The downside of obsessive maintenance. (1 Viewer)

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The downside of obsessive maintenance - REDUX!!.

So it's September and we've been towing a bit into Canada and area mountains where it's colder in the 97 80. A couple times as long ago as 3 weeks I remember commenting to my wife when I turned the heater on that it sure didn't seem to be putting out a lot of heat (hint #1). Then, my wife commented last week that with the heat on full one morning taking the kids to school the truck didn't provide any heat until they were almost at school 15 minutes later - normally we get heat at about 3 minutes (hint #2). So today, I stopped to look at a Willys Overlander wagon and got to talking to the owner while the 97 idled. When I got in, the temp guage was at 3/4 (hint #3 as it hardly moves even when towing). When I got home, I opened the hood and everything looked and sounded normal except the coolant reservoir was down to the 'low' mark - a half inch from the bottom (hint #4).

So, I commented to my wife that we should switch trucks for a couple days until I get this sorted out. Why would the cooling system exhibit such bizarre behavior? I know it's full of fresh Toyota red from 6000 miles ago, new Toyota radiator at that time, and new hoses, belts, thermostat and gasket, flush, - everything's up to snuff. New plugs 6000 miles ago and no hint of head gasket trouble at that time. Double checked the head seam with a flashlight anyhow. What strange malady could be afflicting my perfectly maintained 80?

So I left to run a couple errands in it when it was already warmed, and out of curiousity put the heat on. No heat. Hmm, could the heater valve have failed? Turned on the rear heater. No heat. Wow, double failure of both heater valves? This is really strange.

Like a light dawning, I suddenly realized I'd overlooked the unarguably, absolutely undeniably basic thing - do I have enough coolant in the radiator despite my self assured thoughts about the cooling system? Blinker immediately went on into the grocery store parking lot. Popped the hood. Used a rag to open the rad cap - nothing! What a moron. I was so sure of my rig's maintanance state that I overlooked the simplest thing - verifying I have enough coolant.

Bought a gallon of distilled water and put half of it in before I could see coolant. Drove to the Toyota dealership and got a gallon of Red and put another half gallon in. Then topped off the overflow tank. Poor thing must have been sucking air in from the coolant overflow tank and the heater cores were not getting flow.

So, that's the downside of feeling like you know your truck intimately and being confident that all the basic stuff is handled, so any deviation in performance MUST be something really odd. I'm absolutely flabbergasted that this happened. I've been not only driving this thing nearly a gallon low, but actually towing at least twice through the mountains and it never complained. Speaks volumes about the cooling capacity.

Anyhow, it's that fancy silicone PHH hose I bought at NAPA, including the fancy $4 each constant tension clamps. There's a huge pink crusty trail off it where it's leaked a gallon and a half over the last 6 months. This is the second 80 I've used the silicone on, and the second time I've had a leak from it, so I'll be yanking it off soon and putting a piece of normal hose on.

Just a note from the OCD trenches.......

DougM
 
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Really good reminder. Thanks Doug.

Now I've got to remember to check coolant levels tomorrow am...since I've had some similar symptoms...
 
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39 hits so far means tomorrow morning 39 hoods popped up and 39 rad. caps open w/ 39 anxious people hoping the coolant is topped off. :D
Wonder what % is so buggered by it they will not wait till morning?
 

desertdude

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I was reading through the PHH in the faqs yesterday. The consensus is silicon hose will leak even when cold. The silicon does not bond to the metal like rubber. Green line hose with proper clamps no leaks. thanks for confirming ;)
 

landtank

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This just goes to show you that more is not always better. Too many people start looking at "improved" materials and supplies and tend to focus on specifically what they don't like about what they are using today and overlook what that new choice might have for short commings in other areas.

There really is no issue that I can see to just replace that PHH with exactly what was there originally. Glad you caught it before you did some serious damage elsewhere.
 
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Doug,

Did you switch to Toyota red? If so, what was the reason? I have a 93 also and it has typical green antifreeze. Looks to be in good shape/clean. What was the reason for the Toyota switch? Is "toyota red" the same as Dex-cool?

Thanks, Jason
 
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80me said:
Did you switch to Toyota red? If so, what was the reason? I have a 93 also and it has typical green antifreeze. Looks to be in good shape/clean. What was the reason for the Toyota switch? Is "toyota red" the same as Dex-cool?

Thanks, Jason
Red VS Green
 
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I have green NAPA silicone hose for the PHH and the four 1/2" hoses in the rear heater lines. No leaks or red crusties for 2 years. I used OEM spring tension clamps like what comes on one side of the stock hoses.

Just another data point.

Mike
 

MoJ

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Replaced it with regular hose and clamps. The original didn't even look like it needed replaced at 110k. Maybe I'll upgrade to the fancy stuff in another 100k.
 

e9999

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so, Doug, how old are you exactly? :D
 

flintknapper

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MoJ said:
Replaced it with regular hose and clamps. The original didn't even look like it needed replaced at 110k. Maybe I'll upgrade to the fancy stuff in another 100k.

I changed mine at about the same mileage as yours. The hose was in perfect shape....but I had read enough here about failures to "spook" me.

Odd how some have problems and others not. My radiator is spotless also, no hint of sludge. Go figure.
 

landtank

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I suspect that some of the difference is where you are located. If in an area where using the heater is very limited than that hose wouldn't benefit from circulating coolant during those times.
 

MoJ

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flintknapper said:
I changed mine at about the same mileage as yours. The hose was in perfect shape....but I had read enough here about failures to "spook" me.

Odd how some have problems and others not. My radiator is spotless also, no hint of sludge. Go figure.
Same here - every time we'd head out for a long trip I worried about it - always telling my wife to keep an eye on the temp gauge if she was driving.
 
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Damit!!! I just spent $10 on top of the line racing silicone hose, after hearing this story I guess I'll just use the hose that Cdan sold me for $1.99.
 
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A suggestion is to never let a tool come in contact with the portion of the metal pipes that insert into the hose. You want to ensure that the metal remains as smooth as possible to get the best seal as possible.

I never cut the hose on the pipe. I use the flat side of a screwdriver to push on the edge of the hose to remove from pipe. Takes a little bit of patience and a little bit of time. All of my replaced heater and radiator hoses remain leak free. Used factory for everything but PHH. Used Gates Green Stripe for that.
 
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IdahoDoug said:
Bought a gallon of distilled water and put half of it in before I could see coolant. Drove to the Toyota dealership and got a gallon of Red and put another half gallon in. Then topped off the overflow tank. Poor thing must have been sucking air in from the coolant overflow tank and the heater cores were not getting flow.
DougM
Did you add distilled water while it was hot? Is it okay to do that?
 
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Yeah, straight into the radiator. I wouldn't add cold water in high volumes into an empty block that's hot and just been drained though. Thermal stress on metals can be rough on things. But adding a half gallon into a block/radiator that's mostly full of hot water will bring the added water up to temp and it will be mixed thoroughly as it goes into the block.

Definitely something to be concerned with. When I'm flushing the block, you basically have to add water into a warm block after draining its water completely several times. What I do is add it a gallon or so at a time, then start putting tools away, hosing off the drive, etc before adding another gallon and so on. I'd never just stuff a hose in the rad neck and refill it. I know some people do and seem to get away with it, but our Idaho water comes out of the tap tooth crackin' cold even in the summer and I just don't like to tempt fate.

I'll try cranking down the constant tension clamps before giving up. On the 93, I got it to stop simply by cranking down the conventional clamps I used on it. We'll see. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to remove the hose to get any pink crusties cleaned out of the gap it was seeping through - I'm assuming there will be some in there that will hamper a good seal now. That's gonna suck laying on my back getting wet with $15/gallon coolant.

DougM
 
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Doug I have always regarded you as one of the most intelligent here. I am amzed that ypu had not checked the level in the overflow bottle cold before each towing trip. If anyone is not checking their coolant level regularly please start. With all the concerns about overheating and HGF this should be safty check #1.

I inspect the cold overflow level twice a week and check microscopically that it is excatly on the cold full line. If I saw a 1mm deviation I would investigate as I am so paranoid about HGF.
 

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