Toyota coolant for Camry dnf or flush

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712
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Well, my 2006 Camry with four cylinders is nearing its 9th birthday in January, so I'm going to do my first-ever coolant drain-and-fill soon. It's amazing how the Toyota dealerships differ in their advice for coolant replacement. Some dealerships will only do a flush, others will only do a drain-and-fill, others will do both. Unnecessary flushes scare me (I think too much potential for hard-to-remove air pockets in the motor, or even damage to components that have been flushed, or coolant rust-inhibiting coatings being removed by a flush, etc.), so drain-and-fill will be my choice. Prices vary a lot by dealership too. A service writer at the FUSZ Toyota dealership said they charge about 150 for a flush (yesterday they told me 120), and he didn't know the price for a drain-and-fill because they usually just do flushes, but when pressed, he said they could probably do a drain-and-fill for 70 to 90. Even worse, a lady at the WEISS dealership couldn't give me a price for a drain-and-fill because she said they only had a flush price which was 220 (wasn't able to talk to a service writer at Weiss because they were busy). Too bad because I prefer talking to service writers, not intermediaries. And how's this for variability among dealerhsips: A service writer at the ACKERMAN dealership says they don't do flushes, just drain-and-fills (the opposite of Weiss and Fusz). The Seeger dealership (where I bought my car 9 years ago) charges 145 for a flush, and she says they typically don't do drain-and-fills but gave me a price of 115 for dnf when I asked. So dealerships are all over the board on not just pricing, but services offered when it comes to coolant: flush only, drain-and-fill only, or flush preferred but okay we'll dnf it for you if you want. A gallon of the Toyota Super Long Life pink coolant runs about $22. I've been reading for the past few days online and in books, so I think I'll attempt a coolant drain-and-fill myself, mostly following BlueT's advice in the following thread at TacomaWorld: http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd-gen-tacomas/219755-coolant-drain-fill.html Also found some good advice at TundraTalk.net, especially from deadrx7conv in the following thread: http://www.tundratalk.net/forums/tundra-...-000-miles.html Seems the Toyota Super Long Life coolant doesn't have as long a life as Toyota was hoping for. If I had known that, I would have done the coolant drain-and-fill a year or two ago. I've been draining and filling my Toyota Type T-IV ATF fluid every year or two. Probably shouldn't have waited this long for the coolant dnf even though Toyota claims a 10-year-life for the factory fill and 5 years thereafter. What do you all think about any of this?
 
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Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
I have the same engine in a pretty similar layout. Do it yourself. It's mind numbingly simple. I doubt you'll have any problems at your age/mileage. If you're just replacing with pre-dillouted Toyota Pink it's like changing a lightbulb. I drained, filled with distilled, around the block, drained and filled with Peak Global Lifetime. Nothing noteworthy in the two years since then.
 

Built_Well

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Messages
712
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Forgot to add: I actually have about 2 gallons of Toyota Super Long Life pink coolant stored in my garage that's 5 years old now. The garage gets very hot in summer and cold in winter. I bought the two gallons of Super Long Life coolant 5 years ago to fill up the car's coolant reservoir to the full line, and haven't need to use it since. Do you think I could use this 5-year-old stuff in the radiator drain-and-fill, or have the rust inhibitors lost some effectiveness being 5 years old.
 
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18,168
Location
NH
I've been thinking about this too, but I'm not sure what to make of it. The Tundra's have seemingly weak water pumps, but I'm not sure that running long life coolant to 10yr/100k is the fault--I think it's weak water pumps, not coolant failures. Otherwise there would not be WP failures before 50k on Tundra and RAV4's--or there'd be a lot more dead Corolla's/Camry's on the road from dead water pumps.
 

Built_Well

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712
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Originally Posted By: bepperb
I have the same engine in a pretty similar layout.
So you have the 2AZ-FE engine? Were you able to turn the radiator's pettycock by hand or did you have to use some kind of pliers? My car's pettycock looks like it might be made out of plastic, not brass. Was it hard or easy to get the pettycock open? Oh, yeah, and did you connect a hose (like 3/8-inch or 7/16-inch) to the drain spout or just let it run out without a hose?
 
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Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
Yes to the 2zafe. The petcock is nylon, it turns easily by hand. There is a hole strategically placed so you can drain it right into a bucket, on my HL at least, without a hose. Nothing special there. The 2az has it's share of water pump issues, but they usually weep out the hole and get loud. I'm still on the original, no problems here thankfully. I'm sorry I don't know enough about using the old new coolant. When mine hit 100,000 miles I did all the stuff (ATF, spark plugs, intake cleaning). My original coolant looked fine with no chunks or thickness.
 

Built_Well

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Messages
712
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Originally Posted By: bepperb
There is a hole strategically placed so you can drain it right into a bucket, on my HL at least, without a hose.
The Camry also has a hole below the drain spout but the spout isn't centered perfectly. The spout is so close to the hole's edge, I worry the drained coolant might spill onto the plastic guard shield.
Originally Posted By: bepperb
My original coolant looked fine with no chunks or thickness.
That's really good to hear. When doing a radiator dnf, BlueT says he parks his Tacoma with its nose up to prevent the heater core from draining. In that way, air is confined to the radiator only. Does anyone know: Would using ramps for the Camry's front tires keep the nose up high enough to prevent the heater core and lines from draining their coolant and filling with air? Or should I park on a steep hill? Lol
 
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Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
Again I can only speak to my experience, but the heater core was a non issue for me. The dealer service manual did not have any steps to purge any air, and though I started the car with the radiator cap off I added very little (perhaps 10 oz) coolant to top it off. For my vehicle the radiator cap was above the heater lines, the heater in my car is actually in the middle of the center console not behind the glove box like it would be in a truck or vehicle designed without a center console.
 
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187
Location
PA
I also have a 2006 Camry (4 cyl). While you're at it, you may as well change the transmission fluid, if you haven't already. It's probably easier than changing the coolant.
 

JC1

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6,107
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted By: Built_Well
Forgot to add: I actually have about 2 gallons of Toyota Super Long Life pink coolant stored in my garage that's 5 years old now. The garage gets very hot in summer and cold in winter. I bought the two gallons of Super Long Life coolant 5 years ago to fill up the car's coolant reservoir to the full line, and haven't need to use it since. Do you think I could use this 5-year-old stuff in the radiator drain-and-fill, or have the rust inhibitors lost some effectiveness being 5 years old.
Yes, use this coolant first. It should be fine. On my Sienna I need to use a set of pliers to get the plastic drain cock open. Remember left to loosen and right to tighten. A drain and fill isn't hard to do. Just make sure you have a large enough drain pan to hold all the old coolant. Regards, JC.
 
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1,065
Location
Florida /Texas
I changed my wifes rav 4 coolant 110,000 miles and about 11 year mark. No corrosion it was all fine, installed prestone mixes with anything. I was going to buy the Toyota stuff , but it takes more effort and money to go to the dealer. I was going to have firestone do it, but they wouldnt do a vehicle over 100,000 miles, same on tranny flush, had to do it myself. Saved me a lot of money though and was easy, they missed out on the easy money, too much fear I guess.
 
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14,668
Location
The Old North State
I like your links. Some smart Toyota folks in there too, like me they are running Peak Global Lifetime in their Tacoma/Tundras, mine in 01 Tacoma. What's nice is it comes in full strength, not a premix like TSLL pink. Can do a distilled flush series till it runs clear, then add coolant to half system capacity and top with distilled. EZ. Since you have a couple gallons SLL premix, do a d&f with it. And depending on how much you have left maybe do another after to use all your SLL up and bring the new coolant concentration up. Good luck.
 

pbm

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8,902
Location
New York
I just changed the FF A/F in my 2008 Corolla (at 74K) using Peak Global Lifetime coolant. I D&R'd it 4 times with distilled water (running several miles each time) until there was no trace of Toyota pink. I then filled it with slightly over 50% PGL full strength (3 quarts in a 6.9 qt. system). The level in the overflow tank dropped an inch 2 or 3 times over the course of the next week as the air pockets worked themselves out but now she's holding steady. I should be good to go for another 75K. PS: I would avoid any kind of 'flush' as the Toyota SLL pink kept my system very clean.
 

Built_Well

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712
Location
St. Louis, Missouri
Originally Posted By: pbm
I D&R'd it 4 times with distilled water (running several miles each time) until there was no trace of Toyota pink. PS: I would avoid any kind of 'flush' as the Toyota SLL pink kept my system very clean.
Thanks for your advice. Very interesting. Not sure but it kind of sounds like you actually drove your car on the streets for a few miles after each time you drain-and-filled with distilled water, or did you simply keep it in park while "running several miles"? You recommend avoiding any kind of flush, but isn't that exactly what you did when you drain-and-filled 4 times with distilled water, then ran "several miles each time until there was no trace of Toyota pink"? Somebody at one of those links I posted above (or perhaps it was at a different link I haven't posted) mentioned that Toyota doesn't recommend flushing with distilled water or anything else. That poster said Toyota only recommends flushing with the actual Super Long Life Coolant! (which kind of surprised me if he's correct, but I guess it makes sense since yet a different poster somewhere said flushing will remove the protective corrosion-resisting coating that coolant builds up over time. The new coolant will have to rebuild that coating over time. I'm just a novice so I don't really know what to believe :-)
 
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14,668
Location
The Old North State
Originally Posted By: Built_Well
...Thanks for your advice. Very interesting. Not sure but it kind of sounds like you actually drove your car on the streets for a few miles after each time you drain-and-filled with distilled water, or did you simply keep it in park while "running several miles"?
Drive the vehicle, or keep it on park, until the t'stat opens and flip the heat to open/on. I like to drive it some between d&f's, even run some errands. But, you need to understand unless you use a full strength AF like PGL noted by pbm, you can't follow that exact procedure. If you tried that with SLL premix you will then have to d&f the new SLL until you reach proper concentration which would require a an AF tester to check. That's wasteful in addition to being expensive.
Quote:
Somebody at one of those links I posted above (or perhaps it was at a different link I haven't posted) mentioned that Toyota doesn't recommend flushing with distilled water or anything else.
Likely the reason they say that is because SLL is a premix and as explained above regarding obtaining the 50% AF SLL concentration. The distilled water flush series in itself will hurt nothing in the system as long as it's followed with AF fill to the preferred concentration, generally 50%.
Quote:
That poster said Toyota only recommends flushing with the actual Super Long Life Coolant!...
As noted, you could do several SLL d&f's to gradually bring the new SLL coolant concentration up. As I mentioned in my first post, since you have 2 gallons of SLL, you could do a d&f now, and another after if you choose. If you've decided to use SLL, it's your best option for diy.
 

Built_Well

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712
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St. Louis, Missouri
Thanks very much Sayjac and Pbm. Learning a lot here :-) What about the specific point that some poster mentioned somewhere that flushing with distilled water isn't a good idea because it will remove the protective corrosion-resisting coating that coolant builds up over time. The new coolant will have to rebuild that coating over time. Also Pbm, you wrote that you [quote] "then filled it with slightly over 50% PGL full strength (3 quarts in a 6.9 qt. system)." [end quote] 3 quarts in a 6.9 quart system is well under 50 percent, and you have cold winters in New York.
 
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Built_Well

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712
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St. Louis, Missouri
You can't rely completely on the Chilton Camry manual. There's a picture of a garden hose being used to flush a Camry radiator--not even distilled water. I have a CD copy of the Camry Repair Manual (2002 to 2006 I believe) and I couldn't find any mention of flushing in the Cooling section, just drain and fill directions. The Camry Repair Manual doesn't even direct to turn on the heater. But I probably will turn on the heater at a late point in the process. The manual says the radiator's capacity is 6.6 U.S. quarts of coolant. The manual also recommends running the engine cold a few times after filling the radiator with coolant. After that you can run the engine longer to get it hot. Here's an excerpt: "Coolant Replacement (2AZ-FE) 1. Drain coolant Caution: To avoid the danger of being burned, do not remove the radiator cap while the engine and radiator are still hot, as fluid and steam can be blown out under pressure. (a) Remove the radiator cap. (b) Loosen the radiator plug and drain the coolant. 2. Add coolant (a) Tighten the radiator drain plug. (b) Add the engine coolant into the radiator until it overflows. Capacity: 6.6 U.S. quarts HINT: Press the radiator inlet and outlet hose several times with hand. If the coolant level gets lower, pour coolant. [More info edited out] (c) Pour coolant into the radiator reservoir tank until it reaches full line. (d) Install the radiator cap. (e) Start the engine, and stop shortly. [My note: so the engine is still cold at this point. It's been run just a little.] (f) Remove the radiator cap after 10 seconds [My note for fellow novices: you would wait much longer to remove the cap if the engine had been run longer and were hotter.] Pour coolant if the coolant level is lower. (g) Repeat (d), (e), and (f) until the coolant level remains the same. HINT: Perform the procedures above before the engine is warmed up. Warmed up engine causes the thermostat valve to open, and the air inside of the engine circulates between the radiator and the engine. [My note: I wonder if they meant to say the air inside the radiator circulates between the radiator and the engine? Oh well, not important.] (h) Install the radiator cap. (i) Warm up the engine until the thermostat valve begins to open. HINT: Press the radiator inlet and outlet hose several times with hand during the warming up. (j) Stop the engine and wait until the coolant temp. gets cold. Pour the coolant if the coolant level is lower. (k) Install the radiator cap and check the radiator reservoir tank coolant level. 3. Inspect check engine coolant leak (a) Fill the radiator with coolant and attach a radiator cap tester. (b) Pump it to 118 kPa (1.2 kgf/cm2), and check leakage." ==== Again, I was surprised that no mention was made of turning on the heater. Haha. Everybody's got their own take I guess.
 
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14,668
Location
The Old North State
Quote:
... What about the specific point that some poster mentioned somewhere that flushing with distilled water isn't a good idea because it will remove the protective corrosion-resisting coating that coolant builds up over time. The new coolant will have to rebuild that coating over time.....
I really did address it in a round about way by saying as long as full strength AF is added to the correct concentration after the last distilled drain, it will cause no harm. In other words I don't put much if any significance into the rebuilding the coating idea. And as I always done it that way including the noted 01 Tacoma which still has it's oe radiator using that method, that's proof enough for me. Beyond that I like getting all the old AF out if possible and saving money buying a full strength AF like PGL if possible and not paying for a half water premix. That said, a simple single radiator d&f using a premix is easier and faster, as long as one is using the same or similar type AF. Though as for the Chiltons method, apparently not so much. Again, good luck.
 

Built_Well

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712
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St. Louis, Missouri
Originally Posted By: sayjac
Though as for the Chiltons method, apparently not so much. Again, good luck.
Sorry, I didn't make clear that the d&f steps I mentioned above in my last post are from a CD of *Toyota's* Camry Repair Manual, not from Chilton. The Chilton manual also had some steps but I mentioned Chilton above only in regards to the picture of the garden hose used in a flush. The steps I excerpted above came from Toyota, not Chilton.
 
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1,595
Location
Austin, TX
I have a 2006 highlander w/ close to 120K, just recently did the timing belt and got the old pump out. The pump was spotless no gunk nothing, I wondered why I wasted my money on a new pump. Long story, LLC are engineered to be long life and Toyota pink is truely the best one could put into their cooling systems.. I would think the old coolant in storage would be good -- but they only cost $20/G, just get the new stuff and rest in peace.
 
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