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Help with getting Coolant Level Right

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by ztwatson, Jan 13, 2023.

  1. Jan 13, 2023 at 11:29 AM
    #1
    ztwatson

    ztwatson [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So I realized my coolant is low by glancing at the reservoir. I don't seem to have any issues with overheating. I have some slight leaks evidenced by precipitated pink coolant on the radiator. Probably original coolant and radiator at 237,000 miles. Can I just fill the reservoir back up to the H mark with Toyota coolant or how should I go about getting the coolant level right? No experience with coolant or radiators etc.

    PXL_20230113_155555085.jpg
    PXL_20230113_155624401.jpg
     
  2. Jan 13, 2023 at 12:12 PM
    #2
    Area51Runner

    Area51Runner Well-Known Member

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    Coolant Inspection -

    1. CHECK ENGINE COOLANT LEVEL AT RESERVOIR TANK The engine coolant level should be between the ”LOW” and ”FULL” lines. When the engine is cold. If low, check for leaks and add ”TOYOTA Long Life Coolant” or equivalent up to the ”FULL” line.

    2. CHECK ENGINE COOLANT QUALITY
    (a) Remove the radiator cap. CAUTION: To avoid the danger of being burned, do not remove the radiator cap while the engine and radiator are still hot, as fluid and steam can be blown out under pressure.
    (b) There should not be any excessive deposits of rust or scale around the radiator cap or water outlet filler hole, and the coolant should be free from oil. If they are excessively dirty, clean the coolant passages and replace the coolant.
    (c) Reinstall the radiator cap.


    Cheers :cheers:
     
  3. Jan 13, 2023 at 12:22 PM
    #3
    MalinoisDad

    MalinoisDad Misanthropic dog person

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    Might have a crack in the radiator that only noticeably leaks when the engine is hot and the system is under pressure. I’d get it up to temp and then open the hood to look around with a flashlight if needed to spot any leaks.

    Mine developed a hairline crack right near the fill neck. Only leaked when pressurized.

    81451B09-119A-4B3F-981E-58371AB3E1DE.jpg
     
  4. Jan 13, 2023 at 2:51 PM
    #4
    ztwatson

    ztwatson [OP] Well-Known Member

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  5. Jan 13, 2023 at 2:57 PM
    #5
    Area51Runner

    Area51Runner Well-Known Member

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    So this is subjective I guess here on the forum. What I posted, I quoted straight from the FSM. The coolant mentioned and what you linked needs to be mixed. Mix it with distilled water - 50/50.

    When I drained my coolant and replaced it, I opted to use the Toyota pre-mix coolant. Can you mix the two? Hell, I don't know. I know @Empty_Lord has mentioned he's used the pre-mix coolant and hasn't had any issues. Others have as well. Some wont and stick with the one you linked.

    Something you'll just have to ask around about or make a judgement call.

    :notsure:
     
    ztwatson[QUOTED][OP] likes this.
  6. Jan 13, 2023 at 4:43 PM
    #6
    Bivouac

    Bivouac Well-Known Member

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    Remains to be seen I bought the tires and wheels the rest came along
    The only difference the premix is all ready at the 50/50 blend for best low temp protection.

    I buy the full strength and split 50/50 myself.
     
  7. Jan 13, 2023 at 5:00 PM
    #7
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Chief Executive Officer at Kwik Fab

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    Toyota pink premix is fine in any application.

    Worst case you have a crack as shown above, and you need to replace the radiator.

    Hour job at most, super easy.
     
    Speedbird and ztwatson[OP] like this.
  8. Jan 13, 2023 at 5:25 PM
    #8
    Empty_Lord

    Empty_Lord Toyotaholic

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    Too many trucks and mods to list.. check builds
    There is a TSB stating pink is interchangeable with red
     
  9. Jan 13, 2023 at 5:58 PM
    #9
    Kiloyard

    Kiloyard Road Warrior

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    From that picture, at a minimum you need a new radiator cap, judging by all the dried pink coolant. Top off and check for leaks. If solved, consider doing a coolant drain and refill. If still leaking, replace radiator, check condition of radiator hoses (replace if soft or bulging) and replace coolant.
     
    ztwatson[OP] likes this.
  10. Jan 13, 2023 at 6:48 PM
    #10
    tstad9i

    tstad9i Well-Known Member

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    had a similar issue with a car that I sold to make room for the Taco in the garage. reservoir would get low, I would refill, but it would never stay full. At the same time I would have to keep putting coolant in the radiator. no exhaust in coolant using that test mentioned above. no visible leaks anywhere that I can see on the engine or on the garage floor.

    the prob was a bad radiator cap. I replaced with a new radiator cap. problem didn't go away, so i replaced with another new radiator cap after reading reviews on Amazon that some Stant caps were defective. 2nd cap did the trick. reservoir stayed full and the level in the radiator was always full. while I was at it I replaced the cap/stick for the reservoir and if I remember correctly there is a hose that connects the reservoir to the radiator so I replaced that too. the car was a 2001 so it was time for those replacements anyway.

    an easy item to check off on the troubleshoot list.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
    ztwatson[OP] likes this.
  11. Jan 13, 2023 at 8:32 PM
    #11
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Another vote for radiator cap.....
     
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  12. Jan 14, 2023 at 5:49 PM
    #12
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I spring for fresh prestone ($13) every other year......

    and then new radiator cap and hoses every other change....so every 4yrs.....

    Keeping fresh coolant in it will make things last a long time......same as the oil....
     
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  13. Jan 14, 2023 at 8:23 PM
    #13
    Area51Runner

    Area51Runner Well-Known Member

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    Only one I was able to find is this one - weird how they seem to emphasize JAPAN BUILT.

    upload_2023-1-14_19-53-26.jpg

    I used it and no issues yet.
     
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  14. Jan 14, 2023 at 8:58 PM
    #14
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Good thing they came out with the pink stuff.....
    that stuff has saved the automotive industry......

    Cant imagine a world without it......
    ......I'm hoping they come out with a matching toilet paper....
    ......so I can wipe my.....with it....


    What next.....square wheels.....
     
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  15. Jan 14, 2023 at 9:01 PM
    #15
    Empty_Lord

    Empty_Lord Toyotaholic

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    Too many trucks and mods to list.. check builds
    just worded that way because the japanese models got it first. so for a while there was red and pink new.


    hell im running the pink coolant in my 1993 mr2 and the 95, 98 ,both 01s and the 02 tacos
     
  16. Jan 14, 2023 at 9:07 PM
    #16
    O'Silver_Taco

    O'Silver_Taco Well-Known Member

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    Honda dont Hoat....


    https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/threads/asian-phoat-coolant-vs-prestone-poat.316885/post-5241315

    Suspect this is reason why so many head gaskets fail here......

    Re:.......' The only places I can see Prestone Cor-Guard or "universal" coolants with 2-EHA and decoanate wreaking havoc on are head gaskets and water pump/timing cover/water bypass gaskets and RTV/FIPG on Japanese engines. The Japanese were the first to use fluoroelastomers and RTV to seal their engines. '

    For this reason I recommend using the the Peak 10x.....or the same in prestone.....
    and change every couple years.......dont penny pinch here.....
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2023
  17. Jan 14, 2023 at 9:41 PM
    #17
    04Pre_Runner

    04Pre_Runner Well-Known Member

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    The 04 Tacoma apparently shipped with SLL pink too. 95.5-03 shipped with red. Just going off owners manuals. So SLL should be fine in all years.
     
  18. Jan 14, 2023 at 9:56 PM
    #18
    Empty_Lord

    Empty_Lord Toyotaholic

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    Too many trucks and mods to list.. check builds
    any replacement radiator ordered from toyota for any of the years will also say use SLLC on the sticker.
     
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  19. Jan 14, 2023 at 10:13 PM
    #19
    Speedbird

    Speedbird Well-Known Member

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    Coolant issues are nothing to mess around with; can easily smoke your engine in no time. If your looking to maintain an older vehicle and maybe take care of some others for the foreseeable future; would suggest investing in a UV dye leak detection kit. Bunch of different grades, can probably score a dirt cheap one at Horror Freight or Amazon for a hair more. Would serve you well in the future chasing oil, a/c, p/s, a/t leaks etc.

    I too fell victim to "Steam Leak" I called it; PITA to diagnose/fix

    One thing I wish I found/bought years ago, was one of those "automatic" coolant filling funnel things. One of those tools, that if purchased early in life would pay for itself 10 fold in time saved, spills prevented etc.

    +1 to earlier suggestion regarding a new radiator cap. imo manufacturer should specify a replacement schedule for them... Just imaging how many heat cycles that thin piece of metal with a simple spring and gasket go thru in only a few years... Bite the bullet and get OEM

    +1 to regular drain and refill. Keep it simple; every year open the petcock while your doing other stuff and top off with pre-mix. If your going to use concentrate or flush ALWAYS use distilled water

    Fun story/lesson learned to wrap this manifesto up: years ago I'm driving the wife's old civic home in a real crappy wintery mix storm; some big wet flakes with light sleet; temperature hovering around freezing... After 30 minutes or so what happened was the snow and sleet built up around the font end, froze, blocked off airflow, the little 4 banger promptly overheated and blew the head gasket :mad:

    MASTERCOOL 53351-B Professional UV Leak Detector Kit with 50W Mini Light, Black

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Jan 14, 2023 at 10:44 PM
    #20
    GilbertOz

    GilbertOz Driver

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    Good suggestion for toolkit addition, I already have an excellent Amazon special 10-watt (or something) UV flashlight.

    About the distilled water, I understand the basic reasoning, certainly would use it if doing any dilution of coolant concentrates. But what about using a garden hose & 50 or 100 gallons of tap water flushed through a non-running radiator & heater core to help carry out bulk debris? If that tap water is then drained & promply flushed with a full run-through (maybe another 5 gallons or so) of distilled water -- and then the distilled water is drained, and that is replaced with new coolant made up using additional distilled water -- is that going to work out alright?
     

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