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Lexus rx 330: 2004 RX 330. today got stuck in traffic and

2004 RX 330. today...
2004 RX 330. today got stuck in traffic and the water temp gauge run hot in the red. kept going back and forth hot then normal. coolent fans do come on. So what can be the problem and it has antifreeze in it.
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
9/10/2012
Skyvisions
Skyvisions, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Lexus
Satisfied Customers: 14,541
Experience: Lexus Expert
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Thank you for choosing JustAnswer and allowing me to help you resolve your Lexus questions!

When you say that you checked the coolant did you check the coolant in the radiator or at the radiator cap or in the overflow bottle when it was cold?

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Overflow bottle, it was empty so I taught. I added some coolent but it didn't take much to have the overflow reach full. So I was in brooklyn,ny then got back on the parkway and drove home. Temp gauge ran from normal to hot while stuck in traffic. When I was out of traffic and driving, it dropped to one bar above normal

Adding coolant to the overflow bottle will not immediately put coolant into the engine self. The coolant bottle will only pull coolant out of it and into the radiator when the engine cools off. When the engine is cold you need to remove the radiator cap which is on the housing to the upper radiator hose and put coolant in there then start the engine allow it to circulate adding as needed until it is topped off. More than likely you're going to find that you have the coolant leak somewhere. This engine was notorious for water pumps to leak and go bad. With the temperature gauge fluctuating like that usually means that there air pockets in the system allowing the engine to slightly overheat then come back down as the coolant begins to circulate again past the air pockets. When you overheated to the point where it goes into the red zone you do run the risk of damaging the head gaskets. Make sure the coolant in the radiator and cooling system not the overflow bottle is fully filled and see how things go with the overheating situation. If it still begins to overheat you have one of two options remove the thermostat and try and drive without it to see if it continues to overheat. If it does then you may be dealing with a head gasket that is damaged. Also look for coolant leaks under the vehicle. MAke sure you remove the cap when the system is COLD.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

ok let me go check it out. be back soon.


 

Let me know what you find. I will only be online for about 30 more minutes. Otherwise I can follow up with you tomorrow.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

So far so good. I filled up the radiator untill it wouldn't take any more She is still running and temp gauge looks good. I'm going to taking for a spin to really get the engine hot and see what happens. Thanks for the help. I will let you know the out come when I get back. Plus I never saw any leak underneath the car. It was dry.

Hopefully this was just something that was low and there is no further damage. You will find out because it will continue to overheat if there are other problems.
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Okay, things look great. Before the test drive fans were working and still at normal temp. Take a ride on the parkway at high speeds and still running normal. Yes lets pray it continues to run like a dream. Thanks for all your help.

You are welcome. Just keep an eye on the coolant level in the filler neck when it is cold. Remember the coolant overflow bottle will not directly fill the cooling system. This is a common mistake that is made. Keep an eye on the temperature and for any leaks under the vehicle.
Skyvisions
Skyvisions, ASE Certified Technician
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