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Discussion Starter #1
So my wife was driving around my 2000 Rav4 the other day and it started "smoking" she says. She added water to the radiator and got it home. I just bought this car from craigslist and I dont know any history about the cooling system. I decided to do a complete flush and fill the system back up with proper coolant and fluid levels. In the past couple of days, when I am at idle the temp gauge on the dash goes up into the red. When I drive or accelerate, the temp gauge goes back to the middle where it is supposed to be. I havent seen any smoke or steam at all. Anyone have any idea what is going on? Thank you for any help or advice!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is the fan kicking on at idle?
Only when the ac is turned on which it always is because I live in the hot caribbean.

Sorry, I should have explained a little better. If I turn the car on from a cold start it will not overheat at idle. After driving it around up and down the mountain, if I stop at a light or if I am coasting down a hill it overheats and temp gauge goes up to red.
 

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If you rev the motor while at idle will it cool down? Or only when start driving again?

Could be a number of things... Head gasket, Water pump, Fan not working or fan clutch, Thermostat...

On a cold engine if you take the radiator cap off and start the car watch the fluid. See any bubbles?

You can start with the cheap stuff first. Radiator cap and thermostat.
 

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I am just thinking that the only reason the temperature goes down when driving is because of air/wind from front and it is not getting it while it is parked. FAN ??
 

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On a cold engine if you take the radiator cap off and start the car watch the fluid. See any bubbles?

You can start with the cheap stuff first. Radiator cap and thermostat.
I'd run the bubbles test.
Thermostat is probably okay since the temp does level out correctly when driven.
The radiator cap has two functions - to hold pressure and to act as a check valve to allow coolant from the reserve tank to reenter the radiator after the engine cools.
The fan is a concern. It should cycle parked at idle and certainly when the gauge goes up. Could be a bad temp switch usually located at the bottom of the radiator.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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As others have said most likely it's a fan problem but if that is OK he'll probably be replacing the radiator. I've fixed many a cooling problem that way.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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After thinking about it, start with the radiator cap first. That has solved many simular overheating problems that I've experienced.
 
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