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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm dealing with a Camry (99, 4 cyl., auto trans.) that's having issues with the cooling system. It's been going through some fluid and showing abnormally high temperature readings, and heater performance has been erratic, alternating between hot and cold with no apparent rhyme or reason.

What kind of place should I take the car to get this checked out, just a full service garage, or is there something more specific that would make more sense, like a radiator shop? The only local place I've had a good experience with is a Meineke where the car has been inspected twice and had an exhaust repair to clear it for one of those.

When it starts acting up the temperature gauge cycles between red / max and the middle of the gauge where it normally remains. The times it's done it I've blasted the heater and limped along to where I was going.

The heater was performing erratically at least since the beginning of this winter. I first noticed the abnormal temperature gauge readings this winter. 3-4 months ago I went to check the protection level of the fluid and the system appeared to be pretty much empty, so I filled it up.

About 3 weeks ago I took the car for an inspection and held my breath. Miraculously it passed with no complaints. So sure enough the next day I was driving and noticed the temp gauge going into the red / max. After I limped home and let it cool down I checked the level and the system appeared to be pretty much empty again, so I filled it.

I've put more fluid into the car since then on 1 or 2 other occasions. It's shown high temps at least twice during that time. A week ago I was going about 120 miles away. I checked the fluid before I started and it was low so I filled up the radiator and overflow tank and hit the road. On the way the temp gauge was going high again. I checked the next day and there was plenty of fluid in the overflow tank. On the way back the temp stayed normal, but it was much colder than on the way out.
 

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Which Camry do you have ... year? engine? manual or automatic?

... It is possible that your water pump is not 100% ... There may be a slow leak due to failing pump bearings. You should not have to add coolant as often as your post suggests. Also, your thermostat may be the cause of overheating, indicated by the temperature gauge in you dash.

If you take it to a repair shop, you should request a coolant pressure test, in order to determine if you have more than one coolant leak.

... Not too sure about where to take it for service. If you can locate a local repair shop that is familiar with Camrys, that would work. You should also be prepared to replace the timing belt and one or two other small parts ... which usually go along with the water pump replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Which Camry do you have ... year? engine? manual or automatic?
Thanks for the feedback. I edited my post with the information you asked about.

Thanks for the suggestion of the coolant pressure test. I'm guessing most of the repair shops around here would tell me they're familiar with Camry's if I asked them.

Re: the timing belt, I'm thinking this car may be due or overdue for that and I've been meaning to check. I don't understand why Toyota makes it so difficult to find that information online. I found a complete manual for the car on some 3rd party site yesterday, but it doesn't have that information. Now I have to try to track down a "Scheduled Maintenance Guide".
 

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The timing belt interval on a '99 is 90,000 miles.

If you are doing the water pump you might as well do the timing belt. It's little if no additional labor.

I'd be pulling the spark plugs to see if that coolant is going into the cylinders.
Also check the oil for coolant.


Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The timing belt interval on a '99 is 90,000 miles.

Thanks for your reply, and the timing belt interval info. After my last post I slogged through the awful formatting of the 1999 Toyota: OM Supplement: Scheduled Maintenance Guide that's available on Toyota's site and found that it does have that info (90k miles or 72 months).


I'd be pulling the spark plugs to see if that coolant is going into the cylinders.
That's likely not something I can do myself. Is that something I should suggest when I bring it to a shop, or will they know to do that?


Also check the oil for coolant.
I took a look today and the oil looked good -- I didn't see any milkshake effect. Do you have to check for that after the car has been running, or would it still show the milkshake effect when the oil is totally cold and settled?

I took a look at the coolant level in the overflow tank today and there was a thin brown / gray sludge on the surface of the coolant. Do you think that's indicative of anything? I was wondering if that could indicate oil getting in the coolant. I didn't see any kind of rainbow sheen typical of oil though. The inside of the overflow tank on this car is really dirty in general.

If you are doing the water pump you might as well do the timing belt. It's little if no additional labor.
Yeah, if it turns out to be necessary to do the water pump for this cooling issue, that makes sense. Otherwise there's a dilemma of whether to do the timing belt et al.

This car is in the neighborhood of 215k miles and I don't know that it's ever had the timing belt done. Yesterday I was going through the maintenance records that I can lay hands on and found an invoice from a Toyota dealership from 12/2006 that has a note that says "will need timing belt soon $470.00". At the time the mileage was 56,320, so I guess they were going by the 72 months. But I don't have a record to prove that a timing belt was ever done. There's been sloppy record keeping with this car, so it could've been done, but if it was done by 90k miles then I'm pretty sure it's gone more than 90k without being done again. So I imagine this car is overdue to have the complete timing belt package including water pump and the other stuff.

I feel like this car is on borrowed time and there are diminishing returns putting significant money into it vs. selling it and starting over with something a little bit newer and in better shape. And my understanding is that this is a non-interference engine and it won't have a catastrophic effect on the engine if the belt breaks (?). Am I right to think that if the car gets sold in the next year it's unlikely to recoup the expense of a complete timing belt package in the sale price? In other words, let's say the car had the job done and was put on sale today, most people wouldn't pay $X + amount of the timing belt job for this car vs. paying $X for an identical car where they don't even know what's going on with the timing belt, right? I know people on this forum are tuned in to that, but I don't think most people buying / selling used cars are.
 

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Thanks for your reply, and the timing belt interval info. After my last post I slogged through the awful formatting of the 1999 Toyota: OM Supplement: Scheduled Maintenance Guide that's available on Toyota's site and found that it does have that info (90k miles or 72 months).




That's likely not something I can do myself. Is that something I should suggest when I bring it to a shop, or will they know to do that?

I took a look today and the oil looked good -- I didn't see any milkshake effect. Do you have to check for that after the car has been running, or would it still show the milkshake effect when the oil is totally cold and settled?

I took a look at the coolant level in the overflow tank today and there was a thin brown / gray sludge on the surface of the coolant. Do you think that's indicative of anything? I was wondering if that could indicate oil getting in the coolant. I didn't see any kind of rainbow sheen typical of oil though. The inside of the overflow tank on this car is really dirty in general.



Yeah, if it turns out to be necessary to do the water pump for this cooling issue, that makes sense. Otherwise there's a dilemma of whether to do the timing belt et al.

This car is in the neighborhood of 215k miles and I don't know that it's ever had the timing belt done. Yesterday I was going through the maintenance records that I can lay hands on and found an invoice from a Toyota dealership from 12/2006 that has a note that says "will need timing belt soon $470.00". At the time the mileage was 56,320, so I guess they were going by the 72 months. But I don't have a record to prove that a timing belt was ever done. There's been sloppy record keeping with this car, so it could've been done, but if it was done by 90k miles then I'm pretty sure it's gone more than 90k without being done again. So I imagine this car is overdue to have the complete timing belt package including water pump and the other stuff.

I feel like this car is on borrowed time and there are diminishing returns putting significant money into it vs. selling it and starting over with something a little bit newer and in better shape. And my understanding is that this is a non-interference engine and it won't have a catastrophic effect on the engine if the belt breaks (?). Am I right to think that if the car gets sold in the next year it's unlikely to recoup the expense of a complete timing belt package in the sale price? In other words, let's say the car had the job done and was put on sale today, most people wouldn't pay $X + amount of the timing belt job for this car vs. paying $X for an identical car where they don't even know what's going on with the timing belt, right? I know people on this forum are tuned in to that, but I don't think most people buying / selling used cars are.
With the engine being overheated numerous times consider yourself lucky its still running. Doesn't sound like your into doing repairs and as you stated car is on borrowed time so let someone else who wants to do the repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I took the car to the Meineke I mentioned, where they did a cooling system pressure test and tested the coolant for combustion gasses. Sadly the test for combustion gasses was positive, so I think this car is a goner; considering the age, mileage, and condition I don't think it's worth doing a head gasket job which would start at about $1500 and could turn out to be an even worse, more expensive problem.

However, it's going to be a disaster if this car dies before a replacement car can be gotten. The shop told me that for $250 they can do an application of BlueDevil head gasket sealer. I created a new thread to ask for opinions on the effectiveness of that or the Pour-N-Go version that I could attempt applying myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
With the engine being overheated numerous times consider yourself lucky its still running. Doesn't sound like your into doing repairs and as you stated car is on borrowed time so let someone else who wants to do the repairs.
I can't tell if you're being snarky or just matter of fact.

With the engine being overheated numerous times consider yourself lucky its still running.
I didn't say that it's overheated numerous times. The first time I noticed the temperature reading high was on the 2nd of this month. I do consider myself lucky that it's still running.


Doesn't sound like your into doing repairs and as you stated car is on borrowed time so let someone else who wants to do the repairs.
I don't know if you mean personally doing repairs (no, I'm not equipped to do that) or paying to have them done (no, I'm not into paying for repairs that don't make financial sense if there's a better option like replacing the car).
 

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My opinion, after reading through this thread to this point, is that you likely have a major head gasket failure. Sounds like you don't have much maintenance history on the car, so I suspect the engine coolant wasn't changed at normal change intervals either (like you suspect with the timing belt).

What you described in the overflow bottle is engine oil getting into your cooling system. If your engine oil looks good, you are fortunate at this point.

Your loss of coolant and the elevated coolant temperatures are signs that combustion gases are displacing coolant in the cooling system, enough so that it affects circulation and wetted cooling areas. You may also be getting coolant in the combustion chambers that evaporates the coolant and sends the vapor out the exhaust pipe.

If you could to your own labor, you could do a head gasket replacement in the $250-$350 range (of course, you would have to get the head sealing surface checked for flatness and likely it will need to be machined flat, and that would be a good time to get the valve stem seals replaced, and this would add another $250 to your cost).

Having a shop perform the labor (there is a lot to do), plus do the timing belt, tensioners, front-end oil seals, water pump, etc., $1,500 is in the ballpark.

So if the car is in otherwise good condition, selling it cheap and letting perspective buyers know these problems, it is possible someone will buy it who can self-perform the repairs and get a nice vehicle after their materials investment.
 

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I took the car to the Meineke I mentioned, where they did a cooling system pressure test and tested the coolant for combustion gasses. Sadly the test for combustion gasses was positive, so I think this car is a goner; considering the age, mileage, and condition I don't think it's worth doing a head gasket job which would start at about $1500 and could turn out to be an even worse, more expensive problem.

However, it's going to be a disaster if this car dies before a replacement car can be gotten. The shop told me that for $250 they can do an application of BlueDevil head gasket sealer. I created a new thread to ask for opinions on the effectiveness of that or the Pour-N-Go version that I could attempt applying myself.
Never used "BlueDevil" brand but have used "Rislone" brand on a few other engines.

It did work but there is no "timeframe" for how long.

It was an easy DIY

And no, it doesn't hurt the cooling system or clog passages, that is a mechanics myth.
Cooling system "stop leak" can clog Rad and Heater core, this is simply not the case for the Head gasket repair
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for taking the time to read the thread and offer feedback, @93celicaconv.

My opinion, after reading through this thread to this point, is that you likely have a major head gasket failure.
What makes you think it's major vs. minor? I assume that makes a difference in how long the car is likely to continue to run.

Sounds like you don't have much maintenance history on the car, so I suspect the engine coolant wasn't changed at normal change intervals either (like you suspect with the timing belt).
I do have a bunch of maintenance records for the car, but I don't know how complete they are. I'm pretty sure that the coolant was not changed at the intervals it was supposed to be, which, like the timing belt, is partly my fault.


What you described in the overflow bottle is engine oil getting into your cooling system. If your engine oil looks good, you are fortunate at this point.
And that's not surprising now considering the results of the test for combustion gasses in the coolant, right? Would I just check the engine oil on the dipstick, or am I supposed to check somewhere else like the filler cap? Does it matter if it's checked warm or cold, or does the change in appearance show up no matter what once it's happened?

Your loss of coolant and the elevated coolant temperatures are signs that combustion gases are displacing coolant in the cooling system, enough so that it affects circulation and wetted cooling areas. You may also be getting coolant in the combustion chambers that evaporates the coolant and sends the vapor out the exhaust pipe.
When I really started looking into this last week and learned that it could be a head gasket problem, I started taking a look at the exhaust when the car is started and there is white "smoke". It's hard to quantify the amount, but I wouldn't call it a huge cloud. I also can't say for sure if it's different than a normal amount of water vapor that might be seen coming out of the tailpipe after starting a car.

If you could to your own labor, you could do a head gasket replacement in the $250-$350 range (of course, you would have to get the head sealing surface checked for flatness and likely it will need to be machined flat, and that would be a good time to get the valve stem seals replaced, and this would add another $250 to your cost).
Thanks for this info. Unfortunately, doing my own labor is out of the question.

Having a shop perform the labor (there is a lot to do), plus do the timing belt, tensioners, front-end oil seals, water pump, etc., $1,500 is in the ballpark.
The $1500 estimate was just for doing the head gasket (and they said it would be worse if it turned out to be a cracked head or block). The timing belt situation didn't come up -- is there a lot of overlap there that should mean I get a big break in the labor costs for doing both at the same time compared to separately? Even so, it'd have to be more than $1500 at that shop.

So if the car is in otherwise good condition, selling it cheap and letting perspective buyers know these problems, it is possible someone will buy it who can self-perform the repairs and get a nice vehicle after their materials investment.
The car is otherwise in fair to good condition. It passed a state inspection on March 1st with no issues. The next day I noticed the temperature issue. The car has some dents and dings, some interior cosmetic issues, some rust on the bottom of doors (there's not much visible rust elsewhere). That's what I'm hoping for, to find someone who will buy it with the intent of doing the work themself -- that's what I imagine would be the best case scenario for sale price (?), although I don't know what that should be. If I couldn't get at least $1000 for it, and used the BlueDevil and it seemed to work, I'd think about keeping it as a second car and driving it til it dies / needs other non-trivial investment. The main thing is I hope it doesn't die before a replacement car is gotten.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Never used "BlueDevil" brand but have used "Rislone" brand on a few other engines.

It did work but there is no "timeframe" for how long.

It was an easy DIY

And no, it doesn't hurt the cooling system or clog passages, that is a mechanics myth.
Cooling system "stop leak" can clog Rad and Heater core, this is simply not the case for the Head gasket repair
Thanks for the input. If it doesn't cost too much, then an unknown amount of "longer" would be a good thing, because it'll really jam us up if this car dies before we get a different one. I'm not totally sure if the $250 the shop quoted me to do it is a smart investment though. Do you know & remember how long it worked the times you used it?

The BlueDevil Pour-N-Go sounds like a relatively easy DIY. The main thing that concerns me about that is that I'd have to drain the radiator to make sure there's enough room for the product. That'd be a bit of a pain. I'd have to do the whole thing in a parking lot somewhere as I don't have a garage / driveway / lawn to do it at. There probably is enough space in the radiator anyway as it's visibly low, and I understand that's one of the effects of a head gasket leak. But if I didn't drain it and started applying the product and ran out of room, I'd be screwed.


And no, it doesn't hurt the cooling system or clog passages, that is a mechanics myth.
Cooling system "stop leak" can clog Rad and Heater core, this is simply not the case for the Head gasket repair
I've seen people talk about those issues, but I've lost track of whether I was seeing head gasket repair products or cooling system "stop leak" products being discussed. The shop that recommended the BlueDevil assured me that wouldn't clog anything up.
 

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Shop is correct, head gasket sealer uses temperature sensitive sealant, so can't/won't clog cooling system.
Most use Sodium Silicate, with a metallic/ceramic additive, like a 'liquid glass' that sets up via the cylinders high heat.

General procedure is to heat up the cylinders, with sealant added to cooling system, so run the engine for XX amount of time, some of the coolant with sealant will be pulled into the cylinder with the breach, sealing it most of the way(800+degF), then shut off engine.
Coolant with sealant leaks into cylinder with breach, the high temp(500+degF), with engine off, and seals it completely.

People are often confused about how things work, so just assume the clogging.
But what does happen and why there is often the confusion.........a head gasket leak creates debris in the cooling system, and this debris WILL clog rad and heater cores, look in your overflow tank, and that's just the light stuff that came out, lol.
This is why you do need to flush the system prior to repairing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
People are often confused about how things work, so just assume the clogging.
But what does happen and why there is often the confusion.........a head gasket leak creates debris in the cooling system, and this debris WILL clog rad and heater cores, look in your overflow tank, and that's just the light stuff that came out, lol.
This is why you do need to flush the system prior to repairing it.
There are two versions of the BlueDevil Head Gasket Sealer product: the one the shop would do, which involves flushing the cooling system, and a "Pour-N-Go" version that I could attempt to DIY that does not call for flushing the cooling system. So based on your comment it sounds like you'd recommend the first version?
 

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Just want to share the attached from a Toyota dealership - this article is technically accurate as far as timing of coolant changes, types of coolant, the effects of certain additives (silicate, for example). I bring it up because of the contents of the head gasket sealer RonR brings up (contains sodium silicate). Be aware Toyota created a unique coolant class lacking silicone silicates due to the reasons expressed in the article. No amine and no borate content either.

I think the jist here is, if you use this stuff, realize something is happening because of it. If you are only keeping your vehicle 6 months or a year, no problem. If you intend to keep it 5-10 more years, realize the impact of the chemical additives you are using and, if you choose to be OK with that, be OK with the results. Chemical reaction is not "supposition", it is physics - it does and will happen. Lot's of content here. If you don't find it of any value - ignore it. For some, it may have some value.






Good clean antifreeze not only protects your engine from freezing in the winter, but of course also acts as a coolant that keeps the engine from overheating year round. In addition, it has corrosion inhibitors to prevent the metal in the cooling system from being eaten away by the water in the coolant.

It also has ingredients that act as lubricants to prolong the life of the water pump seals. As long as it isn't diluted with water, the freeze protection and the ability to cool your engine stays good forever.
However, the corrosion inhibitors break down with time and heat.

Antifreeze that gets too old will begin to eat away at important internal engine components and plug up internal cooling passages, which can lead to overheating and cause additional damage, expense, and inconvenience.When flushing the cooling system, we drain the radiator and the block and run fresh water through the system until there's clean water running out of both the radiator and the engine block drains prior to refilling the system with new coolant.

This may be putting a fine point on things, but Toyota specifies the use of deionized water (water that's had the minerals stripped out of it) in its cooling systems. This is a more important concern in areas with a hard water supply. Deionized water (or distilled water) is recommended for both 1st and 2nd generation coolants, as the minerals in the water can precipitate out and restrict coolant passages. This issue is intensified with coolants that have silicates in them, as the silicates combine with the minerals and together they precipitate out of solution and restrict coolant passages. In this instance, it also results in increased corrosion due to a lowered concentration of silicates.

We're fortunate to have soft water in Portland, and this is what we use along with antifreeze when we are filling a cooling system. In systems that require Toyota Super Long Life coolant this is a moot point, as it comes premixed with deionized water.

Types of coolant: Red, pink or green? The short answer: The simplest most straight forward recommendation we can make is to use Toyota's red, Long Life Coolant where specified, and their pink Super Long Life Coolant where specified. On vehicles older than 1998, Toyota's recommendations are very general. We have come to believe that the Toyota Long Life Coolant is preferable for these vehicles as well in order to reduce clogged radiators.

Types of coolant: Red, pink or green? The longer answer: Regarding generic green coolant versus Toyota's red coolant in the older Toyotas (see section on older Toyotas through 1998 for broader discussion) although I'm willing to use either as per customer preferences, I have come to have a definite preference for Toyota's Long Life red coolant. It was designed with full engineering knowledge of the various materials (seals and alloyed metals) it needs to be compatible with. It was also deliberately designed with zero silicates. While the silicates in other coolants provide excellent corrosion protection, over the long haul they tend to precipitate out and contribute to restricting coolant passages. This can eventually result in overheating and/or having to replace the radiator. The additional cost of Toyota's coolant is minimal if you consider that the cost is amortized over a two to three year period and that the superior coolant may save having to replace your radiator.

I should note a balancing concern: On some engines where the timing belt runs the water pump, a red coolant leak with its build-up of crystals can cause the timing-belt tensioner bearing to seize up at the pivot. This can result in the timing belt going slack and hopping out of time. Usually this happens in cases where the timing belt was past due for replacement anyway. I've never seen that happen with the green coolant. Obviously there's a trade off of concerns at play here.

The older Toyotas and Lexus (through 1998) (for which we recommend Toyota's Long Life red coolant) simply call for ethylene glycol coolant. Ethylene glycol is the main antifreeze and heat-transferring ingredient in all three generations of Toyota coolant. To specify ethylene glycol doesn't say anything about which additives and corrosion inhibitors are best. Although Toyota sold its own red stuff, I'm not aware that they published any specifications that would overtly steer people away from using the common green generic alternative. However, my recent understanding is that even at that time Toyota was using zero silicates in their coolant. (See section on 1999 and newer Toyotas for further discussion on the use of silicates and their tendency to clog coolant passages.)

Toyota called for a coolant change every two years or every 30k miles. We encourage the same, although I'm comfortable with 3 years or 30k. For years I actively preferred the green antifreeze to the red due to my strong impression that the red coolant more actively finds its way past seals and gaskets. I still have no question that I see red crystallized coolant deposits oozing past gaskets and seals more often than I see signs of the green coolant leaking. However, Ryan here recently raised the possibility that the red coolant may not leak any more aggressively, but may simply leave more visible tracks. This may be the case, and in fact seems likely to be so. I know that on older water pumps we always see some staining below the weep-hole on vehicles that use green coolant. This staining may represent a similar amount of seepage that would have shown up as a mass of crystals on a water pump that was using red coolant. I really can't say for sure—in either case it's a slow seepage that dries out as is emerges.

Within the first year after Ryan came on board he mentioned that since he'd left Lexus where they exclusively used Toyota coolant he was seeing a lot more radiators plugged up. He said he'd virtually never seen clogged radiators even on cars that had over 200k on them. The clincher came for me when we encountered a radiator that we had replaced maybe 30k prior that was already showing visible clogging of the passages. On that day I became a believer in using Toyota's Long Life red coolant, and that's what we promote to all our customers now who have vehicles that are 2003 or older.

In 1999 Toyota and Lexus came out with their red long-life coolant, which is definitely what we want to use in these vehicles. They still recommended coolant replacement every two years or every 30k, and this is the recommendation we follow, although I'm comfortable with 3 years and 30k. Toyota calls for coolant with zero-silicate, zero-amine, and zero-borate content. They specify that "use of improper coolants may damage the cooling system" and specify that their coolant is designed so that it "will not clog radiators from silicone gelling" and "will not corrode aluminum surfaces like coolants that contain borate." When I've seen charts displaying the chemical profiles of brand new coolants, the Toyota long-life coolant is clearly different than Prestone's green-colored alternative, with the Prestone coolant clearly having the silicon and borate content that Toyota engineers specifically want to avoid.

In 2004 Toyota and Lexus came out with their pink super-long-life coolant. This is what we use for these vehicles. Their recommendation on this coolant is that it be replaced the first time at ten years or 100k miles. Their recommendation thereafter is that it be replaced every 5 years or 50k miles. This puzzles me, and though I'm not characteristically cynical, I find that a cynical part of me speculating that possibly Toyota has taken this route as part of an effort to keep their advertised cost of ownership lower in order to enhance new car sales. This coolant comes premixed with a 50% of it being deionized water. I haven't seen any chemical profiles comparing this coolant to the previous generation Toyota red long-life coolant, but they aren't incompatible, because Toyota specifies that you can add the Toyota red long-life coolant to top off systems that have the Toyota pink super-long-life coolant. Different dealers have opted for different schedules on flushing this coolant. Some do it exactly by the book with the first being at 100k and the second at 50k. At the time of this writing, the Lexus dealership I'm acquainted with was recommending coolant being flushed every 30k, and observed that they always get some particulate sediment coming out of the system with the coolant.

Toyota's recommendations assume a perfectly maintained coolant system, i.e. proper mixture, proper pressure, and continually full. Obviously if the mixture is off—diluted from adding water—that will decrease the effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitors and shorten the effective life of the coolant. Same with pressures: too low a pressure due to a faulty radiator cap increases the likelihood of internal metal erosion due to cavitation. Even allowing the system to go low increases corrosion, as the mixture of air and steam in the system is much more corrosive than being constantly bathed in coolant. This is apparently more especially so for coolants with organic-acid-technology based corrosion inhibitors, which is the class of inhibitors that Toyota's Super Long Life coolant uses.

Regarding the service interval, I'm increasingly impressed that just to look at it, the coolant typically doesn't look bad even at 100k. If customers prefer to go exactly with Toyota's recommendations, I have no quarrel with that, although I at this point I still have some reservations that it's ultimately for the best to wait 100,000 miles and/or ten years before replacing the coolant for the first time. Time will tell.There seems to be some rationale for flushing the Super-Long-Life coolant every five years or 50k miles. It's not a hard recommendation, but I think it may make sense in light of the fact that:
  • Toyota makes the same recommendation of five years and 50k miles from there on after the first 100k, and also because
  • Toyota recommends coolant changes at 30k with their older (not-premixed) coolant that is chemically similar enough to be used as a top-off coolant.
Note: The Super Long Life coolant shouldn't be used in the older Toyotas that came with brass & copper radiators, as it's organic-acid-technology corrosion inhibitors aren't effective for these metals or the soldering used in these radiators.

 

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I can't tell if you're being snarky or just matter of fact.



I didn't say that it's overheated numerous times. The first time I noticed the temperature reading high was on the 2nd of this month. I do consider myself lucky that it's still running.




I don't know if you mean personally doing repairs (no, I'm not equipped to do that) or paying to have them done (no, I'm not into paying for repairs that don't make financial sense if there's a better option like replacing the car).

Ok, sorry about the misunderstanding. What i meant to say was it probably
doesn't make financial sense for you but someone else may want to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the info @93celicaconv, I read it.

I bring it up because of the contents of the head gasket sealer RonR brings up (contains sodium silicate). Be aware Toyota created a unique coolant class lacking silicone silicates due to the reasons expressed in the article. No amine and no borate content either.
The BlueDevil also contains sodium silicate. Will that have a comparable effect on the cooling system that coolant containing silicates will? Is the concentration in these products enough to be of concern?


Be aware Toyota created a unique coolant class lacking silicone silicates due to the reasons expressed in the article. No amine and no borate content either.
Is that still unique though? I think Prestone 50/50 ethylene glycol coolant is labeled as being silicate, phosphate, borate, and nitrite free. Not sure about amines.


I think the jist here is, if you use this stuff, realize something is happening because of it. If you are only keeping your vehicle 6 months or a year, no problem. If you intend to keep it 5-10 more years, realize the impact of the chemical additives you are using and, if you choose to be OK with that, be OK with the results. Chemical reaction is not "supposition", it is physics - it does and will happen. Lot's of content here. If you don't find it of any value - ignore it. For some, it may have some value.
I don't see this car making it 5-10 more years, not at a reasonable cost anyway. I think the head gasket leak is going to be a death sentence for the car -- I don't think it's going to make sense to spend the money it would take to get that repaired (not 100% settled on that though). So if one of these sealant products would keep the car going for another 6-12 months I think it'd be worth it and the downside would be irrelevant compared to the head gasket problem.
 

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I don't see this car making it 5-10 more years, not at a reasonable cost anyway. I think the head gasket leak is going to be a death sentence for the car -- I don't think it's going to make sense to spend the money it would take to get that repaired (not 100% settled on that though). So if one of these sealant products would keep the car going for another 6-12 months I think it'd be worth it and the downside would be irrelevant compared to the head gasket problem.
Given this, I would say RonR's recommendation makes the best sense for you, economically. It would be worth the try to see if you can get the head gasket leaks sealed for a period of time. If it works, you may very well get 6-12 months more out of it. If it doesn't, you aren't out much $'s at all. I think you would be wise with RonR's guidance given you are OK with 6-12 more months out of the car.

Let us know if that head gasket stop leak product works for you.
 

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Given this, I would say RonR's recommendation makes the best sense for you, economically. It would be worth the try to see if you can get the head gasket leaks sealed for a period of time. If it works, you may very well get 6-12 months more out of it. If it doesn't, you aren't out much $'s at all. I think you would be wise with RonR's guidance given you are OK with 6-12 more months out of the car.

Let us know if that head gasket stop leak product works for you.
Yeah, I'm leaning toward deciding to hope for months more out of this car and replacing it ASAP. I would like to preserve whatever resale value it has left, but frankly I don't think it could sell for very much right now considering the work it needs. But would one of these sealing products like BlueDevil really affect the internals of the car in a way that would decrease it's long term value, say for someone who will buy the car with the intention of making the repairs (head gasket, timing belt, etc.) themself?
 
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