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#4672513 - 02/20/18 09:34 PM ATF and Coolant Leak Questions
lancerplayer Offline


Registered: 09/09/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Cleveland, OH
I'm hoping to get some thoughts regarding my SUV. It's a 2012 Toyota Rav 4 with the 4 cylinder (2AR-FE) engine. The vehicle has 82k on the odometer. I acquired it from the original owner with about 55k miles on it. Besides changing the engine oil, filters, brakes, tires, and an O2 sensor 3k miles ago, the SUV has been good. However, I noticed two things under the hood when looking it over.

1) ATF fluid – I know the previous owner. I looked over the maintenance records. It was dealer maintained by the local Toyota dealer. The ATF has never been changed. The SUV shifts fine, so I’m hesitant to mess with it. It mostly looks gray, but does have some black/red/brown tint to it. It does not smell burnt, but it does have a metallic like smell to it. It definitely does not look/smell like fresh ATF (obviously). The level is fine, I do not have to add fluid. I am hoping to keep vehicle going for years to come, so what would be your recommendation? What would you do if this were your vehicle’s ATF?

2) Coolant – The coolant is the factory Toyota pink fluid. The level is OK, could use a little fluid to top it off at the max fill line. There is no indication of overheating or heat related issue. I notice some fluid has crusted around a fitting. If looking at the engine from outside the vehicle standing in front of the hood, the leak/hose is on your right and side. Or if sitting in the driver seat, it would be on the driver’s side. I have never seen fluid dripping on the garage floor or parking area. However, it is more difficult to see those things with it being winter. What could this be? Is it something that needs immediate attention?

I have attached a few pictures to show the ATF’s condition and the coolant leak:














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#4672602 - 02/20/18 11:33 PM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 678
Loc: Toronna
Transmission: 271 posts on BITOG and you have not done at the very minimum a D&F? Come on, buddy!

Coolant: Who knows if it is leaking? Either mark or remember the level and observe. My car leaks both coolant and oil and you can smell the coolant. It also leaves patches on the asphalt that are not oily. In addition, it has a low coolant sensor that has gone off a few times, most recently after being laid up for a month+. These symptoms lead me to believe it is leaking coolant and not burning it. Be methodical not paranoid.


Edited by maxdustington (02/20/18 11:34 PM)
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#4672666 - 02/21/18 02:56 AM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 10028
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
Do drain & fills on both.

Toyota only recommends a Drain & Fill on the coolant, not a full flush as is may trap air that you won't be able to remove, thus causing spikes in coolant temperature or the gauge to fluctuate into the HOT Zone. Clean off the PINK crusties from the hose and keep an eye on it.

Drain & refill on the ATF. Is this is an AWD? I don't know your tranny however, you may also be able to drain the front differential(part of the tranny). Some years have a seperate drain bolt. The tranny has its own and the diff has one as well but, they're filled together as one. This gets out more ATF.


Edited by Char Baby (02/21/18 02:59 AM)
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#4672686 - 02/21/18 05:19 AM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
JC1 Offline


Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 3010
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario Canada
+2 on the drain and fill on both. I'd do the tranny first and coolant later.
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#4672692 - 02/21/18 05:40 AM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
Bambam Offline


Registered: 12/16/03
Posts: 900
Loc: Monroe,CT
Drain and Fill the transmission, DO NOT FLUSH !!!!!
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#4672704 - 02/21/18 06:03 AM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
miden851 Offline


Registered: 02/15/16
Posts: 433
Loc: GA
wow

your priority is ATF then your Coolant; just as the suggested drain and fill, maybe to do it double in short time frame, a month or even 3-5K miles
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#4672727 - 02/21/18 06:56 AM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
Definitely a coolant leak there. I'd figure out what that part is. If it's a top off once a year deal, then it's probably not much to worry about. My LR3 had a crusty thermostat housing like that and it made it a couple years before leaving puddles.
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#4672767 - 02/21/18 07:47 AM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: Bambam]
Char Baby Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 10028
Loc: ROCHESTER, NY
Originally Posted By: Bambam
Drain and Fill the transmission, DO NOT FLUSH !!!!!


Indeed!
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#4681103 - 02/28/18 10:49 PM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
lancerplayer Offline


Registered: 09/09/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Update

ATF - I plan on doing a drain and fill (not dropping the pan to change the transmission filter) with Toyota's spec'd fluid (Toyota WS). I will drain, measure the amount that came out, replace with new fluid with the exact amount. I will drive around for 500 miles or so and periodically check the fluid color on the dipstick. If it is still too dark for my liking, I will drain and fill again until it is mostly red.

Coolant - I cleaned away the crusty coolant build up. I first thought it was a crack in the hose, but after cleaning the build up, it appears the leak is coming from flange (?) itself. It is a very slow leak. Nothing major. I was thinking of using a Permatex product to seal it up. Would Permatex 22071 Water Pump & Thermostat RTV Silicone Gasket Maker be the correct choice here?

Here is an updated picture of the coolant leak:

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#4688806 - 03/08/18 02:51 PM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
lancerplayer Offline


Registered: 09/09/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Looking for advice regarding the leak. Mostly, if using a Permatex product around the leaking area would a simple fix?
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#4689038 - 03/08/18 07:06 PM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
Rhymingmechanic Offline


Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 1327
Loc: VA
In your last photo, are we looking down from the top? If so, it looks to be leaking where the steel tube is pressed into an aluminum piece. Is that tube pressed into the block, or is the aluminum piece removable? The smaller hose that comes in at 90 degrees could also be leaking instead.

As far as the ATF goes, figure out the drain procedure and do it a few times. Yours sounds like the fluid in my 2010 Vibe at 29,000 miles. In the drain pan, it was dark like motor oil, with a creamy gray swirl. I lost track of how many drain/fills I did, but it was one per oil change for a few years. Analysis of the second change showed high aluminum, but that has gone down steadily and the trans continues to work the same with over 100k miles.

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#4689615 - 03/09/18 01:13 PM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: Rhymingmechanic]
lancerplayer Offline


Registered: 09/09/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: Rhymingmechanic
In your last photo, are we looking down from the top? If so, it looks to be leaking where the steel tube is pressed into an aluminum piece. Is that tube pressed into the block, or is the aluminum piece removable? The smaller hose that comes in at 90 degrees could also be leaking instead.

As far as the ATF goes, figure out the drain procedure and do it a few times. Yours sounds like the fluid in my 2010 Vibe at 29,000 miles. In the drain pan, it was dark like motor oil, with a creamy gray swirl. I lost track of how many drain/fills I did, but it was one per oil change for a few years. Analysis of the second change showed high aluminum, but that has gone down steadily and the trans continues to work the same with over 100k miles.


Yes, it was taken looking down from the top (slight angle on my part to get a clearer picture). I agree with your opinion of where the leak is. I was told by the dealer that the tube is pressed into the block. In regards to the hose, I felt around it with my hand. I could not feel a crack or gouge, but that certainly doesn't mean it's not there. The dealer suggested keeping an eye on it and if it does continue to leak (like it is), to replace the hose.
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#4689941 - 03/09/18 07:20 PM Re: ATF and Coolant Leak Questions [Re: lancerplayer]
Rhymingmechanic Offline


Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 1327
Loc: VA
Now that you cleaned off the area, watch it closely to see where wet coolant appears, if it even does. This seems like a very minor leak since you haven't had to add coolant. Do you smell coolant when the vehicle is hot? If not, maybe the leak has stopped for now.

Someone else might be able to recommend a sealant that would work on the outside of the pipe junction, but this seems like something best sealed from inside. A stop leak like the GM tablets might do the trick. But then the system would be full of stop leak, so I would only do it if the leak gets worse.

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