Could a bad radiator be causing all of this?

I have a 2001 Camry that has oil in the coolant, it has a burning coolant type smell, it's misfiring and white smoke is coming from the tail pipe. The test for a blown head gasket is negative. What else could cause all of this. My next suspect is a radiator leak.

20 Answers

  • zipper
    Lv 6
    8 months ago

    A radiator leek does not put oil in the cooling system, You have a oil water jack leek some place, which could be a head gasket. Your pressure test will not show a water jacket head gasket leek, it will only show a leek in to the firing chamber not a water jacket problem, or if you have an intake cooler system the intake could be leeking which would mix oil and water, or you could see water in the oil as well as oil in the water. You need a very good mechanic to check this out! head gasket leek

  • JOHN B
    Lv 6
    8 months ago

    Could be a transmission cooler or the hoses in the radiator if it is automatic. The cooler is connected to the bottom of the radiator by  in and out hoses. Check your transmission fluid for level. It would probably be low due to transfer to radiator. You may or may not have water drops in the fluid. Check the hose connection to the radiator for any leaks. Your radiator may also overflow from the added trans fluid in some cases.

    I wrote this before scrolling. I agree with the Devil 

  • Poppy
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    Piston rings are likely the culprit. Engine rebuild/replace is the fix.

  • 8 months ago

    Your head gasket test simply checked for exhaust gas in the coolant. It didn't find any. That just meant that there was no exhaust gas in the coolant, which is just one of the problems possible.  It doesn't mean there are no problems with the head gasket. There are many potential causes of your problems, most of which have been exercised on here already, I don't intent to repeat them.

    To answer your question, yes, a radiator issue could have been the beginning of it all if it led to overheating.

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  • Dan
    Lv 5
    8 months ago

    The cylinder head bolts have pulled out of the block and the head gasket is blown. Your test is false. Web search: "Camry head bolt time-sert kit"

  • 8 months ago

    head gasket may be ok but a cracked block will also allow oil to enter your cooling system.

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    Well looks like the car is done for and time to let go of it. It will cost more to fix it then it's worth. However, if it has really low miles and the body is in good condition you can consider putting a used engine in it.

  • 8 months ago

    Some of the Jap cars in that model year range had bad tranny coolers inside the radiators and coolant got into the tranny and tranny fluid got into the coolant.

    An intake manifold gasket could let oil into the coolant jacket and vice versa depending on type of engine. A warped cylinder head is the most likely culprit.

    We're talking a few hundredths of an inch warpage. May not warp enough while stone cold but will warp more when hot and allow exchange of fluids. (Coolant and Oil) 

    If you've ruled out the obvious, the cylinder head(s) have to come off and the head must be reconditioned and machined at a machine shop to like new condition. 

  • 8 months ago

    Check the transmission. If it isn't engine oil, it might be transmission fluid. To be thorough, take a look for emulsion on the oil filler cap. That would tell it's engine oil getting into the cooling system. If the head gasket isn't the fault, the head is cracked. A leaking radiator would not "create" oil in it, but it would lose coolant you could see dripping on the ground. Go to a different mechanic and have the engine checked for combustion products coming through the radiator.

  • 8 months ago

    A leaking radiator will cause over heating and ruin a head gasket but a leaking radiator won't put motor oil in the cooling system until the head gasket goes.

    Does the oil on the dipstick look like a milkshake? If you're just looking at the oil filler cap it's only condensation and nothing to worry about.

    Constant white smoke out he tail pipe is a concern.

    Run the motor for 15 minutes with the radiator cap off and watch for air bubbles coming up in the radiator neck. If the air bubbles never stop there's a good chance the head gasket is bad even if the chemical "block test" came up negative.

    Source(s): Mitsubishi Master Tech
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