Radiator Exploded '97 LX450

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by DJSH, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. DJSH

    DJSH

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    Got a frantic call from my wife last evening that "something is really really wrong with my car" she was driving up a hill and the check engine light came on and 30 seconds later KABOOM and white smoke billowing from under the hood. I picked her up the the '87 FJ60 and saw the radiator spilt apart like it had exploded. The top hose was blown off, the belts were split to shreads. I checked the oil and the first pull showed full, each subsequent pull was little to no oil on the stick. Its at the Lexus dealer now and I know its not going to be cheap. I will post pics later.

    What do you all think happened and what should I expect for repairs??? My very uneducated guess, h20 pump seized building pressure in the radiator which caused the explosion? Hopefully, no engine damage.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Dave
    '87 FJ60 350
    '97 LX450
     
  2. DJSH

    DJSH

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  3. John E Davies

    John E Davies

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    Sorry to hear of this, but it's just one more reason to put in a brass radiator....

    I hope you don't have to go into the engine.

    John
     
  4. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    It will not be cheap. The repairs I describe in the thread mentioned above were $2800 under extended warranty, including the new hood. You will want to replace all your hoses, belts, thermostat and I'd do the water pump and fan clutch now too. That way when you start it again, you'll know that any residual overheating issues are not cooling system related.

    Do not assume this is head gasket-related or that the engine is either damaged or even involved. I have heard that a lot of these radiators have exploded.
     
  5. BOUNDER

    BOUNDER

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    Hmmmm

    Is it me or it the case that 1997 80's (Toy and LX) frequently experience premature engine/parts related failure? I personally love the 95-97 80's years but seem to casually recall 97's experiencing more trouble, more frequently than other years - at least on this board. Just a thought. :confused:
     
  6. valentine

    valentine

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    Kind of funny, I was thinking the same thing before I scrolled down to your post....



    Dave, I hope everything works out well for you. We bought our '97 from the lexus dealer. I was very impressed with the sales end of it, so hopefully that reflects the service side of them....

    I still haven't put your 2f in my '87 yet. I've been so busy lately.... I will have it in by Sept. for the cruisin the woods run at browns camp. You should try to make it out there, it's a blast. Your '87 would do great!

    If there's anything I can do to help, let me know....

    Nick
     
  7. ParadiseCruiser

    ParadiseCruiser

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    >> Is it me or it the case that 1997 80's (Toy and LX) frequently experience premature engine/parts related failure?

    For starters, I hope Dave's truck is just a cooling system issue and nothing worse, but to address Bounder's remark...

    I have been reading cooling system failure threads on this forum - and on the SOR 80 series forum before it (from where our core group originated - thanks to Woody) for years, and I am convinced that the lion's share of issues - and failures - are maintenance related, not engineering related.

    Nearly all of the trucks we drive had POs, whose cooling system maintenance habits (or lack thereof) were poor (and/or poorly documented), or non-existent. Radiators were drained (but not the block), coolant types were mixed (a real sore spot, and source of many cooling system issues), thermostats never replaced, and so on... and all on trucks with enough milage to warrant having had this maintenance done when it had not.

    This is not to discount the bad head gasket design we are aware of, but even HG failure is related to lack of PM as many times as not, IMHO. Yes, yes, I know that HG failure is not strictly a failure of PM, but even Robbie will tell you about how many motors he has had apart that had real serious amounts of gunk in them due to lack, or improper PM.

    Not like me to go on this way, but guys (and gals) don't be blaming Toyota for failures that could have been prevented by proper maintenance. Having said that, I would be real curious about what Dave discovers as the cause of the radiator failure in his rig...

    Ready to take my hits :) R -
     
  8. flintknapper

    flintknapper

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    Look at the number of forum members who drive 96-97's as compared with the other year models. Naturally, you'll see a higher incidence of everything.
     
  9. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Now I thought that Toyota's high life red was good for something like 6 years. Following the recommended service interval from the manufacturer would probably lead to issues, now wouldn't.

    This is where it gets tough to call. If someone followed the 7500 mile oil change with dino and then had issues with bearing knock I'm sure the bulk of the board would say it was poor maintenance of the PO, now he just followed the schedule now didn't he. Is it his fault?
     
  10. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    Having had a radiator explode on my previous 1997, I can assure you that it had nothing to do with PM or lack thereof and I believe the same will be found of Dave's. The Toyota Service adjuster who looked at my truck said "The radiators in these trucks explode all the time, its a manufacturing deficiency." They said it was brought on by a failing radiator cap, but still said the radiator was flawed.

    It would be wrong to assume these trucks are exempt from manufacturing defects...look at the Sienna recall this past week. I assume most of you recall that a case was filed in Corpus Christi, Texas a few years ago against Toyota for the premature wearing of FJ-80 brake pads and rotors. Each class member got $200 in cash for each claim they filed. I filed 6 and was paid $1200. It only takes one claimant and few followers with exploded radiators and you got yourself a class action suit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2005
  11. ParadiseCruiser

    ParadiseCruiser

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    Jim -

    I agree with you entirely. Every manufacturer will have components that fail, some more than others, and Toyota - and the 80 - are not immune, as the record will attest.

    >> I am convinced that the lion's share of issues - and failures - are maintenance related, not engineering related.

    >> don't be blaming Toyota for failures that could have been prevented by proper maintenance...

    I was responding to Bounder's remark, and making every effort to emphasize that that POs have often dealt us a raw deal on PM, and that we need to be vigilant and keep up with it.

    Cheers, R -
     
  12. yellowchaosfj80

    yellowchaosfj80

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    Yo dude been there , ours blew when the thermostat did not open... and kaboom!!! $400. later new rad and flushed . Sorry to hear that I did the RE and RE .saved $450 -600.. Here is what mine looked like... :whoops:
     
  13. yellowchaosfj80

    yellowchaosfj80

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    IF I can help in any way just Pm me
     
  14. elmariachi

    elmariachi

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    I totally agree. I think this underscores why PM is so important if you want to get 250K + miles out of your 80. No room for cutting corners.
     
  15. LX_TREME

    LX_TREME

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    Damn first time i seen 80s radiator blew up and cracked open like that :eek: , sorry off the subject guys.By the way is that 8.5mm Red Nology plug wires you got there?
     
  16. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    thermostat or rad cap?
     
  17. yellowchaosfj80

    yellowchaosfj80

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    The Thermostat I'm Sad to say it was An after market one... Yes I know I Well never SIN again... WIRES 5.5mm
     
  18. DJSH

    DJSH

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    Thanks for all the support. Yellowchaos, that is almost exactly what ours looks like, just split....i think the pressure on the explosion probably is what caused the belts to rip to shreads. We should get a diagnosis and estimate next week.

    Dave.
     
  19. Grouseman

    Grouseman

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    Exploding Raditors. This is new to me. Someone mentioned to replace OEM with a Brass Radiator. What is the original radiator made of?
    So what is the consensus now? Change Red out every year?
     
  20. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    I wonder if there could be issues of the plastic top having been damaged by physical trauma, e.g. stepped on, kneeled on etc...
    Or maybe manufacturing defects. On mine, for instance, there is a spot where the plastic looks indented like there was a defect from manufacturing, a bubble or bad plastic, something like that. Maybe a tool dropped on it. Been thinking about putting some epoxy on that...
     
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