2000 Toyota Camry V6 3.0 engine, Coolant empty:?

Tiny
LISZT85
  • 2000 TOYOTA CAMRY

Engine Cooling problem
2000 Toyota Camry 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 117700 miles

Hi,

I just bought a used Camry XLE V6, 3.0 yesterday. I didn't check the fluid levels before I bought it. I drove the car 150 miles back to my place. I opened the hood today and saw that the coolant was empty.

I did take it to Firestone yesterday before buying it. The mechanic told me that the tires needed changing but the vehicle was otherwise in great shape.

Do you think the mechanic would have told me if he had found the coolant to be empty? If so, do you think the coolant leaked and emptied during the 150 mile trip? If so, how should I proceed from here?

Thanks.

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 AT 10:03 AM

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Tiny
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Hi liszt85,

Thank you for the donation.

First thing you need to do is top up the coolant and bleed the system by running the engine with radiator cap OFF. When coolant level drops, top it up, continue until the coolant stabilises then close the rtadiator cap.

Is the recovery tank dry as well or only the radiator side is low?

If the recovery tank is low, then it might not be too bad and hopefully you have not damaged the head gaskets. Get a pressure test done to check for leakages and rectif accordingly.

If the recovery tank is full and only the radiator is empty, it could be bad news, the head gasket could be bad. Check if the radiator cap is bad.

The Firestone mechanic could have missed out checking the radiator or it was good and a leak occurred on the way resulting in the loss. A pressure test should confirm if there are any leakages.

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 AT 10:29 AM
Tiny
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I have no idea about cars. And I don't know where to look for the recovery tank. Do you have a diagram that could help me locate these things that you are talking about?

Thanks.

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 AT 10:41 AM
Tiny
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Sorry I could not find any diagrams to show you.

At the radiator cap, there is a hose coming out of the filler neck. Follow the hose and you would come to the recovery tank ( coolant reservoir).

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 AT 11:01 AM
Tiny
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So let me explain to you what I see.

I see a white plastic (or some such translucent material) tank that says "coolant". It looks like a 2 gallon can of juice. The fluid in it is empty.

There is a hose that starts at the bottom of this tank that follows into something that has a cap, I opened the cap to find fluid at the top, so I assume that container has a full level of fluid in it.

So from what you said, I'm guessing I initially looked at the recovery tank (with "coolant" printed on it). So the recovery tank is probably the one that is empty. Am I right?

If that's the case, it probably just needs a refill? My wife tells me that it was empty at the time we saw the car initially. So its not a leak on the way here. Please let me know what you think. I apologize for the ignorance. I've never owned a car before (The first one I owned was bought a month ago but I sold it because I wasn't happy with it).

Thanks.

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 AT 12:15 PM
Tiny
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The reservoir is empty and the radiator is full as per your decription

The recovery tank is also called the reservoir and has the words " Coolant" printed on it. It has a MIN and MAX line in at the sides. The coolant is meant to be between the 2 lines under normal circumstances.

Top up the coolant to the specified level and you are ready to go.

If the tank is dry, it usually points to a minor leak in the cooling system and usual places would be hose joints. Look out for signs of coolant leakages, they would be indicated by formation of white/reddish powder if the coolant used is Toyota original red colored.

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 AT 12:42 PM
Tiny
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Thanks! That was very helpful. I have a new question:

What tires would you recommend for a 2000 Camry XLE, V6 3.0, with 118K miles on it? I live in a place where the winters are quite extreme with a lot of snowfall. The summers are warm, sometimes humid, sometimes dry. I drive smooth, brake smooth (so the braking distance is slightly longer when I drive), and usually drive at constant speeds, not making huge accelerations/decelerations.

What's your opinion about the Firestone Affinity Touring P205/60R16 tires?

Reduced noise and all season handling is important as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks.

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010 AT 3:30 PM
Tiny
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Sorry I am located in a different continent so is unable to help you on this.

I am not familiar of the actual conditions over there and the tire that you mentioned is not found here so I am not able to comment.

Hope someone else who reads this can give you some idea.

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+1
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 AT 6:10 AM
Tiny
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Thanks for all the excellent advice so far.

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 AT 7:01 AM
Tiny
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You're welcome and glad to be of help.

Have a nice day.

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 AT 7:12 AM
Tiny
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Hi,

I have a question about something different. The seller told me that the CEL came on a few days before the sale. He took it to the dealer and got some code and the dealer told him that the code meant that he had to replace the charcoal canister. The dealer gave him a quote of $400 to do it but told him that it wouldn't be a problem even if he didn't change it. I have two questions:

1) Is it true that its not problematic not to replace the charcoal canister? What would you advise me to do?

2) Is the estimate of $400 a fair one? How much does a toyota part cost?

Thanks.

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 AT 3:56 PM
Tiny
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Get a free scan done at Autozone and let me know the EXACt trouble code so I can understand what is wrong. Withoutunderstanding the cause of the CEL I am not able to comment.

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 AT 9:37 AM
Tiny
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Results of the autozone scan:

Troubleshooting P0446
OEM Brand: Toyota

Definition
Evaporative emission control system vent control
circuit fault

Probable Cause
Open or short circuit condition
Poor electrical connection
Faulty CCV vent control solenoid.

Thanks.

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 AT 3:18 PM
Tiny
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P0446 = EVAP vent control circuit.

The diagnostic procedure is rather lengthy and I would suggest you try the folowing first before going to diagnostics.

At rear there is the pressure switching valve VSV. Check if it is bad.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/192750_VSV_1.jpg

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 AT 7:00 AM
Tiny
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Two questions:

1) Where on the car is the valve (by "rear", what do you mean exactly)? What tools do I need to get there?

2) How do I check if its bad? Just a visual inspection? IF so, what do I look for?

Thanks.

P.S: Once again, I apologize for my ignorance. It should be quite clear by now that I have no idea whatsoever about cars and car repair!

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 AT 8:46 AM
Tiny
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It is located on bracket at charcoal canister near fuel tank and contains 2-pin electrical connector with Violet and Black/Yellow wire.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/192750_EVAPFuelTankComp00CamryFig142a_1.jpg



Look out for broken wires, damaged valve or diasconnected/contaminated wire couplers.

Don't feel bad about not knowing anything about cars. It is never too late to learn and the best way to learn is to ask.

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010 AT 9:25 AM
Tiny
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I went ahead and got engine diagnostics done at the local mechanic's. Here are the results and the estimates that I received. Please tell me what you think.

He says that the oil seals are leaking oil and that the water pump seems to be leaking a bit. He also told me that the back tires are cupping and that it means just one thing: the rear struts are bad and need to be replaced.

The CEL is on and will go away if the closed vacuum switching valve is replaced and the sway bar links on two sides need to be changed but these, he said, aren't crucial but the water pump, seals and the struts are crucial and need to be changed before the winter. He also tells me that its better to use the green coolant because the red one eats into the water pump due to its acidic nature and so he recommends a cooling system flush to replace it with the green stuff and he says that the red coolant is responsible for the water pump leak. Here are the estimates:

Labor:
Item Unit price Total

Rear struts $78 $234

Water pump $78 $351
(includes replacing front oil seals, water pump and serpentine belts)

CSFF $39 $39
(Cooling system flush and fill)

Mount and balance tires $15 $30

PARTS:
Item Unit Price Total

Timing Cover Set $15.58 $15.58
(ref TCS 45890)

Timing Cover Set $23.80 $23.80
(ref TCS45889)

Quick Struts (2) $224.56 $449.12

Water Pump (new) $109.52 $109.52

Belt $20.73 $20.73

Belt $19.73 $19.73

Anti $14.99 $22.49
(Coolant)

Tires (2) $94.56 $189.12
(Uniroyal Touring 75000 mile tread warranty)

Labor total: $654.00
Parts total: $1136.21 (Discount: $286.12)
Parts less discount: $850.09
Shop supply charge: $39.80
Sales tax: $104.21

TOTAL ESTIMATE: $1654.10

(The estimate with the other stuff like the sway bar links, the vacuum switching valve, etc total to $800 but he told me that those were not necessary immediately and I could do without them for quite some time).

Let me know if this is a fair estimate and if you think his recommendations are precise.

Thanks.

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Saturday, August 28th, 2010 AT 2:45 PM
Tiny
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The estimate for the work and the items recommended for repair seems reasonable but be prepared for some unexpected cost as during the work, some other things might crop up.

I would agree about the coolant, the green type is better.

For the struts, you ought to have the bushings and alignment checked first.

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Saturday, August 28th, 2010 AT 3:33 PM
Tiny
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He checked the alignment, and it was alright. I don't know about the bushing but he usually looks at that, so I'm guessing he looked at all of that too. So the tires probably cupped due to the struts being bad, am I right? So he told me to get the struts before I put on new tires.

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Saturday, August 28th, 2010 AT 3:40 PM
Tiny
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Cupping are usually caused by struts or the tire itself. You can perform a bounce test on the struts and if it takes some time before the bouncing stop, the struts is bad. Look out for signs of oil leakages at the struts to confirm.

Yes, the strut should be replaced before the tires.

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Saturday, August 28th, 2010 AT 3:52 PM
Tiny
LISZT85
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The estimate for the parts that I got for the rear struts was as follows:

Part no. 271680 Quick strut $224.56
Part no. 271681 Quick strut $224.56
(W/ Chassis # SXV20 W/Chassis #VCV20 W/Chassis#MCV20)

I don't understand what's in the brackets, could you please explain?

It says $225 for a pair, does it mean that I'll spend just $225 for BOTH quick struts if I buy from that ebay seller? Please advise if this is a good idea.

Thanks.

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Monday, August 30th, 2010 AT 7:25 AM

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