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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It's the white(?) plastic joint that connects the water hoses three ways - one to the engine on the driver side, one to the lower hose to the heator core, the other to the engine's front side(?).

I noticed coolant leak from that area, and the plastic joint was partially covered with pink/white coolant residue. Wiping the area, the plastic join broke off where it connects to the hose going to the front part of the engine. Looks good bit corroded.

I will try to post some pics, but seems it may take a while for that.

It's a 2008 2.4l I4 model, by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, DL175. The linked thread has pretty good photo.

Btw, there is also a rubber hose coming out of the transmission(?) with a pale blue plastic end cap. It doesn't seem to go anywhere and simply gets fastened vi plastic fasteners to one of the hoses (one that goes to the front of the engine). Is that normal?

I will try to link some photos (haven't done it a while so it's taking a while).

Btw, any tip to remove the broken off bit stuck in the hose? It seems the plastic is good bit corroded and I don't want to damage the hose pulling it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is a photo of the old one pulled out:



The bottom leg is broken off. The other two legs are holding on, but their ends are eaten away as if by bugs. When new, the part is of clean white color.

The broken-off leg stuck in a hose was stuck real good and half-way disintegrated into dust jelly. I could only get it out buy breaking it up and scraping off the broken pieces, which is a pain because you have to be careful not to let the broken pieces fall down the hose into the engine block.

Got the new part from the dealer for about eight bucks.

I think this is a must-replace part when you replace the coolant, but I don't remember it being mentioned in the service manual. Wish I knew this when I was replacing the coolant a few days ago. And I wonder what other parts should be replaced but not mentioned in the manual.

Thanks again to DL175 for quick and helpful reply.
 

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You should get brass fittings with barbed ends to replace the weaker plastic fitting. I did the same to my motorcycle lately and won't have to ever worry about it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Metal part would be better. There are other bits of coolant plumbing made of plastic, but this part sits so close to the engine having to deal with greater heat stress.

A concern would be compatibility with the coolant. Aluminum part would be fine since the engine block is of aluminum. Another concern is that the the hose that goes to the front of engine is slightly smaller than the other two, but probably not enough to cause any fitment problem if you were to use a 5/8" three-way connector.

If I had the luxury of time, I would have looked more into alternative parts, but as it was, the part broke off, the coolants were leaking, and I needed to put the humpty-dumpty back together asap. Thank jeebus it broke off while in the garage instead of on the highway.

This was a suggested alternative from the thread linked by dl175:

https://www.dormanproducts.com/p-32593-56387.aspx#productSpec

If you have other specific alternatives, feel free to chime in.
 

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Metal is not better than brass or aluminum for water/coolant. Since the metal Tee looks to be quite a thick gauge, you will be fine with that. Those T connectors are common on cars also that need the plastic T fittings replaced.

I have the same year vehicle as you and I haven't noticed or seen that I have a plastic T in my coolant hose routing. I may look into that soon and replace with a better T like you suggested or another brass fitting. I went with brass on my motorcycle because I had two ends the same size and one larger. I could not find a fully formed T fitting with the sizes I needed.
Shown below is what I mean by brass hose fittings.........
 

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Discussion Starter #8
"Metal is not better than brass or aluminum for water/coolant"

I consider brass, aluminum as metals, but maybe that's just me. :)

The T in 2008 Rav4 I4 sits to the driver's side of the engine, between the engine and the air filter box. This is the image from the thread linked above, showing the part in its place:



The OEM part (87248-20380) looks like this:



Again, note that the leg pointing to the front side is of slightly smaller diameter than the other two.
 

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Sorry....should have said "steel" :)

Thanks for the picture showing the position of that T. Are you considering going with a "steel" or "brass" replacement or just leave the plastic OEM in there? It should last a while.....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will monitor it for a bit, to see how it discolors over time. At least the plastic one did manage to last 100+k/10+ years, and replacing the part is bit messy due to the coolant leaking. That's why I think it should be replaced when the coolant is being replaced, when the coolant had been all drained.
 

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This one lasted me up to 149K mile then I only touched it and the smaller end snapped off...like others said, good thing it happened in the driveway and not on the road. I will get the OEM PN:87248-20380 from dealer if cost effective or Amazon (6 days out) less than 6 bucks. Thanks to the folks on RAV4World for the hookup! Good stuff!
 

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I'm about in the process to replace mine. Was there anything you had to take apart/move out of the way to replace it? About how much coolant did you lose in the process? Thanks in advance!
 

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I'm about in the process to replace mine. Was there anything you had to take apart/move out of the way to replace it? About how much coolant did you lose in the process? Thanks in advance!
Just drain all the coolant first so you don't lose too much.
 

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Well I already bought a thing of coolant cuz I had to keep topping it off until I found out where it was leaking. Looks like I gotta remove the air filter housing to have room to get to everything.
 
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