1996 Dodge Stratus 1996 Dodge Stratus Overheating Problem!

Tiny
ACD5STAR2088
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 DODGE STRATUS
Engine Cooling problem
1996 Dodge Stratus Automatic 102000 miles

My Stratus has done this problem ONCE before, which my Dad fixed by replacing the thermostat. I'm not sure what it is. But here is as detailed as I can be about the problem [i'm not very car savvy]:

Starting from a cold engine, the temperature is up to the 2nd bar by the time I make it out my [only semi-long] driveway.
The car overheats gradually but very quickly, usually in the red with the light on after 5-10 minutes max.
It died on me right off of the freeway today, making true "beater car" noises. You know, that scary sounding "baRum"that old cars make.
ANY advice is much appreciated.

To start the process out on my own I'm going to check all fluids [like I guess I should have already] and see what I can deduce on my own.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Thursday, October 9th, 2008 AT 9:12 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Now does it ping? Does it have any power after it warms up? I am thinking that either the thermostat is stuck closed or the catalitic converter is pluged. So give me the needed information and we will go from there and see what we can figure out.
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Thursday, October 9th, 2008 AT 10:07 PM
Tiny
ACD5STAR2088
  • MEMBER
The car has power and everything once it gets going, it just sounds disturbing and runs too hot. I'm not sure what you mean by ping though.
On a possibly unrelated side-note, the power on the dash goes out from time to time. I think the car may have some electrical problems that are underlying here :/
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Friday, October 10th, 2008 AT 6:50 AM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Well you could alway's replace the thermostat and see if that takes care of the heating problem. No the dash lights going out that is an electrical problem and you said you are not very car savy so I would take it to a good shop that does electrical repairs.
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Friday, October 10th, 2008 AT 8:54 AM
Tiny
ZACKMAN
  • MEMBER
Check you oil. Is it "milky"? Do a compression test. I believe you have the classic Chrysler bad head gasket.
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Saturday, October 11th, 2008 AT 1:11 AM
Tiny
ACD5STAR2088
  • MEMBER
The car is now deceased. I drove it one day too many, and it blew a head gasket. There's a good chance the block is cracked too. $1700 to have it fixed, bought for $2200- so we're donating it to charity.

Lesson learned!

Thanks for the feedback though. If I'd been a bit more adamant in trying the things you guys suggested I might saved the car.

I'll be back! Think of it that way.
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Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 AT 12:07 AM
Tiny
RACEFAN966
  • EXPERT
Sorry to hear that hope you find a good car to replace it and great thought about the charity I do that in my town. I take the dead cars and fix them and give them to families that need but don't have and it is a great feeling when you help like that. I do it through my church and it really changes a person. Again thanks for the support and have a great day.
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Wednesday, October 29th, 2008 AT 10:40 AM

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