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My 2004 Sienna's radiator is leaking again. It was replaced in 2006 as part of the service campaign. Now it has the pink crusty stuff again. I priced a radiator at a couple Toyota dealers and got 2 outrageous answers $576 and $615. I decided to go aftermarket for $280 from a local import part supplier.

I did my research on doing the job and, while a little more involved than previous radiator that I had replaced, it didn't seem too bad. I had never pulled the front bumper cover off before (piece of cake). While getting the old radiator out, I did run into some corroded bolts and nut plates down the bottom. I attribute this to the dissimilar metals and road salt. The other issue was some of the plastic retainers have gotten brittle and broke. The worst being the hood prop rod holder. It now has a velcro strap. I got the old one out and the new one in with out too much difficulty. I took notice that the welded seems of the aftermarket unit looked quite nice and robust . Everything was back together and it was time to fill the system. I did pick up some Toyota Long Life (red) as I believe that is what I already had in the system.

Tragedy struck!

The new radiator was leaking from the drain and they system was not even under pressure. I made sure the drain was tight but it still was leaking. I backed the drain plug all the way out and found the O-ring cut with part dangling. I happened to have a few drain plugs in my junk box and one was a perfect match. It too leaked. I tried several different o-rings but no joy. Not being able to see into the drain, I probed inside the drain with a rod and could feel roughness. Using a small digital camera held in front of the drain, I was able to see that the surface was not smooth. The radiator was no good!:mad:

I don't know if it is a design flaw or manufacturing defect but the downward facing hole where the coolant drains out goes right through where the o-ring has to pass through. The edges of the hole are sharp and cut into the o-ring. There is no way this could work. The Toyota radiator drain has the hole recessed and the o-ring can't come in contact with the edge of the hole.

None of the Toyota dealers or part stores in my area had a replacement in stock. All I could do is reinstall the old radiator.:mad:

After it was installed and filled, I took the van for a test drive. When I got back, I went to open the hood and the latch cable popped off :mad:. I guess all the twisting around dislodged the cable. By dropping the pan just behind the bumper, I was able to reach up and pop the latch. Of course then I had to remove the latch to reinstall the cable which wouldn't be so bad except it was now dark, getting cold, and I was dead tired.

I am getting too old for this stuff. As a kid, this stuff never bothered me. Work started at 10am and ended 9pm. My hands are battered, busted and sore; my back has asphalt rash and aching. I can't wait to see how I feel tomorrow and the next. On the plus side, I have become quite proficient at changing the radiator out now. This is good as I will still have to do it one more time.

Moral of the story... Check the drain.
Stan
 

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I really feel your pain. Over the years I've many times helped parents and older family members with tasks that they were once able to do themselves, but not longer could. I'm about to roll 55, and already my back gives me stern warnings when I lift a 50 lb wheel/tire over my head to hang on a hook on the garage wall. It doesn't get any easier.

On the subject of parts, nothing sucks more than when new parts are bad, and you have no idea until after a full installation. I see this all too often at work on multi-million $$ tools, where 3 days repair goes up in smoke (more than once literally...). Order a new part, wait for delivery, do it all over again. Mfgr liability is limited to replacement part, and good luck getting anyone to pony up for labor reimbursement.

Thanks for the tip about how to deal with the hood latch. Others have posted HELP! messages when their cables have popped out of the retainer. Great solution.

Let us know how this ends!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I exchanged the defective radiator for another. This one was branded "Performance" vs the defective one which was branded OSC. Externally, while the OCS radiator had nice welds around the seams, it was missing 2 of the 4 tabs on the top that would hold nut plates for the mounting brackets. Not a big deal.

The Performance brand radiator welds look similar to the OE Toyota. It was nice of them to place protective caps over the transmission oil inlet/outlet. It also has the foam pieces attached to the sides like the OE Toyota and missing from the OSC unit. I was sure to inspect the drain plug this time. It is a very different and very simple design. It is simply a threaded plug with a gasket. Instead of draining through a passage in the bottom, it drains through the drain plug hole out the side. I hope to never drain the system again so this should not be an issue. I just hope the gasket lasts.

There is part of me that wonders if I should just pay the $578 for a radiator from Toyota but lightning rarely strikes the same spot twice.
Stan
 

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I got the replacement radiator in today. After changing out the radiator twice last weekend, it was a breeze. I took my time and secured everything well and got all those front bumper and fender liner clips that had come apart over the years nicely secured. So far so good.
Stan
 

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I just got back from a independent repair shop who replaced the radiator in my 2005 Sienna XLE with a build date od 7/2005. There is a difference in the radiators for build dates after 8/2005. This repair shop is dependable and since I'm a retired HD Truck mechanic they allowed me to stand by watch and help out when needed. The first thing the mechanic named Kevin did was evacuate the A/C system then remove the plastic push button clips that hold the top of the grille to access the A/C lines and disconnect them from the A/C cooler and put tape over the connecting holes. By doing this it allowed him to disconnect the whole module consisting of the fans, radiator, and A/C cooler, put the whole unit on the bench and swap over the cooler and fans onto the new radiator then reinstall the module hook up everything, recharge the A/C, drain the coolant from the engine, refill with new extended life coolant and was done in about 2.5 hours. He would have been done sooner but when he took off the top retainer bracket a spacer fell to the floor and we spent 30 minutes + finding it, the repair garage didn't charge me the time that took. Any the whole job cost me $450.00 plus tax total for parts and labor. Very reasonable. If anybody in SW Florida wants to contact me at [email protected] I will give you the name and number of my service garage in North Port, Florida.
 

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I am so sick of cars. Wife was telling me that the heat was intermitant- driving, heat worked, idle, cool/cold air. We had the dealer replace the radiator last week due to a crack that caused a leak, causing low coolant, causing no heat flow. Should have been completed by last Friday. The part didn't come in the dealers shipment. Part came in on Monday, instead. They completed the work, I'm sure - in a rush. We drove to the in laws for Thanksgiving with no issue. Got in the van Thanksgiving morning to drive 2 hours, and it start acting up after an hour. Tried coming back to the in laws house, it died and we left it on the side of the state highway. I had the van flatbedded to a local mechanic and wont know anything into Monday. I tried starting it. I turns over, just won't start. Checked the radiator fluid overflow, none in it. Checked the radiator fill cap, no fluid seen in the radiator. Weird thing is, when I tried starting it, key in start position. Starter and engine cranks, let go of key to run position, starter just keeps running until I just turn the key to off. Wifey and I are not happy.
Van saga update Pt II.
I texted our service rep at 12:52. He said he was returning a call to the Michigan dealership about the van. I have not heard back from him, yet. Here is probably why:
Michigan dealership called me and told me that the area Toyota Factory Rep was at the dealership to take a look at our van. He discovered that the radiator was definately not installed properly. I asked them if they had gotten to check the heads for any warpage from overheating, he said there isn't any need to, that the engine just needs replaced. Michigan dealership is waiting to hear back from our service rep as to what they are going to do to repair/cover costs on it. I know what they are going to do: THEY ARE GOING TO PAY TO HAVE A NEW ENGINE PUT IN MY DAMN VAN! #notmyproblem
Van update Pt III.
Indy dealer called told me that Michigan dealer sent a video of the area rep pulling the hose off of the radiator and antifreeze pouring out. Attempting to show that the hose wasn't installed properly. Which makes no sense to me. But, maybe there was SOME antifreeze in it. And, of course Indy dealer is contesting it and trying to get this repaired under a warranty through the Michigan dealer. I told Indy dealer, we just want to know when it will be fixed and we want our van back. So we can make travel arrangements to get our Dad's car back to him and get our van. And that after ME listening to the hold greeting "Toyota, home of the powertrain lifetime warranty". The engine is as close to "powertrain" you can get and I would expect Toyota to get it fixed.
Van update PT IV.
With the holiday, we're backing off for a bit to see what they can/might do. It’s frustrating because we’ve been patient and nice for 23 days now. We have documentation from the Michigan dealership that the job wasn’t done right and that’s what caused our engine to overheat and be damaged. You’d think that with Michigan Toyota experts stating this, Indy dealership would do something. What they seem to be doing is trying to shop for answers until they find someone on their side.🤔

Van update Pt V: word from MI shop is no compression, likely head gasket(s)issue. Indy dealer contacted MI shop, having it flatbedded to a Toyota dealer in MI to see what they can further diagnose. Still no affirmative answer on IF the radiator replacement is to blame. If the radiator was replaced by dealership, wouldn't you THINK that they would have FILLED the thing with antifreeze? Is this not a routine repair? It ran fine on a 10 mile drive home from the dealer, and on a 300+ mile trip on Tuesday. Sat for Wednesday, no puddle of antifreeze under it, got in it Thanksgiving morning and an hour into the drive, no heat, and it steams off through the overflow reservoir. Water pump, thermostat, not enough antifreeze filled? Who knows. But they'll get to the bottom of it.
Van update Pt VI: We had been informed that Toyota agreed to cover costs of head gaskets and a new radiator, $3,300.00.
Then we were told in order to get an engine tear down for full diagnosis as to the extent of the damage to the engine caused by the overheating, that we need to pay $2,800.00. The Michigan area Toyota Rep, and the Indiana area Toyota Rep, the service managers from our Indy and Saginaw dealers have come up with a cost of $1,000.00, and that the Indy dealer pays $500.00, and we pay $500.00 towards the engine tear down(that may be reimbursable to us).
Now that the tear down is complete - the heads are warped, and the cylinder walls in the block are scored. Thus, new block, new heads, new head gaskets, and new (2nd) radiator =$11,657.66!🤬😡
And with having to replace the block, the dealer won't know if it will need new valves, until refitting the valves to the new block.
Mind you, Toyota has ONLY agreed to pony up $3,300.00 towards the repair.
Now, the fun begins on finding out who is going to pick up the $8,357.66 difference.
 

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85 days, and I finally have an answer. The Indy dealership isn't admitting that the radiator replacment was done wrong and caused our engine to overheat, that the Michigan dealership discovered. But the Indy dealership's insurance company is covering the costs of storage, a 2nd new radiator and a remanufactured engine. I wonder how long this will take to get completed?
 

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97 days and we finally have our 2009 Sienna back with a new radiator and a remanufactured engine. Let's hope this carries us for another 138,000 miles!
 
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