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Simple Question I Think?

Neil Clark

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Water checkin question........

I have always had fords and you just look in expansion bottle to check water but on my MR2 it says about checkin the water in the bottle thingy not at the cap. How do you see into the bottle thingy? do you still topup at the rad cap? or at the bottle? normal blue antifreeze ok?

Many thanks

Neil :D

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The cooling system expansion bottle is on the right hand side of the car in the engine bay, hidden against the rear wing. The easy way to tell the water level is to hold a torch just behind the engine and shine it onto the expansion bottle. The bottle has FULL and EMPTY marks. If it needs more coolant it should be topped up by the filler point, also on the right side of the engine bay. The filler point is the plastic clip-on top - not the radiator cap type filler point (only used when carrying out coolant replacement - best done every two years) which is located just next to it.

Note: In ten years I have never had to add coolant.

As stated - use only RED Toyota coolant. :thumbsup:

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Mr T's book says 7 litres for a 3S-GE, but the book does not refer specifically to the MR2. I normally buy 10 litres, which leaves enough to keep topping up the GT-Four intercooler. Mr T - if you are reading this there is a design fault with the intercooler and I am fed-up having to reset the ECU.

Fill from the "RADIATOR CAP" until the level is just below the cap. The expansion bottle should only be topped up after.

Remember - there is a lot of pipe work between the engine and the radiator, with plenty of places to trap air, so you will need to run the engine, stop, let it cool and then re-check the level. Normally about 3 times. When doing this set the heater to hot.


Also, keep a one litre bottle in the car for the first week or so.


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Apperantley the MR2 cooling system is complicated from what I read

Taken from the imoc.co.uk page:

Cooling System

The problem with the Mk2 is that the radiator is totally unprotected from stones, and a holed radiator is not cheap to fix. Many owners protect their radiator with a plastic or metal mesh.

2. Toyota recommend that only a special "ForLife" coolant is used in MR2's. ForLife is a dark red colour. Check the coolant expansion tank in the front boot and make sure it is not pale red or clear, or any other colour other than dark red/orange.

3. The coolant system is complicated in an MR2 as the engine is in the middle and the radiator at the front. Because of this, it requires a specific filling method to prevent air-locks. Check for overheating on your test drive.

Good luck man :thumbsup:

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Will do at weekend wish me luck!

After its done when using normally, i top up at the bottle? does the water go from the bottle back into the engine if the engine gets a little low (cant see how :ffs: )?

If i have a look theres water in the expansion bottle but if i take the rad cap off then the waters not right to the top, is this correct?

Many thanks


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Simple physics - as the coolant heats up it expands. Once all the gaps in the engine cooling system are full the extra volume of coolant (due to heating) fills the expansion bottle (hence its name). When you switch the engine off and everything cools down the coolant contracts and draws from the expansion bottle. Thus - only fill expansion bottle with a cold engine.

Only worry about the level at the red cap if you cannot see any coolant. As stated above, the coolant will expand to fill any gap when it heats up.

If you overfill by mistake the excess will poor from the tube at the top of the expansion bottle. :thumbsup:

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