Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I have a 1997 RAV4. It’s a 5speed AWD with the 2.0. I love the car and it’s been surprisingly capable off road but recently it almost left me stranded as there is a coolant leak. I thought I had it traced to the thermostat housing but I was wrong. I replaced the housing and thermostat but it didn’t help at all. The car is running fine other than that. I will post pictures of where it leaks from. It pools on the ledge next to the oil filter and underneath the thermostat and then leaks down. The leak speed increases with engine RPM. Let me know if you guys know what it is.
148128
0CD2A637-F0F7-4469-8C23-6661F7191C57.jpeg
Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,006 Posts
Pull the heat shield and see if it is coming from above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Like Lugnut said, remove the heat shield, held in place with four or so 12mm bolts, so you can get a better look. Have some clean, dry rags handy. In the thermostat area there are four seals that may fail and so be the source of your leak. Here is a photo showing the water pump and aft thermostat housing. The green indicates roughly where the four seals sit:

The four seals are an O-ring (for the upper pipe going to the thermostat housing area), a flange gasket (for the middle pipe going to the thermostat housing area), the thermostat gasket, and one more circular (more or less) gasket (for the lower pipe):


On your Rav4, after removing the heat shield, I would clean up the thermostat housing area with water. Then I would put a clean dry rag around each of the areas circled in green, starting at the highest area, and look for red coolant on the rag. If any of the seals appears to have failed, plan to do a 'timing belt and associated parts' replacement.

Rav4world member Demoder posted an excellent video of a timing belt and associated parts replacement that may be quite helpful:
. Watch the film from 1 hour 12 minutes to about 1 hour 20 minutes for more help replacing the seals.

If the dashboard coolant thermometer reads the least bit higher than usual, I would not drive the Rav4. There's too much of a risk of overheating and destroying the engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Pull the heat shield and see if it is coming from above.
thanks for the reply 👍 I pulled the heat shield, I removed the oil filter, and I replaced the thermostat, gasket, and housing thinking it was coming from there.It didn’t fix the leak. No I suppose I will have to remove the alternator and such to really see what I’m working with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Like Lugnut said, remove the heat shield, held in place with four or so 12mm bolts, so you can get a better look. Have some clean, dry rags handy. In the thermostat area there are four seals that may fail and so be the source of your leak. Here is a photo showing the water pump and aft thermostat housing. The green indicates roughly where the four seals sit:

The four seals are an O-ring (for the upper pipe going to the thermostat housing area), a flange gasket (for the middle pipe going to the thermostat housing area), the thermostat gasket, and one more circular (more or less) gasket (for the lower pipe):


On your Rav4, after removing the heat shield, I would clean up the thermostat housing area with water. Then I would put a clean dry rag around each of the areas circled in green, starting at the highest area, and look for red coolant on the rag. If any of the seals appears to have failed, plan to do a 'timing belt and associated parts' replacement.

Rav4world member Demoder posted an excellent video of a timing belt and associated parts replacement that may be quite helpful:
. Watch the film from 1 hour 12 minutes to about 1 hour 20 minutes for more help replacing the seals.

If the dashboard coolant thermometer reads the least bit higher than usual, I would not drive the Rav4. There's too much of a risk of overheating and destroying the engine.
Wow! Awesome reply:) very informative and helpful. I removed the heat shield and oil filter to try and gain a vantage point when I replaced the thermostat housing, thermostat, and thermostat gasket, thinking that was the culprit for the leak. The previous owner mentioned that the timing belt was replaced by her boyfriend so I’m not sure if I can trust his work or not. Maybe he fitted a new water pump but failed to seat a gasket correctly? Or maybe I need to replace all of it. I’m hoping not due to the fact that it’s gonna be a hard job and a lot of time that I won’t have here soon as next term starts. If you have any other advice I would appreciate it. Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,006 Posts
Feel under the clean nipple that attaches to the radiator hose. Coolant leaking from the hose/connection and running to the block?

Still worried that it could be the head gasket ... or one of the other things mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Quikscopez, if the prior owner's boyfriend was not experienced, he may have skipped replacing the water pump and aft thermostat housing that has the four seals I describe above. His having replaced just the front part of the water pump and skipping those important seals is also possible.

Did you make sure the thermostat's jiggle valve is in the correct position? If it is in the wrong position, I wonder if this could cause the leak. (I have not looked at this closely. It's a "just saying" suggestion.)

Removing the alternator may very well help you do a better evaluation. The Rav4.1's alternator is pretty easy to remove. Its belt is also easy to tension.

Here is all or nearly all of the factory service manual for the 1996-97 Rav4 (free online):
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Quikscopez, if the prior owner's boyfriend was not experienced, he may have skipped replacing the water pump and aft thermostat housing that has the four seals I describe above. His having replaced just the front part of the water pump and skipping those important seals is also possible.

Did you make sure the thermostat's jiggle valve is in the correct position? If it is in the wrong position, I wonder if this could cause the leak. (I have not looked at this closely. It's a "just saying" suggestion.)

Removing the alternator may very well help you do a better evaluation. The Rav4.1's alternator is pretty easy to remove. Its belt is also easy to tension.

Here is all or nearly all of the factory service manual for the 1996-97 Rav4 (free online):
so I have narrowed it down to one of the four seals on the back of the water pump it even the middle gasket. I just wish there was a way to remove the rear housing without doing the timing belt because this is gonna be a huge PIA and I don’t have a lot of time to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
I wonder if this is worth trying: K-Seal ST5501 Multi Purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair. I think Autozone and O'Reilly's may have it. See reviews at Amazon.com: Customer reviews: K-Seal ST5501 Multi Purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair . I see a lot of the Amazon reviews elaborate on the best way to mix and use this product for the best chances of success. Maybe read through them first.

As interested, see also:

This thread has a report of good success with K-seal: '89 Six - blown head gasket. Need advice

I have never tried one of these "stop coolant leak" products. But it sounds like you are in a bind. Maybe it is worth a try.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I wonder if this is worth trying: K-Seal ST5501 Multi Purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair. I think Autozone and O'Reilly's may have it. See reviews at Amazon.com: Customer reviews: K-Seal ST5501 Multi Purpose One Step Permanent Coolant Leak Repair . I see a lot of the Amazon reviews elaborate on the best way to mix and use this product for the best chances of success. Maybe read through them first.

As interested, see also:

This thread has a report of good success with K-seal: '89 Six - blown head gasket. Need advice

I have never tried one of these "stop coolant leak" products. But it sounds like you are in a bind. Maybe it is worth a try.
Maybe so but the leak is pretty substantial. I rented a coolant leak down tester and it won’t hold any pressure whatsoever before it just starts shooting out. Guess I’m just going to do the timing belt job
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
This thread caught my eye because I did a coolant leak fix on an old Subaru Forrester not too long ago. I was getting ready to sell the car, very low on funds, and needed a quick fix. I used epoxy putty and it worked. If you can get a good look at where the liquid is coming out, and dry off and clean the area, this fix may work for you... at least as a temporary fix.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top