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Old 05-15-2021, 08:42 AM #1
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'99 with original radiator, want to avoid the dreaded Strawberry Milkshake

We have a '99 4Runner with 197K miles. Our local trusted mechanic has changed the water pump when replacing the timing belt at the regular intervals, and completely flushed and refilled the coolant system with Toyota Red coolant.

The radiator is original and have just found out it's a potential time bomb, just waiting to take out our tranny with the dreaded Strawberry Milkshake Trans Cooler failure. Our mechanic said he could order a new Toyota radiator and do all the work for around $500 - OUCH! He also said he might be able to tell from looking inside the radiator core if it was getting bad. Does this sound legit? If it should be replaced, is there an Aftermarket brand that's better than the Toyota, or can we expect that a new Toyota brand radiator will get us to at least 250K miles?
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Old 05-15-2021, 09:07 AM #2
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Last I knew, the Koyo and Denso radiators were both around $100 and seem to be the most commonly used options on this site. I know that both have some quality control complaints so maybe somebody else will chime in with their opinion.

I personally ordered a Denso online and swapped it in my driveway in ~1hr, super simple job. I would imagine you can do it yourself or get out of it for $200 paying your mechanic for an hour of his time. That's a lot cheaper than gambling your tranny!
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Old 05-15-2021, 09:20 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreenwood75 View Post
Last I knew, the Koyo and Denso radiators were both around $100 and seem to be the most commonly used options on this site. I know that both have some quality control complaints so maybe somebody else will chime in with their opinion.

I personally ordered a Denso online and swapped it in my driveway in ~1hr, super simple job. I would imagine you can do it yourself or get out of it for $200 paying your mechanic for an hour of his time. That's a lot cheaper than gambling your tranny!
Thanks tgreenwood75. I hear you on paying a shop. I used to do almost all of my own wrenching, but the older I get, the less I want to mess with it :-(.
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Old 05-15-2021, 09:33 AM #4
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'99 with original radiator, want to avoid the dreaded Strawberry Milkshake

Get a B&M 70268 SuperCooler and have him install it as a bypass to the stock transmission cooler section of your existing radiator. Disconnect the lines from your stock radiator and run them through the B&M instead.

Drain & clean the lower section then shunt the two stock lines together in case you ever do have a breach.
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:11 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zcruiser View Post
Get a B&M 70268 SuperCooler and have him install it as a bypass to the stock transmission cooler section of your existing radiator. Disconnect the lines from your stock radiator and run them through the B&M instead.

Drain & clean the lower section then shunt the two stock lines together in case you ever do have a breach.
I thought of that, but was a little apprehensive at going with air cooling for the transmission. I read the internal radiator tranny cooler is a better all-around set up. Every vehicle I've owned has used that design and never had a problem, and I'm talking even 1970s/80s crappy American vehicles. A little disappointed in Toyota over this one :-(.
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:50 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobS10 View Post
... Every vehicle I've owned has used that design and never had a problem, and I'm talking even 1970s/80s crappy American vehicles. A little disappointed in Toyota over this one :-(.
So the oem radiator from toyota has lasted about 22 years and you're dissappointed or is it they choose a similar design as crappy american cars? BTW other foreign jobs ran the same setup too...

And yes it will get hotter than you like without the built in cooler, I've run with only an external in 100+ weather, towing in stop/go, trans temps will go well over 200 to nearly 230, ouch. Linked internal cooler back and temps never go above 197 now at the trans. Luck.
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:00 AM #7
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$500 to replace a rad?
Hope you don't consider him a friend cause he's shafting you
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:05 AM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgue467 View Post
So the oem radiator from toyota has lasted about 22 years and you're dissappointed or is it they choose a similar design as crappy american cars? BTW other foreign jobs ran the same setup too...

And yes it will get hotter than you like without the built in cooler, I've run with only an external in 100+ weather, towing in stop/go, trans temps will go well over 200 to nearly 230, ouch. Linked internal cooler back and temps never go above 197 now at the trans. Luck.
Yeah, I guess a little disappointed that something that could cause such a catastrophic problem wasn't engineered a little better. If the problem was due to running cheap coolant or allowing the radiator to run low or overheat, that would be different. But on a well maintained vehicle, running Toyota Red coolant? When I looked up this issue, it' wasn't just on vehicles that were currently 22 yrs old, but dates back quite a few years when the vehicles were a lot newer. Frame rot is another Black Mark for the venerable Toyota brand. No excuse on that one, after all these years!

As far as American vehicles, my 1984 Dodge pickup has the same set up, and never heard of this problem on ANY vehicle until someone on a Toyota FB page pointed out that 3rd Gen 4Runners seem to have the issue. My Dodge does have other issues, to be sure ;).
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Old 05-15-2021, 12:52 PM #9
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If you really want to go ham on the trans protection/cooling situation, get an OEM radiator, new upper and lower hoses, an OEM thermostat (6 O'clock juggle valve), new Toyota coolant, run a B&M trans cooler in series with the radiator and pop in a Magnafine filter. You can do all that yourself in an afternoon for WELL under $500 - if you have a place to work and the time. Living in the City myself, I know that can be an issue. I can use the parking lot at my job on weekends (until told otherwise LOL), but I have also brought parts I have purchased online that I didn't have the wherewithal to install (suspension, ball joints) to a shop and negotiated a labor deal. I use the Toy Shop on Geary for that. I think we may have spoken about that place in another thread?
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Old 05-15-2021, 05:34 PM #10
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$500 to replace a rad?
Hope you don't consider him a friend cause he's shafting you
Includes new Toyota radiator, upper and lower hoses and thermostat, flush system and all new Toyota coolant. Everything in San Francisco is stupid expensive
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Old 05-15-2021, 05:38 PM #11
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If you really want to go ham on the trans protection/cooling situation, get an OEM radiator, new upper and lower hoses, an OEM thermostat (6 O'clock juggle valve), new Toyota coolant, run a B&M trans cooler in series with the radiator and pop in a Magnafine filter. You can do all that yourself in an afternoon for WELL under $500 - if you have a place to work and the time. Living in the City myself, I know that can be an issue. I can use the parking lot at my job on weekends (until told otherwise LOL), but I have also brought parts I have purchased online that I didn't have the wherewithal to install (suspension, ball joints) to a shop and negotiated a labor deal. I use the Toy Shop on Geary for that. I think we may have spoken about that place in another thread?
Yes, Toy Shop was the quote and included everything you mention, sans extra cooler. I may end up doing it myself if I get inspired. I used to do everything, many clutches, engine swaps/rebuilds, more oil changes than I can possibly count. But I'm getting old and lazy ;-).
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:13 PM #12
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I thought of that, but was a little apprehensive at going with air cooling for the transmission. I read the internal radiator tranny cooler is a better all-around set up. Every vehicle I've owned has used that design and never had a problem, and I'm talking even 1970s/80s crappy American vehicles. A little disappointed in Toyota over this one :-(.
It warms faster and stays warmer in the winter. No difference in the summer. In fact, you'll run cooler not sharing the radiator.

If you want to avoid that, you can install a thermal bypass in line with the cooler OR get a cooler that's internally bypassed. I'll be switching to the Hayden internal bypass this summer to get temps up in the cold a bit. Right now I have a single Hayden 679, gonna switch to dual 699's. That ought to do the trick.
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Old 05-15-2021, 07:53 PM #13
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...and I'm talking even 1970s/80s crappy American vehicles.
One of the finest vehicles I've ever owned.
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:02 PM #14
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Includes new Toyota radiator, upper and lower hoses and thermostat, flush system and all new Toyota coolant. Everything in San Francisco is stupid expensive
Oh that's pretty average shop pricing then
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Old 05-15-2021, 10:08 PM #15
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I would say that $500 is too much for them to replace it when you could order an OEM unit for around $100-200 and replace it yourself. Last time I checked they were around $100 but I didn't chose to replace it because mine isn't brown colored (replaced before). Tbh, I looked at a video on how to replace it and it isn't too bad of a job.
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