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Neon Lime Green/yellow Fluid Leak - Solved


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#1 gcams

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 03:22 PM

I have just spent the afternoon troubleshooting a potential fluid leak from my Toyota Rav4.2 and I've just found the solution. The cause of the apparent fluid leak was so unlikely, I decided to post it here in case it saves somebody else the same stress!

The situation began with the recent snowy weather, which resulted in me taking the Rav out a few times in the snow (and it handled the snow nicely I might add!). Much to my distress, I noticed that the Rav seemed to be dropping a bright neon green/yellow liquid into the snow! The leak was central (left to right) and was evidenced by little pools left in the snow behind the track of the vehicle:

Posted Image
Posted Image

I was so concerned, I even had toyota booked for tomorrow morning to investigate a potential leak. The thing that was really bugging me about the whole situation was the fact that the fluid did not match the colour of any of the common fluids in the vehicle! My coolent is bright red, oil is brown, power steering fluid is even darker and I was able to rule out brake/clutch fluid by putting a very small amount of fresh brake fluid on the snow. Whilst it does leave a yellow smudge, it's not nearly as "neon" as the marks left in the snow above.

Anyway, after much googling, scratching of head, climbing under the car on snowbound ground (fun.. NOT!), I have finally solved it. Please don't ask me to explain the science, but the cause of this apparent fluid deposit is staggeringly simple and benign!

When the rusty heat-sheld, at the base of the exhaust manifold (where it "hangs down" at the front underside of the vehicle) comes into contact with snow (which of course happens when driving in deep snow), it sticks to the shield. Within 30-60 seconds, it turns into the bright yellow/green colour seen in the pics above. Eventually the snow drops off and leaves chunks of coloured snow, making it look like my beloved Rav was leaking some thing into the snow!

Posted Image

In the pic above (simulated by me putting a handful of snow on the heat-sheld after bringing the Rav up to temp), you can see this transformation of snow colour taking place. There are definitely no foreign liquids coming into contact with the snow. The colour change takes place simply out of contact with the hot, rusty heat-shield!

So if you see neon yellow/green snow behind your Rav, whilst it would be worth checking it's NOT a genuine fluid leak, it could well be the above!

Hope this saves somebody the hours of work I just spent, finding I didn't have an issue! :censor: :D I should have had more faith in Toyota's engineering! :)

Cheers,
Graham

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#2 Davrav

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:01 PM

I have just spent the afternoon troubleshooting a potential fluid leak from my Toyota Rav4.2 and I've just found the solution. The cause of the apparent fluid leak was so unlikely, I decided to post it here in case it saves somebody else the same stress!

The situation began with the recent snowy weather, which resulted in me taking the Rav out a few times in the snow (and it handled the snow nicely I might add!). Much to my distress, I noticed that the Rav seemed to be dropping a bright neon green/yellow liquid into the snow! The leak was central (left to right) and was evidenced by little pools left in the snow behind the track of the vehicle:

Posted Image
Posted Image

I was so concerned, I even had toyota booked for tomorrow morning to investigate a potential leak. The thing that was really bugging me about the whole situation was the fact that the fluid did not match the colour of any of the common fluids in the vehicle! My coolent is bright red, oil is brown, power steering fluid is even darker and I was able to rule out brake/clutch fluid by putting a very small amount of fresh brake fluid on the snow. Whilst it does leave a yellow smudge, it's not nearly as "neon" as the marks left in the snow above.

Anyway, after much googling, scratching of head, climbing under the car on snowbound ground (fun.. NOT!), I have finally solved it. Please don't ask me to explain the science, but the cause of this apparent fluid deposit is staggeringly simple and benign!

When the rusty heat-sheld, at the base of the exhaust manifold (where it "hangs down" at the front underside of the vehicle) comes into contact with snow (which of course happens when driving in deep snow), it sticks to the shield. Within 30-60 seconds, it turns into the bright yellow/green colour seen in the pics above. Eventually the snow drops off and leaves chunks of coloured snow, making it look like my beloved Rav was leaking some thing into the snow!

Posted Image

In the pic above (simulated by me putting a handful of snow on the heat-sheld after bringing the Rav up to temp), you can see this transformation of snow colour taking place. There are definitely no foreign liquids coming into contact with the snow. The colour change takes place simply out of contact with the hot, rusty heat-shield!

So if you see neon yellow/green snow behind your Rav, whilst it would be worth checking it's NOT a genuine fluid leak, it could well be the above!

Hope this saves somebody the hours of work I just spent, finding I didn't have an issue! :censor: :D I should have had more faith in Toyota's engineering! :)

Cheers,
Graham


Useful info. Graham and remember, never eat yellow snow :rolleyes:

#3 three5

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 05:21 PM

I have just spent the afternoon troubleshooting a potential fluid leak from my Toyota Rav4.2 and I've just found the solution. The cause of the apparent fluid leak was so unlikely, I decided to post it here in case it saves somebody else the same stress!

The situation began with the recent snowy weather, which resulted in me taking the Rav out a few times in the snow (and it handled the snow nicely I might add!). Much to my distress, I noticed that the Rav seemed to be dropping a bright neon green/yellow liquid into the snow! The leak was central (left to right) and was evidenced by little pools left in the snow behind the track of the vehicle:

Posted Image
Posted Image

I was so concerned, I even had toyota booked for tomorrow morning to investigate a potential leak. The thing that was really bugging me about the whole situation was the fact that the fluid did not match the colour of any of the common fluids in the vehicle! My coolent is bright red, oil is brown, power steering fluid is even darker and I was able to rule out brake/clutch fluid by putting a very small amount of fresh brake fluid on the snow. Whilst it does leave a yellow smudge, it's not nearly as "neon" as the marks left in the snow above.

Anyway, after much googling, scratching of head, climbing under the car on snowbound ground (fun.. NOT!), I have finally solved it. Please don't ask me to explain the science, but the cause of this apparent fluid deposit is staggeringly simple and benign!

When the rusty heat-sheld, at the base of the exhaust manifold (where it "hangs down" at the front underside of the vehicle) comes into contact with snow (which of course happens when driving in deep snow), it sticks to the shield. Within 30-60 seconds, it turns into the bright yellow/green colour seen in the pics above. Eventually the snow drops off and leaves chunks of coloured snow, making it look like my beloved Rav was leaking some thing into the snow!

Posted Image

In the pic above (simulated by me putting a handful of snow on the heat-sheld after bringing the Rav up to temp), you can see this transformation of snow colour taking place. There are definitely no foreign liquids coming into contact with the snow. The colour change takes place simply out of contact with the hot, rusty heat-shield!

So if you see neon yellow/green snow behind your Rav, whilst it would be worth checking it's NOT a genuine fluid leak, it could well be the above!

Hope this saves somebody the hours of work I just spent, finding I didn't have an issue! :censor: :D I should have had more faith in Toyota's engineering! :)

Cheers,
Graham

Excellent post Graham - and welcome to TOC GB. We must have more members north of the border than south of it! It must have been quite a relief when you solved that one!

#4 anchorman

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

Are you sure the cat doesn't sleep there?

#5 gcams

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:45 PM

Useful info. Graham and remember, never eat yellow snow :rolleyes:


:yes: LOL, you're not wrong there Davrav.. definitely good advice!! :)


Excellent post Graham - and welcome to TOC GB. We must have more members north of the border than south of it! It must have been quite a relief when you solved that one!


Many thanks three5! It sure was a relief as I was conviced by the appearance of the snow right down the street, I had a real issue! It's bizarre and I've no idea why the hot heat shield is having that effect on the snow. It's a very convincing automotive fluid look-alike, that's for sure!


Are you sure the cat doesn't sleep there?

:lol: Definitely achorman.. I made that little batch of yellow snow in the photo all by myself (no excessive beer consumption required!) :). It's also completely odourless, which I believe isn't the case when it comes to cat-oriented yellow snow. :) I'm wondering now how many folk have ended up getting their vehicles checked for fluid leaks on the back of this rather odd phenomenon! Or maybe I'm the only one odd enough to notice the "pee" trail left behind my Rav. :)

#6 Davrav

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 07:18 PM


Useful info. Graham and remember, never eat yellow snow :rolleyes:


:yes: LOL, you're not wrong there Davrav.. definitely good advice!! :)


Excellent post Graham - and welcome to TOC GB. We must have more members north of the border than south of it! It must have been quite a relief when you solved that one!


Many thanks three5! It sure was a relief as I was conviced by the appearance of the snow right down the street, I had a real issue! It's bizarre and I've no idea why the hot heat shield is having that effect on the snow. It's a very convincing automotive fluid look-alike, that's for sure!


Are you sure the cat doesn't sleep there?

:lol: Definitely achorman.. I made that little batch of yellow snow in the photo all by myself (no excessive beer consumption required!) :). It's also completely odourless, which I believe isn't the case when it comes to cat-oriented yellow snow. :) I'm wondering now how many folk have ended up getting their vehicles checked for fluid leaks on the back of this rather odd phenomenon! Or maybe I'm the only one odd enough to notice the "pee" trail left behind my Rav. :)



Wonder if it's a reaction to the Sulphur dioxide produced in the CAT[alytic] converter :unsure:
Any chemists out there?

#7 Big Kev

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:11 PM

Excellent bit of info, Graham, thanks and welcome, but......

Imagine the scenario....I am your new next door neighbour (you don't want that....bear with me....)

I see you crawling about under your car in 18" of snow..."what a sphinctus" I would think.

Then you appear from under the car with a honful of yellow snow, and you stand there sniffing it....

House back up for sale, what....?

Big Kev :lol:

#8 gcams

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 08:19 PM

Wonder if it's a reaction to the Sulphur dioxide produced in the CAT[alytic] converter :unsure:
Any chemists out there?

It's interesting you mention that Davrav, because when I was doing some googling about it, I came across a ford truck website which steered me towards this being caused by the heat shield. That forum mentioned Sulphur Dioxide as well so you could well be on the money here! Good thought!!

Excellent bit of info, Graham, thanks and welcome, but......

Imagine the scenario....I am your new next door neighbour (you don't want that....bear with me....)

I see you crawling about under your car in 18" of snow..."what a sphinctus" I would think.

Then you appear from under the car with a honful of yellow snow, and you stand there sniffing it....

House back up for sale, what....?

Big Kev :lol:

ROFL!! :lol: :lol: The only thing is Big Kev, my neighbours are used to me doing bizarro things in my driveway. They watched me cut a hole in the roof of my Rav last year and stick a 7 metre pnumatic mast in it. Me sniffing yellow snow would likely come as no surprise at all to them. :yahoo: :lol:

#9 junebug1701

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 05:51 AM

I just checked with my son who teaches chemistry and physics. He says maybe it's a reaction to road salt? Do they use road salt there? The heat shield could be coated with it. He says, "chemical reactions with salts can produce colorful precipitates." Also he said it could have something to do with the sulphur dioxide or other gasses produced by the cat. Other people have reported a similar occurrence. This one is from a Nissan forum:

http://www.clubfront...d-w-pics-56196/

And this one from a Honda forum:

http://www.driveacco...148&postcount=5

#10 bluevortex

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for the info - I have noticed lime/neon coloured snow this week on my driveway!

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