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Old 09-09-2020, 10:46 AM #1
The G-Man The G-Man is offline
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Coolant system issues

So Iíve noticed some coolant system issues lately.

I hear the waterfall sound behind the dash sometimes.

Couple weeks ago I checked the fluids and my expansion tank was almost empty and radiator was not full either. Topped off the radiator, it didnít take a lot to get it full, then I filled the expansion tank to slightly above the full line, oops!

Then I went on a road trip. 2 hrs in stopped and go figure that the expansion tank had overflowed. No real issues for the rest of my 9 hr drive.

However on the return home we stopped at a drive thru about 4 hrs into the drive. While idling waiting in line the coolant temp rose up to hot then after a few secs it went back down to normal. Checked out the radiator and hoses after parking and shutting down, and they donít seem too hot or like when an engine is actually overheating.

Did the rest of my drive uneventfully with no overheats, just a couple of times the gauge would fluctuate within the middle range.

This morning I got around to picking up the loaner radiator pressure tester from O Reillyís and the radiator tests good, pumped it up to 16 psi and let it sit for 5 minutes and it held pressure.

Unfortunately I could not test the cap as this loaner tool did not come with the correct adapter for our small radiator caps.

Also to note, I donít have a CEL and the engine runs smooth with no misfires.

I donít think I have ruled out a small head gasket leak because I suppose I could have just put pressure into the offending cylinder and it could hold of those valves happened to be closed. O Reillyís doesnít carry a block tester, so Iím going to pick one up from Napa later today.

So pending the block exhaust gas test my theory right now is that the cap is bad causing coolant to expand into the tank and not come back which causes there to be air in the system and maybe when stopping sometimes some boiled vapors come in contact with the temp sensor and make it rise.

Or could I possibly also have a bad water pump that somehow isnít leaking and the system holds pressure?

Edit:
Forgot to mention, this is on my 05 V6 with 226k miles and Iím the 2nd owner, with the first being my father in law who mostly dealer serviced and gave me all records. Looks like HG and water pump have never been replaced.


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Last edited by The G-Man; 09-09-2020 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:31 PM #2
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The water pump cant fail but it can leak. If it leaks it leaks behind the pulley and is hard to see. Look from underneath. My 07 224k 4runner. Had a leak in the radiator and leaking pump. If you havent changed.the radiator, I would suggest you do. The radiator is hard mounted to the frame so it takes all the impacts from the road. It takes a lot of abuse. A head gasket would be blowing coolant out and sucking back the resevior leaving it empty each time.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:35 PM #3
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Great thoughts. Iíve tried my hardest to see if the water pump is leaking but I havenít seen any evidence of that. Also if my radiator was leaking I donít think I would be able to hold 15 psi on the system for 5 minutes without noticing fluid on the ground or loosing pressure


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Old 09-10-2020, 05:03 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drcoffee View Post
The water pump cant fail but it can leak. If it leaks it leaks behind the pulley and is hard to see. Look from underneath. My 07 224k 4runner. Had a leak in the radiator and leaking pump. If you havent changed.the radiator, I would suggest you do. The radiator is hard mounted to the frame so it takes all the impacts from the road. It takes a lot of abuse. A head gasket would be blowing coolant out and sucking back the resevior leaving it empty each time.
Not sure what the OP has going on but I have to respectfully disagree with your first sentence. I've seen water pumps fail in a couple of different ways other than just leaking. I've seen the impeller either rusted or degraded to the point there was nothing left to move the coolant. I've also seen the bearings worn out where you could grab the fan and move it up and down a couple of inches. In both cases I've seen this happen with and without leakage.
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Old 09-10-2020, 08:14 AM #5
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If it was my 4Runner and i thought there was a cooling leak, i would find a good radiator shop to tell me what was wrong and how much it will cost to get it fixed.
Two items i don't mess with cooling systems and exhaust systems.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:22 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Blake View Post
If it was my 4Runner and i thought there was a cooling leak, i would find a good radiator shop to tell me what was wrong and how much it will cost to get it fixed.
Two items i don't mess with cooling systems and exhaust systems.

Yeah unfortunately where I live is a small town and I have just moved here about a year ago. There is a Toyota dealer, but I canít trust them for shit because they tried to tell me that in order to get my parking brake holding again that I would basically have to replace every single part including the cables.

Thereís more to that story, but Iím never going back there


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Old 09-10-2020, 09:52 AM #7
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Angry

Quote:
Originally Posted by The G-Man View Post
Yeah unfortunately where I live is a small town and I have just moved here about a year ago. There is a Toyota dealer, but I can’t trust them for shit because they tried to tell me that in order to get my parking brake holding again that I would basically have to replace every single part including the cables.

There’s more to that story, but I’m never going back there


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I agree with you in regards to dealing with stealer dealers, after buying my 08 4Runner from a local Toyota Dealer, was invited to a little evening, get to gather with their Friendly and wanting to help new buyers Service Dept. Reps.

One of the first things this young Dis Service Dept. guy told us as we were snacking on a bunch of cold left over food stuff and sipping warm soda, was us service Dept. people are on "COMMISSION"..... you should have been there it got real QUITE and the look on everyones faces told the story HORROR.

and Lets get the hell out of here and never ever return, and as soon as i could get up i left and trust me i never returned even for them free cheap bulk oil changes.

I change my own oil and filters thouse stealer dealers are all the same, no matter what you go to their service Dept.s for what you get is a rash of B.S. and then what they feel you need, trust me they want your MONEY as much of it as they can get from you.

Last edited by Ralph Blake; 09-10-2020 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:05 AM #8
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Update to this saga, just did another pressure test. Pumped up to 16 psi and it held no problem for 15 minutes and I looked around and found no leaks at all.

Then I warmed the engine up and performed the the combustion leak block tester. The fluid stayed that nice dark blue, so I donít think I have a head gasket leak.

I did replace the radiator cap with a new one, I guess we will see how that goes.

But all this kinda still leaves me scratching my head? I suppose I could pull the thermostat and test that. Does anyone have other thoughts? Maybe I should just replace the water pump?


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Old 09-11-2020, 01:24 PM #9
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I have identical symptoms and I believe I have a slow HG leak. My block tester doesn't really catch it either, the fluid stays fairly blue.

However, I can bleed my radiator for 30 min and bubbles still come out. Do bubbles continuously appear for you? You can buy a radiator funnel kit to make the bubbles more apparent.

I have zero coolant leaks and no misfires/codes. The engine runs smooth. I just replaced my thermostat too. I'm inclined to believe it's a very slow HG leak.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:34 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newton22 View Post
I have identical symptoms and I believe I have a slow HG leak. My block tester doesn't really catch it either, the fluid stays fairly blue.

However, I can bleed my radiator for 30 min and bubbles still come out. Do bubbles continuously appear for you? You can buy a radiator funnel kit to make the bubbles more apparent.

I have zero coolant leaks and no misfires/codes. The engine runs smooth. I just replaced my thermostat too. I'm inclined to believe it's a very slow HG leak.
Sorry I never replied. I sure had that same symptom... used the coolant funnel and when burping just random slow bubbles and they never stop.

Today I got a CEL when starting. It was cool, high 50s F. Stumbled a bit then CEL with VSC/Traction off (not really sure why traction control is affected?)

Anyways, hit up O Reily's on my way home to use the code reader, and sure as shit just as I suspected P0306 (Cylinder 6 Misfire), and P0456 (Evaporative Emission Control System Very Small Leak).

Came home and searched YouTube one more time because once again, my block test came back negative. And the very helpful Schrodinger's Box channel came in clutch... took 3 30 minute videos but are all very educational for anyone with a 4th Gen V6, especially 2003-2006.

2004 Toyota 4Runner P0306 Misfire Diagnosis - YouTube
04 Toyota P0306 Pt2-Can Compression Test Lie? - YouTube
04 Toyota P0306 Pt3 -Art of Puzzle Solving - YouTube

Now I am convinced I have a HG leak. I think the course of action I will take is to use BlueDevil radiator flush and leak fix fluid. A user here, can't remember his handle here, but Dylan from the YouTube channel Trail Benders Overland used it and posted a very good video of it
How to fix your Head Gasket for $100 with Blue Devil Head Gasket Sealer! - YouTube

Anyways, that video is far from the only Blue Devil success story, just the only 4th gen T4R that I could find.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:49 PM #11
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I watched a Scotty Kilmer video on sealing a HG leak. He suggested removing the leaking cyl spark plug when you add the sealer and run for 30 minutes It allows the pressurized coolant to seep into the head gasket without resistance. From compression. He also suggested to disconnect the fuel injector plug which for us is a little tricky. I dont think it would be a problem so long as you do it outside where the atomized fuel can disapate.
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Old 10-13-2020, 08:54 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drcoffee View Post
I watched a Scotty Kilmer video on sealing a HG leak. He suggested removing the leaking cyl spark plug when you add the sealer and run for 30 minutes It allows the pressurized coolant to seep into the head gasket without resistance. From compression. He also suggested to disconnect the fuel injector plug which for us is a little tricky. I dont think it would be a problem so long as you do it outside where the atomized fuel can disapate.
Interesting thoughts, idk how you got through a Kilmer video, dude is just clickbait titles these days with no actual content.
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Old 10-14-2020, 03:22 AM #13
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Before you start losing your mind over the dreaded HG leak fiasco, try to see if you have air in the system, it could cause overheating issues.

Not sure on the process of burping a 4runner but I know on my Nissan Frontier it was as easy as opening the radiator and reservoir caps, parking up on a curb, starting the engine (cold start) and turning the heat at max temp at full blast, and you'd eventually see a valcano of bubbles come out of the radiator fill cap and then you were burped.

It may be worth a shot to try and burp the system before you start buying a bunch of stuff for a HG leak.

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Old 10-14-2020, 06:24 AM #14
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Originally Posted by FrothyLlama View Post
Before you start losing your mind over the dreaded HG leak fiasco, try to see if you have air in the system, it could cause overheating issues.

Not sure on the process of burping a 4runner but I know on my Nissan Frontier it was as easy as opening the radiator and reservoir caps, parking up on a curb, starting the engine (cold start) and turning the heat at max temp at full blast, and you'd eventually see a valcano of bubbles come out of the radiator fill cap and then you were burped.

It may be worth a shot to try and burp the system before you start buying a bunch of stuff for a HG leak.

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Iíve burped the system a few times now. Iím certainly losing coolant somewhere and with the recent tripping of the CEL for a misfire I can confirm that it must be leaking into the cylinder head.


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Old 10-14-2020, 03:49 PM #15
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Every time I read this symptom I think of a "head gasket" leak. I just went to my 4runner, popped the hood, and looked at the coolant overflow catch canister, and it was at the same level it has been for the last 6 months.

That means I don't have coolant going/leaking into my heads!
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