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antifreeze is turning brown.

04-01-2004, 06:45 PM
I have a 1994 Toyota Camry. I bought it used, and the antifreeze was green at the lot, but that would just be cuz they put new stuff in to mask problems. But I ran it for about a week since I got it checking fluids a lot, and I noticed the antifreeze turned brown in the resevoir tank, I got worried. But checked the radiator, and the antifreeze in that was all green. So i figured the antifreeze in the resevoir tank just got dirty, so i flushed it and refilled it. Ran it for a while, and the antifreeze stayed green. But now it is brown again, and only in the resevoir tank. I am not having problems with heating or air conditioning, I know one of those two can indicate a bad head gasket. So I believe, and hope its not that, cuz thats a lot of work for me to do. Does any one have an Idea why the antifreeze keeps turning brown? All my other fluids seem fine, and there is no smoke from my exhaust at all, sometimes a lot of water, which may just be condensation, but I'm worrying if somewhere I am burning the antifreeze mixture, and having the water come out the exhaust, and the burnt antifreeze part go back to the radiator, and without the water it would be lighter therefore floating up the top to the resevoir tank. I am not experienced much with engines tho, so I would appreciate if someone could confirm my idea, or maybe tell me what else it could be. Thank you in advanced.

Joe W
04-01-2004, 07:00 PM
More than likely this is just residual old stuff.It probably wouldn't hurt to flush it again.Anything burnt in the combustion chamber won't go back to the radiator.

Brian R.
04-01-2004, 07:54 PM
Probably just gunk in the reservoir.

Mike Gerber
04-01-2004, 08:19 PM

If the reservoir turns brown again you can take the reservoir off the car and dump the old antifreeze in it out and clean the reservoir out by rinsing it a few times. An old baby bottle brush works good here to really get inside and clean it out.

Also, as a point of information, your 94 came from the factory with Toyota's RED COLORED ANTIFREEZE. It could be that it was never changed before it reached this dealer's lot and the residual red stuff is mixing with the green stuff and turning brown and showing up in the reservoir. You could try flushing the whole system yourself a couple of times and adding new green antifreeze or take it to one of those shops that has a flushing machine and have it done there. It might be worth the expense for peace of mind. As an after-thought, did you get any kind of waranty on this used car? Is it still in force? Can you take it back to the selling dealer and talk to them about your findings? If the waranty is still in force, even if they say it's OK the way it is, at least you will have documented your concerns.


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