2001 Dodge Durango Thermostat vs water pump vs alternator


Engine Cooling problem
2001 Dodge Durango V8 Four Wheel Drive Automatic 98000 miles

I was driving from 7,000 foot elevation to 5,000 foot elevation around 650 miles, towing small trailer 2000lbs. I have a 5.9 liter 360 engine. On the last 50 miles my suv began overheating and the charging alternator reading on dash was negative. My lights began to go dim. I pulled over at a gas station and looked at the cooling system as there was radiator fluid and water all over the inside of the hood and engine. I refilled the radiator with water and the reservior for radiator fluid with new radiator fluid. This calmed things down for about 20 miles. Overheating began again, so I turned on the heater inside the cab. It worked, leading me to believe it was not the water pump. I also could see fluid flowing through the pipes with the cap off pretty fast. My only suspision is it is the thermostat stuck open. There was not any obvious area where the fluid was spraying from. I have lower and upper hoses, new thermostat, new radiator fluid to change out and will do this today. The serpentine belt is new about 10K miles. The alternator is functioning and charging the battery. I have refilled the fluid s again and still have a leak somewhere. Radiator looks ok. Anything you might recomend or confirm what I am doing?

Thanks much,


Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 AT 5:02 PM

1 Reply


Charging light probably came on from coolant getting on the belt and the belt spinning over the alternater pulley.

Water pump sounds like it's pumping fine.

You need to either pressure test the cooling system to find the leak or bring it to temperature and look for a leak when the pressure is up. Mirrors or goddlighting would be helpful. Low coolant may be the source of the overheat.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 AT 7:59 PM

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