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Toyota 4runner Radiator

Signs of a Bad Toyota 4runner Radiator

The powerful engine of the Toyota 4runner relies on a working radiator to keep it in ideal operating conditions. If any part of the cooling system fails, then the chances of overheating dramatically increase. As far as the 4runner is concerned, its radiator is known to have various performance issues. Some of these concerns even require various forms of big repairs and modifications as a preventive measure or solution. Here are some of the common signs to know if you have a bad one installed in your truck:

Pink or strawberry milkshake-like liquid inside the radiator

One common problem of the 4runner's radiator is when the liquid circulating inside it looks a lot like pink or strawberry milkshake. This is formed by the combination of water, engine coolant, and transmission coolant. The first two are expected to be part of the engine's cooling system. However, transmission fluid is a foreign substance that shouldn't be part of the mix. A fault in the design of stock radiators is the main cause of the defect. As a solution, you can either install a new one in your car or get an external transmission cooler to prevent this from happening.

Head gasket issues

The head gasket in the Toyota 4runner is prone to unexpected failure. This type of problem isusually caused by the bad rubber used on the seal. The issue becomes more likely when the truck has a hot engine because of a flawed radiator and ruptured cooling hoses. Check the exhaust pipe for unusual smoke and perform a pressure test to ensure that the system is intact.

Slow death for the engine

Difficult uphill climbs, low acceleration, wild temperature readings, and clicking sounds are some of the signs of a 4runner engine that is slowly dying. This is usually caused by two things: a clogged cooling system or a bad thermostat. When the radiator and hoses are clogged, it means that the liquid running inside is too dirty to freely flow. It's also possible that the door of the thermostat might not be opening to allow proper circulation of the liquid.

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  • Three Simple Ways to Prolong the Life of a Toyota 4runner Radiator 27 February 2013

    The Toyota 4runner's radiator is responsible for keeping the truck's engine cool and running. Maintaining this is essential for the vehicle's reliability. With too much heat in a struggling powerhouse, you may find yourself in a vehicle that doesn't move. That's why it's important to keep the radiator in good condition. Doing this isn't really that difficult and complicated. All it takes is a sense of responsibility to get the job done. Here are three simple ways you can do to prolong the radiator life of the Toyota 4runner.


    Flush fluids out.


    Drain water and coolant out of the radiator every 30,000 miles or two years of use. Both liquids have a tendency to get dirty because of these collect decayed internal radiator particles. If you allow these to remain in the circulation, the same particles may be deposited to the engine. This results to a dirty and less efficient truck. After draining, refill the system with the right amount of water and coolant. The coolant level depends on how hard you push the truck's engine and on what's the weather like in your area. Hot weather means more coolant; cold weather means less.


    Clean the reservoir tank.


    People mostly focus only on the radiator and its hoses when it comes to radiator maintenance. However, it's just as important that you take a look at the reservoir tank and take care of it as well. If the contaminated radiator fluid can be deposited throughout the cooling system, then some of it can also end up inside the overflow. Simply unbolt the tank and remove it from the engine compartment. Give it a good wash and rinse to get rid of any dirt.


    Install an external transmission cooler.


    Old radiators of the Toyota 4runner have a tendency to mix the engine coolant with the transmission coolant. The result is a slimy and sticky substance that looks like pink or strawberry milkshake. If your truck still has its original parts, replace the radiator with a stronger and better one to prevent this from happening. Another highly recommended workaround is to install an external transmission cooler so that the two fluids are separated from one another.