Coolant level and smell. Help in Breckenridge.

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Thanks everybody. Couple questions. When I add the water, I add it in the bottle?
Also - would the cap be bad if I couldn’t see any visible leak or crust around it?
 
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If the car is COLD, I would open the radiator, add water there and replace the cap. Do not do this when HOT, it will be under pressure. I would also add water to max in the bottle, and mark it with a pencil or something. Check often see if the level goes down. If it does, you can kinda guess the rate. An inch per hr? per 5 hr? This gives you an idea what you dealing with, and you can kinda expect how often you need to add water.

When I bought my SC430 several years ago, I notice I was losing coolant. Very slow leak but I can see the coolant level keep getting lower from my pencil mark at the bottle. I went thru the entire engine top to bottom, I can not figure out where it leaks. I replaced the cap and the leak stops. My thinking is that maybe the leak was so small that coolant would just evaporate. Cap is cheap, and I think it should be replaced as part of maintenance.
 

abuck99

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**Never add water ( distilled or other wise) to your cooling system unless you plan to flush it soon after. Of course in an emergency you do what you must, but since you are in a city, go get the factory coolant if possible or the closest match ( SLL equivalent ).

If you aren't finding any leaks or pink crust build up around hose connections because you checked: ( at radiator inlet & outlet, at oil cooler, at throttle body, at heater T's, at cross over under manifold, under the crank pulley weep hole, your oil dipstick). If the radiator cap was not changed when the TB service was done, it wouldn't hurt to swap that out if you can't test its functionality.

The coolant level may never have been properly established after the TB job. It takes some time to properly burp & top up the cooling system. When you remove the radiator cap ( WHEN COLD) the coolant should be to the very top of the filler neck- NO AIR GAP. If there is, top up coolant then put the back on cap on. Then add coolant to the bottle to be 1/2 way between low & high marks. Get a sharpie and mark that spot so you reference your cool engine fluid level. That is now your benchmark. Check under the radiator cap several times (WHEN COLD) to ensure the level is consistently at the top of the filler neck (no air gap).
 

loeky

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If the car is COLD, I would open the radiator, add water there and replace the cap. Do not do this when HOT, it will be under pressure. I would also add water to max in the bottle, and mark it with a pencil or something. Check often see if the level goes down. If it does, you can kinda guess the rate. An inch per hr? per 5 hr? This gives you an idea what you dealing with, and you can kinda expect how often you need to add water.

When I bought my SC430 several years ago, I notice I was losing coolant. Very slow leak but I can see the coolant level keep getting lower from my pencil mark at the bottle. I went thru the entire engine top to bottom, I can not figure out where it leaks. I replaced the cap and the leak stops. My thinking is that maybe the leak was so small that coolant would just evaporate. Cap is cheap, and I think it should be replaced as part of maintenance.

Second this. Fix what's easy right now [radiator cap!] and see if problem persists. May require leak down test or similar to find the leak, but frankly if it's a slow leak you can still get to where you're going without issue. Water is a very temporary emergency fix [doesn't cool as well as ... coolant], but should use coolant if at all possible and go from there.
 
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Echoing ^^. Water is for emergency, understanding that PO is far from home and with family in tow. Coolant should be used ideally, but when one is far away from home, trying to find an local Toyota dealer (or part store with Asian Zerex) is probably not easy task. I do think driving around with water for a bit will not hurt anything as long as it will be replaced with coolant later.

LC is build for service in third world countries, does anyone think they use the proper coolant, or distilled water there?
 

abuck99

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Echoing ^^. Water is for emergency, understanding that PO is far from home and with family in tow. Coolant should be used ideally, but when one is far away from home, trying to find an local Toyota dealer (or part store with Asian Zerex) is probably not easy task. I do think driving around with water for a bit will not hurt anything as long as it will be replaced with coolant later.

LC is build for service in third world countries, does anyone think they use the proper coolant, or distilled water there?

Yeah wont hurt for short term but its unnecessary- its the last option. Its not like OP is in a 3rd world country or stranded out in the dessert- he’s in Breckenridge- with a Napa, Oreilly’s, and Autozone nearby. No reason to use water - when equivalent coolant is right there.

Honestly from the time this thread started, OP could have shipped himself a gallon of SLL2 from Amazon.
 
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Check (inner?) manifold gaskets. Mine leaked and puddled up on top. Never saw a leak. Take motor cover off, get flashlight, look on top of motor. Had strong smell too.
 
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Sorry for the delay. Been a crazy time for my family with a lot of illnesses and what not.

Thought I’d give a quick update.
Got some coolant from Toyota and made it home. Replaced the cap and marked a cold level benchmark halfway between max/min in the bottle. Radiator has stayed pretty much full. I have crawled all over the vehicle and can’t find a leak, but I’m still losing coolant, at about the rate of an inch in the bottle every 3-4 days. Smell seems less, but still losing coolant. Got one spot in middle of the radiator that looks wet but can’t feel or tell anything.

Smell is most prominent right in the grill. Like when I stop driving, the smell is strongest right in front behind the sombrero.

Not sure what’s next - maybe pressure test the radiator. Idk
 
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Toyota Red is obviously the shizzle, but Zerex Asian red is what many use since it’s cheaper, more widely available, and pretty much the ‘same.’
View attachment 2008871

So is this the same stuff or will it work?

7A796D0C-51C2-4DAD-B1E8-4BB8ADB44F66.jpeg
 

Mike6158

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I don't see mileage in any posts. Maybe I overlooked it. The radiator tanks are plastic. Maybe more than that, I don't remember. Mine had some very small seeps along the seam and the same symptoms that you're having.
 

nukegoat

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That time in Breckenridge sounds epic in a terrible terrible unforgettable way.

Leaking radiator is my guess. It may be slowly leaking when hot and evaporating off the massive amount of surface area of the fins
 
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It could also be the mysterious leak many of us found below the heater ts at the bypass inlet/outlet.

Thanks, found my leak its, the heater T, just couldn’t see it with the flashlight on my phone. Luckily level was full in radiator, just overflow was empty. I should have done this already but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
 

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