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99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges #882383 04/23/08 02:12 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
K
KVK Offline OP
Need a Spot
While away last week, our 1999 4runner was towed to the local garage and the mechanic informed me that the radiator coolant has contaminated the transmission. Unfortunately, they are not confident regarding any potential repairs, with the exception of replacing the transmission and radiator. What recommendations do you guys have regarding flushing the tranny and replacing the radiator?

We've spent an enormous sum of $$ on this vechile and want to reach the 200K mile mark. She has less than 110K and seems like a black cloud hangs over her with some yearly major repair.


1998 T100 SR5 4WD
1999 4Runner SR5
2004 Prius
From the Off-Road World
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: KVK] #882384 04/23/08 03:16 PM
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 4,690
Jeff the marmot Offline
Roll Me Over
*****
Someone else will have to answer concerning how bad it is for radiator coolant to get into the transmission. I don't know if it ruined it or not.

There is one transmission fluid line that runs along the base of the radiator as a very small tranny fluid cooler, so some problem with that line is how they mixed.

Also do some sort of radiator coolant flush after you get a new radiator.

I bought a new radiator many years ago for my 2000 4Runner when I hit the plastic base of the stock radiator into a rock and the skidplate at the time didn't help me. I got mine from Radiator Barn. The current price is about $180. What I like about my radiator from them is the metal base (instead of plastic on the stock one) so the base is stronger and actually allows more heat transfer.

I have no idea if a tranny flush will be enough for the transmission to come through this alive. It probably depends on how long it's been like that.

I hope you can resolve the current issues. My 2000 has 160K miles now.

You should definitely do a forum search here. I see several threads within the last few years about people who have experienced the same exact problem. Note that the search here defaults to "or" between words instead of "and", so use a plus sign in front of every word, such as: +radiator +fluid +transmission

Last edited by Jeff the marmot; 04/23/08 03:21 PM.

Jeff
2000 4Runner SR5, supercharger, rear e-locker, ARB front locker, 285/75R16 MT/R's, custom bumpers & skids
2007 Tacoma double cab 4x4 - stock
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: Jeff the marmot] #882385 04/23/08 05:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
K
KVK Offline OP
Need a Spot
Thanks for the advice Jeff, i will do a search to "educate" myself and let everyone in on what i find.


1998 T100 SR5 4WD
1999 4Runner SR5
2004 Prius
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: KVK] #882386 04/23/08 08:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 11,595
Adam F Offline
Forum Moderator
Its pretty common. On the bottom of the transmission, you have a cooler built in. The trans cooler is a metal tube, that is cooled by the coolant inside the trans. The trans cooler tube springs and leak, and the 2 mix together.

Theres a few things you can do. Replacing the radiator is the first thing.

You should be able to save the transmission. You will have to flush it thouroughly though. Easiest way would be to take it to a shop that has a transmission fluid exchanger that can "power flush" the trans. Its possible to do it yourself though. You'll need 2 big buckets and a bunch of transmission fluid. Your going to unhook both lines going into the radiator. Stick each in a bucket. Fill one with new fluid, leave the other empty. Start the truck, and fluid will be sucked out of the one bucket and dumped into the other. Keep the one bucket topped off with clean fluid until the fluid runs clear into the other bucket. The trans should work fine after you do this.

You'll also need to flush the coolant in the engine block and lines. Remove the drain plug from the block, located just above the oil filter. Remove the thermostat, and spray water into the engine via the thermostat housing with a garden hose until water runs clear out of the drain plug. Make sure to set the front and rear heater selectors to hot. After you get a new radiator and get everything back together, you might still notice some oil in the coolant, so you may need to run some radiator flush (comes in a little white bottle) through the system and drain and fill the system again


88 4R, 350 V8, R150 5 speed Sold <...uot; />
97 4R, stock, daily driver
98 Sienna, kid and dog hauler, wife's ride
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: Adam F] #882387 05/03/08 09:51 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
K
KVK Offline OP
Need a Spot
I made head way and changed the radiator this weekend, flushed the block and heater cores till the water ran clear. Reassembled with new thermostat, seal, hoses and clamps, and deconned the coolant resevoir. Everything seems ok with coolant system, and i will be checking it again next weekend.

Next was the transmission, and kept flushing until the oil ran red...only two cases (24 quarts) and it is still less $$ than a rebuilt transmisison. So now i have all put back together, and test ride her around the neighborhood, stoping on steep hills, gassing to get things moving and the "check engine" light is now on. The good news, the transmission didn't slip on the hills, so i'll take her to the garage to have the check engine light decoded and reset.

Thanks to y'all for your advice, it saved more than a few bucks. And the next beer is on me. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cheers.gif" alt="" />


1998 T100 SR5 4WD
1999 4Runner SR5
2004 Prius
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: KVK] #882388 05/04/08 03:15 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 11,595
Adam F Offline
Forum Moderator
Great! I'm glad all is well.

Take her to AutoZone and they will read the check engine light code for you, for free. Let us know what it says.


88 4R, 350 V8, R150 5 speed Sold <...uot; />
97 4R, stock, daily driver
98 Sienna, kid and dog hauler, wife's ride
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: Adam F] #882389 05/09/08 11:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 4
K
KVK Offline OP
Need a Spot
"check engine light"...i've had it read twice (second opinion) and now am in need of some sound advice. Code P0325 is persistent in the '99 4runner and it is the knock sensor. From what the mechanic said, the sensor "never" goes, it is usually the wire. Unfortunately, to get to the end of the wire, the intake manifold must be removed. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> Being in MD, there is emission testing and i have 12 months before it needs another test to re-up the registration. Any brainstorming ideas are welcome!!!!!


1998 T100 SR5 4WD
1999 4Runner SR5
2004 Prius
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: KVK] #882390 06/09/08 03:19 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 7
R
Ranjha Offline
Need a Spot
Guys

I had the same problem on my 99 4Runner last week. I took it to a local repair shop and tech found the leak in the radiator. He replaced the radiator and flush the new radiator. He drained the milky transmission fluid and refilled it, but he didn't power flush the tranny. I guess the shop didn't had the power flush machine and the tech never recommended that to me. Instead he said drain the tranny every time you do the oil change for next 3-4 oil change.

I got the SUV back on Saturday evening and notice that the gears were slipping during the up shift (specially going uphill). I only drove 15-20 miles after the repair. I'm thinking of getting the tranny power flush done first thing in the morning.

What do you guys recommend. Should I take the SUV to tranny specialist like AAMCO and have them do the through cleaning or get the power flush done first?

Any advice will be helpful? Thanks

Ranjha
1999 4 Runner SR5 4x4
127K miles

Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: Ranjha] #882391 06/09/08 09:52 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 11,595
Adam F Offline
Forum Moderator
The local repair shop you went to are freeking morons! Just draining it only gets rid of about 4 or 5 quarts max. Your tranny has at least 14 quarts!

You need to flush it, either the way I described above, or take it to a place that has a power flusher. I wouldnt go to aamco.


88 4R, 350 V8, R150 5 speed Sold <...uot; />
97 4R, stock, daily driver
98 Sienna, kid and dog hauler, wife's ride
Re: 99 4runner with radiator and tranny challenges [Re: Adam F] #882392 06/09/08 02:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 7
R
Ranjha Offline
Need a Spot
Thanks for the quick response.

I found out the hard way that they are Morons. I spoke to the tech at the repair shop this morning. He said they didn't flush the tranny but they droped the pan at the bottom and left it open over night to drain all the fluid. They have also changed the transmission filter. He also stated that the tranny only requires 7 QTS of Oil.

I'm getting the power flush done today. Just for my under standing "The Power Flush" machine will push new ATF to the tanny while the engine is running until the clean fluid comes out or does it pushes some cleaning liquid first and once that runs clean, it'll fill it back with the ATF.

Thanks again!!

Ranjha

Last edited by Ranjha; 06/09/08 02:49 PM.
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