I have a 1990 Toyota Camry that is leaking profusely...

Asked by Jun 04, 2015 at 08:40 PM about the 1991 Toyota Camry STD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

..out of a pan/housing in front of the engine/transmission and behind the radiator, but
located below the radiator.  The back of this pan/housing has some sort of hole(index
finger wide), what could this possibly be so that I can schedule a mechanic visit this week
for a followup and fix?

19 Answers


Is it oil that is leaking or radiator fluid?

You might want to start checking fluid levels. Something must be low or out of fluid. Suggest you not drive this vehicle. Check your owner's manual. It should describe how to perform this common maintenance item.

@Reelin68 radiator fluid

@Lastchancegarage radiator fluid empty pours out bottom anytime it's filled not been driven since problem started

Ok,,,,it appears it might be the radiator or a radiator hose that's leaking. Someone needs to get under this vehicle with a flash light while another person pours water into the radiator. This procedure can get messy...so...you might want to wear a shower cap and safety glasses. It would be nice to pinpoint this leak so you don't have to replace good parts. Good Luck

Kaylyn Holaday

@Lastchancegarage The funny thing is that it isn't leaking from the radiator, but somehow there is a direct connection between the radiator and this mysterious pan/housing that is underneath, because the hole on the back of the pan has some sort of a perfect groove to it and that is where the water is actually coming from. When you pour, the hole pours, which is so very frustrating, I just don't know if I can roll out a tube of epoxy and smooth it over this hole without completely destroying something or ruining the beauty of the original engineering, so I am actually curious if maybe someone know what this compartment is and is it supposed to be an open hole or am I missing some delightful little screwcap/nipple/plug? Regardless of the issue, it will most likely be at the shop but I would love to have this car running so that I don't have to loan mine out :P

Also....check this vehicle's heater hoses. These hoses are about 1 1/2 inches in dia. You should notice they go through the fire wall on the right side of the vehicle...then attach to the engine. So...you need to look both on top of the engine as well as under.

Is this thing with the perfect hole made of metal or plastic?

Kaylyn Holaday


Well....you've got me stumped. Any way you can take a picture of this "pan" with the coolant leaking out...and...post it?

BTW...is this metal "pan" between the engine and the transmission? What shape does it have?

Kaylyn Holaday

It is not between the engine/transmission, it is about level with the very bottom of the car(tucked up underneath the radiator), if you lean up underneath the front bumper, it is right there, slightly to the left but mostly in the center. As per the picture, you're on!--as soon as I'm home and with the car.(3 hours from now)

Pictures. Definitely further back that I originally thought, is this not the bottom of the block?

YES Your picture seems to be one of the Oil Pan Drain Plug. There does appear to be a "hole in the middle of it. If that hole goes clear through that plug...than...you would be leaking engine oil...not coolant. I cannot imagine a situation where you would pour water into the radiator...and...it leaks out of the engine....unless..the engine has a large fracture somewhere. Try probing that hole and see if it goes clear through. Also...check the engine dipstick and tell us what you see. Oil...or...coolant?

Kaylyn Holaday

It does go straight through. Dipstick shows Oil. I think this is going to have to go to the mechanic.

OK...if you are probing...what appears on the end of the probe? Oil..or,,coolant? Also does it appear to be threads inside this hole? If YES...then my guess is there is supposed to be a plug in it .Usually it is a 1/8th or 1/4 pipe plug. Here is what sometimes happens. Some one changes the oil and/or coolant and they damage the threads on the drain plug. The repair could be a "plug in a plug' repair. now you seem to have a plug missing? What was going on BEFORE this event?

Kaylyn Holaday

I will have to probe that part when I'm back with the car and have plenty of water to drain through. I don't have any ramps to put the car up on, but I can get under it later and do a little more research. The car was being driven from one city to another, on the way back there were a point where someone behind this car was honking and yelling for alarm, they did pull over and inspect the car to see nothing weird/out of the ordinary. It was driven the rest of the way, with two more stops and nothing else happening out of the ordinary, but once home then the coolant began to show slight leak and as it sat then it poured out rapidly.

OK....while you are out and about, stop at a hardware store a purchase one 1/8th pipe plug...and...one 1/4 inch pipe plug. These items are small and cheap. If neither of these parts fit into that hole?.....you'll have to have this vehicle evaluated at a repair shop. In viewing you pictures again...I see an oil pan and oil pan drain plug. It may also be a cooling system "expansion Tank" although these tanks have cooling system hoses attached. I do no see any evidence of hoses connected to this part. Do you? IF we come to the conclusion that coolant IS coming out of the OIL PAN....this is not a good sign. This usually indicates a major engine failure. Good Luck

Hi.....I have another thought. Get under this vehicle with a strong flashlight. Wipe the suspect are with a rag. White observing the area, Have someone slowly pour water into the radiator without spilling any water on the engine or radiator. Watch closely...is the water coming out of this drain plug hole pictured above or...is water leaking down from ABOVE this plug, from somewhere above the level of the suspect area Many times you have a leak ABOVE the areas which are dripping. Check the flat are above the plug....it it now wet? This leak may be somewhere else and running down and off at the lowest point....namely...that drain plug

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