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Thread: Coolant Reservoir Leak

  1. #21
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I was under the impression that the sensors and grommets were no longer available? I'd replace it down the line but honestly I haven't worried about it too much since the patched tank hasn't leaked and since the coolant is pretty quick and easy to check often. Also, I didn't have any problems with my van running hot this winter so I haven't been paranoid about it, Florida summer will probably change that though...

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    By reading the topics on this forum posted concerning the reservoir, I was also under the impression that the parts weren't available. But tim posting that coolant sensor with grommit was good news. I thought my van was destined to not have one of these. Another interesting thing I thought of is that while my van has been in the shop, my mechanic put a tank from another vehicle into this one, and he said it fits perfectly. The only thing, however, is that it does not have a spot for a sensor to go into. But if this is close enough to the size and shape of the original tank, maybe a spot can be made or drilled out for a sensor to go into the new tank, thus giving a good solution to replacing both the reservoir tank and the sensor and grommit. I am not sure what part number he used or what vehicle the tank was made for, but I can find out and see if there's a way to put the sensor and grommit into the new tank. Although, I am not planning on doing this as a particular solution for my van. Since my old tank is in good shape, we will go with using that one, but I can take a look at the original tank, and then the new one and see what the differences are and if the new one can be manipulated to take a sensor.

  3. #23
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    Yeah, sorry about the bad info. I don't remember who, but I remember somebody reporting these as NLA before. It wasn't until I checked myself that I found they were still available (of course some might consider these unavailable simply due to price). FWIW, these tanks never fail. It's always the grommets that become a problem. I just wish you could get those alone. Sucks paying $100+ for a stupid $3 grommet. I may look into this later to see if something else can be used here. If I can find something with the correct ID, the tank can always be drilled bigger to match the OD. Tim

    PS: When the tank gets dirty inside, it's easy to clean by inserting marble sized pebbles, adding some water/soap solution, then shaking the hell out of it. A few minutes of shaking will make the tank as clean as new (at least on the inside). Tim

  4. #24
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    Hi Tim and TVT'ers,

    I remember a post either here on TVT or TVP where a van owner had a write-up on using
    clumping cat litter to clean-out the coolant reservoir. IIRC, it seemed to be a very good solution...
    "You came in that thing?... You're braver than I thought!" - Princess Leia

  5. #25
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    Yeah, I remember that thread. The name "SlugLoaf" comes to mind. Just use that name in your search and I'm sure the post will pop right up . Tim

  6. #26
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    Checked my coolant level when repairing my air hose, still holding tight since august 2013 with a little jb weld cocktail sealing off the sensor hole. I have a spare tank I pulled from pick n'pull a while back incase I ever get a new sensor and grommet. The one from pick n' pull was plugged with a home spun wooden cork that was epoxied to the hole haha, coolant soaked through the wood and slowly leaked though so I guess this is an age old dilemma. Checking the coolant tank regularly works for me though, other $100+ parts are higher on my list!

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    If you ran wine through your coolant system, the cork would definitely have worked!

  8. #28
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    "You came in that thing?... You're braver than I thought!" - Princess Leia

  9. #29
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I thought I would share this interesting story. So those who have read my posts previously know I had a generic tank put in place of the original coolant reservoir tank. I took a very quick glance at it this morning before making a drive from San Diego up to LA to pick my friends up from the airport. About 1/3 the way up there, i look down and *crap!!!!* my engine is overheating. Its working its way towards the red. I pull over and open everything up. I called my mechanic because work was just done on this and I wanted to find out if they had any suggestions as to why. My mechanic actually wasn't in, so I talked to the guy just taking calls. He wasn't able to give me too much advice, except to confirm that the fluid in the reservoir doesn't need to just be full, but needs to be able to be pulled back into the cooling system. Well the new tank was installed with the fill-cap kitty-cornered on the top front of the tank and the hole for the tube going to the radiator cap was on the TOP rear side of the tank, and the tank was completely full. I noticed also that the tank had holding tabs on it that allowed it to be installed in different orientations. And then it hit me... The tube going to the tank is only going to the top of the tank where the air bubble is and not sucking any more fluid because the tube doesn't go down into the tank, but was only clamped onto the top. So the tank was actually installed wrong, and no coolant was able to be sucked back into the cooling system. I realized it should be an easy fix, so i unattached the plastic tank from the metal bracket holding it and went to turn it around so that the cap side was still kitty-cornered on top front, but rotated so that the other hole going to the radiator cap was on the bottom of the tank. But now the tube was too short and was kinking when i tried to make it fit back in place, plus the tube was making some direct contact on some pretty hot parts of the engine. So I took my GPS and found the nearest Autozone and tried to hold the coolant tank up for a few minutes to get as much coolant back into the coolant system by gravity, put the reservoir tank back the way it was, then blasted my heat and prayed a lot and drove to the Autozone less than 2 miles away. I got the tubing twice as long as the original. Lucky I had a tool kit with me and I did the repair right there in the Autozone parking lot. Worked like a charm and didn't overheat anymore, now that it could push and pull fluid to and from the reservoir. I drove up to LA and was sure I was so late, but my friends ran into long lines at the US customs, so we ended up getting there before they came out of the gates. It worked perfectly. Sorry for the rant, but I just thought it was an interesting experience, and I am so lucky that the problem was such a stupid, but simple thing to fix. Maybe some day this story could help you out.

  10. #30
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I just fixed a silly problem with my tank today too! I recently started having to add fluid directly to my radiator even though the reservoir was at the full mark. Not a lot, just a couple of ounces now and then. I got a new radiator cap (which I needed regardless, the old one was trashed) and kept looking for leaks to no avail. Eventually I realized the reservoir level was always exactly the same! Sure enough, the hose between it and the engine was badly clogged. Nothing was getting through there. Most of the clog was in the tank's cap so it was easy enough to clear out and I'm hopeful that this will solve the problem.

  11. #31
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    It struck me as a little funny, how we van owners probably look at our temperature gauge, how other drivers look at their speedometers and gas gauges

  12. #32
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I've rigged up alarm systems on 2 of my vans to alert me if/when engine temp reaches 220 deg F. Tim

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I'm trying to repair my own deteriorated coolant level sensor grommet ($100 for a new sensor and grommet feels too expensive to me for now, especially when there's nothing wrong with the sensor). My first attempt was to clean and dry everything, and then use what was left of the bottom piece of the grommet and a bunch of high temp black RTV to goop it liberally to try to seal it up:
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    I let it set, taped in place with masking tape, for a couple of days (RTV tube said 24 hours). I filled it with water and let it sit over a jar for a day: no leaks. I put it in service, and it leaked all of the coolant out before five miles had passed. Doh!

    The RTV had not adhered to the remains of the old rubber grommet. I suppose heating up worked the rubber a bit and the RTV's tenuous hold on the old rubber came undone.

    I'm searching for a standard grommet that will fit (3/4" Bore, 1/8" groove width, 1" groove diameter, thickness and OD don't matter), and if I find one and it works I'll post it. It would be missing the sleeve that surrounds the float (which I've read is supposed to keep the sensor from indicating low fluid under hard braking), but if it seals it'll be fine.

    If that doesn't work I'm going with the expandable rubber freeze plug suggested above.

    The plastic welding idea is a good one; the sensor bottom flange is actually a little bit wider than the hole so there may be enough material to weld without adding donor plastic.

    Thanks to all for the discussion and ideas.

    John

  14. #34
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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I've been running my expandable freeze plug for over a year now with no problems

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I got impatient with my search for a grommet...it's not the kind of item that's very common and I wasn't able to find one to try locally, so I shifted to trying just high-temp RTV to glue the sensor into the hole, leaving out the remnant of the original rubber this time. The base flange of the sensor assembly is slightly larger than the hole in the reservoir.

    I cleaned the RTV left from the first try, scrubbed the surfaces that would touch the RTV with ScotchBrite, and cleaned them with alcohol. Inserted the float partway in, then using Silco RTV 4500 high strength silicone sealant, a nice bead was run on the bottom of the reservoir around the hole, and a bead around the bottom of the sensor assembly (the part just above the bottom flange):
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    Gently pushed the sensor flange into the silicone, so there was still about 1/16th of an inch before the flange reached the tank surface, then used a small strip of cardboard to smear the silicone into a fillet around the flange:
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    I left it turned upside down like that for 24 hours, then turned it right side up and filled it with near-boiling water from the teapot, waited a half hour or so with no leakage, then capped the filler hole and shook it up and down pretty hard for a minute or so with no leakage. It feels pretty secure. I'll try it in the van and see how it does.

    If you've read this far, thanks for your patience...

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I don't want to jinx it or anything, but the silicone RTV fix has been holding for five months, including getting pretty warm in a late September trip over Sonora Pass in the Sierras (a couple of those grades are posted at 26%...first gear only).

    John

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    Nice work! I may try this as all three of mine leak and I'm too cheap(at the moment) to pay 100$ for a new one.

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    I agree $100 is kind of steep; so I thought about it and went to auto store and looked for something that I might be able to use as a replacement and I found a PVC Valve Grommet from Dorman #42313 that looked like a good fit (Pic1&2). I turned the grommet inside out and marked it with a pen (Pic3), than I cut out a groove with an exacto knife than filed it smooth (Pic4) and returned it to its original position (Pic5), I had to work it onto the top of the sensor by stretching it out and flipping it inside out than pushing to down the shaft and flipping it into position so the groove I filed out fit over the disk on the bottom of the sensor (Pic6) I had to use a small screwdriver to work it back into the tank (Pic7) filled the tank and placed it in a small bucket over night no leaks. Hope this helps Ralph
    Attached Images Attached Images        

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    Re: Coolant Reservoir Leak

    > filled the tank and placed it in a small bucket over night no leaks. Hope this helps Ralph

    Nice work, Ralph. I'm betting it'll seal well when hot, too.

    My RTV fix is still holding, haven't had to add coolant since.

    John

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    Coolant Level Sensor Replacement

    Ok, so I bought the new coolant level sensor from Toyota. The wires that lead to it have been hacked-up a few times so there is no connector to plug into the new sensor. I'm no electrician, so any guidance appreciated. Thanks!

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    "You came in that thing?... You're braver than I thought!" - Princess Leia

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