1997 Toyota Camry Overheating

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Old 10-15-06, 06:16 PM
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1997 Toyota Camry Overheating

I have a problem with a 1997 Toyota Camry. It is a 4-cylinder, automatic. Today while driving a moderately long distance, I glanced down and noticed the temperature gauge was all the way past H. I immediately pulled over and killed the engine. When I opened the hood, the coolant overflow tank was boiling. I checked the oil (full) and once the engine cooled enough, I checked the radiator fluid, and it also was full. All the hoses and connections looked fine. Once it cooled, we drove the rest of the way home (about 1/4 mile further) with no more incidents. Here is some background info that may or may not help: My wife (it's her car) had the oil changed about a week ago. At the time, they said her radiator fluid was extemely dirty, so they flushed and refilled it (actually, they flushed it twice because it was so dirty). We have never had an overheating problem with this vehicle until now. Does anyone know what may be wrong? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Old 10-15-06, 07:25 PM
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Your radiator could be plugged, or a bad water pump/belt, but it's usually the thermostat in a closed position.

If your radiator is plugged it'll have to be backflushed and cleaned up.

Check to make sure your water pump belt is on and driving the pump.

Start your car and let it warm up a little, feel the upper radiator hose - it should be warm. If its cold and the cars' temp is up, your thermostat needs to be replaced.

Should everything seem ok after you've checked it out and it doesn't heat up the next time you start it, I would go ahead and replace the thermostat. They can work OK for a while after cooling down. They usually act again, though.


Hope this helps,

Bob
 
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Old 10-16-06, 05:18 AM
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air?

I am not sure about your engine maybe towguy will jump in to give some good advice but I do recall that all air must be removed from system. A possible air pocket would cause a overheat condition. I hope nothing else was damaged like the head when it over heated. also clean the front of the radiatior well as bugs seem to get stuck in there clean using a strong stream of water from the inside and outside.(carefull you will slice your fingers on the fins)
 
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Old 10-16-06, 08:31 AM
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Marbojt is right, check your thermostat first. If that does not fix it, do a coolanht flush, this will get rid of any blocking debris and/or air bubbles. Air in the system will cause overheating. Water pump is a possibility, but would replace the cheapest things first, which is the thermostat.
These auto places are full of crap if you ask me. You could have just flushed your system yourself and they will tell you you need another one. Anyways, there is a possibility they left air in the system. Sometimes they use a machine that shocks the hell out of the system. It's easier to just drain yourself and stick a hose in the radiator and flush it all out. After that, run some distilled water through it.
 
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Old 10-16-06, 04:42 PM
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Thanks for all the great advice! I think I will try the thermostat first. I have another question - Where is the thermostat located on this vehicle?
 
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Old 10-17-06, 03:55 AM
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I'm betting the cooling system is air-locked....easiest way to bleed if not equipped with bleeders is to park on an incline with the engine pointing up hill and run at an idle with the radiator cap off....it'll spill some coolant but eventually you'll get an air bubble out....should be fine after that.
 
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Old 10-17-06, 06:37 AM
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I will try the uphill bleeding suggestion after work today, and get back with you. Thanks again for all the advice! This is an awesome forum!
 
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Old 10-17-06, 07:10 AM
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The thermostat will be located off the upper radiator hose that attaches to your motor. It usually is held on my two bolts. Following that bigger radiator hose from the top of the radiator, to the motor.
 
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Old 10-17-06, 02:54 PM
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All good suggestions, except maybe checking the water pump belt (sorry marbobj); it's run off the timing belt.

The fact that they said they had to flush it twice is NOT a good sign.
 
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Old 10-22-06, 05:34 AM
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I tried the uphill bleeding and I replaced the thermostat - still no good. I drove it around town a bit, and then at highway speed for about 20 minutes, and everything looked good. I then stopped for a couple of minutes, killed the engine, and checked under the hood. Still all looked good. Then I restarted, and headed home and almost immediately it began to heat up. I had to pull over, and again the coolant reservoir was boiling. I waited about ten minutes, and it was cooled down again. I proceeded home, and it ran hotter than normal, but did make it back home. So, I guess it looks like the water pump, or belt? I was really hoping something cheap! Thanks for all the advice.
 
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Old 10-22-06, 06:32 AM
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not so fast

Before you condem the water pump to an early grave you can do one more easy (cheap) test.Remove the cap with engine cold start car and keep an eye on the coolant as it warms up. When the thermosat opens you should see movment of the coolant.
On a side note also look for air bubbles you do not want to see any as this is a possible head gasket problem.
Water pumps usually fail by leaking however in a rare case the impeller can be so worn it will not flow water but I have not seen one like that.
Also make sure cooling fans work
 
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Old 11-13-06, 02:32 PM
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Okay, here is an update:

Someone at work asked if I aligned the "jigger" valve when I replaced the thermostat. I had never heard of that, so of course I did not. He showed me on AllData, the company I work for uses this program extensively, how the jigger and a notch at the top of the cover have to line up. Anyway, I took the assembly back apart, and of course, the jigger was not lined up, so I lined it up. I then took it for a test drive of about 25 miles round-trip. It worked great and stayed very cool. We had to make a couple of hundred mile trip this last Sunday, and decided to test it on a long trip. It did great until we were almost back home. It started to heat up, and I turned the heater on (it was pretty cold out anyway!) and it brought the temp right back down. I had to leave the heater on the rest of the way home, but it never got hot again. It never overheated, it just starting running hotter than normal. I guess the radiator and water pump are the next two things to check. What a pain!
 
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Old 11-13-06, 02:47 PM
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just a thought

Before you start throwing parts start easy and cheap try a new radiatior cap and if that fails you can always use it on your new radiatitor.
 
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