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94 Es300 Persistent Overheating Issue

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Hi all,

Two different mechanics have had my car, both have failed to fix it. Post will be lengthy but will detail what has been carried out so far and if anyone here has any idea on what the problem might be please put your hand up and give me a hint!

The car started at Brian Hilton Toyota on the Central Coast, then at Lexus of Parramatta service centre.

29 November 2014 (Saturday) - The car unexpectedly overheated on the old Pacific Highway near Berowra. The front radiator cap was broken, went to Repco, replaced both radiator caps.

02 December 2014 (Tuesday) - Car Temp spiked following local driving. When checked at home the car coolant levels were low. Topped up fluids and sent a service request via the web to my local
Toyota service centre (Brian Hilton Toyota North Gosford) to book the car in for service.

04 December 2014 (Thursday) - Phoned Brian Hilton Toyota after not having heard back
from my online service request. Discussed the car’s overheating issue and was advised the next available appointment was Thursday 11 Dec, which I booked. Between booking the
appointment and dropping the car to the appointment I drove only locally and monitored the fluid levels after every trip. The car remained stable and did not overheat nor lose coolant during this time.

11 December 2014 (Thursday) - I dropped the car in for service. Discussed with service rep the happenings since the original over-heating and the car was then ready for pick-up again 14:00 that afternoon. I was advised in the morning that the second overheat was most likely the cooling system settling after the original overheat.

Work carried out:

- Pressure test of the cooling system, found radiator cap to be leaking.

- Replaced cap.

- Verbally advised test had been carried out to check the head gasket.

13 December 2014 (Saturday) - Between collecting the car on Thursday till the Saturday morning the car had only been driven locally. The morning of the 13th I drove from East Gosford to Mount Colah (approx 50kms). Before I went to leave I noticed a small amount of water under the car, I then checked under the bonnet and noted coolant levels were ok. On my return trip the car temp spiked again and I pulled over when it was safe to do so at West Gosford.

When I checked under the bonnet I noted the coolant was boiling in the water bottle (I could hear it boiling when I turned the car off and was still sitting inside). I purchased some groceries while the car cooled down. When I returned approx 45 minutes later all the coolant had run out of the car and it was completely empty. I purchased some bulk bottles of water from the shop and returned to fill the car with water and coolant. I then drove the car to my home in East Gosford (approx 4.5kms).

Once home I phoned Brian Hilton Toyota and re-booked the car for the Monday morning.

15 December 2014 (Monday) - I returned the car to Brian Hilton Toyota.

Work carried out:

- Pressure test of the cooling system, found top radiator cap not holding pressure. Replaced cap.

- Thermostat replaced and flushed coolant system.

- Carried out cylinder gasket test, all ok.

Road test for 18kms, no overheating.

16 December 2014 (Tuesday) – I returned in the morning briefly to Brian Hilton Toyota as the car had lost vast amounts of water both times I had driven it since picking it up. Was advised it was water from the air-conditioning and that “every car does it”. I reiterated the amount of water was enormous and far more than I would expect from the air-con. Again was advised it was the air-con, so left the service centre.

19 December 2015 (Friday) – Car had been driven again only. On Thursday 18th we drove from East Gosford to Guildford (approx. 80kms) without issue. On the afternoon of the 19th as we headed northbound the car again overheated. We were on Windsor road at Northmead (approx. 10kms from our leaving point). I immediately pulled over into the 7-11 so I could safely park
the car. The car was leaking coolant. I then phoned Brian Hilton Toyota to let them know the car had overheated again. They shirked all responisbilty, have had no contact with them since.

Then had the car towed to Terry Shields Toyota (the nearest Toyota service centre to my location).

The car was left in the after-hours zone along with a handwritten note on the overheating issues and repairs that had been carried out to date. Recently replaced radiator cap and thermostat were left on the front seat of the car.

22 December 2014 (Monday) – After not having heard from Terry Shields Toyota I phoned them and was advised the car had been taken to the Lexus of Parramatta workshop.

23 December 2014 (Tuesday) – I received a call from Lexus who advised me new radiator and water pump would be required. Car would not be ready before Christmas.

30 December 2014 (Tuesday) – I received a call advising the car was fixed.

Work carried out:

- Check for cause of vehicle overheating

- cooling pressure test

- cooling system unable to hold pressure due to faulty radiator cap housing

- removed and replaced radiator cap and housing
- carried out pressure test

- found coolant leaking from water pump

Check water pump for coolant leak

Carried out cooling system pressure test

Found coolant leaking from water pump

- removed and replaced engine water pump

- removed and replaced camshaft crank seals due to contamination
- removed and replaced timing idlers and tensioner due to contamination

- check for radiator blockage

Carried out cooling system pressure test

Found radiator blocked

Removed and replaced radiator

Replaced engine coolant

Carried our cooling system pressure test

Started, ran, and tested engine for 2 hours

No overheating evident

Collected the car without issue and then proceeded to drive from Granville to Guildford. Total trip
approx. 7km. Hadn’t quite made it off the Cumberland Highway when the temp gauge of the car started rising and by the time I arroved at Guildford the temp gauge was at max and the coolant was boiling again in the water tank. I phoned Lexus of Parramatta and he told me to let the car cool down, and to then drive it back in which I did. They then made a courtesy vehichle available for over the New Years break.

02 January 2015 (Friday) – I received a call advising the car was fixed and ready to be picked up.

05 January 2015 (Monday) – I drove the courtesy vehicle to Lexus of Parramatta in order to
collect my car. I was verbally advised that the car had had its thermo-sensor replaced and that the car had been driven to Penrith and back (approx. 3okms) twice and not shown any signs of overheating. I don’t like to question this however the invoice I have from Lexus of Parramatta
originally states the odometer reading 180811. One round trip to Penrith even conservatively is 60km. I noted the odometer reading in the Lexus of Parramatta service centre carpark when I collected my car to read 180891.

I was not given any paperwork for this final service however I followed up and received a no-charge invoice.

Work carried out:

- Check for vehichle overheating

- Removed and replaced thermostat and gasket

- Removed and replaced thermo fan sensor

- Re-bleed system of air and topped up coolant

- Carried out 30km test drive

- Ran engine for four hours with A/c on

Engine temp ok with no fluctuations

I then drove the car home and had exited the F3/M1 at the Gosford exit when near the top of the Kariong Hill the temp gauge spiked hot. I cruised down the hill and parked at the West Gosford
shopping centre. The coolant was boiling and the car was also leaking coolant.

So as it stands right now. The car is worth about $4k, I've paid 2k in repairs and the original overheating issue is still presenting. Car is parked at my home.

Lexus of Parramatta have said if I can get the car back to them they will continue running diagnostics (at my expense) and provide a courtesy car.

My question is, is there anything those of you familiar with the model can think of that may have been missed in these services? I am genuinely unsure what step to take next as I am reluctant to keep throwing money at mechanics who have thus far failed to find the problem.

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