Grand Caravan overheating; adding coolant?


Old 08-19-06, 03:58 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2001
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Cool Grand Caravan overheating; adding coolant?

2003 6cyl 3.2 Grand Caravan overheated yesterday. Appeared low on coolant, so to get by weekend until going to repair shop I added about 1.5 gallons coolant mixture directly to radiator and also filled overflow resevoir midway. Drove about 80 miles, no overheating (75 degrees today). With vehicle still hot the reservoir was empty. After cooling, the reservoir was back to midway level or so, but the radiator level appeared quite low (maybe 8 inches below cap -- could see radiator fins inside). I was surprised the resevoir would be filled up but the radiator seems low, I wouldn't expect the overflow to fill if the radiator was down. Can any help explain this does it lead to any idea about why I am losing coolant.

(Also, water pump replaced by a Dodge dealer, under warranty about 6 months ago due to leaking. Now out of warranty.)

Also, the only leak I could see I caught in a container and it was water I assume from the a/c, on passenger side, kind of under car under the passenger seat area, but just dribbling along what i think was the brake line to rear. Sound normal, or mean anything related to above?

Thanks for your help in advance.

Also, as a member who has greatly benefited from this website, I encourage all guests to register and become part of this great place.
Old 08-19-06, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Unless the leak is a gusher and you can see where the coolant is leaking, the preferred method to find the leak would be to pressurize the system with a "Radiator Pressure Tester." Stant makes a nice one in the $80 range.....I was able to find a used one for $25 at a local tool store that sells all used tools.

Basically it's an air pump with a gauge on it. One end of the pump has the pump knob and the other has a hose which runs to a cap that screws onto the radiator in place of the radiator cap. You pump up the system to the specified pressure and if there is no leak, the gauge should hold steady for about 5 minutes. If the pressure drops, then you start looking where the coolant is leaking. It's best to check this when the engine is cold. Also, the tool includes an adaptor to fit different vehicles; you might have to buy the additional adaptors if the one supplied in the kit doesnít fit your radiator.

Without a Radiator Pressure Tester, finding a leak will be a long process of trial and error and you might not ever find it. Once you get the tool, you will have it to use on all your vehicles so IMO, itís a wise investment!
Good luck,

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