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Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems?


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joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 11:02 AM

Post #1 of 38 (1203 views)
Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Hi. I had a very small radiator leak in my 1992 Chrysler Town & Country 3.3, and I decided to do this the right way and have my mechanic replace the radiator rather than use any stop-leaks on this well-running vehicle. Well, nothing but aggravation since. I could only make it 2 miles from the mechanic. It overheated and I pulled over and parked. It also ran with less power (resistance) the whole 2 miles.

I have since changed the thermostat. My mechanic also came by with a device to remove air from the system. None of that resolved the overheating issue. However, I originally had a 2-row radiator. All the chain parts stores only sell the 1-row radiator, so that is the radiator that I got (part number CU1125). My mechanic believes that I am having this issue because it's the wrong radiator. He didn't notice the difference when he installed it.

I'm skeptical. While I can see that you probably don't want to replace a 2-row rad with a 1-row rad, the research I've done seems to reveal that the van should still run with the 1-row radiator. So I'm skeptical that my sudden overheating issue and sluggish accelerating upon radiator swap gets resolved by returning the 1-row rad and ordering the less-available 2-row rad. What are you guys thoughts on that? Thanks so much...


kev2
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Nov 27, 2016, 11:29 AM

Post #2 of 38 (1193 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

you want 2 rows at least. such a common vehicle parts should be NO problem your choice of stores might be.
I do not think that is your issue -
Mention of sluggish performance - have you checked head gasket?


Hammer Time
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Nov 27, 2016, 11:35 AM

Post #3 of 38 (1187 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Even if that is true, it shouldn't be overheating that easily, even with the wrong radiator. There is something else wrong there. You may have even overheated too severely with the original failure and now have a blown head gasket.

There is always the possibility the guy that changed it was an idiot and forgot to remove one of the protective caps from the radiator nipple. If he didn't notice the difference in the radiators, then he can't be too smart.



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joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 11:42 AM

Post #4 of 38 (1185 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Hi kev2. Much to my surprise, 4 of the largest chains do not carry it. I can get it, but may have to settle for a brand I don't otherwise prefer.

I haven't had any reason to think that the head gasket is an issue, at least not until the radiator swap. My mechanic is not leaning that way yet, but he also thinks that the issue gets resolved with a 2-row rad. While I see that I should want 2 rows, I feel that the van should still currently operate without getting into the "too hot" temperature range. Of course, since the radiator swap appears to be the only changed variable, maybe I'm wrong and the mechanic's right.


joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 11:59 AM

Post #5 of 38 (1183 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Hi Hammer Time. I agree that it is overheating too easily regardless of the number of rows. Can't figure it out. I can say with certainty that the very small leak did not cause the van to overheat in any way prior to radiator replacement. The leak was so small that I didn't notice it. My wife noticed a drop, and further inspection revealed where it was coming from. I drove it another week and then decided to change the radiator. You know how I feel now...if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

While I think the mechanic should have noticed the difference in radiators, I would hope that he didn't leave a protective cap on. I will question him about it.

The only clue I have right now is that there was a similar episode when another mechanic changed my water pump back in April. The coolant kept pouring out of the overflow bottle, and he kept pouring it back in the radiator. After repeating that about 5 times, the coolant system reacted normally in the normal temp range, and we've driven the van with no temperature issue from April until now. But that issue in April was strange, too. Hope that helps narrow down what is happening here. Maybe severe air pocketing? Thanks...


Hammer Time
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:02 PM

Post #6 of 38 (1180 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

The issue in April sounds like there was still air in the system.



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(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Nov 27, 2016, 12:03 PM)


joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:15 PM

Post #7 of 38 (1173 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Can that be the case now? Could it be that using that same persistence that was used back in April would achieve the same result? Because it seems like the same issue while watching it happen. I must say, I've flushed and filled systems before without either of these episodes happening to me.


Hammer Time
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:18 PM

Post #8 of 38 (1168 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

You said the mechanic came over with a toll to get the air out. I assume that was a vacuum fill tool. You would have needed some compressed air for that though.



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joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:25 PM

Post #9 of 38 (1160 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

The mechanic came over with a device that has a radiator cap with a funnel type apparatus above it that runs through the center of the cap. I believe that there was some part of it being inserted into the radiator below the cap to draw air out. He got the device at Autozone.


Hammer Time
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:28 PM

Post #10 of 38 (1155 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

OH, that's just a funnel system that seals the the radiator inlet. That helps but it doesn't always work. We use a vacuum fill tool.



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joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:35 PM

Post #11 of 38 (1151 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Gotcha. Thanks, Hammer Time. I'm leaning toward getting a 2-row rad because it's more appropriate. I'm also anticipating that the issue could very well still be there. If so, would you recommend using the same procedure as back in April...repeatedly allowing the overflow bottle to overflow and then putting the coolant back in? It worked then, maybe it will work now (and if so, probably would have to always be done that way in the future)...


Hammer Time
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Nov 27, 2016, 12:40 PM

Post #12 of 38 (1146 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

If you don't have access to vacuum fill.....

fill it to the top, drive it down the road up to operating temp. park it until completely cold, top it off and repeat the process until it doesn't take any more when cold.



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Tom Greenleaf
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Nov 27, 2016, 1:20 PM

Post #13 of 38 (1139 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Get the two row. The one row might (can't know) for a '92 be just as efficient just different metal for better heat exchange. Just get what was in there OE.
Someone has to get a grip on filling a cooling system. IDK if the rent a vacuum fill or you have what it take to use it. Assorted types possible so can expound on them.


It's a little red-neck but raising vehicle super high but securely where the fill is does work but just don't do that as you still have to know thermostat is open and doubt you will. I know the whole thing is being a real pest for you but still worry you have a lurking head gasket issue still on this thing,


T



joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 10:29 PM

Post #14 of 38 (1118 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Thanks, Hammer Time. That's the way I will approach it. I will put the 2-row rad in, and then do as you said. Little by little, maybe this will resolve as it did months ago when the water pump was installed. Thanks!


joezapp
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Nov 27, 2016, 10:39 PM

Post #15 of 38 (1116 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Yes, Tom. All good points. And, yes, it's a pest indeed. So much for deciding to resolve a minor leak the right way!

For starters I will put in the 2-row radiator. Then I will repeatedly run it until it gets hot and let it cool down and top off. This was what was done back in April when I had to install a water pump, and I had no temperature issues since.

I am indeed concerned that I have a lurking head gasket issue. But I haven't overheated the vehicle in the past, there is no oil in the coolant, there is no coolant in the oil, and there is no anti-freeze coming out the exhaust. I have seen some vapor and water droplets, but the weather was right for it when I saw it. So the concern is there, but not enough evidence. Though if this issue can't resolve through other means, I believe I would have to lean in that unfortunate direction!


joezapp
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Nov 29, 2016, 8:27 PM

Post #16 of 38 (1074 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Well, I did hours of research online and driving around to local stores. In response to kev2 "you want 2 rows at least. such a common vehicle parts should be NO problem your choice of stores might be.", it turns out that the aftermarket radiators for this vehicle are all 2-row "equivalent", which means 1-row that does the job of 2-rows. The final determiner after I couldn't find the OEM replacement at any of the chain stores or any online retailer was the local radiator warehouse that handles the radiator orders for the shops and dealers in my state. He told me that he had the 2-row. At $50 more, I said to myself "I finally found it!". I go to pick it up today, and it's the exact same one that I have already installed. So the bottom line is that in today's market, this is my radiator...CU1125.

So the radiator type is officially not the issue. I will now have to resort to the tedious process of getting the cooling system to purge itself to finally stop the overheating and coolant overflow.


joezapp
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Dec 5, 2016, 5:34 PM

Post #17 of 38 (1046 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Hello everyone. Thank you all for your help with this. I wanted to post my result here before starting a new thread with my new main issue with this.

So there is another means of getting air out of the system on this vehicle, which turns out to be removing the coolant sensor near the thermostat housing. So through that and the funnel system, the air was evacuated from the system. However, the overheating problem remained. My mechanic determined that the radiator HAD to be the issue. I told him there's one way to find out...to put the old one back in. I could tell that he didn't want to do it, but we had agreed to do it Saturday. He then wouldn't take my calls. Too bad. I went to someone new on a recommendation on Sunday. He wasn't thrilled with putting the old one in, either, but he agreed to do it. Cooling problem solved. No overheating.

So this was either a defective radiator, or else this radiator that is the ONLY radiator sold for my van at all 4 local chain stores, as well as the local radiator warehouse that handles shops and dealers, does NOT work in my van even though it calls for it. There is an online retailer that sells a "2-row equivalent" with a part number that still still has "1125" in it. I wouldn't chance it. The same retailer also has a "3-row equivalent". I might chance that one. However, my first choice is to attempt to have mine rebuilt since it functions correctly.

That said, the lack of power issue remains. I had no such issue until the radiator swap. The van ran wonderfully. I did have to add about 1 1/2 quarts of transmission fluid over the course of the 2 swaps since some leaks out during the swaps, and I also have a small tranny fluid leak. But the problem did not go away upon adding the fluid. Noticeable lack of power immediately upon stepping on the accelerator, and it also doesn't want to shift properly. Something happened during the radiator swap that the transmission didn't/doesn't like. If anyone knows what that could be, I'd love to know! I will post this issue in the transmission board. Thank you all!


(This post was edited by joezapp on Dec 5, 2016, 6:49 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Dec 5, 2016, 8:00 PM

Post #18 of 38 (1024 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

However we got here the radiator has ATF in it and leaks some out with undoing the lines to it. If run too long it might have poured out lots more and only added enough to move ??
If old radiator worked than seems it was never the problem?


We got stuck with one/two row. That messed this up just for that. Quote">>1992 Chrysler Town & Country 3.3<<" I already said was about the year they dumped using copper and brass for plastic and alloys but worked the same and fit exactly so wasn't about that rather about a possible head gasket more likely. Would be fine with a radiator sold for a vehicle with no A/C which that was about anyway for a while and only if used and hot enough outside.


This funnel trick I don't get? I don't think anyone has filled it properly except the last time now working and damage is done from overheating.
Trans cooling lines either broke or not installed properly or if old radiator is mixing ATF into coolant this thing has a lot of problems now.


You don't seem to be having any luck with tech help hands on with this is close to killing this thing IMO. Running low on ATF and doesn't take too long will wreck trans adding a cost prohibitive (your call) problem for this vehicle.


Bet overheating comes back with strong clues right along head gasket is the lurking issue and nobody finding for sure,


T


T



joezapp
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Dec 5, 2016, 8:31 PM

Post #19 of 38 (1020 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Hi Tom. Always good to hear from you.

I may have been too vague. The transmission lines only leaked a little during the swaps. They're not currently leaking. I do have a small leak from the pan, though, that I need to address. The fluid is back to the appropriate level. Yes, it could be that the damage is done, but it would be a coincidence that the loss of power started immediately when I drove the van away from the first radiator swap. It was very evident that I had to step harder on the gas, and it remains that way.

I should point out, too, that the van has been since shut off before the temp guage would get too high. Also, the total miles gingerly and sporadically driven since the first swap has been 12... 7 with the "new" radiator, and then 5 with the old one re-installed.

Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to assume that the tranny didn't like the swap process. Maybe it's something electrical or something. Maybe something got loose in the process, or something got wet from coolant overspill. Some people have suggested that to me. But something happened to the acceleration that simply did not exist before the first swap.

My gut is that the overheating threat won't return, and I'm still leaning toward there not being a head gasket issue. The 2 mechanics who have dealt with this feel the same way. You could very well be right! But please wish me luck that there is no head gasket issue, even though you think one is lurking : )


(This post was edited by joezapp on Dec 5, 2016, 8:37 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Dec 5, 2016, 8:51 PM

Post #20 of 38 (1008 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

I do wish you luck with no head gasket issues. It's just that temp overheating once is like 10 times too many times. Sensors are slow to indicate an overheat with air from a bad head gasket problem putting vapor into system so a rock and hard place.


All tests for should be done and find techs that can diagnose a dang vehicle, fill a cooling system for goodness sake it messing up the whole fix for this.


Again, wish you luck. Test should include fixing any ATF leaks, pressure test cooling system, exhaust tests for gasses pulling spark plugs for evidence of coolant on plugs or anything different one to another and more.


BTW - some of these older Caravans will go nuts on trans shifting issues if battery voltage spikes. Many would self correct with just disconnecting battery negative cable and wait a while and put back on resets defaults. That doesn't fix damage from overheating nor low trans fluid damage - hope not.


Off line for a while now - good luck,


Tom



Hammer Time
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Dec 5, 2016, 8:55 PM

Post #21 of 38 (1002 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

You need to under stand one thing here. The fact that you went from a 2 row to a 1 row was not the cause of your overheating. I'm not saying there wasn't something else wrong with that radiator but it was that it was 1 row.



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joezapp
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Dec 5, 2016, 9:09 PM

Post #22 of 38 (998 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Thanks, Tom. I will try disconnecting the negative terminal. Certainly can't hurt.

Can't be certain that the installation of the "new" radiator itself led to this loss-of-power/shifting issue. It could be something that was accidentally done in the process that caused this result. Don't know.

But I had a new mechanic put the old radiator back in because the one I was using was against going that route. The new mechanic came with some good recommendations, and he has more experience, so hopefully he has enough experience to diagnose this issue after he test drives it this weekend. Thanks for helping me steer him in a direction!


Tom Greenleaf
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Dec 6, 2016, 2:27 AM

Post #23 of 38 (987 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

OK - Joe, back now. Both computer and I got real tired - computer putting out letters I didn't type - WTF!


Suggestion with now new tech/mechanic/shop. State the history and the problems you've had not even who before this person or place. Let them make the diagnosis based on the history YOU provide - in print if need be. Make note that it has overheated and found low by 1+1/2 qts. ATF also from the radiator roulette!


I'm VERY please this is now going to be driven around by the next attempt to witness any issues at all. Personally like to think most would just anyway without asking.


My view of this thread may now show page two so look for the "view all" words it should all scroll the entire thread for you if you didn't know and need to follow the sequence of suggestions and your posts of what along the way. This turned out a ton of troubles that I don't think were necessary to you.


The place that doesn't return calls or any format isn't very encouraging as a place to me. If things like that happen and are real place should at least say they don't want that work or can't for some reason,


Tom
Stupid note: Time clock here isn't correct - IDK - will see if I can find out why, reads DST still for me?

(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Dec 6, 2016, 2:29 AM)


joezapp
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Dec 6, 2016, 9:58 AM

Post #24 of 38 (969 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

Hi Hammer Time. In response to "The fact that you went from a 2 row to a 1 row was not the cause of your overheating. I'm not saying there wasn't something else wrong with that radiator but it was that it was 1 row."

I can't say for sure that the radiator was a 1-row. It was likely a "2-row equivalent", which is what they sell these days. Another brand online clearly labels theirs a "2-row equivalent" with the same numerical part number. Bottom line is that it wouldn't work in my vehicle with multiple attempts. The threat to overheat persisted. So the only route to take to replace the radiator is to rebuild the original radiator that effectively cools my system, or to purchase a "3-row equivalent", which I found at one online retailer. I'm leaning toward rebuild, once I resolve the power-loss issue that immediately developed upon the first installation and hasn't gone away (VERY limited driving).


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 6, 2016, 10:16 AM

Post #25 of 38 (964 views)
Re: Should replacing a 2-row rad with a 1-row cause problems? Sign In

I'm agreeing that the radiator was likely the cause of the overheating but what I'm saying is that it wasn't because it was a 1 row radiator. It was because something else was wrong with that particular radiator. The cooling capacity of that oversized 1 row should have been just fine for that car. I install them all the time.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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