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2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating


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tim0123
New User

Dec 1, 2008, 12:24 AM

Post #1 of 10 (9951 views)
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  post locked   post icon 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating  

I am driving a 2002 Dodge Caravan with just over 82,000 miles on it. About a month ago, the vans temperature gauge started getting dangerously high when I was stopped for a good amount of time (like stuck waiting for a train at the tracks). I was already having emissions problems at the time with a vacuum hose leak, and when the auto repairman found the crack in the hose and replaced it, the engine heating issue seemed to go away (I assumed the smoke leaking was making the sensor go wacky). Just recently, however, the problem is back and it is much worse. Now it seems like the temperature gauge has a mind of its own. Sometimes I will be driving and it'll heat up and cool back down again when I come to a stop, and other times it will do exactly the opposite. It seems to heat up and cool down unusually fast compared to how long it'll take for the engine to go from cold when I first start it, to its normal temperature. I won't be driving it this week unless if I decide to take it to a shop, because the last time I drove it, the gauge actually went into the red and the warning light came on, and the last thing I want is more engine damage or a blown head gasket. Is there anything you guys could possibly think of why my van might be doing this?


DanD
Veteran / Moderator
DanD profile image

Dec 1, 2008, 7:13 AM

Post #2 of 10 (9934 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

Have you checked the coolant level?
If it’s low, top the system and check for leaks.
If the coolant is up; check/replace the thermostat.
If the thermostat is ok, have the cooling system tested for the presents of carbon monoxide.
If carbon monoxide if found in the cooling system; the only way it gets in there, is from the combustion chamber, via a blown head gasket or cracked cylinder head.

Dan

Canadian "EH"






Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
Loren Champlain Sr profile image

Dec 1, 2008, 7:33 PM

Post #3 of 10 (9923 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

In addition to Dan's suggestions, make sure the cooling fan(s) are coming on, especially in stop/go situations.
Loren
SW Washington


tim0123
New User

Dec 3, 2008, 12:59 AM

Post #4 of 10 (9914 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

Thank you both. I feel rather dumb now, because I didn't check the most obvious place...the coolant tank. Turns out, the thing was completely empty! Now, about a month ago, I had my radiator flushed by some guys at a local Goodyear. They didn't even ask me to have it done, but the charged me for it anyway. BUT, I still have a hard time believing that the mechanics that work at Goodyear would forget to replace the coolant, so i will be checking it every day for leaks. There weren't any noticeable when I filled it up, but its hard to tell right now. As of now, the van is running at its normal temperature again, so the overheating problem is solved at least. Anybody know what it would take to fix a leak in the system like this?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Dec 3, 2008, 3:23 AM

Post #5 of 10 (9911 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

Ok: Pay attention to all above suggestions. You may not have a coolant leak but it might not have been truly full when you got it back. The recovery bottle markings are really only valid once system is known full and free of leakage. It may have taken it's sweet time to self purge out air after being worked on - not blaming anyone but that's possible as it can take several cycles to stabilize.

Keep a sharp eye on level, any leaks and the temp gauge. Frequently if there's a problem it will express itself as LACK of heat first even prior to engine overheating,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


tim0123
New User

Dec 3, 2008, 7:06 PM

Post #6 of 10 (9902 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

I am pretty certain that there is a coolant leak somewhere in the system. I filled it up yesterday and checked the tank again today and half of the coolant in the overflow tank disappeared. Although, I can't find any traces of leakage under the hood or under the car at all, so I don't know where it ended up. Is it possible that the radiator tank itself was empty, and it needed this much coolant right from the start? I guess I didn't check the level inside the radiator itself.


Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
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Dec 3, 2008, 7:44 PM

Post #7 of 10 (9898 views)
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It's possible Mad, but I doubt it. Have the system pressure tested.
Loren
SW Washington


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Dec 3, 2008, 7:48 PM

Post #8 of 10 (9898 views)
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Recovery tanks are marked with two levels that are "normal" one for cold and one for hot. Some tanks are shaped such that it doesn't take much to make a dramatic change in what you see at certain temp when checked but should be in the range and stay there.

You found that tank empty so some did take up airspace in radiator and engine. Get it properly to its "filled" mark again and keep watching. It should be done and stable or a loss/leak does exist by now.

Keep it proper and a sharp eye on it. Look for leaks as you have. Leaks that you don't see are usually head gasket/block problems which of course you didn't want but you need to know.

You could get it pressure checked AND tested for combustion gasses in the coolant area as Dan suggested which would help rule in or out a gasket/block problem.

It's still worth NOT letting it overheat - keep it filled even if you bring 50/50 premixed coolant along with you. You need to find out for sure yourself or with help with this IF it won't stay properly filled,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


darlayoung
New User

Nov 11, 2012, 3:55 PM

Post #9 of 10 (3915 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

I'm having the same issues with my 02 caravan....In the past year, I have replaced the water pump, the radiator, 2 thermostats, the top hose, the radiator cap and I'm STILL loosing coolant out the overflow....driving me NUTS and freakin engine coolant ain't cheap!...let me know if you figure it out.

In Reply To



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Nov 11, 2012, 4:50 PM

Post #10 of 10 (3908 views)
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  post locked   Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

Please make your own thread for your own issues not on another never mind a 4 year old one!

Thread locked to stop that,

T




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