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Hot when going up

 
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  • 1 Post By mdfrodolives
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 19 Jul 2014, 10:39 pm
mdfrodolives's Avatar
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Default Hot when going up

Hello everyone. Long time no see.

We took off for a few days, from Redding to Arcata, CA, and going uphill in the mountains with the AC on, my temp needle started going to the three quarter mark. That has never happened before with our 2003 Limited non turbo.

I turned off the AC and pulled over and let the engine idle. The temp needle went back to normal. I took off and with the AC off, everything seemed okay. The needle stayed in the normal range. The while going up another steep climb, the needle started moving to the three quarter mark again. While descending the hills, the needle would go back to normal.

I had plenty of coolant, the fan worked when we got to the motel, when I tested it by turning on the AC again. The engine did not run hot once we got to flat land. The temp stayed at halfway. I even got the car up to seventy and the needle stayed at halfway. But going up a steep incline, it definitely starts to overheat again.

So what could cause this, where higher rims going uphill, causes the temp needle to rise, but lower rims,say, 2300 rims at 65 mph, and no overheating?
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Old 20 Jul 2014, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Hot when going up

Because you claim the fans are in order and working properly.

When you go up hill your EGT ( exhaust gas temperature ) raises and the PCM should be retarding timing and increasing fueling to lower the temperatures .If your thermostat is only partially opening and not allowing full coolant flow. If your cooling system has issues undiagnosed or you have a head gasket problem under the condition you describe you may only find them doing some tests. The first is to properly check using a scan tool at the diagnostic port for DTC engine codes. Next and easiest mechanical test would be to pressure check the cooling system. The next step would would be an engine block test. This is to check for unburned combustion fuel in the coolant.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 20 Jul 2014 at 12:33 am.
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Old 20 Jul 2014, 07:27 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

Thanks, Nitro.

We made it back home. I had to baby it, and twice on two very steep grades, I had to turn on the heat and turn the fan on full blast to keep the needle from finally making it into the red. 30 and 40 maximum mph on the grades. Downhill or on flat land, the needle would fall fairly quickly back to normal, no matter what my speed (although I'd wait until the needle was back to normal, after climbing the hills, before increasing my speed).

The temp gauge needle would stay in the normal (halfway) mark, even if I were going 60 mph--on relatively flat road. And at idle the temperature would be fine, also. So, anywhere below 2400 rpms, I would be fine. But sometimes even at--or below--2400 rpms--if going up a steep grade and the car was moving a slow 40 mph or less (once at 30), the needle would start rising a lot.

So, going 2400 rpms at 60-65 mph, I was fine. But going much slower up the steep grades--at 2400 to 2700 rpms--the needle would start going past the three-quarter mark, at which point I turned on the heater because it seemed like the needle was going to go into the red if I didn't.

Also, once we got back home to Redding where it was 98 degrees, going 65 on the freeway, the needle would go a bit above the halfway mark--more so than when going 65 on flat land in Arcata, which was in the mod-70's.

It almost seems as if the faster the air would pass over the radiator (going 65on the flat freeway), the more likely the needle would maintain its normal halfway position. If I used the same rpms 2200 to 2400, but having the auto trans downshift, naturally, on the steep grades--in other words, while I was going much slower--the engine would overheat.

This leads me to believe my radiator may be at fault--plugged a bit. Then again, it could be the thermostat not opening all the way. But if it was the thermostat, why then would the needle fall back to normal operating temperature, once I started going down hill?

I just hate to let the dealer mess with it, so I asked if anyone might know which particular item might be the culprit.

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 20 Jul 2014, 08:26 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

I would try a radiator pressure cap first, make sure the fluid level is correct.
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Old 21 Jul 2014, 10:11 am
JDB JDB is offline
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Default Re: Hot when going up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdfrodolives View Post
...I just hate to let the dealer mess with it, so I asked if anyone might know which particular item might be the culprit.

Thanks,

Tim
Tim, how well the radiator cools is based on a LOT of variables. And you are right, the more air that flows over the cooling/heat sink fins the better it cools. That's the first line of cooling for the engine. How fast you are going does effect how much air goes through, but that should NOT cause it to over heat if every thing else is working as it should because of the cooling fans.

That's actually what the cooling fans do. A cooling fans only job is to force enough air past the radiator heat sink fins to allow it to run at the temp the manufacture wants under any condition. The reason yours is over heating is one of two things. Either something with the cooling system is failed or failing OR something with the rest of the car is causing a lot heavier work load when added to the up hill climb than the manufacture accounted for with the system. That could be anything from low compression to sticking brakes.

SO...the cooling fins would be the FIRST place I'd look. Make SURE that those fins are undamaged and straight, clear and clean. Make sure their not covered in butterfly wings and mice ain't built a nest in the corners of the fan shroud. Don't laugh, it happens a lot more than you'd think if ya park in the same place every day. ;~)

Also, something that happens, not that often, but I have seen it and it's easy to check is brakes begin to hang and cause a constant drag as the car goes. In other words, increases the work load for the engine. I've actually had that happen to a Ranger pickup after some fun in a creek. ;~)

On my Ranger, I noticed it not coasting normally. In other words, when I let off the gas it slowed down WAY to fast, but there were no other symptoms. Brakes worked normally otherwise. Weird and it turned out to be the front calipers.

But it's easy to check. An old school check is after a good long drive, go around to each wheel and put your hand against the center where the wheel lugs are. Both fronts should be the same temp and both backs should be the same temp. And they may be warm but it should NOT be hot. If it is...ya got a problem with either brakes or wheel bearings. There are a couple more quick and easy checks for ya.

The next most obvious culprit would be a weak thermostat as Nitro suggest OR a weak radiator cap as Joe suggest. Those are easy to change and see what happens. But it could even be the water pump, although they NORMALLY just fail completely.

I would also suggest that before you take it to a mechanic to start looking for blown head gaskets, cracked blocks and bad water pumps, Look at the oil right after driving it. If it is milky looking, that is an indicator that water is getting into the oil. And NO it won't always show up in the oil, but if it can if the crack or blown gasket is in the right place.

I would also suggest another old school check for compression coming back up into the cooling system. Make sure the car is cool enough, take the radiator cap off and start the car. Look into the filler neck for BUBBLES...not a gurgling or water movement, but actual bubbles coming up into filler neck. If there are any, it's likely that there is a blown head gasket between a cylinder and cooling jacket port letting compression into the cooling system.

But to be honest, unless the car has been run really hot at some point...cracked heads, blocks and blown head gaskets are pretty rare.

Any way, after all those EASY things, if you don't find anything, I think I might go to the auto parts store, get some flush, flush the radiator and block thoroughly and change the coolant. Then...as long as the car is not your ONLY means of dependable transportation...I'd just drive the thing until whatever is causing the problem becomes pronounced enough that it shows up.

Even things like lost compression due to normal wear or slightly burnt valves can cause any car to overheat under heavy loads and changes in altitude. Like Nitro says, the PCM will compensate for minor problems. The only thing you may notice is lower gas mileage. So unless you're headin' back into the mountains, it may be a long time before the overheating shows up again.

Ok, that's all I got. Hope I didn't bore ya with a bunch of junk you already knew. I DO tend to ramble sometimes. ;~)

Good luck and let us know what ya find.
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Old 21 Jul 2014, 04:35 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

Thanks for all the information.

I'm going to check out the cap and thermostat--after checking the condenser surface--although that's not too easy with the A/C condenser in the way.

The water pump was changed out about a year ago when the dealer--using Mopar parts--changed out the timing belt (I can do engine mounts and tune-up stuff on a PT--but I let the dealer do things like a timing belt).

The coolant they sold me a while back is Mopar 50/50. Nowhere on the lable does it have HOAT printed. I asked them about this and they told me that it was fine to put into the PT. So, I suspected the parts guy lied to me, since Chrysler has always said to use HOAT coolant. If it turns out my radiator channels are plugged, I'm going to do some bitching

I'm going to try the key dance and see if anything showed up also.

About seven years ago, I replaced the thermostat and the cap with Mopar parts. I suppose that's long enough to wear.

The car has 90,000 on it now.

Well, it's about time I had an issue, anyway. It's been since mid 2012 since I had a problem--except for a couple of A/C hoses that started leaking.

I bought a vintage VW bug and have been working on that little bugger. It has a good excuse for issues, though: it's over 40 years old.

Thanks again, everyone.

Tim
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Old 21 Jul 2014, 04:40 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

The symptoms you describe have been caused by a blocked radiator in several other cases on this forum.
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Old 24 Jul 2014, 06:42 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

Quick, you win the prize!

I tested the fan--both speeds okay. The thermostat opens and allows coolant from the top hose to the bottom hose. Relays okay (per the dealer).

I couldn't figure it out, since the dfan worked, thermostat, etc., so I took the car to the dealer today and they tested everything and found cold spots in the radiator (using a temp gun). So their best "guess" was that I had a partially blocked radiator. They wanted $750.00 to do the job, saying that they had to take out the R-0134, replace it, etc. Using their parts, that's about $425.00 for labor.

Now I can replace the fan okay--but it's not the fan. It's the radiator.

Do I really have to mess with the A/C condenser to remove and replace the the radiator? It seems to me that it's possible to remove the radiator without bothering the A/C condenser, at all; and I've read a thread or two on here that says so. But other threads say to uuhook certain A/C lines, etc.

Well, I'll do some stydying up and see what's up.

Thanks, everyone.

Tim
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Old 24 Jul 2014, 06:45 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

What do I win?

Before you replace the radiator - can't hurt to try a flush....
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nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
Traded in '02 Silver Touring Edition w/87,000 miles
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 24 Jul 2014, 09:29 pm
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Default Re: Hot when going up

I replaced my radiator my self witout messing with the AC lines and the transmission cooler is not an issue because it is separate from the radiator.
Lifetime warantee from radiator.com About $110 picked up. No more leaks.
They have delivery from several locations.
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Addicted to Mopar You can tell how old I am..
65 Dodge Coronet 6 cyl 2dr Post
66 Ply Satellite with 273 engine swap to 69 340 4spd
70 340 4spd Dart Swinger "Those were the days my friend"
73 Charger SE
Had a few Vetts on the way 69, 85
Several Neons some flips
01 Sebring flip
Cruiser's 01, 220K Gone to a new home
Cruiser 03 133K Gone to a new home
Cruiser 06 110K Project Gone to new Home
Cruiser 05 Ltd 120,809 bought with broken belt Oct2015
May 16 Resurrected to once again roam the streets.

20 Miles South Of Pittsburgh
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