Mechanics

MY OVERHEATING

1996 Dodge Intrepid

I have a 96 Dodge Intrepid, 3.3 L, with apporximentaly 126,000 miles on her. It started overheating, so I checked the thermostat, and that is fine, the water pump works great too. I thought it could be the head gasket but that seems to be working great too. I'm not a car guru just a girl, that likes working on her car, but I don't know what else could be the problem, can you please help me out with some suggestions and alternative roads venture down? Thanks!

Elizabeth
Avatar
Ehall0731
July 28, 2006.



Are you loosing fluid? If so, where is the leak? If you are loosing fluid, but dont see a leak, it may be your intake manifold leaking.
If there is no leak, then how have you determined that your thermostat and water pump are working fine? But lets say they are.
I would check your cooling fans to make sure they are working. One fan should run whenever you have your air conditioing on, and the other should cycle on as needed. When you are overheating, are both fans running?

Tiny
Mikeybdman
Jul 28, 2006.
By air conditioning dosen't work at all so that does not run, and both my fans are working. I tested my thermostar by boiling water, it opens at about 180 degrees if I remember correctly so I say that that opened up so it was not my thermostat. I didn't see any leaks when I was looking around. I think that it might be my raditor or my heating coil, you think that that might be a problem?

Tiny
Ehall0731
Jul 31, 2006.
Well, if your water pump is working, your cooling fans, and your thermostat is working. No leaks, and the fluid is full and bled, then it may very well be your radiator has become clogged some reducing its ability to cool properly. They make a flush and fill kit that has a plastic " T" fitting you install in your heater line hose to back flush the heater core and radiator. If you buy one of these kits for under $10 and a small piece of 5/8" heater hose, then you can install this in the heater line comeing from your intake, and connect a water hose. Disconnect the upper radiator hose, and flush the system. It should flow the heater core backwards and the radiator backwards. Hopefully it will back flow out some sediment and debris to clean your radiator enough to let it cool under hot operations. If this cheap flush doesnt fix the problem, then it may be time for a new radiator.

Tiny
Mikeybdman
Jul 31, 2006.
I have bought a raditor flushing kit and I'm going to do that within the next day or two. If this does not work, and I go get a new raditor and still have the same problem, then where should I look next for the problem starter? Thank you very much for all your help, It's helping me alot since I really have no clue sometimes as to what I'm doing. Thank you so much.

Tiny
Ehall0731
Aug 1, 2006.
Ok, I am going to post this generic overheating guide. Not all will fit your situation, but it will give you ideas and knowledge of how the system works, and what can cause problems.

CAUSES OF OVERHEATING
Overheating problems can be separated into 4 basic categories: - Insufficient Air Flow
- Insufficient Coolant Flow
- Coolant Leaks
- Insufficient Cooling Capacity

Insufficient Air Flow - To remove heat from the system, air flow must be drawn across the cooling fins of the radiator.

The cooling system utilizes two methods to provide air flow. While the vehicle is being driven down the road air is forced across the radiator by the speed of the vehicle. When the vehicle is stopped or at low speeds, a cooling fan is used to force air across the radiator.

Air Flow Problems

- Broken Fan Belt
- Fan Clutch Not Engaging
- Debris Blocking The Front Of The Radiator (bugs, leaves, and dirt) - Prevents air from flowing through the radiator
- Missing Cooling Fan Shroud - Allows air to flow around the radiator, rather than through.

Insufficient Coolant Flow - This can be the result of a blockage in the system or by a failure of the water pump.

Coolant Flow Problems

- Thermostat Stuck Shut - This completely stops all coolant flow through the radiator and results in rapid overheating.
- Plugged Radiator - Corrosion or sediment builds up inside the radiator coolant passages and reduces the amount of coolant flow through the radiator.

- Pinched/Collapsed Coolant Hose - A hose has been installed incorrectly resulting in a bend or fold that greatly reduces coolant flow.
- Water Pump Belt Broken / Too Loose / Incorrectly routed (serpentine only). A belt which is too loose or incorrectly routed may slip on the pulley, resulting in insufficient flow.
- Water Pump Impeller Eroded - The entire impeller may be come separated from the shaft or individual blades may become separated due severe corrosion.

Coolant Leaks - Pockets of air/steam within the system, as a result of a leak, do not transfer heat as thoroughly as coolant and result in a reduced cooling system capacity.

Coolant Leak Problems

- Water Pump Shaft Seals - As the pump ages, the shaft seal become worn allowing for leakage.
- Coolant Hose Failure - Hoses may fail as a result of age, oil contamination, over-pressure, or incorrect installation/removal techniques.
- Radiator, Heater Core Leaks - These are particularly fragile components, they may fail from corrosion or loose water box seals but are often damaged by accident or mistakes.

- Head Gasket Failures - These not only result in a loss of coolant but may also result in heat from the piston exhaust stroke being injected directly into the cooling system. This may result in extremely rapid overheating conditions.
- Internal Failures - Cracked cylinder heads, cracked blocks. These leaks also result in engine oil contamination which may result in severe engine damage.

Insufficient Cooling System Capacity - This results when the heat removal requirements of the vehicle exceed the design capacity of the system.

System Capacity Problems

- Retarded Ignition Timing - This produces higher cylinder temperatures, resulting in increased heat removal requirements.
- Add-on Coolers - Turbo intercoolers, Transmission Coolers, Oil Coolers. The addition of extra coolers heats the incoming air before it passes through the radiator and reduces the total amount of air flow through the radiator.
- Air Conditioning - During periods of extreme engine load (climbing hills or towing) along with high temperatures, use of the A/C may exceed the capacity of the cooling system.

NOTE: The A/C system actually places two additional loads on the cooling system: A/C heat removal in the condenser (preheats incoming air before it reaches the radiator).
Increased engine load from operating the compressor.

Tiny
Mikeybdman
Aug 1, 2006.
Thank you so much for all the information. I'm going to start working on my car after classes this week, which will be on Friday. I will let you know what I found out when it all happens. Once again thank you so much for all the assistance.

Tiny
Ehall0731
Aug 2, 2006.