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Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

 
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Old 05 Apr 2011, 08:08 am
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Default Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

I've read through quite a few posts and think I have my plan in place, but I just wanted to check with the experts.

I have a 2001 PT non turbo with 81,000 miles. I bought it 2 months ago. This weekend I changed my plugs/wires. Went out for a test ride and things were good. The idle seemed a little higher, but not bad. Later that day I took it on a 20 mile trip, pretty hot day here in central FL (about 89). About 15 miles in and the temp gauge was near red and got the little 'ding'. Shut the air off, turned around and got up to speed and the temp gauge came down.

Put her in the garage to cool off but checked the coolant level at that time. I couldn't see anything in the fill tank ('full hot' or 'add') but it's not very see-through. After it cooled down, I pulled the radiator cap and it looked like some sediment (sandy, gritty stuff) on the cap, but coolant was full there. I added a bit of distilled water just as a precaution.

Also checked here and tried to see if the high speed fan was kicking on. I thought it was, but now am doubting that as yesterday the exact same thing happened. A/C on, engine heated up on the stop and go commute home, A/C was still cold though. Turned the A/C off, engine was right on the middle of the temp gauge.

My question: I was considering a flush and fill of the cooling system as the sediment concerned me but now am thinking of the fan replacement too. Should I do both and if so, what order? Fan first then flush or doesn't it matter. I'd be taking it in to have the flush and fill but might try the fan myself. Also, am I risking damage if I drive without the A/C this week?

Just looking for a little validation on this or any other thoughts before I dive in.
Thanks!
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Old 05 Apr 2011, 08:42 am
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

Since you just bought it and have no idea of the maintenance history, I'd go for the flush and fill. Make sure the right coolant is used (Chrysler recommended HOAT) and see that all the trapped air is out of the system. Might want to have it pressure checked also.

You can at least check one speed of the fan to see if it's working by starting the engine cold and turning on the A/C. The fan should come on with the compressor. If you let it idle while your doing this and the temp raises to at least half way or more, the fan should switch to the high speed. It's much louder than the low speed and you can miss the difference.
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Old 05 Apr 2011, 11:42 am
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

Thanks for the advice, I'll check the fan later tonight after it's cooled down from the commute home and schedule the flush and fill.
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Old 09 Apr 2011, 09:54 am
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

Flush and fill done, the relay is not the issue, high speed fan is shot. The shop said that the fan had to be taken out from the bottom. Is that true? It doesn't look like it, but if it is that presents bigger problems doing it at home. Off to ebay to buy a fan...
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Old 09 Apr 2011, 09:59 am
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

Nope ....from the top.

Removing the fan and housing 01-05 PT

The radiator fan fix
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Old 09 Apr 2011, 10:37 am
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

If you can get ahold of a pressure tester, it is also a good idea to pressure test the system itself and the radiator cap. I think parts stores might have them as part of their tool loan programs. It is a pretty simple test and gives you some good information.

alan
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Old 09 Apr 2011, 03:02 pm
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

Thanks guys, I'll get a fan replacement and either try it myself or grab a buddy who has a bit more mechanical aptitude than I do to help me. I appreciate your quick replies.

Greg
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Old 10 Apr 2011, 03:02 pm
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

how did the coolant look when you drained it???

Nice hound doggy too!
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Old 12 Apr 2011, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

VNT, I didn't see it, had it done. The tech said 'it needed it' so I'm assuming it didn't look good, but who knows?

Ran the AC this morning, but my commute was easy, no stopping, but no overheating either. This afternoon will tell the tale. Meanwhile, I'm on Ebay shopping for a fan. They seem to run from $65 to $95 and I cannot tell the difference...

And Mulligan the Beagle thanks you for your compliment!

Last edited by Mulligandog; 12 Apr 2011 at 01:00 pm. Reason: Dog comment
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Old 26 Apr 2011, 06:49 am
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Default Re: Overheating troubleshooting, what to do?

SO... I ordered the fan off of Ebay and found a friend's son who is a mechanic to put it in. He got the fan in without much trouble, but it didn't completely solve the problem. When he called me he said that it could be thermostat or the head gasket....ugh. He said he'd test it out and let me know.

2 hours later he calls back and says that it wasn't the head gasket (whew!) because when they pressure tested the system it was fine. They replaced the radiator cap and all was good...but not great.

When it is idling, the temp gauge will get just above the middle mark, but if you give it a little gas, it drops back down. His theory is that the radiator may be partially blocked. When he took off the top hose, the antifreeze looked clean, on the bottom it looked rusty/dirty.

I had this flushed and filled just over a week ago. Taking that into consideration, does anyone have any other theories on the problem? Water pump? Radiator? Other issue?
If it is the radiator, how big of a job is that?
Any help is appreciated.
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