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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
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Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'94 Toyota Pick-up 4x4, BIG problems??

Q: I am having trouble with my ‘94 Toyota pickup with a 22RE engine. It first started when I tried to start it one day and it would not turn over; it acted as if it was locked up. I tried again a few times and it finally turned over and started right up. But when it did, I noticed a huge cloud of WHITE smoke out of the tailpipe! The white smoke stopped after a few miles down the road. This happened two months ago, and I had a few episodes of white smoke here and there but not as bad. Yesterday, the same thing.... difficulty turning over followed by a puff of white smoke. Also, my temperature went up and the coolant reserve tank was empty (after being filled less than 7 weeks ago). It took a full gallon of coolant (mixed) to refill the radiator. Temp went up again today, and it took another half gallon to fill back up (even though the reserve tank was full). Leak? Could these problems be related?

- Bryce

A: Bryce, it is likely that when you correct the coolant loss problem you’ll also fix the white cloud affect and the binding starter problem. You’ve done a good job of describing a failing head gasket. The next thing to do is to stop driving the vehicle. A head gasket could be explained as a seal. The job of the head gasket is to keep the compression gases of the engine’s cylinders in one area, allow coolant and engine oil to pass through to other areas. All the while, never allowing any of the three to cross paths. In your case the coolant is being allowed to enter the cylinder. As a simple rule liquids cannot be compressed like air. When a liquid enters the cylinder of an engine it can create a condition called hydrostatic lock. When this condition occurs the engine will lock-up, not turn or crank over.. The starter will act like it has a problem or you’ll think that the battery is going dead. The white cloud you see out the exhaust is coolant/liquid that has become a vapor from the heat of the engine combustion once the engine starts. If coolant is entering the cylinder of the engine it can also leak into the engine oil past the piston rings. A drop of coolant at the right place at the right time can destroy the engine bearings. This will take a costly repair up to a new level of indebtedness to the checking account.

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