & 1993 MR2
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It's probably weeping at the tank seam to the core, not unusual.
Radiators are pretty cheap, especially if you feel like doing the labor. Check hoses and the cap at the same time.
I'd rather get stuck at home than anywhere on the road, DIY it or use your favorite independent shop, easy job.
That way you make the decisions not the only shop 200 miles from home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's probably weeping at the tank seam to the core, not unusual.
Radiators are pretty cheap, especially if you feel like doing the labor. Check hoses and the cap at the same time.
I'd rather get stuck at home than anywhere on the road, DIY it or use your favorite independent shop, easy job.
That way you make the decisions not the only shop 200 miles from home.
Hi, and thank you! I just called the shop, and their notes say it had just started to leak, and that it is one of the PLASTIC tanks, not the radiator itself. I asked if the tank couldn't just be replaced, but they said no. The shop said it's an all day job and radiators for this vehicle are "unfortunately, expensive." Does it sound like I am being taken advantage of? Should the tank alone be replaceable? Thank you
 

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イリジウム
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The plastic end tanks will eventually crack with age and miles. Or the o-ring between the aluminum core and the tanks will seep coolant. If so it's at the early stage of failing. As mentioned, pick your own time and place to replace it near home.

Searching on Denso Auto Parts, I see only one radiator available (w/o towing package). Denso is an OEM maker of Toyota parts.


And then on rockauto.com I see 221-0520 at $176.99. And yes that's nearly twice what smaller cars like Corolla and Camry's radiators cost, yes kinda expensive for a Toyota. I do see TYC with lifetime warranty that share the same Toyota 160410A380 part number for $89.79. No doubt why the heart symbol shows it's a popular item, along with Koyorad at $99.79.

If you can use Denso I'd go with it. TYC is my other go-to.




And use the rockauto 5% off code if you DIY and buy from there, scroll to the newest post:
 

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1995 T100 2WD & 1993 MR2
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The Spectra Premium has been good to me.
Repairpal says avg. labor to R&R the radiator is $175 to $221.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wish I had the tools and experience to do it myself. Sounds a lot cheaper. The estimate given is $981 before tax. Location is Denver, CO.
 

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If you do not see the level in your reservoir changing I would not mess with it until you see it actually loosing coolant. To determine this you need to check the level first thing in the morning before the engine is started so the coolant is cold. Take a magic marker and mark the level in the plastic bottle and if the level drops below your mark over a few days then you are loosing coolant and it's time to fix it before it leaves you stranded and vulnerable to a less than honest shop i na strange place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you do not see the level in your reservoir changing I would not mess with it until you see it actually loosing coolant. To determine this you need to check the level first thing in the morning before the engine is started so the coolant is cold. Take a magic marker and mark the level in the plastic bottle and if the level drops below your mark over a few days then you are loosing coolant and it's time to fix it before it leaves you stranded and vulnerable to a less than honest shop i na strange place.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking, but the shop said it can go from a small leak to gushing out from one day to the next. Since I'll be on the road in some remote places (looking for my next home), maybe I better just suck it up. It's a damn shame to replace a whole radiator for a plastic tank, that's all I have to say! Almost criminal.
 

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You said the van is a 2006 so at 15 years old you have to expect that it will have problems. The plastic tanks eventually will crack from the hot/cold cycles and age. I would change it if you’re going on a road trip because a minor leak could turn into complete coolant loss. I would go with a third party part instead of OEM for a lower price and the age of the van. Also, ask friends and family for recommendations for a independent mechanic and try to get a lower price. $900 seems pretty expensive.
 

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I had a leaking radiator on our 99 Maxima. I found out after a 400 plus mile day trip to the mountains in Va, Got home and checked the coolant and found it was low in the radiator due to the top tank having a crack. The car never overheated even without pressure in the system and the cracked top tank.
That radiator was not a cross flow like yours so if you got a leak then it could be more dangerous since it COULD drain down lower than the one in my experience.
I always like to offer people options, so take the shops recommendation with a grain of salt. If there is no coolant loss then you could wait if you felt you had to.
I remember the friend who bought my shop telling a customer if they kept driving their car could "explode". After the customer left I asked him how many times he saw a car "explode" driving down the road. Most women would not even get in the damn car if they honestly though it would explode and neither would I.
My advice is you have time to make sure you have it repaired by someone you can trust and who will do the job properly. You don't need hoses if you are preemptively replacing the radiator, but it's always a good idea to check the coolant level when you fill the tank as well as all other fluids under the hood and don't ignore a warning light unless you KNOW it is not overheating which can wreck the motor.
 

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My 98 Sienna (108k miles) and 2000 Echo (180k miles) have the original radiators and all hoses. I do watch them but do not worry about it too much, just drive the Sienna 383 miles today in 6 hours to help my next door neighbor pick up a new car. Just a point for consideration. If you can afford peace of mind then that may be the best choice, I'm a cheap old man.
 

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My Dad had a Ford truck that slowly loss coolant but nothing leaked on the ground. After looking at everything he found that the plastic tank had a small crack at the top that leaked for a short time after the engine was shut off and hot. When the pressure reduced it stopped. When the coolant level went down no leak at all. The coolant that did leak out wasn’t enough to hit the ground just soak into the fins of the radiator as it trickled down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You said the van is a 2006 so at 15 years old you have to expect that it will have problems. The plastic tanks eventually will crack from the hot/cold cycles and age. I would change it if you’re going on a road trip because a minor leak could turn into complete coolant loss. I would go with a third party part instead of OEM for a lower price and the age of the van. Also, ask friends and family for recommendations for a independent mechanic and try to get a lower price. $900 seems pretty expensive.
Thank you so much. I tend to think the same about the travel plans -- could turn into a 'small' disaser. I learned from the shop today that coolant turns acidic and should be flushed no less than every 3 years. I have owned the van for 3.5 years, and never heard that before. I am pretty sure based on CarFax that the 2 previous owners did almost nothing on the van (unless they did stuff themselves). Therefore, that could have contributed to the tank issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had a leaking radiator on our 99 Maxima. I found out after a 400 plus mile day trip to the mountains in Va, Got home and checked the coolant and found it was low in the radiator due to the top tank having a crack. The car never overheated even without pressure in the system and the cracked top tank.
That radiator was not a cross flow like yours so if you got a leak then it could be more dangerous since it COULD drain down lower than the one in my experience.
I always like to offer people options, so take the shops recommendation with a grain of salt. If there is no coolant loss then you could wait if you felt you had to.

My advice is you have time to make sure you have it repaired by someone you can trust and who will do the job properly. You don't need hoses if you are preemptively replacing the radiator, but it's always a good idea to check the coolant level when you fill the tank as well as all other fluids under the hood and don't ignore a warning light unless you KNOW it is not overheating which can wreck the motor.
Thank you for the reply. This shop has been doing the work for the past year-ish, before that I was taking it to the dealership where I bought it. The service writer I talked to today said my (coolant) system is pressurized, and that made the minor leak more of an issue. We talked about watching the temp gauge, but he also mentioned that it would be too late if I waited for the idiot light to come on. I swear I should have gone to mechanic school at 19 when I was going to, but I was worried about my hands!!! Oy. Well, next life I will be a male again and I am damn sure learning to do this stuff myself! (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My 98 Sienna (108k miles) and 2000 Echo (180k miles) have the original radiators and all hoses. I do watch them but do not worry about it too much, just drive the Sienna 383 miles today in 6 hours to help my next door neighbor pick up a new car. Just a point for consideration. If you can afford peace of mind then that may be the best choice, I'm a cheap old man.
Hello and thank you! Semi-cheap 'old' lady, here - lol. I would prefer not to spend the money, but I can less-afford to wreck the van (~ 179K miles) or turn $1000 into $2000+. I had a Camry before this, and the radiator lasted 21 - 22 years. I guess I was curious if anyone had a feel for how long a tank with a minor leak would hold up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My Dad had a Ford truck that slowly loss coolant but nothing leaked on the ground. After looking at everything he found that the plastic tank had a small crack at the top that leaked for a short time after the engine was shut off and hot. When the pressure reduced it stopped. When the coolant level went down no leak at all. The coolant that did leak out wasn’t enough to hit the ground just soak into the fins of the radiator as it trickled down.
Hmmm, that sounds like my situation except I don't know where my crack on the tank is located. I never see coolant on the ground, either. Sounds like the Ford truck also had a pressurized system? Dang, I wish I had a crystal ball!
 

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The rad in my 2004 Sienna has been leaking for 5 yrs now. The rad and all hoses are all original. For a while I was simply topping it up with coolant, about 3 jugs a year kept it full. Then someone recommended to me the liquid aluminum stop leak. Afraid of the horror stories about stop leak messing up heater cores and water pumps, I put in a 1/4 of the bottle. This slowed the leak. A few weeks later I put in another 1/4 of the bottle and the leak has almost completely stopped. Maybe 1/4 jug per year top up now. Been like this for the past couple years.
 

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A leaking radiator is a ticking time bomb. The leak may slowly get worse, giving you time to deal with it at a later time. Or the end cap (tank) can suddenly burst, leaving you stranded. That’s what my ‘92 Camry did, and I didn’t even know if it was leaking prior to that. The upper cap split wide open on top about a foot long.

$900 is pretty steep. Guessing they’d mark up the radiator to $250, and adding in a couple hours of labor at $100/hr, the total should be around $500-$600
 
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