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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems to be leaking from the driver's side end of the head and running back and dropping down and pooling in a small area that is kind of below the throttle body. I replaced the 2 hoses to the throttle body, however, it still seems to be leaking. It may be coming off the end of the head. I will look closer at it over the weekend. Just curious, do 2010 RAV4's with the 4 cyl enginge, were they known for head gasket failures? Also, I read something about head bolts stretching. Did that issue apply to the 2010's? It has 173,000 miles on it and the engine, otherwise, runs great. There is no coolant in the oil and no loss of engine performance.
 

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Hey there. On the 2.5, there is a coolant pipe pressed into the head which is done at the factory. This must be perfectly aligned when pressed in or it will leak, but this is VERY rare. Guess who had it happen? I had a phantom coolant drain from new, and even went in for a dealer visit before my first oil change - they couldn’t find it at the time. There may have been other difficulties with my head gasket because I did have visible exhaust while driving in the cold too. The dealer tech found the coolant leak when replacing the downstream O2 sensor which failed because of the coolant dripping on it.

They had to replace the head which was (thank goodness) under warranty at the time. Total bill was $3,300 at dealer rates. There was an internal Toyota resource which described the condition, as the dealer was able to look that up at the time. I don’t know what it was, but someone else had this condition before my late build 2012.

It’s possible that this is leaking on yours too. Given the cost, if the coolant leak isn’t bad/gushing, and if it’s not fouling anything, you may just want to monitor it and stay on top of the coolant level - $3,300 would be on the low side for that repair these days, but at least my cylinder head was rebuilt by hand (they transferred all of the valvetrain along with the camshafts, etc).


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I believe I know the pipe you are referring to...off the end of the head. There is a junction and one hose goes to the throttle body. I have a cam with a long lead-camera on the end. I will look closer again to see. It is a strange in that, when driven, there is no visible leak as it evaporates off the engine. Once parked and sitting, the coolant becomes visible. I am fairly certain there is no leak under the intake manifold, but will recheck.
 

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Thanks. I believe I know the pipe you are referring to...off the end of the head. There is a junction and one hose goes to the throttle body. I have a cam with a long lead-camera on the end. I will look closer again to see. It is a strange in that, when driven, there is no visible leak as it evaporates off the engine. Once parked and sitting, the coolant becomes visible. I am fairly certain there is no leak under the intake manifold, but will recheck.
Sounds familiar. Mine was just enough when running at temperature that the material expanded enough to allow a trickle out. The only way the tech found it was looking up for a further visual inspection while replacing the sensor. He could see a drip track along the underside of the pipe and hose. Usually it was evaporating for mine too, but the odd drip got to my sensor connection and poof!

Hope you find a simple problem with a low-cost solution!


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is definitely leaking from the driver's side end of the head gasket. Pipe looks okay-no leak there. It is a slow, seep off the end. Still runs great and must not be leaking into the cylinders. Just an external coolant leak--so far. I watched a couple videos about replacing the head gasket. The only complicated part appears to be the removal of the cam gears to lift out the rocker arms. Not sure I want to get into it though as it would take me quite a while to do it. May just try to find a mechanic who can do it in a day. Another option, I read about, is using AlumAseal as a temporary fix. It may work for this type of leak.
 

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I have this leak on my 2011 since brand new. 10 years already. After about 2-3000 mile there is a pink crust around that sticking pipe. I washed it off and add coolant. I decided do not go for the head replacement. I do not think a repair shop or even a dealership will re-assemble engine as good as it was done on the original engine assembly line. There is torque requirements, cleanness requirements, inspection procedures and lot more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I believe I am going to try a sealer on mine. If it doesn't last, I will decide what to do with it at that point. The cost of a head gasket replacement is $3,500+. I think I could do the job if I didn't have anything else to do for about 3 days. Have done quite a few head gaskets, but never on a Toyota. Sounds like your leak is limited to the pipe, which is good. That probably could be replaced without removing the head
 

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I believe I am going to try a sealer on mine. If it doesn't last, I will decide what to do with it at that point. The cost of a head gasket replacement is $3,500+. I think I could do the job if I didn't have anything else to do for about 3 days. Have done quite a few head gaskets, but never on a Toyota. Sounds like your leak is limited to the pipe, which is good. That probably could be replaced without removing the head
That pipe is not a serviceable part, as it’s pressed into the head casting at the factory. That’s why I needed a new head. The dealership tech in my case had the head rebuilt properly, and it was just as good as new. 100,000+ km on it now after that rebuild and there’s been NO issues at all. So much though is dependent upon the training, skill, and care of the tech doing the work.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I tried the sealer yesterday and it still leaks, but the odd thing is that it can be driven with no leaking. It runs great, doesn't get hot and the coolant doesn't go down. When I arrive home, I check the coolant and it has not gone down; however, after it sits and cools down, it starts to leak. This morning, for example, I checked it and the coolant tank was down some and I could see coolant on the block. I topped it off and drove it about 25 miles. Arrived home and checked the coolant. The block is dry and the coolant tank is full. I will watch it today as it cools. It will probably start to seep after cooling and the tank will go down. Any ideas of why it would leak down when cold, but not when driving?
 

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I tried the sealer yesterday and it still leaks, but the odd thing is that it can be driven with no leaking. It runs great, doesn't get hot and the coolant doesn't go down. When I arrive home, I check the coolant and it has not gone down; however, after it sits and cools down, it starts to leak. This morning, for example, I checked it and the coolant tank was down some and I could see coolant on the block. I topped it off and drove it about 25 miles. Arrived home and checked the coolant. The block is dry and the coolant tank is full. I will watch it today as it cools. It will probably start to seep after cooling and the tank will go down. Any ideas of why it would leak down when cold, but not when driving?
Given that the block and head are both aluminum, there shouldn’t be a difference in the expansion ratio of the metal as it heats and cools. This used to be a problem with iron blocks and aluminum heads, which would in the worst case tear the head gasket (see: Ford 3.8 V6). Being all aluminum, it’s not likely an issue, but still possible that some internal system pressure (even normal gravity head pressure) would let the coolant leak out through a gap that might open when the block and head are cool. Aluminum does expand quite a bit when heated, so it may swell the gap closed when at temperature.

My suggestion is to monitor for now and keep topping coolant. In the meantime, start calling Wreckers in your area for price and availability of a used engine and then start setting money aside for the operation.


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