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92 Es300 Is Overheating! Need Help!


lex
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My 92 ES300 is overheating and spewing coolant out of the reserve tank!

At first it was a slow coolant leak. The dealer said it may be a headgasket leak, and recommended that they take apart the engine to find other sources of the problem for a minimum cost of $4100. Since thats nearly the cost of the car, I declined and I put in some StopLeak (the dry powder type) in the the radiator, and topped off the orange coolant. This seemed to slow down the leak a bit. I was able to drive around for a couple weeks fine.

Then a couple days ago, while driving I noticed the temp gauge going up to near the top and steam coming out of the hood. I parked and lifted the hood and noticed the the coolant in the reserve tank is boiling out. After it cools down to the point that it stops boiling. I put in some Prestone Liquid StopLeak and refilled the radiator with about one or two liters of orange cooling.

After filling up the radiator with the orange coolant. I can drive about 30 minutes on the mostly freeway before the temp sensor goes high and the coolant boils out of the reserve tank.

Do you think my waterpump is dead? Could it be that I clogged my radiator somehow with the StopLeak stuff? Also how do you tell if a radiator cap is bad? I don't see liquid coming out of the cap so I am assuming its fine. Thanks for any help!

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I would flush out all the stopleak and than put in a new thermostat. I than would fill up the radiator with plain water and see if this problem continues. If it doesn't than fill it up with the proper type of anti-freeze.

An improper opening thermostat will cause this type of problem.

Alan

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There are certain tests that you probably can't do yourself. At this point I would take the car to a reputable radiator shop to check out the radiator core. It might need to be backflushed, especially since you put in the stopleak.

The core has many fine passages for the flow of coolant and all it takes are a few clogged passages to let the heat build up slowly but surely. Radiator shops have a device to check the pressure cap.

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Thanks steviej, also I forgot to mention that I see quite a bit of white steam/smoke coming out of the exhaust, could this indicate that I really do have a headgasket leak? A pretty strong gas odor is present too.

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Yes, white smoke coming out of your tailpipe is a good indication that you have a significant head gasket leak. That's where your coolant is going. If you pull out the oil dipstick do you see any droplets of moisture alongside with the oil? If you open the oil filler cap do you see any moisture there as well? Even though you might not notice that it still points to the head gasket.

With so much coolant going into the cylinders it would cause your spark plugs to misfire and that would also give you a strong smell of gasoline.

Alan

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Thanks amf, I called up a non-dealer shop which estimated repair costs between $1000-1200. Does this sound right? In anycase I guess thats much better than the dealers price of $4100 minimum. :o

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As far as labor costs to do this job I can't be very helpful, but make sure the mechanic that does this job is skilled in this type of repair. :rolleyes:

Alan

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  • 2 weeks later...

This has happened to me!!!! UGH!!! I have a 1993. Thermostats start going out pretty quick!! Also! Make sure both front and rear radiator caps are good and the seals are not melted. I have had a new waterpump, couple of thermostats and new power steering hose put on. You should check into the power steering situation. The radiator fan on some early models are hydraulic and work off of your power steering pump. If you have a leak from your power steering you will have overheating problems. I have also had my gaskets replaced and there was no internal engine problems at all. All had to do with bad thermostats, water pump and that nasty leaking power steering hose. Chances are your waterpump and or power steeringpump is the bad guy

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have the same problem with coolant leaking internally. If you have recently change the water pump, thermostat, radiator, and radiator cap, then it is more likely the head gasket. Several auto repair shops estimated the job to be between $1200-$1500. What you need to ask them is for the price of the head gasket set and labor. You can save a lot of money by buying your own head gasket online or at the autoparts store. I got my head gasket set for $100 and the repair shop quoted me $300. Also, use your bargaining power on labor but don't do it on Friday or Saturday.

Monday is best because that is when their business is usually slow.

Total cost for the Head Gasket repair for 1992 Lexus ES300.

$100 Head Gasket Set

$400 Labor

$150 Machine Shop for the Valves (Optional but recommended)

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Yeah it was the head gasket, I finally got it fixed for $1700. Which included the following:

$700 labor

Replaced Head Gaskets

Resurfaced the heads

Replaced the entire radiator since it was all clogged with stop leak.

New radiator caps.

Radiator flushed and refilled.

Replaced dogbone engine mount.

Replaced air filter

Oil and filter.

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BTW after having done all that (also forgot to mention I got new Platinum spark plugs), when I start up the car and I step outside, I still notice a fairly strong gasoline odor. Anyone know what maybe causing that?

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also sometimes when i turn the key the engine won't start for a few seconds,and on the second turn it finally starts after a few more secs, but other times it starts right away. I didn't have this problem before the $1700 service that I mentioned above. Anyone know what might be causing this?

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sounds like a vacuum hose may be pinched, disconnected, or has a small hole. Could have happened during the head gasket replacement, as the fuel rail would have had to been moved out of the way. Take it back to the garage that performed the $1700 service and have them look at it, since this became apparent after they had it. They shouldn't charge you for it.

steviej

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  • 4 weeks later...

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