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Old 05-22-2021, 04:13 PM #1
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Prepping for a long trip with high coolant temps.

Hey guys. Facing a bit of a conundrum here.

I'm about to go on a long road trip in a week (2k+ miles on the first wing of the trip) and part of my trip will be through the desert. I'm going to be driving 8 hour+ shifts with my truck. But right now on my ultragauge, I'm seeing an average of 208 as my coolant temp in 50-70 degree weather. While driving on an incline I see upwards of 212-215.

I've read a lot of threads re: coolant temp and seen some arguments about it but here's where I'm at:
1. Thermostat is in the 6 oclock position
2. Fan clutch has been replaced
3. Radiator has been replaced (now using a Champion radiator)
4. Heater core has been flushed
5. Coolant has obv been replaced and there are no leaks that I can find.

Now here's what seems to be the obvious culprit: I have recently had a head gasket job done and had a cracked cylinder rebuilt (sucks when the heater control valve busts when you're on a 45 degree mountain road with nowhere to pull over...)

I've read both that a resurfaced cylinder could lead to higher engine temps, and I've also read that sometimes folks put the head gaskets on the wrong sides and that leads to overheating.

So do I see if the shop can completely pull apart my engine and see if the head gasket job was done wrong by mistake (and most likely pay the price for this) or am I find to do this trip with engine temps this high? I should note that the temp gauge has not moved at all, even when getting above 215.

I don't know what the hell to do or how bad of risk I'm really taking here..
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:19 PM #2
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That is high for those temps.
Have you checked to make sure the thermostat is correct and working properly?
I think it should be 180.
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:23 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alumarine View Post
That is high for those temps.
Have you checked to make sure the thermostat is correct and working properly?
I think it should be 180.
Yep. Recently replaced it with a new OEM and it's in the 6 o'clock position. From what I've read the jiggle valve is actually supposed to be in the 6 not 12 (many complain that 12, common procedure in other vehicles, leads to higher engine temps in this truck and some other Toyotas)
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:15 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverAirport View Post
I'm about to go on a long road trip in a week (2k+ miles on the first wing of the trip) and part of my trip will be through the desert. I'm going to be driving 8 hour+ shifts with my truck. But right now on my ultragauge, I'm seeing an average of 208 as my coolant temp in 50-70 degree weather. While driving on an incline I see upwards of 212-215.
I personally are not good with odds. I always come out on the short end of it.
You could do the troubleshooting/repair in a familiar shop close to your comfortable home.
Or you could do it in an unfamiliar area with shop that is the best one you could find at the moment while you're traveling.

Those temps are not the normal 190 I see on mines. The ones you're seeing is concerning. I would suspect the last repair being the cylinder and head repair, if your engine had normal temps before the repairs.
Could be the headgasket was flipped upon installation.

Maybe a more knowlegable member could chime in with an easier way to troubleshoot a flipped headgasket without tearing the motor apart.
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:54 PM #5
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Your LOW temps, with the same rad, are higher than my Hottest down here in the hottest part of summer in Georgia. There's clearly an issue.

Start with the KISS, is there air in the cooling system? Not allowing the coolant to properly pressurize will lead to higher temps.

Beyond that, I'm not really any help... only had hot temps when there was a glaring issue like a blown head gasket or a chronic leak.
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Old 05-22-2021, 10:17 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian. View Post
Your LOW temps, with the same rad, are higher than my Hottest down here in the hottest part of summer in Georgia. There's clearly an issue.

Start with the KISS, is there air in the cooling system? Not allowing the coolant to properly pressurize will lead to higher temps.
Haven't burped it recently but I will try this, especially since installing the new radiator. Could it really make this big of a difference in the temp?
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Old 05-22-2021, 10:52 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiLife View Post
I personally are not good with odds. I always come out on the short end of it.
You could do the troubleshooting/repair in a familiar shop close to your comfortable home.
Or you could do it in an unfamiliar area with shop that is the best one you could find at the moment while you're traveling.

Those temps are not the normal 190 I see on mines. The ones you're seeing is concerning. I would suspect the last repair being the cylinder and head repair, if your engine had normal temps before the repairs.
Could be the headgasket was flipped upon installation.

Maybe a more knowlegable member could chime in with an easier way to troubleshoot a flipped headgasket without tearing the motor apart.
Yes good point -- wondering if there is any way to troubleshoot a potentially flipped headgasket without tearing it apart. I don't have a garage to top it off so this is just a nightmare to think about, I'd have to hope the shop would be willing to take it apart again for free.
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Old 05-22-2021, 11:49 PM #8
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Sounds like an air pocket in the cooling system, it's a lot quicker to check for said then pulling the head, when filling the cooling system there's a tool to place said under a vacuum and then fill so no voids occur.
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Old 05-23-2021, 12:41 AM #9
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Pickup one of these kinds of funnels. Makes burping the system much easier. Amazon.com: EPAUTO Spill Proof Radiator Coolant Filling Funnel Kit: Automotive
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Old 05-23-2021, 01:23 AM #10
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I'd probably guess in order of easyness:

1 - air pocket in cooling system (really recommend the vacuum type) haven't had much luck with the burping funnel type on the 4runner

2 - your cracked head is still cracked or the gaskets installed incorrectly.

Personally I would not travel with those temps in that ambient air let alone a hot desert. Not familliar with the champion radiator. Is it a all aluminum with chambers? If so they may have welded the chambers closed and your not getting any coolant flow. If oem type, check to see if your building pressure (also on the champion). I had a oem denso rad (taiwan or something) and no rad cap would seal on it. Would not build press and I was seeing 205 highest temps. Replaced radiator with koyo all aluminum, builds pressure and solid 190 no matter what.

Your 4runner has a problem, fix it before you blow the motor.

Also did you do the head gaskets or was it a shop?
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Old 05-23-2021, 01:42 AM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverAirport View Post
Haven't burped it recently but I will try this, especially since installing the new radiator. Could it really make this big of a difference in the temp?
Yes and no. If there's an air pocket on the sensor, it's seeing steam temps since the metal isn't being cooled. Is your engine really that hot? No. But the ECU thinks it is.

If you are going to have the coolant system cracked open, try a water wetter product like Royal Purple's Ice. I noticed a 10 degree drop in summer heat with that alone. I live in near desert like temperatures with summer hitting 100* on a regular basis so it does help. It reduces water surface tension allowing for more heat transfer into the coolant and out of the block. Safe to use with our aluminum radiators too. A lot cheaper than a head gasket tear down, that's for sure.
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Old 05-23-2021, 04:36 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2TH4IST View Post
I'd probably guess in order of easyness:

1 - air pocket in cooling system (really recommend the vacuum type) haven't had much luck with the burping funnel type on the 4runner
Just because of time restraints I may see if I can get this done at the dealership -- I have a funnel to regularly burp it but I'm curious about using a vacuum filler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2TH4IST View Post
2 - your cracked head is still cracked or the gaskets installed incorrectly.

Personally I would not travel with those temps in that ambient air let alone a hot desert. Not familliar with the champion radiator. Is it a all aluminum with chambers? If so they may have welded the chambers closed and your not getting any coolant flow. If oem type, check to see if your building pressure (also on the champion). I had a oem denso rad (taiwan or something) and no rad cap would seal on it. Would not build press and I was seeing 205 highest temps. Replaced radiator with koyo all aluminum, builds pressure and solid 190 no matter what.

Your 4runner has a problem, fix it before you blow the motor.

Also did you do the head gaskets or was it a shop?
Champion is aluminum, yeah. I was seeing the same temps before I replaced my OEM with the Champion radiator though so I don't think see that being the problem.

My gut feeling was to avoid traveling with the truck in general at these temps, while it's driving fine I'm just afraid of doing more damage than may have already been done.

I got the head gaskets done at a shop, I didn't do that job myself. Tough because while the shop I go to are honest and nice guys and have helped me with everything I can do in my current garage-less state, I don't know how well they'll take to my asking them to pull the motor apart and check to see if they did this wrong.

I'm going to have the dealer run a compression test (I doubt they'll charge me for it) and see if I'm in a good place or if this could be that the engine job was botched. Tough situation overall. Hoping that this all comes down to some serious air trapped in the system.
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Old 05-23-2021, 04:41 AM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefreakgc View Post
Yes and no. If there's an air pocket on the sensor, it's seeing steam temps since the metal isn't being cooled. Is your engine really that hot? No. But the ECU thinks it is.

If you are going to have the coolant system cracked open, try a water wetter product like Royal Purple's Ice. I noticed a 10 degree drop in summer heat with that alone. I live in near desert like temperatures with summer hitting 100* on a regular basis so it does help. It reduces water surface tension allowing for more heat transfer into the coolant and out of the block. Safe to use with our aluminum radiators too. A lot cheaper than a head gasket tear down, that's for sure.
That makes sense. Thanks for this -- super insightful I didn't even consider that impact of air near the sensor. Are there any risks when moving heat into the radiator like that? I'm assuming you're suggesting that because that's less of an issue with an aluminum radiator. But are there any other potential risks?
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Old 05-23-2021, 11:01 AM #14
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I heard of that 'burping' procedure (lift front end) but mine has never needed it, drain/filled radiator, sometimes with a water pump & new therm yet never bothered with 'burping' and I've had zero issues. Runners have a really good engine cooling system right out of the box.

In Austin's summer heat (about 105) it can sit idle with a/c on for over an hour maintaining 195 (waiting for old lady). I can tow 4000lbs, stop/go traffic, up hills, still 195, done i70 west of denver (both ways), still 195. These engines aren't really made for constant 215+ and imagine when the engine really gets stressed how much higher it may go.

If I were going on a long trip and had done all you have with no real resolution, I'd go back to same or other mechanics if I no longer trust those guys.

Luck on the trip.
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Old 05-23-2021, 11:05 AM #15
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These are not cheap ($100 on sale) but so useful when refilling cooling system. No mess, easy to use and best of all no air pockets left in system.
Used a friends once and had to buy my own.
Downside is you need to have an air compressor available to you.
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