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Latest Radiator Repair and Installation Advice

CarJunky AutoAdvice

radiator hoses

Showing 3 out of 21 Posts | Show 18 Hidden Posts
Question From Guest on radiator hoses

I have a question regarding the radiator hoses, after running the car for a while the hose going into the top of radiator (hose on the left of the picture) gets really hot while the hose going into the bottom of the radiator (right of the picture) stays cool/warm is that normal ? , can that show some sort of blokcage of fluids explaining why fumes come out of the radiator... should I get it fixed right away
Big Thanx for your

car¨:toyota celica 1990 160k ..I know it is old

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Thermostat Gasket

Thermostat and gasket should look like this. Most usually at the top radiator hose to engine - just look for a housing that would hold that two hole gasket. There are some strange set ups that may do something different but that's what was listed. The engine NOT unsteady with temp, heater working suggests this is NOT the problem. If you care to flush out system that's fine to do anyway and good mantenance but not likely the problem at hand.

The hoses - now you said two at recovery tank is just so if it overflows the mess gets diverted - like down out of your moving engine parts.

When engine warms it must be blowing out coolant at the tank and then manages to draw back all the coolant. Most of the time you would find radiator low at radiator cap when this happens a couple times - perhaps just once. The mention that you aren't suggest this coolant dissapears somehow involving the hose to the recovery tank or a crack in the tank itself. If with what I'm figuring so far you didn't refill the recovery tank then withing a few warm ups and cool downs the radiator would show low level at the cap when you look in.

Now - If there were a vapor entering cooling system on pressurized side it would push coolant out to tank and spill it out and wouldn' t be likely to draw it back and of course if empty it would draw back air.

Air or Vapor: It can be combustion gasses from a head gasket type thing or perhaps a hot spot that boils (making gasses) out of your sight. When cooled off again this should be showing up as ever lower coolant at the radiator which you say it isn't so I stuck with what else to suggest.

A real pressure test - a pump up thing with gauge you put on the radiator where the cap goes should show if there's some leak hidden as pressure would drop - coolant could drip out to crankcase, combustion chamber or any gasket hose etc., that must maintain integrity with BOTH pressure and the slight vacuum that draws back coolant from the tank.

This is tricky as I'm not there of course but by all info so far the entire problem at hand is all the stuff that is involved with the small (10mm?) hose that leaves the neck where the radiator cap is and beyond - including if that little neck is spit or broken right there. Evidence would be easily noticed but doesn't seem to be so it tough without being there.

Notes: From cold to hot, coolant will expand and contract about 1 quart. Quart out and then back when cooled so no net loss of coolant. Much older huge cars and trucks had radiators large enough that you simply didn't fill the radiar all the way when cold and was an estimate marked on the tanks of radiators as to where to fill it to. Those would use a tube that allowed overflow to go to ground - yours like almost all goes to a tank to haul it back it - the objective is not having air in the cooling system at all and in doing that it utilized the whole area of the radiator which the old stuff didn't but now we have to cram in the smallest stuff that works. Recovery tanks get mounded to fit neatly in some area underhood as opposed to a plain jug which would work if you had the room and we used to do that to maximize cooling system and no air also reduces corrosion inside the system.

Again: With your observations this is some leak anywhere from the cap at radiator's little outlet and beyond,


Response From Guest

Just in case I would like to make clear that the major leak I encountered in the right hand side of the vehicle by the reservoir tank is due to the 10mm tube overflowing. I have seen it with my own eyes. After my test yesterday I observed smoke and coolant coming out of the 10mm tube onto the ground.

Very interesting what you have mentioned
“Air or Vapor: It can be combustion gasses from a head gasket type thing or perhaps a hot spot that boils (making gasses) out of your sight. When cooled off again this should be showing up as ever lower coolant at the radiator which you say it isn't so I stuck with what else to suggest.”
If there is air in the system it could explain the level of the coolant always at an acceptable level (because air might push liquid upwards) and also the coolant being pushed out of the 10mm tube . Does it make sense?

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Ok: I'm picturing this....... level in rad does end up just a tad low (usual and normal is some coolant would spill just checking at the radiator cap) so with that the coolant up top is still the hottest - let's say close to 200F and the vapors then go to the EMPTY recovery tank which is vented thru that overflow tube. If it had coolant in the tank the air (even minor amounts) would cool just while bubbling up thru the coolant and don't generally get noticed - but it doesn't seem like there's any in there when you notice this - am I mistaken?

Coolant just put in a pan on your stove (don't) would make some steamyness when exposed to ordinary air temps - no different with this.

With the scenario now I'm guessing you are continually adding some which is getting draw back to radiator so it is staying very close to full.

Variables: If you just put a separate hose from the radiator cap spud to a plastic bottle and submersed the end of that hose in the bottle you would see the level go up and down with the overall engine's temp. When pressure is higher than the cap's rating, pressure go out - it doesn't care whether is releases coolant or gas to keep within the caps pressure #. If you just left that tube off or routed a hose to the ground instead of a recovery tank and drove the car hard - hwy, A/C on, then stop and go...... shut off and let fully cool down a few cycles of that it would reach a normal level at the radiator which would look full when hot (don't open with pressure there) and it would look low when cold. Cars need that extra area to be liquid in the radiator all the time as air/vapor doesn't transfer heat well and this is THE trick to use all of the surface area of a radiator ALL the time.

Things even all normal, there's a "high" and "low" mark for the coolant level at the recovery tank. Those are the usual ranges - it can handle being higher that the high mark and lower than the low mark in extemes but shouldn't ever barf out coolant OR go empty - that's why the range is there.

The hot spot concept analolgy: Imagine a metal pipe for example about 20 feet long - low in the middle like a smile and full of whatever, water or coolant. Just take a blow torch to the middle and boil up that spot and it would shoot the water out the ends and when you quit it would no longer be full of water - see the picture I'm drawing?

the point is again that it's consuming coolant - a problem is you can't really account for the amount lost as a puddle under the car so it's probably just escaping notice somehow. An engine either thru failed gaskets or cracks in the block, heads or manifold could allow coolant to be drawn into combustion mix and burn it. This at the rates you have been mentioning would about always show up as white steam out the tail pipe and so far you haven't mentioned that - or overheating or poor engine operating performance so I'm not think that for now.

I'm trying to rule out a head gasket problem which right now I don't think this needs even though that is somewhat common your symptoms aren't consistant enough yet to go there - at least without ruling out, as said, all the items that carry coolant and or vapors from that spout at radiator cap on out.

If you want something to do now - take that recovery tank right out of the car and wash it clean, fill it with water and bet you find a crack or leak in it - sometimes a mount rubs into it or a mounting bolt cracks or again the rubber hose AND the spouts to and from. I'm pretty sure you can use generic hose to replace even if the orig is moulded with bends. I'd just have to look to see that but the old one wouldn't be going back if my job,


Response From Guest

sorry about delay, have been cut off from Verizon for some limit broadband issues that I am yet to figure out.
Ok things are moving along well finally, I put a brand new radiator cap and to my surprise it solved the leaking at the reservoir tank issue. So thanx for that comment you made some postings earlier, you made so many I don´t remember which. -great troubleshooting.
Ok now that I have the new cap on, I drove about 1 hour and a half and didn´t see any smoke nor leaking from the reservoir so A+ right there .., however it seems that the cap is now maintaining the right pressure on the radiator, which in return it is showing some minor leaks here and there by the radiator grill surface, which might evaporate because I don´t see any remains on the ground and, seems not too serious at the moment. But I am concern about the one leak (it colors the ground rainbow) that seems to come underneath the block (due to some new pressure maybe) which I am yet to figure out where it is actually coming from given the little room I have in the engine compartment area. If it is an actual leak from the engine block, how serious it is???
I did not perceive any white smoke from the exhaust, only did see a few drops of liquid at the end of the exhaust pipe, but I think most cars do that. The temperature gauge stays steady not too hot not too cold which I am assuming means good circulation of the coolant.
By the way every time I see a low level on any liquid I do like Burger King, free refill… I always carry one gallon of coolant and oil in the trunk.
Thanx tom

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Ok: Coolant - is it colorless or a typical green? The colors will leave stains even if evaporated. Radiator might need to be sent out for repair or replaced, pressure check would prove the leaks for you.

Rainbow in water? It only takes a drop of an oil to make huge area of water do that. If on dry ground I don't understand. Almost any car puts out a drip now and then.

Water out tailpipe is normal and goes away when vehicle is warmed up. Temp conditions will make that vary.

If you are constantly topping off fluids then take note of which ones. Brake, trans, PS and coolant don't normally consume any - oil a maybe with some cars.

Buy or make up mixed anti-freeze. Full strength causes its own problems. Aim for 50/50 with typical EG based products.

If you do need a radiator start pricing them out now. Check out a repair shop - specialty places fix rads and gas tanks and would sell new as well.

Seems like you are all set for the moment and just keep an eye out and I expect the radiator to need work,


Response From brbettge

Tom, one additional thing on this vehicle. the water pump. if it has never been changed it is at the end of it's useful life. it is partially hidden under the time belt cover so that the weep hole cannot easily be seen. rainbow colored spot. check oil pressure send unit next to oil filter for dampness, japanese cars especially toyota is known for failures of sending unit. leak begins slow then will become a gusher with time. hope this helps

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Hi again brbettage and thanks for your thoughts on this. That turned into one heck of a "verbos" thread - my fault and it's now a long read. Problem was just the temp differential of upper and lower hoses at first and a noted empty recovery tank - DAILY - with no evidence.

I'm hoping a pressure test will root out or find what should now be very small problems with the loss of coolant. My objective was to save on jumping to conclusions of a head gasket as it never overheated or lost coolant at the radiator??

Water pumps and age. Your right - that and more is suspect. WPs are not an item I sought to replace myself over the years when nothing noted unless they were difficult and in the path of other work anyway and would ask a customer is they wanted the old one back or a new one - no matter to me if it's off anyway.

Welcome to the site,


Response From Guest

Talk about fast replying, this is better than most technical help lines out there.

Yes, the leak underneath the block could be oil and also coolant mixed together but no sure yet. Need to do more observing… That´s why I would love to replace every gasket and seal in that block.
My goal is to now keep replacing every part on the car until I encounter a major reparation that will not justify keeping the car.
So I need to prioritize the parts that need most care and help maintain the car and prevent it from more damage.
I think maybe I should consider replacing head gasket first to keep car from leaking anymore oil. At the same time change the time belt just in case. Also, inspect the head to look for any damage …
I need to put in a new exhaust, then the most expensive to replace the radiator, new shocks, new front tires, and last and much less important repairing body damage, and if nothing else pops out which is likely to happen, hopefully, I can put in another 50k-100k on the car, that should be a sweet deal. I have a dream…
eric, nj

Response From brbettge

OK, first of all this engine does NOT leak oil from the head gasket. there is NO reason to replace a headgasket on this engine unless it is blown (cooling passages to combustion chamber or cylinder to cylinder which causes low to no compression in adjacent cylinders). I would put money on oil leaks at the three seals on the front of the engine (behind time belt) which are the crank front, cam front, and oil pump seals. Cam and crank seals are readily available from local parts stores; the oil pump seal will have to be purchased from the dealer as part of a kit-although only the seal will be used in your situation. This engine has been near bullet proof over the years if maintained (ie: regular oil and filter changes and regular coolant flushes and changes). The valve cover tends to leak with some age but mostly into the spark plug wells past those four seals attached to the valve cover. I own an 89 celica gt with this same engine and have had nothing but exceptional service from it....after changing the seals (both front and rear on thecrank and front seals under the time belt) I have also worked extensivly on these engines over the years and have seen a near 0% problem rate except where the owner neglected maintenance. Don't give up on it and don't go changing major parts as they seldom wear out with normal maintenance. I'll check back on this forum monday to see how it's coming....good luck, rick

Response From Guest

thanx for the advice I think the seals you mentioned are in most needed replacement. Also, I have heard of a substance called Block Seal would you recomend it , it is suppose to infiltrate in all cracks and seal them tight. I seem to have some leaks on the radiator that from time to time cause some vapors may be that block seal could repair them ... But other than these nuissances I want to keep the car on the road. When the weather gets better out here in jersey I will maybe change the radiator and the exhaust pipe myself since I don´t have a garage. That might bring out some lengthy blogs on this site. Ma toyota c´est fantastique (french comercial)...
Thanx man

Response From Guest

one thing i have always told my customers and will tell you here. think about radiator stop leak or block seal products in an objective way. these products seal small leaks. now imagine your radiator/heater core...they are both "boxes" consisting of many small passages that coolant flows through - essentially many small "leaks"...or at least this is what block seal products "see" when you introduce them into the system. Since the products are meant to seal small leaks and your radiator and heater core are essentially hundreds of small "leaks"; what do you think the sealing products will attempt to do? they will seal the passages...or many of them; causing a reduction in cooling capacity and/or heater core efficiency. Many professional mechanics believe in these products; others do not. I happen to look at them logically in that they seal leaks. i have replaced numerous heater cores and radiators over the years due to use of these products. i do occasionaly use a product that comes in a small tube about 3 inches long and 1 inch diameter that contains a silver or gold colored powder (makes no difference which color) with fairly good results; but only in systems that i knew were in good shape and clean inside. i onlyused them for leaks i had identified as in the radiator itself and were quite small. So, use your own judgement and be prepared for radiator replacement or heater core replacement as a consequence in a worst case scenerio. just a little advice to the crew! good luck, rick

Response From bumbledor

Agree with you on that STOP LEAK stuff.
At best, is is a quick fix to get you HOME or to a Service station where your radiator/cooling system can be checked out by a certified mechanic.

Take care of your car, and it will take care of you.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

If this "Block Seal" is your short term intention for cooling system leaks I would rather suggest the one sold at NAPA and elsewhere called radiator sealer and block repair - don't believe everything you read. It's not a sawdust type and made by Mac's and sold under other names too. It can work but only use a couple ozs of it - the whole bottle can clog a heater core! Nothing will seal a shaft seal like the water pump has so don't pollute the system with stuff that really can cause other problems. If a little doesn't work within a day or so with a small leak then do the fix. The product I'm talking about will flush out so you won't have stuck junk in there when you need or want to do it right,


Response From Tom Greenleaf

Coolant goes thru that upper hose to radiator to be cooled - so that part is normal. Fumes?? What are you noticing and where?


Response From Guest

I have noticed fumes under the hood by the radiator, also there appears to de some leaking of coolant. Also, I have seen the reservoir all the way empty and all the way full ... I thing I should let the car warm up and keep an eye for all these ocurrences , see where that takes me.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Some more questions and some tests: Do you see coolant leaking - even traces at the radiator? Does the recovery tank fill by itself and then empty when cooled off fully?

If tank is empty when stone cold, then fill with coolant at the radiator cap. Clean up the cap especially the rubber seals (two) and there's a metal flapper that needs to set down on clean rubber - or new cap if you wish solves that question.

Now with rad known full and cap good, start the engine and feel the top radiator hose for pressure. Before you start you notice there's none and you should be able to squish it in with fingers a bit - that's a base point. Now with it running from cold feel the hose at 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min - and it really shouldn't pressure up too quickly. Hose should stay cold all this time. Feel for temp when about 5 min passes and somewhere around there it may have pressure and start to feel warm (always watch out for hot items and use judgement) - it will be too hot to touch when engine is fully warmed up.

If it pressures up too quickly you may notice the level at the reservoir filling up right in front of you. That's a bit too fast and would indicate a head gasket leak allowing combustion gas pressures to enter the cooling system. If so get a careful diag before you blame the head gasket so quickly.

If you allow it to cool and coolant level in reservoir stays filled then check at radiator - it may be low there with tank still showing coolant. Fill again and repeat that test - this time it may or may not barf coolant out of the reservoir/recovery tank.

If available - a pressure tester would save some time and watch it hold or not and look for leaks. Don't exceed the rating on the cap for pressure.

Depending on what happens between reservoir and radiator staying full, observing pressure by hand this still could be a rad cap problem, small leak in system, or a real head gasket problem.

Note: The cap is sprung to release expanded coolant to reservoir as it heats up. That also allow for higher temps before boiling. Same cap with the smaller metal disc allows coolant to be drawn back to the radiator when engine cools and coolant contracts thus maintaining the engine "full" all the time and not consuming coolant - got it?

Any leaks can prohibit the coolant from returning or inhibit pressure from building up normally.

The smoke suggest a small leak if no coolant is seen but could be found if so.

I probably just confused the heck out of you but hit back and let's see if we can nail this,


Response From Guest

ok after some testing I have observed the following...:

After warming up and driving the car for say 10-20 min the following happened:

Coolant reservoir overflow tube started pushing out coolant , (next morning reservoir tank was empty)

Smokes came out of my reservoir tank while leaking the oil

Radiator did mantain the level of coolant

Hose going into the radiator (top hose, the one on the left of the pic) was extremely hot while second hose did not raise temperature)

Next moring did see a major leak on the right side underneath the coolant reservoir and another minor leak on the left hand side underneath the engine block (wonder why)...

Response From Tom Greenleaf

1. Let's try not to confuse oil and coolant if we can. On your finger, coolant would rinse off with plain water and oil wouldn't. Colors alone might not be so easy.

You've noted leaks that need to be observed leaking. Take recovery tank out if needed and replace hose to it.

Fill tank off car with just colored water if needed to test.

Top rad hose would be hot with thermostat open even a little. Average thermostats are releasing coolant to radiator at about 195F - that's scalding hot if you touched the coolant itself - don't! It's supposed to be cooled by radiator for return - that's normal.

Radiator staying full is great news so far. Doesn't take much of any oil or coolant on a hot part to make smells and smoke/steam.

Recovery tank and line to it is not in the pressurized part of this cooling system. The rubber hose is cheap and the tank usually fixable - ask.

If everything that's under pressure (which is all of the system controlled by rad cap) doesn't leak you are all set and need to fix that tank and hose to it from what I see so far.

Find the source of the leak whatever it takes. Clean off areas by towel or pressure wash - but careful with that and don't water clean up a hot engine,


Response From Guest

On my last posting I made a mistake when I said " Smokes came out of my reservoir tank while leaking the oil " oil = coolant (mistake)

the leak on the reservoir tank is actually not a leak that can be repaired because the tube going to reservoir tank has two openings at the reservoir tank end ,one going inside the reservoir tank and another one going outside (that last one opening is where the coolant is being push out)

I think that the liquid inside the radiator is being push out when hot outside the opening on the reservoir tank side.

Also I have forgot to mention that the car heater works fine and the temperature of the engine stays at the middle between hot and cold.

I did see coolant in both sides of the car one underneath the reservoir tank and one underneath the the engine block.

Could it be that there is no circulation on the radiator meaning the fluid comes in the radiator but does not leave ( blocking ) may be I should remove lower hose and see what is inside?
Where is the thermostat on the toyota engines 2.2 4 cyl?

Response From Guest Top Rated Answer

that is normal because the thermostat blocks any flow till engine is warm

2004 Jeep Radiator issue

Showing 3 out of 3 Posts
Question From jandrews1420 on 2004 Jeep Radiator issue

I'm having an issue with coolant spraying out of the front of my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7L V8. The problem started small. I was noticing a little bit of coolant on the ground after running the car. Just recently the problem opened up and I can notice antifreeze spraying out of the front of the grill. The car was in an accident about 6 months ago and I believe that may have sparked the issue. I am trying to figure out which part is causing the coolant to spray. I have uploaded a picture to

The coolant is spraying out of the top silver hose in the picture.

Response From Hammer Time Top Rated Answer

Looks like a cracked radiator. Have it pressure tested.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

#1 - are you sure it's antifreeze and not more that just that? Have you added any yet as you should have had to.

Pic is nice but could be more than just antifreeze and no leaking is a good thing. Accident caused - hard to say and you are probably beyond the limit for "unseen" damages from that but no harm in asking,


Your pic below but may not show...........

radiator drain plug

Showing 3 out of 4 Posts | Show 1 Hidden Posts
Question From jwesson2776 on radiator drain plug

where is the drain plug for a radiator on a 2004 chevy impala

Response From Discretesignals

Response From re-tired Top Rated Answer

It don't get any simipler than that . Good work DS.


Response From Discretesignals

Thanks RT

I wish they were all the simple. But if they were, we wouldn't have a job eh?

1997 Nissan altima radiator leak problem

Showing 2 out of 24 Posts | Show 22 Hidden Posts
Question From bball_1523 on 1997 Nissan altima radiator leak problem

Year of vehicle: 1997
Make of vehicle: Nissan
Model of vehicle: Altima
Engine size (2.0/ 5.7) : Not sure, but it's 4-cylinder
Mileage/Kilometers: not sure, I think around 19-20 mpg
Mileage reading: somewhere over 114,000

When I went to get an oil change at Valvoline sometime last week, one mechanic told me that I need to get a radiator hose replaced because they said the radiator was leaking from there. I declined to get it fixed, and took my car to an official Nissan dealer and they diagnosed a slew of problems.

Here is what Nissan says I need to get fixed, and it all adds up to around $2708.90:

1) Intake gaskets leaking
2) radiator leaking: upper radiator, and hose
3) 3 motor mounts broken
4) brake flush
5) power steering fluid flush
6) fuel induction service
7) fuel injector service

I recorded a video of the leak here:

I am wondering if anyone knows what the problem could be? Is Nissan right about getting these 7 things fixed? How long can I keep driving the car for until things start to worsen?

One of my plans is to drive less and raise money for the next 6 months, and then get it all fixed, but I'm worried about the car deteriorating even further and causing more damage.

What do you think I should do?

Response From DanD

I’d say that your list is set in the proper order of priority; but without knowing how bad the intake gasket is leaking, maybe have the cooling system leaks fixed first.
The first three being left unattended too will or could cause more damage.
A leaking intake will cause an engine to run lean (to much air compared to fuel ratio); a lean engine runs hot.
A leaking cooling system is more of a problem then just the coolant leaking out. Cooling systems are designed to work under pressure; for every pound of pressure, the boiling point of the coolant rises by 3 degrees. With a cooling system allowed to run in atmospheric pressure, the coolant may begin to boil as it passes through the cylinder heads. Your temperature gauge may show a normal temp but internal engine temperatures are soaring; the coolant comes off of boil after it leaves the cylinder head and passes the temperature sensor.
Broken engine mounts put strain on the drivetrain; axle shafts are forced to run out of their normal plain (angles) causing excessive wear. Also an engine that is allowed to move around under the hood could be the cause of the radiator leaking; the engine maybe pulling on the hoses?
The last 4 items are maintenance issues; yes important but if you have to put something off, it would be them.


Response From dave284

$2700.00!!!!! Good God, I would get another estimate....sorry for being so blunt but I can't see paying for a repair job that cost as much as a reman engine.

Response From bball_1523

If I were to put off any repairs for 6 months until I tried to raise money for the repairs, do you think my car would survive without any extra major damage or breakdowns?

I am thinking about getting another estimate at a local repair shop.

The first three items would cost me $2255, as they are $900, $575, and $780, in order.

Response From dave284

If your'er low on funds now....I would certainly take care of that radiator leak first, cause if that motor ever over heats bad enough....its done for.

Response From bball_1523

I took my car in to a different shop and they told me to replace the radiator hoses, and that they will check for other problems as well. What do you guys think?

I had my service engine light come on for a while before last week Monday. Last week Monday I took the car in to a Nissan dealer and the turned off the service engine light and it hasn't come on since then. Does this say anything about any problems my car is having?

Response From bball_1523

So I got the radiator hoses replaced at a local shop by someone that I kind of know and was told that the radiator is not leaking.

Other things recommended in order of importance:

1) replace two front tires because of wearing tread
2) front and rear motor mounts need to be attended to within a month
3) brake fluid flush
4) Outer CV boots cracking
5) rear brakes near minimum, check at 119,700 miles (right now I'm somewhere in the 114,000 range)
6) windshield washer reservoir cap
7) clean leaves from cowl

Does anyone have any advice for any of these items? I'm glad to know that the radiator isn't leaking, so I'm wondering why Nissan told me so. Maybe one of them didn't look carefully?

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Comments after ***s

1) replace two front tires because of wearing tread **** if legal can wait
2) front and rear motor mounts need to be attended to within a month ****may save and expensive problem to do now.
3) brake fluid flush ****cheap if bleeders cooperate.
4) Outer CV boots cracking ****entire shafts are cheap enough when they fail vs just removing for the boots.
5) rear brakes near minimum, check at 119,700 miles (right now I'm somewhere in the 114,000 range) ****how do you have less miles now??
6) windshield washer reservoir cap ****free at junkyards or use aluminum foil....Not big bucks anyway new.
7) clean leaves from cowl **** why is that so difficult - just do it!


Response From bball_1523

What do you mean by the tires being legal? I tried the penny method and it's worn down according to the penny.

For #5, I don't know the exact miles driven so I gave an estimate. In my first post, it shows what the miles were at one point. My car has obviously driven more up to this day.

for #3, what do you mean by "cheap if bleeders cooperate"?

For the CV boots, are you saying that I shouldn't fix them and let them wear out, and my car will be fine?

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Tires legal: There are small triangle arrows indicating the treadwear minimum on the sidewall pointing to raised spots in the tires grooves. If any of those are flush with the tread the tire is no longer legal for street use.

Bleeders: Some will be stuck and may not bleed or remove to clean or replace without breaking off. If that happens it opens up a series of replacing stuff back to where things are not rusted wjere new line can be flared into good line - a nightmare sometimes!

CV boots: I won't do them. They make kits that go around and seal up that are marginal at best. Whole rebuilt driveshafts are available with new boots and checked out or new CV joints for as low as $59 bucks for some cars! Check locally for your car. Why bother if they are that cheap is why I said that. If your are expensive and the joints still good get a price on that part of the job alone,


Response From bball_1523

I am still not understanding what you are saying about tires. I measured my tires with a penny and I think it's 2/32" of tread left. (if tread is even the right word). Sorry I'm a rookie at maintaining my car, and I've been driving for over 7 years.

Response From Tom Greenleaf Top Rated Answer

There are hidden bumps like shown above that shouldn't be flush with the actual tread left. I'd use the Lincoln's head test on those personally but they are legal till those are flush. There's an arrow on the sidewall at the several points around the tire where the raised parts between treads are. Many tires will look fine on the inside or outside but you go by the worst wear found to rate the legality of the tire.

IMO - tires are your #1 line of defence in safety! No matter what contraptions you design into a car for stopping, traction and handling the tire is the only thing actually touching the road! Being legal is one thing but the truth is tire's traction ability is severely compremised after let's say "half worn" area. That tread is primal for wet roads and your best chance with mud, snow and ice conditions which all vary of course.

Prices vary widely for tires. If costs must be kept low consider inspected, matching used tires if needed.

Exact size and ratings suggested by manufacturer is also paramount. It's engineered into the handling of the vehicle,


Response From bball_1523

I've been told that my Outer CV Boots are leaking grease. Should I get them fixed?

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Yes, no and maybe?? Why are they leaking grease? If the boots have split shafts need to be removed to install new ones. It can be close to the cost of whole rebuilt replacement 1/2 shafts just to do that.

If a clamp is loose or missing for some reason - yes fix that.

Once water and dirt get into the CV joint it's game over IMO. They might go a long time and still behave before the first symptom shows up. You decide based on how they feel or professional advice on their safety. They usually give fair warning noises when it's time to replace. Not always though - watched a neighbor pull into their driveway and one let go right then and all the balls of the joint rolled down the driveway - funny but not and that one didn't warn them!

What you do about yours right now is a judgment call for you and or with a tech's advice and close inspection,


Response From bball_1523

I'll have a mechanic check and advise me again.

Response From Guest

Today I checked under my car and saw the coolant leaking. I think there's another problem with a leak. The leak is under the front passenger side of the hood, underneath the car.

The reservoir tank is also almost empty! I just a 50/50 prediluted fluid for it.

Does anyone know what the issue might be? Do you think the radiator is really dysfunctional?

Response From bball_1523

Today I checked under my car and saw the coolant leaking. I think there's another problem with a leak. The leak is under the front passenger side of the hood, underneath the car.

The reservoir tank is also almost empty! I just a 50/50 prediluted fluid for it.

Does anyone know what the issue might be? Do you think the radiator is really dysfunctional?

haha, sorry that guest is me, I didn't realize that I wasn't logged in.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Is the reservoir and or hose to it leaking?


Response From bball_1523

I don't know if the hose is leaking, but I think just the right of the reservoir, underneath the car it is leaking. I can see a small amount of green coolant about to drip hanging on to something under my car.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

When cool - chase it with a paper towel or your finger. More often than not the source of a leak will be the highest and most forward of where evidence is found. Those tanks can crack and hose could be faulty - this is a look and find job now. Some hidden leaks you can use a dental type mirror to look up at the bottom of items,


Response From bball_1523

I took the car back to a shop I have recently been going to and they found that the top of the radiator, where the radiator cap is, is cracked and leaking. I literally could see coolant leaking out from their.

Anyways they are going to fix it this week and I think it may cost at most around $400.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

he good new is now you know the source! Materials used or where it leak might be able to be properly fixed. Not your average "just goo it up" but a proper fix may be available depending on just what, how and where. A real radiator shop would likely be privy to the latest for the chance of that if the radiator is ok as a whole and might be a practical choice,


Response From Fant

I tell you what - if you really love your cars you have to spend some time with it Evrything has to be done by your own hands (IMHO), there will be less problems with it!!!

Response From jayeffel

I would change the radiator hose that is leaking; do it yourself. I've never heard of brake or power steering flush -unless there were severe problems that indicate the need. I understand fuel injectors don't need much attention , okay to put fuel injector cleaner in gas tank. Motor mounts broken, you can check them, motor may notably shake when running.

BTW: mileage requested is odometer mileage, gives an indication of wear and tear. Gas mileage can help also. Good luck.

Restore the bent radiator support

Showing 2 out of 9 Posts | Show 7 Hidden Posts
Question From navaraj on Restore the bent radiator support

Few days back I hit a truck with my Toyota Solara 2003 SLE V6 coupe. I hit the hitch on the truck's rear and the hitch pushed through the grille and bent the radiator support of my car. The radiator broke and the coolant drained. I took it to the body shop and the quote that I got exceeds the current worth of my car. I just graduated and I am broke. I am planning to rent few equipments and do it by myself. i need to pull the radiator support back to its original position and replace the radiator with an used one. I am little afraid that I will mess up the cooling system and damage the engine. The engine is fine and the car still works but with no cooling system the engine runs hot. I am expecting some help regarding the parts diagram of the cooling system for this particular toyota model. And also suggestions regarding how to pull out the radiator support frame to its original position, will be highly appreciated. Please help me out!!

Response From Tom Greenleaf

This isn't my trade and never was but you can't help but be involved with the auto body biz and the repair side do mix.

This looks fixable to me but would be written up as a total loss. It's hard to know just how to pull and what you can and can't use to push/pull against.

Hood is gone and some small stuff. Radiator support is probably welded in at ends so not so easy to just bolt one in if you did get just that part. Look for a used same car not hit from the front that you can pick your own parts from for all the small crap you might need and cooling system parts OR find a body shop tech that will take this on as side work to just get the thing bent back straight to accept the parts needed.

Any which way it will take some money. IMO it could be made safe and functional again unless by running it now you've also added engine damage from overheating it's just time to give up cost wise. The fixed mess wouldn't look like nothing happened and that costs a lot of time = money to finish off the paint and cosmetics that could be done later if you just need it legally running again just leave it in primer or wrong color whole parts for now.

I don't mean hack it all up just do what it takes to make it back in place for new or used replacement parts and skip the cosmetics for now this probably wouldn't be all that hard but no clue how much you can do or need total help with either,


Response From navaraj

Thanks Mr. Greenleaf,

I will try to follow your suggestions and will keep you updated

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Sorry to carry on as I do all over this place. Looked again. If you are any kind of handy you can pull that out leaving it just as it is. A pro showed ME a ton on this crap and have fixed up cars that bad that I got for a song.

You are "rewinding" the video on how it got bent if you will. Pull back they way it got pushed in - get it? Pro tools make this real easy and there are measuring marks/places so you know how far. Still easier to be right there but have used bottle jacks, chains, come alongs, (pulling cable things) wood blocks and good string and a sharpie to measure. Helps to have a real strong tree or something on level area and room to play and try. You could also make it tons worse if wrong moves so suggest someone who has the real idea of bending this back. Leave the parts on for now. A/C is gone for now too but you can mess with that later too as it's not the engine cooling system at all but part of what you need to put back and properly too.

All that or as already said ask if a shop has a new person who wants this off shop time if one will allow that for you for money no doubt but not a finished up pretty everywhere job just legal and safe again is what I'm thinking.

Other: If no help no tools or space and way too short of money sell this off as a fixable wreck that runs and see what you can get towards another something to get around till you can completely get a better vehicle,


Response From navaraj

I was thinking exactly the same...i am gonna rent some tools from the autozone and give it a try to pull back the least to the extent that it can hold another radiator intact...all I need is the cooling system to work for now. Thanks again for your suggestions.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Get tools anyplace. Scissor jacks, bottle jacks, wood blocks or steel scrap and so on. Measure things from a known part and so on. Chain stronger than the body and know where and how to attach - lots of odds and ends to get it in a shape back to accept parts,


Response From nickwarner

I don't think tools from Autozone are going to cut it here. If this was in my bay I would go to a salvage yard and cut the top section from the inside edge of the one fender to the other and weld it into your car. Could be done with a 110v MIG machine and a competent welder that can line up the dimensions correctly. The lower support doesn't appear wrecked, and with a boneyard hood, radiator and cooling fan you could piece this back together. Problem is you don't seem to have the tools, knowledge or money to do this one.

Even if you pull the old support back out the metal is so crumpled and distorted I doubt you could ever use it again. Would never line up on your hood.

Response From Discretesignals

I don't think Autozone rents out portapowers.

Response From Hammer Time Top Rated Answer

Or frame machines