Toyota techs here? 2grfe head gasket?

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Feb 28, 2015
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2011 sienna 2grfe 3.5 v6. I was under it to drain the antifreeze and at the rear of the engine, center of the cylinder head where it meets the block, there was a bit smaller than a golf ball size dried up crusted up glob of antifreeze. I saw no trail leading there, although I do work on it in my driveway so it's a bit harder to get a good inspection. I ran out of time after bleeding it (kicked my butt getting the air out of it). Kids home from school due to Coronavirus so I didn't get a pressure tester on it to watch for active leaks. I cleaned the crust and plan on monitoring it. I never needed to top off coolant. I've never smelled it. I've never seen it drip. But it's obviously leaked at some point. Anyone know of anything that leaks and leads to that area? Someone familiar with this engine may know. It's kind of a mess under the hood so just looking for anyone familiar to see if I need to look anywhere in particular. Is this a common issue on 2grfe? I follow a Toyota tech on Instagram and he's done some head gasket in the short time I've followed him, along with a few coolant crossover pipes. A head gasket would likely drive me to get rid of this van if it got so bad it requires repair. It's not something I could easily do in my driveway. Thanks for any insight.
 

t1snwrbrdr12

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130-140some thousand. It's leaking right out of the center of the head but down the back of the block, not into the valley. Unless I didn't see a clear trail (hopeful) and it was just collecting there from another minor leak elsewhere. I need to get pressure on it and monitor it when I have time to really uncover things and thoroughly inspect. It's just a mess under hood so figured someone may know right where to look.
 
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I've seen a handful of these engines with head gasket leaks like you've described. They tend to leak in the center of the heads, both on the front and rear of the block and in the block valley as well. Of the two I remember, a Sienna and a Highlander, the Sienna owners opted to fix theirs; the Highlander owners let theirs go until the leak under the intake crusted the knock sensors over and turned on the check engine light. He then opted to have us replace the knock sensors and clean out the coolant crust, and is still driving it.
 
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I've seen a handful of these engines with head gasket leaks like you've described. They tend to leak in the center of the heads, both on the front and rear of the block and in the block valley as well. Of the two I remember, a Sienna and a Highlander, the Sienna owners opted to fix theirs; the Highlander owners let theirs go until the leak under the intake crusted the knock sensors over and turned on the check engine light. He then opted to have us replace the knock sensors and clean out the coolant crust, and is still driving it.
I kinda wish I replaced both head gaskets on the Camry I recently repaired. However, the bank 1 head gasket was in perfect shape and the coating was completely perfect, so I had no reason to believe that the bank 2 head gasket was on the verge of failure. But we'll see...
 

t1snwrbrdr12

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Mine isn’t currently leaking anymore. I used Subaru coolant conditioner. I’ve had success with it sealing a pitted timing cover on a jeep, and we used it on every Subaru coolant service we did without any clogging issues when I was at a dealer. So as much as I didn’t want a stop leak, doing the head gaskets is out of the question. I don’t work in a shop that I can do side work anymore. And I’m not doing that job in the driveway. So it was the conditioner or trade in…but I don’t want another car payment.

Cleaned off with wire brush and did a full coolant service adding the conditioner. It’s been fine, I check every oil change. I think I smell it occasionally if stopped against a wall or something, but never low and no evidence of a leak anywhere to be found.
 
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Good to see you got a fix for it, and I'd say keep checking the coolant level and keep driving it too. Go see the YouTube channel "Car Care Nut" for this engine, here at 6:30m he talks about the head gasket, and there's probably other instances of this motor like in his Highlander buyer's guide video.
 
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