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 Post subject: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:09 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 376
Location: Southeastern Massachusetts
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!!!

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:50 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:04 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:23 pm
Posts: 10
Location: calif.
was there any water boiling in the resevior???


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:36 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 376
Location: Southeastern Massachusetts
I didn't notice the coolant boiling in the overflow reservoir., but then again I wasn't really looking at that in particular.

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:57 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:00 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Seattle
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!


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:34 pm
Posts: 322
Location: southern PA
mine made all those noises... sure enough it blew a headgasket

hopefully it isn't the case

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:54 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 376
Location: Southeastern Massachusetts
hsitko wrote:
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?

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 274
Location: TX
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.

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:49 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 376
Location: Southeastern Massachusetts
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.

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:34 pm
Posts: 322
Location: southern PA
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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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:54 pm
Posts: 376
Location: Southeastern Massachusetts
I may have got lucky. I put a cooling system pressure tester on it when I got home from work. Pumped it up to 12 psi, and went inside for a little while. Came out to head out for volleyball, and noticed a large puddle underneath the car. Found it was the lower radiator hose where it attached to the water pump. I was able to get 4-6 turns out of the screw!!! Tightened it up, and re pressurized the system to 12 psi. Left for volleyball, and just got home about 3.5 hours later, and the gauge was just a tick over 11 psi, so I lost a little, but that is probably normal. I hope this was the issue. Could I have been hearing the system sucking air through the loose hose clamp somehow?

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:00 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Seattle
I hate to say it. I love the mx32. But it is in no way a reliable car. At this point i dont think it is even possible to make it a completely reliable car. The reason i say this is because you can not buy replacement parts for many of the cars trouble spots. You cant buy new door or window seals, you cant buy new window regulators etc etc.

These engines are OLD! And to make matters worse, when they were new they already had tons of problems. They are ok for this vintage. But the cam problem was already starting to show up a couple years after production.

As long as the body of your car is clean and rust free it was a good buy. That is the only relevant thing about buying a classic car. 99% of the people who buy classic cars do not buy them to be daily drivers. Its just how it works. Nothing with a carburetter is going to be reliable in my opinion. And not because it has a carb. Its because if its old enough to have a carb its going to be an old car. I'm not saying you shouldnt fix the 4m or that you should swap something more modern in there. But it depends on what you want your JNC experience to be.

If you keep the old stuff you will be persuing a lifestyle. What i mean by this is your car will constantly need your attention. It will break down on you at the worst times. It will be the cause of fights with your wife and leave you stranded on the coldest rainyest nights...and for some reason you will love it. For evidence of this lifestyle I point you to the Volkswagen community. Never has such a large group of Massochists organized in one place.

Or you can put in a nice new modern known reliable engine like a 2jzge or a 1uzfe and never give it another thought. The worst thing that will happen to you is your ignition switch will fail or one of your windows wont roll up or down. You will only have to do oil changes and timing belts. And you will love your car. The choice is yours. But the 4m makes less power than the 4ag and is over 1l bigger and has 2 extra pistons...and weighs a lot more...


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:52 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:00 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Seattle
Mazdax605 wrote:
I may have got lucky. I put a cooling system pressure tester on it when I got home from work. Pumped it up to 12 psi, and went inside for a little while. Came out to head out for volleyball, and noticed a large puddle underneath the car. Found it was the lower radiator hose where it attached to the water pump. I was able to get 4-6 turns out of the screw!!! Tightened it up, and re pressurized the system to 12 psi. Left for volleyball, and just got home about 3.5 hours later, and the gauge was just a tick over 11 psi, so I lost a little, but that is probably normal. I hope this was the issue. Could I have been hearing the system sucking air through the loose hose clamp somehow?



Good to hear. I hope that is all it was. Things to consider doing for peace of mind would be.

Valve adjustment. (this will be a good time for you to inspect your cam)
Plugs, wires, cap and rotor (if they havent been done recently)
Fuel filter
flush brakes
flush power steering
pull the rear drums and inspect your wheel cylinders
Possibly drain the fuel tank to get all the chunkies out of there.
And my personal favorite. Get some hella h4 housing headlights and relay your headlights. It will improve your lighting by 1000% literally. Its a very amazing upgrade for these old cars. The housings are available on amazon.com and are not terribly expensive. The lighting is better than retrofit hid's in my opinion. And they dont make you a target for cops.

And i'm a rotary guy too! If you can take care of a rotary anything you should have no problem tinkering with this car! Hope to see some pictures!!


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:38 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:34 pm
Posts: 322
Location: southern PA
hsitko wrote:
I hate to say it. I love the mx32. But it is in no way a reliable car. At this point i dont think it is even possible to make it a completely reliable car. The reason i say this is because you can not buy replacement parts for many of the cars trouble spots. You cant buy new door or window seals, you cant buy new window regulators etc etc.

These engines are OLD! And to make matters worse, when they were new they already had tons of problems. They are ok for this vintage. But the cam problem was already starting to show up a couple years after production.

As long as the body of your car is clean and rust free it was a good buy. That is the only relevant thing about buying a classic car. 99% of the people who buy classic cars do not buy them to be daily drivers. Its just how it works. Nothing with a carburetter is going to be reliable in my opinion. And not because it has a carb. Its because if its old enough to have a carb its going to be an old car. I'm not saying you shouldnt fix the 4m or that you should swap something more modern in there. But it depends on what you want your JNC experience to be.

If you keep the old stuff you will be persuing a lifestyle. What i mean by this is your car will constantly need your attention. It will break down on you at the worst times. It will be the cause of fights with your wife and leave you stranded on the coldest rainyest nights...and for some reason you will love it. For evidence of this lifestyle I point you to the Volkswagen community. Never has such a large group of Massochists organized in one place.

Or you can put in a nice new modern known reliable engine like a 2jzge or a 1uzfe and never give it another thought. The worst thing that will happen to you is your ignition switch will fail or one of your windows wont roll up or down. You will only have to do oil changes and timing belts. And you will love your car. The choice is yours. But the 4m makes less power than the 4ag and is over 1l bigger and has 2 extra pistons...and weighs a lot more...




haha best post ever.... and it definitely describes my experience with the cressida.... i remember one snowy night my door latches froze shut and i had to get a ride home.... i didn't even have the doors locked.... hopefully that was all it was; i would replace the thermostat as well piece of mind and cheap

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:59 pm
Posts: 424
Location: Lynnwood, Washington
If I remember correctly that engine is from 12345 , a member on this forum that swapped out that 4m for a 1uz after he rebuilt it.

Look at his build thread and it will show you what he has done to the motor.http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=7034

And the seller's build thread , his last post did mention "I am still trying to work out a few issues first. I need to figure out why she is running hot before I worry about cosmetic things."
Try asking turbopachyderm and see what symptoms he was experiencing with the car before he sold it
http://japanesenostalgiccar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19729&start=20


Hoping that it's just the hose that is the problem :tu: if not, it stime for a swap.

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 9:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:53 am
Posts: 302
Location: Spokane, WA
Did you happen to check the thermostat? I apologize if someone already suggested it I must have missed it. I had this problem on my MkII turns out the thermostat stuck and caused the coolant to start to boil. Replaced it and never had another problem with it. Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:16 am
Posts: 112
Just blew the headgasket on my MX32 :evil:


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 1:00 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:56 am
Posts: 52
Location: Queensland, Australia
how you know you blew the headgasket? oil in the radiator or white on your dipstick, or what? Not good to hear man.. I'm hoping my mx32's headgasket is fine... can't get the thing to idle right and noticed a tiny bit of sludge when i pulled the rad cap off..

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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 12:27 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:16 am
Posts: 112
It happened a week ago, I was on the freeway and it started running rough. Next thing, the temp gauge shot up. I made my destination, cooled it off and the coolant was low. Filled up and drove back about 25 miles, got hot again, next day, coolant down. I just added more, it drove fine, just gunned the motor and white smoke...I suspected that it was water. Checked the dipstick and it was milkshake. The oil cap too. Drained everything today, threw in fresh oil...gonna be about a week before I can get the head off. It actually still runs fine, I might just get away with just a head gasket, but I'm having a shop check the head. At the same time, gonna recore the radiator and put a new water pump in.


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 Post subject: Re: New to me 79 MX32
PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 9:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 274
Location: TX
sounds like a lot of work and money to keep an underpowered and inefficient engine running.

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