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Bridget&Sue

Please Help Me Diagnose Our Problem - 1994 Toyota Celica Gt

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Last Summer we went on a banger rally in our beautiful Toyota Celica GT, 1994, we did 3,000 plus miles across France, Gorge du Verdon, Stelvio Pass, Venice, Rome then drove back across Switzerland and back to Cornwall and this car did not blink. We thanked her every night and kissed her and totally fell in love with her. Used her occasionally after until the tax ran out, then parked her up over the winter. Plenty of antifreeze in, but outside, in Cornwall where it doesn't get that cold.

Booked her in for an MOT last Monday and took her for a drive on Saturday prior, to clean up the discs and she overheated. I checked the Oil but for some bimbo reason didn't check the coolant, so don't know what the level of that was. Rescued by AA who said head gasket had gone in his opinion. She went for MOT and passed with no work required.

So now we are trying to diagnose/repair this fault/s. First thing was the fans weren't coming on properly, so replaced the relay. They now come on if you start her up and leave her ticking over, she does not overheat at tick over. Then someone suggested I try "SteelSeal" which is guaranteed to fix head gasket leaks, so I did, followed their instructions to the letter and the mixture started to go gloopy before it was all in the radiator so I stopped, but some gloop went in. They said it was because the weather was warm and I was the flush the system to get rid of it all, which I did several times with both water and radflush.

A FUNNY THING - When I have drained and refilled the cooling system I can only get 2.5 litres in instead of the required 6 litres, any ideas about that?

NEXT I replaced the thermostat and it was broken, it was also blocked up with this SteelSeal rubbish. So replaced this, drove it, no difference, same problem.

NEXT I replaced the radiator, still can only get 2.5 litres coolant in, drove it, same problem. Engine overheating, water boiling.

If the head gasket has gone I will get it done, but in the meantime could it be the water pump is not working and how can I tell? How can I tell if the head gasket has gone?

I am the most distraught person at the moment, my lovely car, please help with any theories, I'll try them all. I have got it booked into the garage but they can't have her until 25th June which seems like a lifetime away.

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Did you bleed the system? Sounds like a massive Air Lock to me...

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Hi, thanks for your reply. The Toyota garage told me they are self bleeding but if there's something else I can try please tell me. The car still starts and drives perfectly, until it overheats, so before I go down the head gasket route I want to eliminate everything else. If the water pump wasn't working would that cause this problem? HOW DO I GET AN AIR LOCK OUT OF THE SYSTEM? PLEASE TELL!

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Hi, try,when the engine is cold,removing the water filler cap and after topping up the water level start the engine with the cap off.

Do not lean over the engine whil'st you do this as if the head gasket has gone water will shoot out!!!

If this does not happen and the water in there drops,leave the engine running and top up with warm water(not cold) and do not wait before doing this.This will mean you are topping up any shortage.If you let the engine get hot before you do this there is a risk of being scalded as the water hits the hot engine where there is no water to cool it internally

Hope this is of help

Del

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I would have thought that if the waterpump had gone you would have had a loud noise coming from the cambelt area.

Ever time i've known someones water pump to go it has actually seized and taken the cambelt with it.

If the headgasket has gone you will find water in your Oil or Oil in your water. Either way when the two mix they emulsify and create an egg like gunk.

To bleed the system take off the rad cap with the engine cold and top up the radiator all the way to the top. It helps if you are on a slight incline to get the front of the car higher than the rear.

Start the car and let the engine start getting up to temperature. Watch the water in the rad and when the water level goes down keep topping it up (its impossible to over fil the rad). You should squeeze the top rad hose occationally so that any trapped air is forced out.

Once you get to a point where you dont seem to be able to get any more in (shouldnt be more than 5mins) put the rad cap back on and turn the interior heater up to full heat with the air vents all open facing forwards and the blower on full.

As the water heats up it will eventually force out any air lock in the heater matrix or engine block out and you should get properly hot air blowing from the dash.

At this point stop the engine and let it cool. Come back to it in a few hours and check the water level. Top it up to the top again and that should be it.

If you dont get hot air coming out of your blower then there may be a blockage in the heater matrix.

If the water in the radiator doesnt get hot or the car overheats but there is no headgasket gunk (as explained above) then its most likely the thermostat has failed and become stuck shut. A replacement is less than £20 off ebay.

Hope this helps.

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Just another thought and I am ashamed not to have mentioned it, have you checked the radiator cap?

Excuse me if I am stating the obvious to you,but the water reaches boiling point when it is running.

To stop the water boiling away the rad cap keeps the system under pressure.

Therefore if the cap is not doing this the water will boil and as a result it may have damaged the cap or seal when first it overheated,which could be due to a fault you have already corrected

Del

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Thanks everyone. We have replaced the radiator with a new better one and the radiator cap, we have replaced the thermostat but we still have this problem. I have tried all the topping up with the engine running with the nose of the car higher than the back end.

There is no Oil in the water or vice versa, BUT when I was having another fiddle with it the other day I started it, let it run for about 1 1/2 minutes, turned it off, took the rad cap off and I could definitely see fumes coming from the radiator, so this will be combustion gases won't it? Which means the head gasket is gone, doesn't it? Sob sob ......

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Sure it wasnt just vapour from the water heating up?

If there is no mayo under the rad cap or the Oil cap then it isnt a headgasket issue.

Did you have the heater on when bleeding it? Did you get any heat coming out the vents? Did the rad fans kick in?

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You are right.Leeky, this can happen sometimes when a head gasket fails but I am sure you will agree that there has to be a breach between the compression gasses,oil and water channels.

If the fault lies just between a cylinder and water channel only,surely this will only create extreme pressure in the cooling system which will cause the rad cap to release that pressure by expelling water.

As an aside,I can remember the early minis used to suffer with the "mayo malaise" and was caused,I think,by cold air hitting the rocker cover which was of course sideways on and there was no rad to warm it.

I would also think it was the best idea for the OP to get his nailed asap,as the head could be damaged beyond rectification.

Del

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