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Blown head gasket or just short driving?

Discussion in '2nd Gen Tundras (2007-2013)' started by ajnc, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. Mar 17, 2021 at 10:43 AM
    #1
    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    Hey guys. I have a 2012 Tundra. Since Covid hit, I haven't been driving much. I changed the oil 5k miles ago, but that was over a year ago now! Just realized I better get it changed, and notice this mustard under the oil fill cap. I have low coolant as well, and especially in the radiator. It's pretty much empty in there. But, oil dip stick looks like it might be OK. I was thinking it might be just from short infrequent drives, but I looked down into the oil fill cap area, and it looks real bad too. No engine lights on though Anything else diagnostic wise I should do? Thanks!

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  2. Mar 17, 2021 at 4:42 PM
    #2
    audiowize

    audiowize New Member

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    As a shot in the dark you could try bypassing the oil cooler that's mounted on the side of the engine. It's not necessarily the end of the world to see a little build up underneath the cap if you do a lot of really short drives, but you have a bit of a mess going on there.

    If I had your truck in my garage, I would pull all the spark plugs out and put my bore scope camera into each hole. I would bet that one cylinder would look suspiciously clean (from steam).

    If you had all the plugs out, you could also fill up the cooling system and do a pressure test on it. If it doesn't hold pressure, you could eventually expect the coolant to fill up a cylinder and pour out from the spark plug hole. If you do that, be sure to suck the coolant out or turn the engine over by hand with no spark plugs in to shoot the coolant out.

    What's the mileage on your truck?
     
  3. Mar 17, 2021 at 5:31 PM
    #3
    Tundra2

    Tundra2 Zoinked

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    Synthetic oil can cause cap sludge on short, infrequent drives like this.

    Take her for a round trip of the county if you feel comfortable with that. Run her at operating temp for awhile. That should burn off any moisture accumulated by the oil.

    Check the cap, and dipstick then.
     
  4. Mar 17, 2021 at 7:10 PM
    #4
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    Other Tundra owners have found that scum in their oil fill cap. As you said, probably from short drives where oil doesn't get hot enough to flash moisture out of crankcase.

    Personally, I would clean the scum out of the fill cap, top off the cooling system with Toyota coolant, and take a long drive. Change the oil on return, then watch coolant level closely in the future to determine if coolant is actually being lost. You don't have enough information to worry at this point.
     
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  5. Mar 17, 2021 at 7:31 PM
    #5
    pop's

    pop's 1794

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    Yes you have a problem!!!! :monocle: You kinda answered your own question Low coolant and cake frosting = :tumbleweed:
     
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  6. Mar 18, 2021 at 4:58 AM
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    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    Is there a specific Toyota coolant I should be using? My current stuff looks pink. And do I need to flush it out or something first? Thanks. And sorry, my specialty is not in automotive! haha
     
  7. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:08 AM
    #7
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    If your truck is a 2012, and the cooling system has never been flushed and coolant replaced, then it's probably a good time to do that also.

    For decades, Toyota has sold a superior coolant that has a different chemistry than others (HOAT?). You can not mix antifreeze with different chemistries (green with red/pink, red/pink with orange, etc). Toyota dealers once sold concentrate that you dilute 1:1 with distilled water, but I believe now only sell pre-diluted, read-to-use coolant. You can also use Zerex Asian antifreeze, same chemistry and performance, available at Walmart or other cheaper sources.

    The cooling system, including the heater circuit, needs to be flushed well before refilling with fresh coolant. Check out YouTube for "how-to" videos.
     
    Wynnded, ColoradoTJ and ajnc [OP] like this.
  8. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:23 AM
    #8
    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    Cool thanks man! This is what I need then I presume? Amazon.com: Zerex Asian Vehicle Red Silicate and Borate Free 50/50 Prediluted Ready-to-Use Antifreeze/Coolant 1 GA: Automotive
    The youtube vids I watched, the guys literally hooked a garden hose up to the coolant line at the back. Is that legit?
     
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  9. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:23 AM
    #9
    hagrid

    hagrid Ich habe sie gespritzt

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    Good Lord, I hope not. Need to save money for fuel.
    The puss under the cap can be attributed to short trips/thermostat stuck open. Add in a radiator + recovery tank low on coolant and now you have a serious issue.

    My opinion is coolant is escaping into your crankcase. If you aren't getting misfire codes then I'll assume the coolant isnt entering the combustion chamber.
     
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  10. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:25 AM
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    JohnLakeman

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    This is Zerex Asian coolant, which is already pre-diluted. Confirm your cooling system capacity in your Owner Manual and buy enough to fill. It's probably going to need 3 gallons.

    https://www.amazon.com/Zerex-Asian-Antifreeze-Coolant-Ready/dp/B0033QO022/ref=sr_1_5?crid=3K7X911ZJWYD8&dchild=1&keywords=zerex+asian+vehicle+coolant&qid=1616069876&sprefix=Zerex%2Caps%2C215&sr=8-5

    Edit: Missed earlier post with description.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  11. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:29 AM
    #11
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    I have never flushed my Tundra, so perhaps that is not only "legit" but also convenient. :notsure: I would watch as many videos as available, and go with the consensus. People do goofy things then post up a video about it. :D
     
  12. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:41 AM
    #12
    Jrharvey02

    Jrharvey02 New Member

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    That’s how low my coolant level is when I start the truck for a few seconds just to back it out of the garage or whatever and then turn her off. I’d be very hesitant to add any coolant until you’ve driven her around and checked the coolant level after that. I doubt that coolant level has anything to do with the oil sludge and I’d doubt you’re even low on coolant.
     
  13. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:43 AM
    #13
    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    My only hope is the fact that I really don't know if I have ever had coolant topped off. I remember seeing it pretty low, but still within range, several years ago. I'm not sure if coolant is something that naturally evaporates out of the system overtime, even in a properly running vehicle? I've always used a Toyota Dealer up until recently moving to an island (No dealer in sight now), and had them do whatever maintenance was recommended, and never cheaped out. Taking it to get an oil change today at my local oil change place. Is there anything I should ask them to check?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  14. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:52 AM
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    Vizsla

    Vizsla New Member

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    So top the radiator off and long drive?


    Are the dipstick pics after it was run, or cold?
     
  15. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:52 AM
    #15
    hagrid

    hagrid Ich habe sie gespritzt

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    Good Lord, I hope not. Need to save money for fuel.
    Without standing there and making my own direct observations I'm hesitant to tell you that its OK to run that engine. An oil change is warranted but maybe the drive to an oil change place isnt. And you need to have sufficient coolant in the circuit to drive.
     
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  16. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:54 AM
    #16
    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    Cold
     
  17. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:55 AM
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    Vizsla

    Vizsla New Member

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    I wouldn’t run it. Drain oil, look for missing coolant.
     
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  18. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:55 AM
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    hagrid

    hagrid Ich habe sie gespritzt

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    Good Lord, I hope not. Need to save money for fuel.
    I wouldn't. Not until I had a better idea of the coolant loss rate.
     
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  19. Mar 18, 2021 at 5:57 AM
    #19
    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    Why is it bad that it's how it looks when the engine is cold? Looks for missing coolant in the oil, or somewhere else?
     
  20. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:00 AM
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    JohnLakeman

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    The water portion of the coolant does evaporate over time and has to be continuously checked and topped off. The rate of evaporation depends on the climate (hotter climates, lower humidity, more evaporation), and the condition of the cooling system (cooling system running warmer, more evaporation).

    If you depended on others to check your level for years, and then lost that support, you may finally have lost enough out of the radiator that you've pulled all of the overflow into the radiator as it cools. IMO, the fact that your overflow reservoir is nearly empty is not too surprising, especially on an older truck without constant level checking. Unless it's emptying the overflow in a month or a week, I wouldn't panic on the cooling system just yet. That's why you need to re-establish the level and keep an eye out for a bit.
     
  21. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:01 AM
    #21
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Recco:

    1) New OEM Radiator (should be replaced every 7 years as PM). Cheap and easy and yours looks gnarly.

    2) Before New Radiator drain all coolant and add distilled water with 2 bottles Prestone Flush. Drive it hard for a day or so and drain. Refill with just distilled and drive it some more and drain it. Follow directions. If your weather is freezing do not do an overnighter.

    3) Add new radiator along with Asian Red. Top it up to the top Full Line (when hot) after burping it on an incline. Might take several burps over a few days to rid all air and you to settle/top to the Full Line (when engine is hot). This is your new baseline fluid level. It should always be at Full when engine is hot. If it drops then you have problems. Checking when cold will result in differing levels. Always check Hot and it should be level at Full (your new baseline after proper burping).


    Oil cap may just be cold weather short trips. Mine gets a little snot (not nearly as much as your pic) every year around Holidays. Wipe it and it doesn’t return until the following year. Hope you have nothing major. Think you need to do the above and monitor.

    Its lots of work, but you’ll be stoked. My engine runs about 15° cooler with the flush and new radiator.
     
  22. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:06 AM
    #22
    jeremyd

    jeremyd 2014 Crewmax SR5

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    Don't want to sound negative but you could probably try anything you want at this point, because I think that motor is gonna have to be taken apart..
     
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  23. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:08 AM
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    Jrharvey02

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    We’re seriously scaring this guy into thinking he needs a new radiator when it’s likely just the engine hasn’t cycled fully and most of the coolant is still within the block? OP, did you have the engine on for a short time just to back the truck up to check fluids or pull it into garage?
     
  24. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:09 AM
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    JohnLakeman

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    OP, and you, are actually low on coolant, but in OPs case no way to tell HOW low without removing the radiator cap. There is a hot and cold level marked on the overflow reservoir. The overflow reservoir should always have a level in it to keep air from being drawn into the cooling system. Air (oxygen) accelerates degradation of the coolant and corrosion inside your cooling system.
     
  25. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:11 AM
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    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    I can't tell if people are messing with me or serious? Some people say it's no big deal, and then I hear not to drive it and then engine needs to be pulled apart. Is this sarcasm or are you serious, as I'm taking the replies here to heart. Thanks
     
  26. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:11 AM
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    Jrharvey02

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    Nope, my coolant level is just short of the “FULL” mark when properly cycled and engine is warm and fluids are checked properly. It’s when I have the engine on for a short duration like to pull it into the garage or back it out that it will show below the bottom line.
     
  27. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:12 AM
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    jeremyd

    jeremyd 2014 Crewmax SR5

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    I'm dead serious, Low coolant and milkshake in the cap, negative Rampart..
     
  28. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:13 AM
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    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    I removed the radiator cap. It's in the last pic. There is only a tiny amount of pink fluid at the bottom of it.
     
  29. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:13 AM
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    Professional Hand Model

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    The coolant level was below L for how long in your opinion?

    upload_2021-3-18_9-11-28.jpg

    Does this orange color look normal to you?

    upload_2021-3-18_9-12-44.jpg
     
  30. Mar 18, 2021 at 6:13 AM
    #30
    ajnc

    ajnc [OP] New Member

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    Yeah I ran it for like 30 seconds and shut it off without even moving the truck. Then took these photos
     
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