Replaced cracked radiator. Temperature gauge still shoots up into danger, but I do not believe it is overheating...?

70

Asked by Oct 25, 2014 at 06:12 PM about the 1999 Toyota Camry LE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

The other day I heard a pop in my 1999 Toyota Camry 4 cylinder. I popped the hood
and found a hairline crack along the top of the radiator. My car was also showing
temperature in the red from that point. I changed the radiator today, filled it up with
fluid, and drove the car down the road. The temperature gauge was ABOVE the danger
zone on my dash, but my car seemed fine? I pulled over regardless and let it cool
down and eased my way back home, but could my temperature sensor be wrong?

18 Answers

87,055

Thermostat stuck closed, cooling fans inoperative, have it checked quickly, if the gauge is actually correct you could fry your engine.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
70

I poured coolant directly into the radiator and the temperature dropped back down to a safe level. It still is not sucking coolant in from the coolant resevoir though. That leads me to believe its the Thermostat? The fans are running (at least when my AC/Heat is running). Or It could also be a clog in the lines due to an air bubble? These are just other suggestions I've read so please feel free to comment again.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
70

I'm sorry. I guess I failed to mention that it was not drawing coolant in.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
87,055

I would replace the thermostat first, make sure you get all of the air out when you refill it then replace the radiator cap as it may not be releasing pressure at specs and that would explane the draw down in the recovery tank.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
106,085

Sounds like you did not get all the air out of the cooling system when you replaced the radiator.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
70

Final question... HOW do I make sure that there is no air in the system when I replace it? This concept doesn't make sense to me. The radiator came with a brand new cap when I replaced it, so I do not believe that is the issue.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
106,085

With engine cool. Crank car with radiator cap off. Let it idle and watch for the air bubbles. As coolant level drops add more.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
106,085

When temp gets high on gauge look at your radiator hoses. Is the top or bottom one collapsed? If so low coolant level in radiator.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
106,085

If level is correct they should be hard/firm. Not collapsed or spongy feeling.

70

The hoses are not collapsed. I want to give a better breakdown of what I did from start to finish. Radiator Cracked. Replaced radiator and filled reservoir with fluid. Fluid did not drain and car temp was still too high. Poured coolant directly into the radiator (not the reservoir) and the temperature dropped to acceptable level. I, at this point, cannot determine why my radiator did not original suck the fluid in. My car is at a good temp, but I fear as time goes on and coolant burns up, My reservoir will not refill the radiator and I may start overheating again. From this point, what is my best step? Both lines suggested to look at are not collapsed. When my car is cool, and I run it without the radiator cap on, I see no fluid aside from some residue, and there is no bubbling, nor is there fluid being drawn from the reservoir.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
70

My car specs say my car should hold 7 qts of radiator fluid. I only put 3 quarts into the radiator, and 1 into the reservoir. Therefore, my radiator should still want more fluid, and should want to suck that last quart out of the reservoir, and into the radiator. It is not performing that action.

106,085

If radiator was not full to start with it will not draw any from the resivior. It will only draw from that when pressure drops in radiator to pull fluid in. This only happens with a full radiator. As engine warms up fluid gets pushed into resivor as engine cools it draws it back into radiator.

Best Answer
106,085

Sounds like you now have it at the proper level. I would drive normally and keep check on temp gauge and fluid level for a day or two. But I feel you should be fine now.

70

Oh! So I should fill my reservoir from the radiator cap to max and hopefully it will function properly?

70

Again, I only put in 4 quarts, but the manual says it has a capacity of 7 quarts. So to function properly, I should put a full 7 quarts in?

106,085

No. With radiator full. Then fill resivoir to the proper level. . Make sure both are at the proper level to start with. Your radiator cap will do the work of keeping the two at the correct levels with each other.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
106,085

When replacing a radiator you only loose the fluid that was in the radiator. Not all the coolant that's in the engine drains out. So your only replacing what was actually lost not the total capacity of coolant.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Hi there, just one suggestion if you still have the problem. I had the same issue in another vehicle brand and tried the same thins then you and nothing worked till I took a look under water pump pulley and I noticed it was leaking a little bit so I replaced water pump, problem solved and everything is working pretty well since then I hope it helps good luck

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