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Dodge Spirit Cooling Questions

peacefularies's Avatar
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06-02-03, 04:41 PM   #1  
Dodge Spirit Cooling Questions

Hello. Have a (2years) 1993 Dodge Spirit that usually runs like a charm, but has never provided cool inside air unless the A/C is on. The regular air is always warm, if not hot. Just never thought too much about it until I rode in someone else's vehicle who didn't use A/C - the air was really cool, even without A/C.

Then, after driving the car all winter with no problems this past year, it began to run hot whenever idling - such as at a train or drive through, etc. The needle would get clear over to the H, but as soon as I began driving again, it would move back to a lower position.

Checked the coolant with one of those gauges that tells you whether or not it needs to be replaced - it did, so we drained the old, flushed the radiator, and put the appropriate amount of mixture in. Followed the manual to a T.

Drove the car soon thereafter about 10 miles, and when I stopped to pick up my daughter at a movie, smoke started pouring out from under the hood. The fluid in the overflow bottle was bubbling and a lot of the antifreeze ended up on the ground.

Later, removed the bottle and found a small crack that appeared to be causing the leak.

Couple of questions here - 1) is this the likely reason the car overheated and once I replace the bottle, will it probably be ok?
2) could the thermostat be bad, since it doesn't cool properly inside the car unless the a/c is on? 3) how would I know for sure if I've blown a head gasket? I've read some articles about it and my car did exhibit some of the symptoms, but I'm hoping it was just the leaking overflow bottle.

Any and all replies will be GREATLY appreciated, as, you guessed it, I'm a female.

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Jayhawk's Avatar
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06-02-03, 06:31 PM   #2  
It's really hard for a DIY'er to check for the all the possible problems. My advice is to take it to good radiator shop or your own mechanic. Lots of things can go wrong with a cooling system...eg, radiator, water pump, thermostat, fan etc. It doesn't usually cost too much to have it diagnosed. Then if you feel up to tackling the repairs you'll have a better idea of what you're up against. Good luck.

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06-03-03, 06:00 AM   #3  
1) Chrysler temp gauge fluctuation is a normal condition. Alldata published a bulletin some time ago on that.

2) Change the thermostat and check the water pump.

3) Do as Darrell stated. He has the right idea.

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06-03-03, 10:59 AM   #4  
Is your electric fan coming on when the engine gets hot? If not, there may lie the problem. The fan should come on when the water temp reaches exactly 212 degrees on your car.

"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

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06-03-03, 11:16 AM   #5  
darrell McCoy
along with the other suggestions, check the radiator cap. Boiling in O/F tank could be
be a bad cap or blown gasket some place. No, overflow tank should had nothing to do with overheating, less it was possibly totally empty. In that case your are low on coolant. But if O/F is cracked it needs replaced anyway. Un-repairable plastic. As previously stated, check fan operation. Make sure front of radiator is clean and the fan shrouds are in place.
Regular 'inside air' will normally be somewhat warmer in summer than outside temp, if it is extremely hot then your heater control is not functioning correctly.

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