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Old 02-22-2014, 03:07 PM   #71
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Once a thermostat has been overheated, the fluid inside them can come out and from then on it won't open. There are other issues like what damage the overheating did to the engine. Good luck getting it sorted out.

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Old 02-22-2014, 04:10 PM   #72
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One of the best ways to make a quick and dirty assessment of coolant circulation within an overheating engine is to turn the heater on full blast. If coolant is circulating you should get some very hot air very fast. It should also cause a rapid drop in engine temperature though exactly how much depends on the car and situation. In many years of meddling with old cars Iíve had to use this a few times. My feeling is that if the heater puts out and the temperature drops then Iím comfortable limping the car along a short distance since coolant is circulating, if there is no hot air then Iíll shut the engine off immediately as either there is insufficient coolant or it is somehow blocked from circulating.

Itís important to remember that circulating coolant does two things within an engine: firstly it moves heat to the radiator to be expelled, and secondly it modulates temperatures within the engine. Most of the heat in an engine is made in the cylinder head near the combustion chambers. If coolant under proper pressure isnít circulating as designed it is entirely possible to get localized overheating and steam pockets in the head even if the water temperature doesnít indicate overheating; in short the average temperature of the engine is within acceptable limits but it is too hot in one or more areas that arenít getting proper coolant circulation. This situation used to be most common in cars without low coolant warning lights that were operated for short trips in cool climates; the owner might never notice a low coolant level caused by a small leak. Ultimately this can lead to leaky head gaskets or cracked heads due to thermal stresses.

As this point Iíd be wondering why such an otherwise very nice car got traded at a low mileage during winter in an area known for brutally high summer temperatures. Both the bad radiator cap and leaky reservoir could indicate previous bouts of overheating, possibly caused initially by the leaky reservoir. I assume you have a warranty on the car, Iíd take it back to the dealer and demand that he do every possible check for any cooling system maladies since these can render the car undriveable with or without a TT once summer hits in the desert. Chrysler builds and sells too many of these cars under both Chrysler and Dodge brands for overheating to be normal, this car has a problem and it should be fixed.
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Old 02-22-2014, 04:20 PM   #73
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Sorry to hear it ain't fixed. Don't know your automotive DIY skills but I watched a tech pinpoint a stuck t-stat on a 7.3L Ford with an infrared point and read thermometer. Traced the coolant flow and proved the failure. When I got home I bought one. It has more potential diagnostic ability than we can discuss.

Good luck

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Old 02-22-2014, 04:24 PM   #74
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Ah, crap. So sorry to hear that the problem still persists. I'd be fed up as well.

The only thing I can offer is that there are many, many Grand Caravans with the same (or very similar) drivetrain and engine that perform without any issues at all. Two of them I know in person, one of these has crossed the continent with their rig, across the Rockies during summer.

There has to be an issue with the car.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:21 PM   #75
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Just curious... Since this car is probably still under warranty, is there a reason you aren't having dealer troubleshoot this problem?

Good luck!
It was at the dealer last week from the first boil over. They replaced the reservoir (cracked) and said they thoroughly tested it, including a pressure test and road test. I had told them I knew that the reservoir wasn't the end of the problem. I can tell when a t'stat is not working. But they won't do anything unless they can "see" the proof. I will be back at the dealer Monday, and give a written detailed report of the problem.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:24 PM   #76
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Sorry, today was a towing test. I really didn't think I needed to test the car by itself. So, assuming it was fixed we hitched up and tried a small test up the I10 which climbs at about 2% for 30 miles.

The oddity was that it was stable at 220F. Then after we gassed up, it shot right up to 260 in a matter of 1 minute on the freeway. That's why I keep thinking something is sticking.

BTW, fan is working fine. And no blockage in front of the grill.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:36 PM   #77
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Mark,
Do you have a scangauge you own or can borrow ? At those "temps", I would have guessed it would have puked some coolant. I am wondering if it was really that hot on today's drive. Like maybe a senser or the readout is incorrect.
You didn't say in the above post, but I am assuming this was towing ?

If the pump was not circulating, or if the t-stat was stuck, it would overheat even if not towing, I would think ?

EDIT: I suppose it is also possible that the radiator is clogged with left over casting debris ( sand ) when the engine block and heads were cast.
I have an OBDII reader. Is that what you mean? Are you saying the gauge is giving false info? I don't think so. I opened the hood and it was HOT under there.

Also...
I have no DIY chops for automotive work. I did in 1966, but not today.

Also...
While pulled over on the side of I10, a very nice Airstreamer from Ontario, Canada (ironic, huh?) stopped to lend a hand. Thank you WBCCI #11000!
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:52 PM   #78
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I have an OBDII reader. Is that what you mean? Are you saying the gauge is giving false info? I don't think so. I opened the hood and it was HOT under there.

Also...
I have no DIY chops for automotive work. I did in 1966, but not today.

Also...
While pulled over on the side of I10, a very nice Airstreamer from Ontario, Canada (ironic, huh?) stopped to lend a hand. Thank you WBCCI #11000!
Well, a scangauge2 is a glorified OBD2 reader. The beauty of it is you can leave it connected and get real time info. I just thought if you had one, it could be plugged in to verify the same ( or different ) numbers you are getting on the dash display.
At the temps you were seeing, one would think it would have gone into limp mode, and thrown some codes. Hopefully the tech at the dealer can get to the bottom of this.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:46 PM   #79
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Sorry, today was a towing test. I really didn't think I needed to test the car by itself. So, assuming it was fixed we hitched up and tried a small test up the I10 which climbs at about 2% for 30 miles.

The oddity was that it was stable at 220F. Then after we gassed up, it shot right up to 260 in a matter of 1 minute on the freeway. That's why I keep thinking something is sticking.

BTW, fan is working fine. And no blockage in front of the grill.
After years of wrenching, here is my guess at your problem.

The PO had a cooling failure, a split coolant tank. When stuff got hot due to low coolant they refilled it with tap water...repeating over and over...(once again, I've been here and done this from my early years of driving junk)

From my experience a thermostat that goes from antifreeze to water will almost always stick. There is your problem.

I've also had a high rate of water pump failure when running on water. The antifreeze has lubricant in it and the water causes the inner seal to fail, followed by the bearing.

Good luck!!!
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:33 PM   #80
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Is a bigger radiator available for this car?

While there may in fact be something wrong with the car, cars today are not but with a lot of excess system capacity.

Any radiator is only capable of dissipating so much heat at a given temperature and pulling a trailer against air creates an amount of heat over a continuous period of time that the car would have never seen without the trailer.

It is a BTU thing. The cooling system must be able to dissipate enough heat to keep things in a state of equilibrium.

Do not underestimate the amount of heat generated towing a trailer even on flat ground, and don't over estimate
the amount of heat the stock thin radiator can move to the air
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:47 PM   #81
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Perhaps a Hemi radiator might work?

IDK if the hose ports, cooler ports etc are in the right place, but maybe.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:52 PM   #82
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From my experience a thermostat that goes from antifreeze to water will almost always stick. There is your problem.
I just hope I can get the dealer to replace it. I have full warranty for another 1600 miles.

One of the reasons I am convinced it is a sticking t-stat is the erratic behavior. On the way back - on level road at 30mph - it would stay at 250F the suddenly drop to 220F for maybe 4 minutes, then quickly rise again to 255F.

If I pull over and STOP when it is 250F and simply idle the motor it should drop within minutes to normal temp of 210F. It doesn't. The fan runs, the temp stays at 240F/250F for a long time. That's not right. If I turn it off for say 30 minutes, it will come down to 220F.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:56 PM   #83
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Perhaps a Hemi radiator might work?

IDK if the hose ports, cooler ports etc are in the right place, but maybe.
Well, I keep coming back to the experience of Andy. He has several of these and other Pentastar V6 TVs running around, and from the sound of it, they have tens or hundreds of thousands of hours on them with no heating issues. He even told me there is one in Arizona who ran all summer long towing in the desert heat with no trouble. I am therefore leaning that something is wrong with THIS car. Although, my patience and confidence is near an end.
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:00 PM   #84
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Don't give in, you can't let the car win...

Be patient and work through it.
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