Main IndexAuto Repair Home Search Posts SEARCH
Who's Online WHO'S
Log in LOG

2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating

  Email This Post

New User

Dec 1, 2008, 12:24 AM

Post #1 of 10 (9834 views)
     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?

Veteran / Moderator

Dec 1, 2008, 7:13 AM

Post #2 of 10 (9817 views)
     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.


Canadian "EH"

Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator

Dec 1, 2008, 7:33 PM

Post #3 of 10 (9806 views)
     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.
SW Washington

New User

Dec 3, 2008, 12:59 AM

Post #4 of 10 (9797 views)
     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

Dec 3, 2008, 3:23 AM

Post #5 of 10 (9794 views)
     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,

Long retired now

New User

Dec 3, 2008, 7:06 PM

Post #6 of 10 (9785 views)
     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

Dec 3, 2008, 7:44 PM

Post #7 of 10 (9781 views)
     Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

It's possible Mad, but I doubt it. Have the system pressure tested.
SW Washington

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Dec 3, 2008, 7:48 PM

Post #8 of 10 (9781 views)
     Re: 2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating [In reply to]  

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,

Long retired now

New User

Nov 11, 2012, 3:55 PM

Post #9 of 10 (3798 views)
     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

Nov 11, 2012, 4:50 PM

Post #10 of 10 (3791 views)
     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,


2002 Dodge Caravan Engine Overheating

  Email This Post

Latest Forum Post
1963 FORD Falcon / installed new tank and sending unit. Gauge shows past full an...
Hi, Ii have problem with my chevy cruze 2011, my car just 37000km. Before 2 week...
Re: 2000 Buick Century 3.1L 120,000m - I‘m having problems replacing the ...
Actually the only way I could get any pedal at all (and enough pressure to turn...
OK, so I need to reopen this thread and take back my kudos from yesterday, sorry...
i can roll the windown up and down in my car with the key even putting the key i...

Feed Button

Used Car Search
Used Car Price Ranges:
Under $5,000

Over $45,000
Search used Cars By Manufacturers:
Used Acura
Used Audi
Used BMW
Used Buick
Used Cadillac
Used Chevrolet
Used Chrysler
Used Dodge
Used Ford
Used GMC

Used Honda
Used Hyundai
Used Infiniti
Used Jaguar
Used Jeep
Used Kia
Used Land Rover
Used Lexus
Used Lincoln
Used Mazda
Used Mercedes-Benz

Used Mitsubishi
Used Nissan
Used Porsche
Used Saab
Used Scion
Used Subaru
Used Suzuki
Used Toyota
Used Volkswagon
Used Volvo
2010 Honda Civic
2004 Jeep
2012 Mustang
1997 Honda Cr-V
2010 Toyota Prius
2010 BMW 328

Automotive Forum Categories
Automotive Repair
Auto Body Repair and Refinishing
AC Auto Repair Help Forum
Automotive Wiring and Electrical

Auto Insurance and Car Financing
Automotive World
Brake Systems
Car Stereo Repair Advice
Car Troubleshooting
Engine and Car Noises
Engine Fault Codes
Engine Troubleshooting
Exhaust System Repair

Steering and Suspension
Tricks of the Trade
General Discussions
Car Shows and Events
The Bargin Bin
Motor Vehicle Inspection
Car Care Tips
Traffic Ticket Help
Car Racing

Gasoline, Motor Oils, Concept Cars
Remote Control Cars and Vehicles
Truck Repair
Truck Repair Advice

Truck Engine Repair
Truck Suspension Repair
Motorcycle Repair
Motorcycle and ATV Repairs

Motorcycle Body Repair
Motorcycle Clutch Repair
Motorcycle Engine Repair
Motorcycle Seat Repair
Car Forum Posts - Sitemap

Search for (options) Privacy