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Thread: New to me 79 MX32

  1. #1
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    New to me 79 MX32

    Hey guys,


    I just had a nice 79 MX32 Cressida shipped to me from a seller here on JNC in Seattle, WA to South-eastern MA. I picked it up at the shipping hub on Thursday, and drove it home about 45 minutes on the freeway. It ran pretty much flawlessly, but I noticed some smoke from under the hood when I stopped for some food with my sons. I popped the hood, and didn't notice anything odd, but did get a puff from around the drivers side of the engine near the firewall when I opened the hood up. The temperature gauge was smack dab in the middle which seemed normal, but I did hear a gurgling noise from the area of the radiator. I just took the car out again on local surface roads, and when stopping I popped the hood and heard the gurgling noise again. I didn't dare open that radiator cap, should I while it is hot still or wait a little bit? Any ideas?

    The previous owner replaced the engine, and it looks like a fresh water pump. Radiator is the stock Toyota unit or so it looks to be. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Please don't tell me the engine is toast!!!

  2. #2
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    sounds like it was just the hot coolant boiling, smoke near the firewall probably isnt coolant. sounds like a bit of oil is leaking and hitting a hot part of the engine like the exhaust manifold. check around the valve cover gasket area etc and see if theres any oil drips. wouldnt worry too much though unless its leaking bad

  3. #3
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    was there any water boiling in the resevior???

  4. #4
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    I didn't notice the coolant boiling in the overflow reservoir., but then again I wasn't really looking at that in particular.

  5. #5
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    You really shouldnt be hearing gurgling noises. It isnt a normal operating condition. Its purely conjecture from what you are saying until you find out what is smoking near the firewall. But if its coolant and you are hearing gurgling, chances are you are leaking somewhere. Could be a heater core hose or a head gasket. Toyota i6's prior to say 95 love nothing more than to blow head gaskets. And the early m series engines LOVE to flatten camshafts. I have a small case study. I have a 78, 79 cressida a 5m from an 80 supra and a friend with an 81 cressida. All have camshaft damage and 2 have blown headgaskets. All are either 4m's or 5m's. My friends 81 cressida actually had one of the lash adjusters back completely out and luckily land in an unobtrusive area in the head. Sounded like a thrown rod.

    Anyway, the back of the engine is usually where they blow the headgasket. Furthest from the waterpump. As for your overflow, well that works on vacuum. If you have a leaking cooling system it will show the level from the last time that the cooling system was capable of holding vacuum. Pop the radiator cap. Pressure test the cooling system. If the cooling system holds pressure its fine. If it doesnt it will show you where the leak is. Get ready to buy some big boy tools when you own an old one like this. Enjoy!

  6. #6
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    mine made all those noises... sure enough it blew a headgasket

    hopefully it isn't the case

  7. #7
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    Quote Originally Posted by hsitko
    You really shouldnt be hearing gurgling noises. It isnt a normal operating condition. Its purely conjecture from what you are saying until you find out what is smoking near the firewall. But if its coolant and you are hearing gurgling, chances are you are leaking somewhere. Could be a heater core hose or a head gasket. Toyota i6's prior to say 95 love nothing more than to blow head gaskets. And the early m series engines LOVE to flatten camshafts. I have a small case study. I have a 78, 79 cressida a 5m from an 80 supra and a friend with an 81 cressida. All have camshaft damage and 2 have blown headgaskets. All are either 4m's or 5m's. My friends 81 cressida actually had one of the lash adjusters back completely out and luckily land in an unobtrusive area in the head. Sounded like a thrown rod.

    Anyway, the back of the engine is usually where they blow the headgasket. Furthest from the waterpump. As for your overflow, well that works on vacuum. If you have a leaking cooling system it will show the level from the last time that the cooling system was capable of holding vacuum. Pop the radiator cap. Pressure test the cooling system. If the cooling system holds pressure its fine. If it doesnt it will show you where the leak is. Get ready to buy some big boy tools when you own an old one like this. Enjoy!


    Is there anything that can be done to make the head gaskets not blow?

  8. #8
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    praying is the most effective if you see where i'm going with this.

    if it was a "rebuilt engine," it should have had new studs and an oem gasket, but if the head and block weren't true from a previous incident it's never gonna seal 100%

    perfect example of why NOT to buy into an older car if you can't handle the commitment.

    i might sound like a broken record, but if you just dumped cash on this car (and shipping...) it would be more cost-effective to find a newer drivetrain to swap in to eliminate long-term headaches. if you find a good 2jzge the cost to swap it in - provided you're mechanically adept (if you aren't, hope you have deep pockets) - is going to be the same if not lower than yanking that 4M and having it rebuilt again. you also get the benefit of better reliability, fuel economy and more than double the original power.

    sounds like you have some burning coolant/ps fluid/brake fluid/whatever. chasing that leak shouldn't be too hard to do.

  9. #9
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    I'm mechanical enough to rebuild almost anything on my rotaries, so I have that part covered. The thing is I bought this as being a perfectly running car, and while it does run great I am worried about this potential issue. From what I was told by the seller he installed a used but good condition engine in teh car last year, and it got a new head gasket at the time.

    I can do the work, but I am just not sure I want to at this point. I just want to enjoy the car which is the reason I sold my Mitsubishi van last year due to it being not so reliable. So far I have bought 4 cars here on the forum, and the last two potentially are not good buys. Well the one prior to this one was for sure not a good buy. I guess I should learn a lesson here, and not buy from sellers here anymore. The car is gorgeous, and I love it, but man I just wanted to get it, and start enjoying it, but now that seed of doubt is in my head.

    Could I pressurize the cooling system, and look for it to hold pressure? If it doesn't, but there is no external leak I know the gasket/ head is bad. My question is then I shouldn't start it with one or maybe more cylinders full of coolant, correct? Is it more likley that the aluminum head is not quite flat, and not the iron block? I could get the head planed, but again not what I wanted from this car. I hate working on cars when they need work to be enjoyed. I don't mind if it is normal maintenence ,or an upgrade, but major work just to enjoy it at this point in my life isn't something I want to be tackling again. I wasted a good portion of my spring/summer last year on the van that I will never get back, and I want to avoid that with this car.

  10. #10
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    Re: New to me 79 MX32

    take it to a shop and have them do a leak down/ check for a blown head gasket if you shelled out that much to ship it, then you can probably afford the piece of mind to know what exactly the problem is if it has one.

    Take it for what its worth; its a 30+ year automobile. Getting a classic that is a reliable daily driver is sorta unusual until you sort out some of the bugs. Its all part of owning an old car. I am hoping the P/O didn't know it had issues or was not right; but that is what always scares me about buying a car and getting it shipped

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