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Fan clutch and bubble test

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by CruiserLegolas, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. CruiserLegolas

    CruiserLegolas

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    I'm back. I've been reading more and I'm getting concerned.

    I'm having a brand new 94 radiator installed, a new stat, and I'm trying to figure out if a new fan clutch should be installed. A couple of people have said to do it. I'm thinking of doing it for peace of mind since I'm driving 10 hours to get back home from SLC to LAX.

    However, I've been reading more on the bubble test, but I don't understand what it is. I'm concerned because my overflow container shook and bubbled like crazy when the 80 overheated. I failed to mentioned this because I thought it was part of the overheating. Are these the bubbles that people are talking about?

    Dazed and confused...
     
  2. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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  3. flintknapper

    flintknapper

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    Cheap insurance would be to replace the fan clutch (with Toyota) along with the other items. Make sure your belts are properly tensioned and that you use a new radiator cap.

    Your overflow was receiving a mixture of boiling coolant and would definitely make some noise (normal). The bubble test is supposed to reveal a blown head gasket, you can search and find much information about how to do the test and what it indicates. One caution, bubbles will be present (for awhile) after refilling the cooling system so initially...it is not an indicator of a HG problem IMO.
     
  4. CruiserLegolas

    CruiserLegolas

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    I'm s***ting in my pants right now, but I want to clarify.

    The first time my 80 overheated it was 112 outside, I was at the base of the hill right before Whiskey Petes in Stateline Nevada, and I've been driving for 3+ hours from LAX heading to SLC. I had the coolant flushed and refilled a month prior (Toyota red). I was not towing, but there were 4 of us in the truck.

    I turned the heater on to prevent the gauge from hitting red. I stop within 4 minutes and pop the hood open. The overflow container is shaking the the coolant looks like it's boiling. I stare at it for a while (10 minutes) because it looked like the coolant was boiling. After 15 minutes, I realize that the coolant is not boiling, but it's steam coming from the radiator that's causing the coolant to look like it's boiling and it's bubbling like crazy.

    Once it cools down, I drive to Stateline Nevada (about 15-20 miles) and stop at the gas station. I drove with no a/c and had the heater on for good measure. I filled up with gas and drove another 90 miles to Mesquite, Nevada. No a/c, no overheating.

    So, does it still sound like the HG problem?
     
  5. flintknapper

    flintknapper

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    Its not normal for the engine to overheat...but the overflow bubbling because of either stream or coolant entering is what I would expect to see.

    Do the test soon after your thermostat has opened and the engine is warmed up....and then if you see a steady stream of bubbles you may have cause for concern.

    Don't panic yet. Read a little more about the subject (search) and you'll see what I'm talking about.
     
  6. Darwood

    Darwood

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    Your coolant was boiling. Steam is what you get when a liquid boils i.e. the coolant went from a liquid state to a gaseous state :D
     
  7. santiagol

    santiagol

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    Something strange here. You had the coolant flushed just one month ago and refilled with good Toyota red and nobody noticed the radiator was in such poor shape that it would require replacing in 30 days? Granted you were in 112 degree heat which will stress any radiator but you mentioned you were from LA so you are no stranger to heat and traffic.

    As long as you are at it, the cost of replacing the fan clutch is probably offset by the additional peace of mind it will give you. I would also replace the thermostat, some more inexpensive peace of mind.

    Checking the thermostat is relatively easy, you start the cold engine and place your hand on the upper radiator hose (mind your fingers). It will be warm, not hot, as long as the thermostat is closed. When the engine warms up enough and the thermostat opens you will notice a rapid increase in temperature as hot coolant flows into the radiator - this is as it should be. If this does not happen in a few minutes the thermostat or the water pump is probably shot or clogged.

    When you get back home you may want to look at an auxiliary electric fan in front, I added one this weekend and the improvement in summertime air conditioner performance is amazing. Fits right in.
     
  8. CruiserLegolas

    CruiserLegolas

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    The Toyota dealer in Salt Lake City where my 80 is sitting said the water pump was dry, so it's not leaking. I already requested that the 'stat be replaced and I'm going to call to get the fan clutch replaced as well. They are waiting for CD's brand new 94 radiator to arrive.

    I told my mechanic to flush the cooling system real well and to replace the Prestone green with Toyota red. I'm now thinking that this didn't get done properly. I checked the coolant after I got the radiator flushed in Los Angeles and it looked red to me. If this is not done properly, can the radiator go from good to bad that quickly?

    It should be apparent by now that I'm not mechanically inclined, but I'm thinking this is the right time to learn! Unfortunately, my 80 is in SLC and I'm in Los Angeles surfing the internet.

    I don't want to sink a lot of money on the 80 if the HG is bad. It's already costing me a pretty penny installing a new 94 radiator, a new thermostat, and now a new fan clutch. Transporting the 80 back to LA using an auto transport service will set me back $650. Renting a carrier and a truck is about the same when you include gas. In fact, several places won't rent me the car carrier because the 80 is too heavy and too wide. Also, if the 80 is not running, it's another $150 to load it up and unload.

    So, I'm stuck between a hard place and a rock...or however the saying goes!
     
  9. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    Santogol.............. You said "you may want to look at an auxiliary electric fan in front, I added one this weekend and the improvement in summertime air conditioner performance is amazing. Fits right in." Can you explain, give details, make brand of fan. is this an xtra engine cooling fan or for the cab. I'm going to be doing some very hot driving in Baja soon.
     
  10. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    with what you're doing I don't see what you couldn't drive it back home with caution.

    As discussed elsewhere, you can probably figure out if your fan clutch is good in a few minutes with no work at all.

    Btw, make sure they give all the parts back. If you don't want them, I'll take them off your hands for some experiments... :)
     
  11. CruiserLegolas

    CruiserLegolas

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    The dealer said he was giving me back the old radiator and I said OK, but I was wondering what I was going to do with it.

    The problem is that I'm going to fly into SLC and drive it back as soon as I finish circling the dealer about 2 times within a 7 mile radius (that's what my AAA card will tow me for).

    If I test the fan clutch when I get there and it's bad, then I have to wait for the part to be ordered -- they didn't have in stock last week. Plus, I'm not sure that I want to lose my fingers testing the fan clutch.

    I'm also hoping that the bubbles in the overflow tank were due to the bad radiator. Otherwise, I might have to sell you all the parts one by one!
     
  12. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    what the heck, looks like these clutches go bad a lot, so yes, if you want to be sure, have it replaced too, not too expensive.

    What do you mean by bubbles due to the rad? Bubbles could be, I guess:
    - Boiling due to overheating
    - Bad HG
    - Burping after replacing coolant.
    - ?
     
  13. CruiserLegolas

    CruiserLegolas

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    I meant that the bubbles in the overflow container were due to steam coming out of the radiator when my 80 overheated (after driving for 3+ hours in over 100 degree temperatures -- going from LAX to Las Vegas on my way to SLC).

    I'm going to repeat my story here...

    However, santiagol has me wondering how the radiator went bad so quickly. I did drive it 90 miles right after it cooled down (no a/c, heater on for good measure) to Mesquite, NV. Two days later, I drove it 350 miles to SLC. No overheating, no a/c, stopped every 100 miles, turned heater on a couple of times when I saw the gauge move a little going uphill.

    This shop in Park City replaces the fan clutch with an after-market one, flushes my radiator and refills with Toyota red, changes the oil. The 80 was returned to me in worse condition than I gave to them. Now the 80 overheats in 10 minutes of driving. The put back by original fan clutch and refund my money. Now the 80 overheats when driving less than 10 minutes. The overflow container shakes and bubbles.

    Toy dealer in SLC says that local radiator shop cannot fix the radiator. I order a new one from Dan. So, how did the radiator go bad that quickly?
     
  14. alaskacruiser

    alaskacruiser

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    Yes, it happened to me. Quick recap: truck was filled with green coolant, had dealer do a "flush" with toyota red. They did not understand the term "flush" and did a drain and fill instead. The mixing of the two coolant types created a black sludge in the radiator and overflow very quickly. When I took it back to the dealer and asked if they did a "flush", they said they did not but that everything was okay. I asked them to flush it anyway, and they said they got very little flow through the rad and it was probably clogged. I had the rad replaced under CPO warranty.
     
  15. CruiserLegolas

    CruiserLegolas

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    After the change from green to red at my local mechanic, I drove the car to work for about 20 days. The commute is about 23 miles each way and about 50 minutes each way in freeway traffic. I had the radiator flushed on 6/13/2005. The car overheated on 7/09/2005.

    I'm just hoping (praying might be a better word) that my head gasket is okay.

    I guess my $80 flush from green to red is costing me more than I thought. If anyone is switching from green to red, they need to make sure they take the car to someone who specializes in Land Cruisers and know what they are doing -- it so much harder to follow this advice in practice. Otherwise, stay whatever color you are...
     
  16. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    So how would one know when they found one of these guys? Do they have a tatoo or a special handshake?

    This is something that is not all that difficult to do but if you have a mindset to let others work on your vehicle then it's something you need to deal with. Personally from what you've written I'd say that the HG has been through the ringer and if by some wild ass chance it's still functioning properly today I doubt it's long for this world. I'd have it replaced.
     
  17. santiagol

    santiagol

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    I am not comfortable with the idea that mixing red and green coolants will create a black sludge that will block your radiator. People do it all the time, I have been topping off my wife's Lexus LS400 with green (Costco does not sell Toyota red) and there would have to be a great big warning label stating "do NOT mix red and green" or something. If there is sludge in your radiator after a "flush" it is probably gunk that was located elsewhere in your motor and that got redeposited in you radiator, the dirt was just moved around and not flushed out.

    Which is probably what happened here in the first place (Eureka!) the fact that you notice a red/green color after "flushing" and switching coolants is a dead giveaway that the flushing was a quickie job and probably just moved the accumulated gunk around so that it started clogging up your radiator, You gave it a good long drive, which moved a lot of the coolant/gunk mixture around and it collected in your radiator and clogged it. At least that is my theory...

    As for the electric fan, I wanted to add a Lexus fan but my A/C condenser is not OEM so I did not have the original fan mounts, it is HOT so I just decided to add a what I thought was a cheapo fan from Advanced Auto. I was not comfortable with the standard mounting procedure that requires you to insert nylon rods through the radiator so I rigged some brackets to hang the fan from the upper and lower rad frame. I also added the optional adjustable thermostat that turns it on and off. Wiring is straightforward. I purchased a front panel switch to turn it off at will but have not installed it.

    The thing blows a ton of air through both radiators, the noise is negligible unless you stand right in front of it and I was pleasantly surprised that it looks a lot like the Syclone manufactured by Flex-a-lite. Either they OEM from them or a copy artist is at work here. In any case, it feels great and a little strange to be sitting in a traffic jam in 95 degrees with the A/C blowing downright cold air at your face. Another thing: I adjusted the thermostat to kick in when the temp gauge moved slightly above dead center and that temperature indicator is now pegged at that location, I cannot get it to overheat. Of course, 112 degrees is a different ballgame so - results may vary. But I am one happy camper, will probably go out at noon and find me a traffic jam just to show off.
     
  18. MH_Stevens

    MH_Stevens

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    I know this is a basic and simplistic comment by me, but as flushing is SOOOOOO important - when you flush remove the top and bottom hoses from the radiator, remove the thermostat, and flush the engine and the rad. seperatly so you don't move crud from one to the other. ALSO if you do have crud it is good to know where it came from.
     
  19. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    obviously, do NOT attempt to drive the thing if there are indications of a toasted HG after the rad is replaced (bubbles, crusties, coolant loss, steam, overheating, etc)
     
  20. santiagol

    santiagol

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    Doing things the right way is not simplistic at all. The primary reason most of us have for doing our own maintenance is that, although there are a great deal of decent auto shops out there, we all have service horror stories as motivation (CruiserLegolas now has a couple), you just know you can do a better job without much effort in your spare time. OK sometimes with much effort.

    A dirty overflow bottle after flushing is a sure indicator of a shoddy job, removing and cleaning it takes no time and requires little effort and ensures that any accumulated sediment is not returned to the system.

    BTW, an overheated engine should cause bubbling in the overflow bottle along with the steam - no bubbles (steam only) means the bottle is dry and can be very, very bad.