92 caravan overheating

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  #1  
Old 04-23-02, 05:26 PM
bossmand
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92 caravan overheating

Aloha:
I have a 92 Dodge Caravan SE, 3.3 liter, automatic w/ overdrive, AC, 180K miles. Till just recently this vehicle has run like a charm.
It overheats on inclines. On level ground, during rush hour, bumber to bumper traffic it runs fine and at normal temp. As soon as it starts to climb the gauge starts to rise also. Turning on the heater helps till it gets to level ground then the temp starts to drop and back to normal. This happens day or night. I don't really need to run the heater in Hawaii. The water pump was replaced about a year ago, the belt tensioner was replaced three months ago. The belt is good, the hoses are ok. I can't find any leaks. I replaced the thermostat but no results, so I removed the thermostat still no results. I have used a radiator cleaner (prestone) and a cooling system flush (gunk) still overheating. I serviced the trans this week end. I don't know what else to do. I'm afraid that if this keeps happening the head gasket will eventually blow. Please help!!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-23-02, 06:25 PM
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it sounds like your radiater is getting in bad shape and may need to be replaced, but first take to a radiater shop and see if it can be cleaned out by tanking or roding out the cores if it cannot you will probably have to replace the radiater, those radiater cleaners and flushes in a bottle are a waste of time and money and likely didnt help the problem any.
 
  #3  
Old 04-24-02, 07:04 AM
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This could also be one of those engines that need to be at an incline when the cooling system is filled again. You may have an air bubble at the top of the engine, and when the car is at an incline (usually up), then buble will cause the engine to overheat.
 
  #4  
Old 04-24-02, 09:24 AM
Joe_F
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Change the radiator cap. Cheap insurance.

That being said, these mini K car thingie vans clog up the radiators over time. Also, does the electric fan come on as it should?
 
  #5  
Old 05-05-02, 07:54 PM
spooge031
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Cool

good thought about the cooling fan coming on here's a quick way to check out the entire circuit; start the engine and CAREFULLY unplug the coolant sensor (it's the 2 wire sensor under the coil pak) if the fan comes on withen a few seconds the circuit is good, (don't worry about the check engine light it will go out as soon as you turn off the engine but it will set a fault code in the computers memory,and this trick will work on most chrysler corp. vehicles with an electrisc cooling fan) second and a remote possibility I see a lot of here in the North East believe it or not the trans. could be slipping enough to cause the overheating, the 3.3L engine ONLY was mated to the A604-4 speed trans. (bad trans. had a LOT of problems) and the caravan could be equipped with any number of tranny cooler packages from a external only to a combo of internal (located in the radiator)and external.
 
  #6  
Old 05-06-02, 09:47 PM
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How high does it actually get? The engine is under more strain going up a grade, and will naturally run a little hotter. The cooling fan should come on at exactly 212 degrees. This can be checked with a scan tool while driving or idling. spooge31 is right about that tranny. The overdrive goes bad on them quite often. Did your old tranny fluid look nasty brown and have a burnt smell to it when you drained it? Any metal flakes in the fluid? I would think it would have to be slipping noticeably to cause an engine overheating problem though.

Check your hoses for kinks or pinches, make sure your radiator is allowing proper circulation. Let us know what you find.
 
  #7  
Old 08-07-02, 10:46 PM
bossmand
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Thumbs up

Well guys!
Four days after I posted the trans went. $1900 for an. overhaul.
While at the shop I noticed five other Chrysler vans 1990 and up
all with the same problem. He was impressed that my van had that much milage and the trans was now failing. He said that they normally last about 80K. Anyway after I picked it up it was still overheating. I replaced the radiator and no more overheating.
The mystery is did the radiador cause the trans to fail or was it time for the trans to die. By the way the radiator was clogged. The shop owner said that the trans would have died sooner than later from the way it looked inside. He said that this is the worst trans that Chrysler ever put out I got a two year warranty. The van runs great. My next problem is that the paint is pealing. This seams to be a common problem with Chrysler in the 1990 series. Was it the paint or the primer?
Mahalo for your help and Aloha!
BossmanD
 
  #8  
Old 08-07-02, 10:57 PM
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The trans was destined to die the day it was built. It was not a good unit. I think the reason for the constant failure is that when the trans is in overdrive, it is under more strain. at the same time, it is turning at less RPMs. Less RPMs means the pump isn't pumping as fast either. Therefore it doesn't cool the trans fluid as well. More strain and less cooling, coupled with a trouble prone radiator spells failure. To get the most out of an overdrive, keep it in drive unless you are going to be on fairly level ground at high speed for a fair amount of time. Then you can shift into overdrive.
 
  #9  
Old 08-08-02, 03:47 AM
Joe_F
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Cheese is 100% right. Those 4 speed Chrysler overdrive trannies are crap out of the box and off the rebuilders shelf. The whole van is very lackluster in quality, fit and finish and reliability. Not a "Nice reliant automobile" as the NYS lottery jingle goes .

As for the paint, it was both a primer and paint problem. The OEMs blamed it on the paint companies, the paint companies blamed it on OEM processes. Dark colors (blue, grey, brown, green, etc) fare the worst with this delamination/peeling issue.

A repaint is the only way to save it. Had it happened earlier in the vehicle's life, Chrysler might have eaten some of the repair on it.
 
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