Might be returning my First Cruiser

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Feb 23, 2006
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Kirkland, WA
Hello All,

I've been browsing the boards these past few weeks since I began the search for a landcruiser. Lots of great info. I been doing ALOT of searching especially today due to the info below.

I found a red 97 landcruiser with 127,000 in olympia and brought home my first landcruiser tuesday and have noticed a few things that worry me.

1. The coolant in the overflow bottle is brown with little sludge particulates that are thick and spongy but not solid. No oil sheen. Does it ever seperate if there is oil in the coolant?
2. The oil is a half quart low.
3. The radiator was a quart low.
4. I hear water moving through the heat exchanger when I am driving sometimes which I think would indicate air is present or being introduced into the system.
5. At operating temp I checked for bubbles in the overflow tank at 3k rpm and sometimes there are a few bubbles (4-6), and sometimes there are none. I did the test about 7 times, the first few I did for a second or two then the rest for 3 seconds except last time which was 10 seconds (no bubbles the last time).
6. I have smelled the exhaust numerous times and I only smell a VERY faint smell, unsure whether it is coolant.
7. There is white smoke on startup but nothing that I would think would be anything other than normal condensation. It disappears after warm-up. I haven't checked if it smokes at higher rpm.

First off to bring everyone up to speed, I haven't paid for the vehicle yet and I don't have the title, the process was delayed due to my lender and I took home the vehicle because the seller already left (we were at his lender) me with the keys while I was on hold with my lender to make sure everything was in order. Turned out they needed another document, so his lender gave me my check back, and I drove the vehicle home as I had no way to contact the seller as he wouldn't be home until later that night.

I ordered the blackstone sample kit, but they indicate 2-3 weeks to get the jar.

I went to sears to purchase the coolant system pressure gauge but they were out of stock.

Thoughts? I apologize for another addition to the already many HG threads on this board, I need some advice.:frown:

Thanks,

Aharon
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2006
Messages
31
Location
Kirkland, WA
My next steps are to pull the plugs and check the overflow bottle in the morning to see if I am losing coolant ( I marked it).
 
Joined
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Another thought I had was to ask for a discount from the seller for the repair. If the hg is indeed blown.
 
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Joined
Feb 23, 2006
Messages
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Location
Kirkland, WA
Thanks for the reply, at this point that is what I am thinking/hoping. Just fishing for advice from those with more knowledge and experience with these vehicles.

Thanks for the reply,

Aharon
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2003
Messages
9,076
If the radiator fluid looked that bad, then it could simply be low from years of neglect. Some evaporation over years is normal and from your description of the fluid this could be the case - very old fluid.


If the radiator itself was low a quart, then there's air in the system besides the rad and the bubble test doesn't really apply. it only applies once you've ensure the system is free of air. Otherwise, the system is doing its job - purging air into the coolant bottle.

So, the only way to know for sure is to fill the system and drive it around until there's no more air in the system. Idling up and down speeds while the front is up a hill of some sort is the quickest way I know to purge air.

Sludge in the coolant overflow - not uncommon just from neglect. Half quart low? Hah - an 8 quart system scoffs at that. None of these are reasons to return a vehicle unless you confirm a HG issue. However, legally you may not be able to since you have an agreement and the vehicle.

Also, not to cast aspersions but the time to discover this and have doubts is BEFORE you buy.

DougM
 
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Feb 23, 2006
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Kirkland, WA
Doug,

Thanks for the reply, I've been reading alot of your posts as of late, great info. I agree I should have figured all this out prior to the purchase but at that time I was unaware of the possible head gasket issue with these vehicles (my fault). I filled the radiator and had driven maybe ten miles prior to the bubble test but that may not have removed all the air from the system.

At this point I think I am going to flush and refill the system to establish a baseline and then see where things are at.

Thanks,

Aharon
 
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Prescott Valley, AZ
Here is a sure test. Lower the coolant level in the radiator 1/2 inch or so. Place the exhaust probe of an emmission sniffer in the radiator cap area. Then run the engine at operating temp. If combustion gasses are feeding into the coolant, the analizer will pick up HC and CO readings. If clean, you are OK.
 
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Note:
The coolant itself will give off a slight reading. A consistant reading of more than a trace predicts a head gasket failure.
 
Joined
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Kirkland, WA
Thanks everyone so far for the replies.

I picked up a coolant pressure tester today from sears for $90.

The first thing I discovered is I need a new radiator cap as it would not hold any pressure, this might be the source of all the air in the system.

The second is my cooling system held 8psi for about minute (I didn't keep track). I watched it closely for a while and there was no change in pressure at all, it was rock solid. How long did it take others using the same method before they saw a change in pressure indicating a blown gasket, I would assume it would be right from the start.

After doing some reading I think that I have a mix of red and green which is why it looks so nasty.

I like that idea Brian I might still try it.

Thanks,

Aharon
 
Joined
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Spokane WA, USA
Aharon said:
The second is my cooling system held 8psi for about minute (I didn't keep track). I watched it closely for a while and there was no change in pressure at all, it was rock solid. How long did it take others using the same method before they saw a change in pressure indicating a blown gasket, I would assume it would be right from the start.

You are headed in the right direction, but you need to pump the system all the way up to 15 psi, with all the excess air bled from the system. You will start to see small seeps and trickles at 15 that will _never_ ever occur at 8. You will find with a little experience that it is very easy to track down the external leaks with a pressure tester. It isn't so easy with the internal leaks.

OTH once you get every single exterior leak plugged up, if the system will stay close to 15 psi for at least a couple of minutes, you don't have any internal leaks..... That is pretty reassuring. But you have to get to that stage first.

Good luck and don't give up. All that may be necessary is some TLC.

John Davies
Spokane WA
 
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Don't do anything to that rig until the deal is done.
 
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Nov 24, 2003
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My local Finning dealer can do test results next day if need be. It may be a more timely option if there is one nearby.
 
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I found that a lot of shops are reluctant to use their emission sniffer in a radiator like that because they said it can ruin the sensor or contaminate the tip somehow if it touches the coolant. Turbulence, an unexpected bubble surfaces, etc. It's basically using the tool in a way it was not designed for and they didn't like to do that either - I got no takers.

DougM
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2006
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Location
Kirkland, WA
Feeling better now.

I pumped the coolant pressure tester up to 15psi and waited for the pressure to drop. Eventually it did very slowly and I found a leak where at the upper radiator hose to radiator junction, the clamp was a little loose so I tightened it. At this point I need to retest.

I pulled all six plugs, they all looked great (usual tan deposits) and they all looked identical to one another, no oil and they weren't "too clean".

Now I just need to figure out what to do about the loan. The son isn't able to get a notarized signature where he is in saudi arabia and capital one won't allow a power of attorney (his dad) to sign the vehicle over. So at this point I am looking for alternative lender.

Thank you everyone for the advice.:beer:

Aharon
 

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