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Radiator coolant boiling out of over flow tank and engine running hot because of it?

95 Toyota tercel. Yesterday out of no where I notcie a little bit of white smoke coming out from under my hood, I look down and see the temperature gauge is all the way above the H. Usually my temperature gauge sits in the middle. So I topped off the radiator fluid last night. This morning on my way to work, same thing, white smoke coming out from under the hood and the gauge was all the way up. So I pulled over and checked and all the coolant was gone again. Tonight when I got home I put more coolant in while I had the car in park. I let the engine warm up a bit then, then I revved the engine a few times, as I revved the engine my friend said the overflow tank was overflowing. So then I got out and checked while he revved the engine, and coolant was coming out uncontrollably. The plastic lid seemed pretty tight, but I think it gets so hot and the pressure so high that it eventually blows off. Because when I checked it earlier it was off. Any way there was a bunch of coolant and steam coming out of the hose that goes from the radiatior cap to the coolant overflow tank. Why is my engine getting so hot? What can I do? What should I check first? I need my car for work. Please hellp. Thanks


K Ang I plan on taking it to a shop, I don't want to mess anything up.

And Pete thanks. I was trying to find the leak when I seen it boiling over, and I figured that was where all the fluid was going. I will watch the video you posted. Thank you

Update 2:

UPDATE!!! I think I found the culprit, but now I have another annoying problem! After reading posts on here and making sure the car was cool, I took the metal radiator cap off. I the washer and springer were off sitting inside the hole. Now the spring fell down the side of the hole and theres no way I can get to it without a magnet on a string or something like that. Hopefully it was just a bad radiator cap, I'll get a goo done in the morning before work, but now what to do about the spring? Can it get sucked into the water pump and break it?

Update 3:

Bryan- I'm going to replace the radiator cap tomorrow, but now what about the spring from the old one? It fell down into my radiator. What trouble can it cause if I don't get it out. I don't feel like taking the radiator off and turning it upside down.

7 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The water is overflowing because the engine is overheating!

    The system is supposed to hold a set amount of pressure. When this pressure is reached the pressure cap lifts and any excess due to expansion goes into the over flow tank. So the radiator cap might be bad. Considering this costs in the ten dollar area and you know how to remove it- replace it and make sure it is fastened all the way down.

    Your car is a 1995 model- it is past due for a water pump. If you see water running off the engine in the area of the front engine pulley- that is where the coolant leak is. This leak is hard to spot from on top. This is the primary suspect, unless you find water in the crank case and or white smoke out the exhaust pipe after the engine warms up (white smoke on start up is pretty normal, but often missed in warmer weather).

    But let me say this one more time-

    If the water pump has not been replaced or is close to 120000 miles old- suspect the water pump!

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  • Pete M
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Well, the first thing you need to do is to find your coolant leak.

    It's not normal for a car to need to have coolant added unless there is a leak in the system.

    Here's what I suggest.

    The first, most economical and easiest thing to try is to replace your radiator cap.

    If that doesn't work you'll need to perform a thorough cooling system diagnostic.

    Don't worry, I'm going to direct you to a video tutorial to show you how to do this.

    Just follow along step by step and don't miss anything or assume anything.

    By following the advice in this video I'm fairly confident that you'll be able to isolate and repair your cooling system problem.

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  • 7 years ago

    the radiator does have that spring which allows cooland to purg off into the overflow tank, when it cools down that spring will open back up allowing the coolant back into the radiator.

    start with radiator cap and a thermostat. shouldnt cost more than 30 bucks all together

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  • 7 years ago

    You should really try to get that spring out. You can't get it out with a hanger or something? Worse case scenario is it breaks the water pump. Unlikely but who knows. It could get stuck inside the water pump and make a lot of noise. The good thing is it won't get past the thermostat.

    Source(s): 30 yrs home mech and Mech Eng
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  • nosdda
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Your water pump is most probably gone so the coolant is boiling up and not circulating so it is finding an outlet by flowing into your overflow tank.

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  • 7 years ago

    your thermostat can be locked preventing the coolent from flowing thru causing it to back up into the overflow tank . you can simply just take out the damn thing or replace it . car runs fine w/out a thermostat only thing is you wont have good heat in your car

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  • 7 years ago

    Sounds like it needs a head gasket. Take it to the shop if you dont know what you are doing before you blow your engine.

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