1996 Jeep Cherokee Black fluid in coolant reservoir, low cy

Tiny
STARLITE4123
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 JEEP CHEROKEE
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 123,000 MILES
Recent purchase, drove 150 miles toward home with CEL on, no other warning light ever came on. Engine ran alittle rough, not bad. Fluids were full before trip (they overfilled oil). Stopped for a break, there was a thin black fluid pouring out of the radiator/coolant reservior (there's a rubber open spout), was bubbling and fuller inside, now its empty, main radiator cap has ink-like black under it. Did not overheat, no exhaust smoke, no coolant in the engine, engine oil has a very slight gas-like odor (injector cleaner we put in?), Lost at least a quart of oil, no or little lost transmission fluid (blackish color). Incomplete info given by the shop: CEL codes - "downstream 0202" (injector circuit#2?), Random misfires, Misfire on Cylinder #3. Cylinder compression numbers: 60, 50, 40, 90, 80, 0 (0 changed to 60 by different shop clerk). Said radiator is good but cooling system caused the problem, overheated before purchase. "Its a blown head gasket or bad valves." Are these codes causing or result of the oily black fluid? Car still runs/sounds the same. Could they be assuming it's a blown head gasket when its an engine oil cooler/radiator leak? Any other causes of black fluid in radiator? How can it be fixed?
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Saturday, September 26th, 2009 AT 10:31 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Based on the compression test, either the rings / valves are bad or you have a bad head gasket. The black in the coolant, does it look like oil?
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Sunday, September 27th, 2009 AT 12:57 AM
Tiny
STARLITE4123
  • MEMBER
Pitch black like ink (same as under rad cap), thin, not brown or thick like current oil in engine, no coolant color (added before trip). Didn't look in radiator itself. It's more like the blackish tranny fluid but tranny level and color seems unchanged. Poured from reservoir like water, oily also. Stopped boiling/bubbling after 5 mins. Next day engine oil level still at "add oil" - no apparent leak. Was City Gov owned - receipt (2006) found in car said "bad gas needs removal", is that or oil overfill relevant? Donation has increased. Have even more questions, if I use car repair page will all these things be considered together?
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Sunday, September 27th, 2009 AT 10:18 AM
Tiny
STARLITE4123
  • MEMBER
I read that "gas in the oil will wash the cylinder walls causing low compression". Engine oil did have a slight gas-like smell, but I had added fuel injector cleaner. Jeep has a fuel system recall (none for engine or tranny; other recalls are electrical). Was this problem (blown head gasket or valves/rings) from overheating CAUSED BY fuel system faults, cooling system faults, low fluids /bad maintenance, or age/use/worn? Was the bubbling black fluid actually boiling or was that exhaust or air bubbles? Should I call Uncle Jed about the bubbling black gold? Texas tea.I do live in Texas.
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Sunday, September 27th, 2009 AT 2:59 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Good one. If the temp gauge wasn't showing an overheat, the bubling could have been from a head gasket. As far as the compression, if the rings are bad and you place a little oil in the cylender right before a compression test, there should be an improvement. However, if there is a bad head gasket or valve, it won't change.
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Sunday, September 27th, 2009 AT 7:27 PM

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