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Cooling system boiling, no overheat #4812102
07/12/18 10:07 AM
07/12/18 10:07 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
Drew99GT Offline OP
Drew99GT  Offline OP

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
My Corolla had a strange one yesterday. I drove up into the mountains and the initial road out of town, US 24, has a 7% grade. Pretty steep. Done this drive a thousand times without issue. I pulled into a gas station to get some coffee. Came back out, sat in my car, and immediately heard a bubbling/gurgling sound. First thing I thought was cooling system. Popped the hood and the overflow was to the top and some coolant was blowing out the overflow tube. I put the heater on, started the car, and the level came back down. I continued on my journey and didn't have any other issues except the level in the overflow continues to fluctuate a lot more than it ever has and came close to overflowing again. There is no signs of overheating at all!

So I bought a new radiator cap this morning and will see if that is the issue. If not, I think it's head gasket time. frown

The only other weird symptom it's had lately is, in the morning when I start it, if I put the heat on, I can hear coolant rushing into the heater core which indicates air is getting in the system. It's done that for 2 years now. I tried burping the system many times with a Lisle funnel, and the air sound always comes back.

Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812114
07/12/18 10:28 AM
07/12/18 10:28 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,039
Wet side WA
JohnnyJohnson Online content
JohnnyJohnson  Online Content

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 4,039
Wet side WA
Its done it for two years LOL I'm rolling!


2004 Corolla 130005
Out: EDGE EP 5W-30 Bosch 3311 7156 Miles
In: Havoline Pro DS 10w-30 Purolator PureOne 3-14-19 129693
2006 Duramax 74725
Out: T6 5W-40 M1-303
In: T6 5W-40 XG9100 73705 4-22-18
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812117
07/12/18 10:29 AM
07/12/18 10:29 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
Drew99GT Offline OP
Drew99GT  Offline OP

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
Not boiling over, just the heater gurgling noise.

Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812122
07/12/18 10:34 AM
07/12/18 10:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,749
Cincinnati, OH, USA
bullwinkle Offline
bullwinkle  Offline

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 8,749
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Might be time to get a combustion gas tester and see if compression is getting into the coolant. Before it gets too hot and does more damage.


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 93 GMC C3500 6.2, 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2)
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: bullwinkle] #4812133
07/12/18 10:42 AM
07/12/18 10:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,565
Toronto Canada
WobblyElvis Offline
WobblyElvis  Offline

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,565
Toronto Canada
Originally Posted By: bullwinkle
Might be time to get a combustion gas tester and see if compression is getting into the coolant. Before it gets too hot and does more damage.


+ 1

Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812137
07/12/18 10:48 AM
07/12/18 10:48 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,546
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Offline
maxdustington  Offline

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,546
VW Fanboy Island
Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
My Corolla had a strange one yesterday. I drove up into the mountains and the initial road out of town, US 24, has a 7% grade. Pretty steep. Done this drive a thousand times without issue. I pulled into a gas station to get some coffee. Came back out, sat in my car, and immediately heard a bubbling/gurgling sound. First thing I thought was cooling system. Popped the hood and the overflow was to the top and some coolant was blowing out the overflow tube. I put the heater on, started the car, and the level came back down. I continued on my journey and didn't have any other issues except the level in the overflow continues to fluctuate a lot more than it ever has and came close to overflowing again. There is no signs of overheating at all!

So I bought a new radiator cap this morning and will see if that is the issue. If not, I think it's head gasket time. frown

The only other weird symptom it's had lately is, in the morning when I start it, if I put the heat on, I can hear coolant rushing into the heater core which indicates air is getting in the system. It's done that for 2 years now. I tried burping the system many times with a Lisle funnel, and the air sound always comes back.


Is coolant being consumed? That is really weird that you can bleed the system of air but it comes right back. I would think that if the HG was the culprit and you were driving it for two years it would have gotten worse or more obvious by now.

I would try to find an airlift or a shop with one and use it to bleed the system. The block tester is a very simple way to rule out the HG and cheaper that the former option if you rent it. I have a feeling it is not the HG but I am no pro mechanic or Toyota expert.


03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812197
07/12/18 11:36 AM
07/12/18 11:36 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 6,158
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DoubleWasp Offline
DoubleWasp  Offline

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 6,158
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sounds like a classic case of a coolant system incapable of recovery. System pushes coolant out as it expands, and then ends up sucking in air instead of drawing coolant back in.

The SLIGHTEST problem with either the radiator cap or tube going to your overflow tank can cause this. Won't leak a drop of coolant, but will allow for air to get in under vacuum, eliminating the ability of the system to draw coolant back in as it contracts.

Gurgling and bubbling sounds after shutdown, with no overheating while operating? Yup. Just dealt with this problem this week on one of my trucks. One month ago I dealt with this problem on a boat.


07 Lincoln Navigator M1 0w-40/FU
68 Charger R/T / Supercharged 440 VR1/DBL7349
07 Ram 3500 4x4 / Cummins 6.7 /DBL7349
17 Maserati GranTurismo Cabrio
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: DoubleWasp] #4812208
07/12/18 11:54 AM
07/12/18 11:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,801
New England
gathermewool Online content
gathermewool  Online Content

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,801
New England
Originally Posted By: DoubleWasp
Sounds like a classic case of a coolant system incapable of recovery. System pushes coolant out as it expands, and then ends up sucking in air instead of drawing coolant back in.

The SLIGHTEST problem with either the radiator cap or tube going to your overflow tank can cause this. Won't leak a drop of coolant, but will allow for air to get in under vacuum, eliminating the ability of the system to draw coolant back in as it contracts.

Gurgling and bubbling sounds after shutdown, with no overheating while operating? Yup. Just dealt with this problem this week on one of my trucks. One month ago I dealt with this problem on a boat.



Good recommendation. Does the reservoir tube fit snugly onto the radiator filler neck?


'14 Forester XT FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
Edge 0W-40 + FU filter (64,774 miles)
'15 Legacy FB25 (OEM Stage, uh, neg. 7?)
Edge 0W-20 + FU filter (40,803 miles)
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: DoubleWasp] #4812239
07/12/18 12:38 PM
07/12/18 12:38 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,546
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Offline
maxdustington  Offline

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,546
VW Fanboy Island
Originally Posted By: DoubleWasp
Sounds like a classic case of a coolant system incapable of recovery. System pushes coolant out as it expands, and then ends up sucking in air instead of drawing coolant back in.

The SLIGHTEST problem with either the radiator cap or tube going to your overflow tank can cause this. Won't leak a drop of coolant, but will allow for air to get in under vacuum, eliminating the ability of the system to draw coolant back in as it contracts.

Gurgling and bubbling sounds after shutdown, with no overheating while operating? Yup. Just dealt with this problem this week on one of my trucks. One month ago I dealt with this problem on a boat.


That would explain the boiling without overheating too, right? Without the ability to maintain system pressure, the boiling point of the coolant is reduced.


03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812287
07/12/18 01:37 PM
07/12/18 01:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
Drew99GT Offline OP
Drew99GT  Offline OP

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
It was a bad cap. Weird; the old cap was from Oreilly Auto, was about 5 years old I think. Never had a radiator cap go bad! The spring felt stiff on it. But with a new cap, the level sits exactly where it should in the overflow now. Hopefully that solves the heater gurgling!

Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812366
07/12/18 03:17 PM
07/12/18 03:17 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,455
The land of USA-made Subies!
SubieRubyRoo Offline
SubieRubyRoo  Offline

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,455
The land of USA-made Subies!
I don't remember where I heard it (maybe it was the Subaru techs), but it was recommended to me on the old green coolant that you change the coolant every 2 years or 30k, and always replace the thermostat and radiator cap when you change the coolant to prevent things like this from happening. Newer cars don't need the coolant every 30k, but to me it's cheap insurance to change the thermostat and radiator cap at the same time regardless of your interval. When I changed the coolant on my Fusion I did the thermostat, only added $30 to the total and now there's nothing to worry about. Would the original have continued to chug along for another 50-100k? Maybe, but now there are no questions until the next coolant change.

Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4812394
07/12/18 03:45 PM
07/12/18 03:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,822
Chicago, IL
tomcat27 Offline
tomcat27  Offline

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,822
Chicago, IL
On my Sebring it was a bad cap


2019 Cherokee, 2018 Jetta, 2014 Sentra, 1995 Escort, 1970 Cougar, 2013 XT250, 2010 Vstar, 2014 CTX1300
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: SubieRubyRoo] #4812476
07/12/18 05:10 PM
07/12/18 05:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,546
VW Fanboy Island
maxdustington Offline
maxdustington  Offline

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 2,546
VW Fanboy Island
Originally Posted By: SubieRubyRoo
I don't remember where I heard it (maybe it was the Subaru techs), but it was recommended to me on the old green coolant that you change the coolant every 2 years or 30k, and always replace the thermostat and radiator cap when you change the coolant to prevent things like this from happening.


Upsell alert!

New thermostat and rad cap every two years? My eyes would have rolled 360 degrees!


03 Jetta AWP/09A 205k kms
Edge 0W40 + Mann 719/30
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4817022
07/18/18 06:58 AM
07/18/18 06:58 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,801
New England
gathermewool Online content
gathermewool  Online Content

Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,801
New England
Originally Posted By: Drew99GT
It was a bad cap. Weird; the old cap was from Oreilly Auto, was about 5 years old I think. Never had a radiator cap go bad! The spring felt stiff on it. But with a new cap, the level sits exactly where it should in the overflow now. Hopefully that solves the heater gurgling!


Any updates? Still fixed?


'14 Forester XT FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
Edge 0W-40 + FU filter (64,774 miles)
'15 Legacy FB25 (OEM Stage, uh, neg. 7?)
Edge 0W-20 + FU filter (40,803 miles)
Re: Cooling system boiling, no overheat [Re: Drew99GT] #4819551
07/21/18 10:25 AM
07/21/18 10:25 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
Drew99GT Offline OP
Drew99GT  Offline OP

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,172
Colorado Springs
Yea, still fixed.

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