Jeep Cherokee overheating

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Titan, May 11, 2009.

  1. Titan

    Titan Golden Member

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    I haven't gotten my Jeep back from the shop yet, so I figure what the hell, I'm bored, lemme ask here and see who can guess what went in the Jeep. I should find out tonight or tomorrow when I get it back.

    '94 Jeep Cherokee, 5 speed, A/C manual windows, 2-door. 2 fans on radiator, mechanical and electrical that switches on.

    Here's the story.

    6 months ago I hit a tree with the right front wheel, tearing the fender up, warping the hood, and I guess the radiator went (mainly hit fender and wheel). So the body shop puts me back together with aftermarket parts, including new hood and radiator.

    I don't have a temp gauge, just a light that comes on.

    2 weeks ago, the light came on for the first time, was sitting in traffic for construction for 15-20 minutes stop-and-go. Humid but cool day. It went off after a bit when I left construction. While sitting there I ran the heat to cool it down and the heat came out cold, never warmed up.

    Next day saw I was low on coolant so filled it up.

    Last saturday, drove for a bit and the light started flickering on and off. I've been bad an not monitoring my fluid levels. I get home, park it backwards to check it before I go. Then we get pouring rain, so I don't check before I hit the highway.

    The light comes on after 5 miles of highway driving, I stop at the 12 mile mark under an overpass and put in coolant, it was empty and I put it to full. The light goes out from sitting and I drive with it off. Then it goes on again in 1 mile and I panic realizing this is a problem. I pull at a rest stop and check, none of the coolant has left the overflow bottle.

    Also both those times steam (I guess, smoke with no smell?) came out the front of the engine at the stop by the hood latch, the second time a lot, and it was hot. Could have been steam from the rain.

    So my friend comes and gets me and is better with rigs than me from running more junkers and feels the top hose saying there is no fluid in it, even when he milks it and I start it for a bit.

    He thinks it is water pump or stuck thermostat. Could it be something else?

    What do you think broke and why? Free cookies to the winner.
     
  2. njmodi

    njmodi Golden Member

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    A bad WP or thermostat will not cause you to lose coolant... so you have a leak or blown head gasket. Did you ever check the oil to see if it was milky (would look like chocolate milk)? Or under the radiator cap?

    Did you just fill up the reservoir or also the radiator? If it really was empty, you'd have to purge the air out the system and you're not gonna do that just by filling the reservoir...

    How many miles on the jeep?

     
  3. Titan

    Titan Golden Member

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    Probably a slight, slow leak, I have smelt burning antifreeze once in a while.

    Miles is 107k, bought it last year with 95k and it was in beautiful shape, no need of tune-up.

    I just filled up the plastic overflow bottle, didn't touch radiator cap to avoid any geysers.

    Edit: oil doesn't look milky, I just changed it and it never leaks or even burns oil after 5k driving.
     
  4. iamwiz82

    iamwiz82 Lifer

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    No heat could be caused by the coolant disappearing. Was the steam coming from the overflow or the radiator cap? Were both of the heater hoses hot to the touch? I would try replacing the thermostat first. The water pump is due if it's original.
     
  5. Titan

    Titan Golden Member

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    Radiator cap is to the far right, overflow to the far left, steam was in the middle directly from the front of the engine block, maybe from off the belts. Didn't touch any hoses till after it sat for 20-30 minutes. I feared it could be head gasket but it didn't smell like burning or antifreeze at all, and I haven't leaked a drop of oil.

    I6 4.0 engine. It was pouring rain out.
     
  6. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    Well, if you overheat for whatever reason, bad WP, stuck TS, you are going to lose coolant out the overflow.

    You just have to figure out where that coolant is going, first.

    Sounds more like a leak somewhere to me.
     
  7. njmodi

    njmodi Golden Member

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    Usually thermostats stick open, not closed - not to say the latter doesn't happen... you could also have a radiator cap that has a poor seal and isn't holding the pressure correctly. This will also cause overheating since the coolants boiling temp is lowered by the cap not holding a high (correct) pressure in the cooling system.
     
  8. Titan

    Titan Golden Member

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    Well, garage finally figured it out, and the Water pump was shot. No big surprise there. Annoying it took them this long to get to it.