1989 Toyota Camry Blown Radiator Not Enough

Tiny
YAHIA
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  • 1989 TOYOTA CAMRY
Engine Cooling problem
1989 Toyota Camry 4 cyl Automatic 211000 miles

I noticed my car would be steaming from near the radiator end at stop signs and after parking. Then while driving on the freeway, it overheated and the radiator exploded. Luckily, no one was harmed. Anyhow, I replaced the radiator myself, replaced new fluid in 50/50 mix with water, inspected for leaks (none), but now the car wont start, engine just turns over. Mechanic says its a broken head gasket, which will run about 350$ to fix, but I need to be sure that's the reason its not starting before I drop more cash on it. Is head gasket a reasonable cause for not starting? Could it be anything else?
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Sunday, March 30th, 2008 AT 3:36 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
BLACKOP555
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Sounds like a blown headgasket to me, I thought that right away when you said the radiator exploded and wouldnt start.

If you have a bad headgasket, then theres no compression, and no compression equals no run.

You can perform a compression test on the cylinders to find out if its bad.
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Sunday, March 30th, 2008 AT 6:16 PM
Tiny
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. Minor detail:

after the radiator blew, camry was sitting idle roadside and I tried the ignition. It turned on like usual, only with check engine lights.

It was only AFTER towing and replacing the radiator and putting new coolant that the engine stopped turning on. That's what's got me stumped. Is this normal for a head gasket? Why would compression issues not stop ignition before? Is the new coolant the proverb straw that broke the camel's back?
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Sunday, March 30th, 2008 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
BLACKOP555
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Uhh is the check engine light still on?

That is not a minor detail! It could be due to compression, or it could be duel to some sensors and relays that got soaked when the coolant exploded, or somethign wasnt hooked up right, check all connectors and dry all fuses and relays.
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Monday, March 31st, 2008 AT 7:14 AM
Tiny
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I guess my real question is this: After the radiator blew, my car would still START. Now that I replaced the radiator and fluid, it WONT start (engine turns over with key in ignition, but does not run). Why is this? And is it normal?

I looked up and bought everything I need for compression testing, and will be doing both dry and wet tests soon. Looking for bad compression in two adjacent cylinders as signature of blown head gasket. Still don't understand why blown head gasket would not have prevented engine from running with the old radiator, but does prevent running with new radiator.
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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 AT 3:33 AM
Tiny
YAHIA
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This MIGHT be it. After removing the blown radiator, I noticed the explosion had sprayed rust-filled rad fluid all over the engine and underside of hood.

So I decided to spray water all over the open engine to clean off the rust stains. I didn't know what I was doing at the time, but after some reading, now Im pretty sure I soaked my distributor.

THEN the next day I installed the new radiator and 50/50 fluid, and tried the ignition only to find that it turned but didnt ignite.

Could A WET DISTRIBUTOR (instead of a blown head gasket) be whats preventing ignition?

Or could I have shorted an ignition relay switch?

Or is it certain to be the head gasket?

I'm still going to run a compression test, but my guess is that the telltale sign of bad head gasket (low compression in 2 adjacent cylinders) will not be present.

Does that sound pretty reasonable?
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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 AT 4:28 AM
Tiny
BLACKOP555
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That is very helpful information!

Are you getting bright blue spark at all cylinders?

No spark = you soaked the coil, distributor, relays.
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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 AT 7:11 AM

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