Toyota radiator problems

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2005 at 12:00am CST by 737fe2e0

Company: Toyota radiator problems

Category: Other

Toyota radiator problems

November 17, 2005

Here is a warning if you are buying a 2000 Toyota Sienna. I bought it new in Oct 1999 and I have flushed the cooling system with one of the installed Prestone "tees" on the heater hose and refilled the cooling system with new fluid every 10,000 miles. The vehicle has only 39,000 miles on it and the radiator basically stopped up with all the sludge from the coolant/engine filling it. One side of the radiator showed 107 degrees on the infrared gauge while another side at the same time showed 170 degrees.

The best that Panama City Toyota would do was offer to replace the radiator for free if I agreed to pay for the labor to install it at their shop. The original charge was $155 for the labor to install the radiator (I had removed the radiator it at home and sent it to a radiator shop to have it "rotted" out but that process resulted in causing radiator core leaks.)

I then reminded the dealership that they had offered to charge me only $115 for them to both remove and install the radiator. The service advisor came up with the excuse that the original service advisor had "misquoted" the price for the service. I was then given the $115 price, even though they were only installing the radiator and I shouldn't have been "charged" for removing a radiator and getting it ready for them.

So, I have a 39,000-mile vehicle that will apparently have recurring radiator problems as long as I keep it. I have spent $90 for the rotting out and will hopefully spend about $155 for the labor, special "red" Toyota coolant, and taxes. That comes to $245, plus being without the car for a week.

If you had a vehicle with 39,000 miles that had a plugged-up radiator, would you buy another one from the manufacturer?

The radiator shop mechanic said for me to change/flush the coolant every year. Since I have pretty much done that to no awhile, I guess I'll have to change the radiator fluid every six months if my wife decides to keep this vehicle. (I would sell it in a moment for a Honda or Mazda if it were my choice.)

Another issue with this vintage Sienna is an engine sludging problem. I researched this issue three years ago when I first learned of it, and from what I remember the Toyota engineers redesigned the motor on the Sienna and because of the redesign the motor oil would "sludge" and seriously affect engine performance and/or seize up the engine. Toyota has extended the engine warranty for these vehicles for another 50,000 miles. Nice gesture, but not much comfort if my wife is stranded along the road with two small children because of some cost-cutting engineer in Japan.

Are the engine sludging and radiator "circulation" problems related?



Cedar Grove, Fla.


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