Unable to locate coolant leak - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 12:35 PM
FerociousRAV4
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Unable to locate coolant leak

Hello all,

I have a 2003/2WD/Rav4 w/ 135,000 + miles. Been solid until recent. The other day I heard a loud bubbling noise while driving. Sound was coming from the right back side of the engine compartment . I checked the two radiator hoses and they are fine, no coolant in the engine or exhaust. I'm unable to determine where it's leaking. Been adding water every 20 miles just to be on the safe side. I took it to my mechanic today and he can't find where the actually is dripping. He will need to pull the engine out.

Does anyone have any ideas or had this issue?

Thanks
 
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 12:54 PM
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Is coolant dripping onto the ground? I am guessing yes. So maybe you have water over a big area in the engine compartment, so you can't tell where it originates from.

Ideas? I don't have experience with this, but I still have some ideas:

http://www.tracerline.com/faq.html offers ideas including using fluorescent dye with a UV light to see where the water is coming out of. This assumes the location is visible.

I would think about maybe installing a fitting into a spare filler cap, and pressurizing the system with maybe 10 PSI of air. Listen for the hissing by using a 5/16 inch OD polyethylene tube held to an ear as you move the other end around the engine. Initially the pressure should drive water out until the level is down to where the leak is. The amount of water that it takes to re-fill the system could serve as a hint about how high the leak is.
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#3 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 06:46 PM
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Re: Unable to locate coolant leak

Quote:
Originally Posted by FerociousRAV4
Hello all,

I have a 2003/2WD/Rav4 w/ 135,000 + miles. Been solid until recent. The other day I heard a loud bubbling noise while driving. Sound was coming from the right back side of the engine compartment . I checked the two radiator hoses and they are fine, no coolant in the engine or exhaust. I'm unable to determine where it's leaking. Been adding water every 20 miles just to be on the safe side. I took it to my mechanic today and he can't find where the actually is dripping. He will need to pull the engine out.

Does anyone have any ideas or had this issue?

Thanks
You better look for a new mechanic, I have never heard of a mechanic who wants to pull an engine out of a car because it is leaking coolant.
- Do you have a lot of white smoke coming from your exhaust?
- is the floor on the inside of the car wet (at the front of the car), the loud bubbling sounds might have come from the inside, the heater core might be leaking

Open the hood and let the engine run for a while, let it get hot, put a large piece of cartboard under the car so you can check if anything leaks on there.
Check from the top if you see or hear any coolant escaping when the pressure builds up and check around the waterpump, the radiator cap and the overflow bottle.
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 11:54 AM
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Thanks for the help guys. Took it to a new mechanic. They put it on the lift and pressurized the system.

Crap! It seems to be the on the rear part of the engine, possibly intake manifold gasket or the head gasket. We don't have the exact location for the leak. Good thing it's leaking out and not in. This shop said they could not do the work and referred me to another shop. Here are some pics on the lift. Lets see what happens Monday.



 
#5 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 11:35 AM
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Update. Took it to a Tires Plus where a friend works. At first he thought it could have been the freeze plugs. Did some taking apart and realized it was the head gasket. Anyone else have this problem? I never had the engine over heat on me. Why?!





 
#6 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 09:41 AM
FerociousRAV4
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Parts that will be replaced:

Thermostat
Radiator cap
Resurface the head
Spark plugs
All gaskets
Water pump and two radiator hoses (I requested)
$1651

Option:
Replace the timing chain for an additional $750

Should I have the timing chain replaced?

Update:
Passing on the timing chain option. I requested to check if there are any groves on the plastic guides for the timing chain and replace them.
 
#7 (permalink) Old 07-30-2009, 10:56 AM
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Update:

Machine shop had to replace two exhaust valves. Doesn't seems like I'm getting the RAV back on Friday.
 
#8 (permalink) Old 12-21-2009, 10:57 PM
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Please tell us how this all ended. Was the vehicle fixed properly and did the repair hold up?

My '03 is doing the same thing, leaking coolant out at the back of the head gasket. I am trying to locate info for removing the timing chain to get the head off.

Mike

P.S. What was the final price on the job?
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#9 (permalink) Old 05-11-2013, 05:56 PM
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I've got a 2003 RAV4 and this is the last Toyota I will ever own. Every time I turn around this stupid car has some new and mysterious problem. Had the issue with the head bolts pulling out already, now it's throwing engine codes that both the Idle Air Control Valve and Catalytic Converters are bad. Yes that's converterS...there's two of them welded to the exhaust manifold. On top of that now MY RAV4 is also leaking coolant but it's actually blowing it out of the overflow when it gets hot at idle. GREAT!! So what GENIUS system controls did the overzealous engineers at Toyota decide were necessary to control probably the simplest system in the entire vehicle???

The fan switch is $130, temp sending unit is $23.99, new thermostat with overheat protection valve is $50...this crap never ends! I could have bought a new Chevrolet by now for the money I've burned in this awful vehicle! And to add insult to crushing injury, Toyota Corporate and the dealerships all act like they are totally ignorant of these issues even though there are hundreds and thousands of posts all over the internet about people having the same problems over and over and OVER again. At least GM has the decency to acknowledge their faults. Sorry for the rant just tired of this overpriced, overrated piece of crap. Probably about to get rid of it for a good American-made vehicle.
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