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Dodge Durango Overheating Problems



  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    Much like you I had several of my cooling parts replaced. When it overheated again, I started looking at parts I hadn't replaced. The only part that I hadn't had replaced was the water pump. Up to this point, I had all the work done by Dodge. I learned more about the cooling system than I could have imagined. When I removed the water pump, I found some corroding. I decided to remove the thermostat. When I removed the thermostat, I found more corrosion. I decided to replace the timing chain cover, which came with a new water pump and thermostat. When it was all put together, it was better, but not fixed (see one of my previous posts for more information). Since I had seen so much gritty junk in my system (and had used a vacuum pump to remove it), I figured the radiator might be to blame. When it was tested, it was plugged (it was only a few years old). I installed a new radiator and it has been running great since. I think that when you installed the new radiator there was still some grit in system and it has now plugged your radiator again. I would take the radiator down to a local shop and have it tested. If it turns out to be plugged, I would check the timing chain cover. If you decide not to do that then I would completely flush the cooling system (without the radiator installed) or use a vacuum pump to remove any debris or grit in the system. In addition, I would install a two core radiator, instead of one (if that's what you currently have). It should help cool better and take longer to clog, showing less dramatic symptoms if it should happen again. I still don't know what caused the timing chain to errode or if it will happen again, but so far it seems to be working.
  • palenakapalenaka Posts: 1
    Hi, My daughter too has one of these lovely pieces of ... a 1998 & every summer it starts to overheat when the daily temp is 100 and she is running her a/c. I'm going to back flush the system and replace the thermostat today to start. I was thinking about installing a 160 thermostat but I haven't seen anyone mention this. Also, when you all replace the radiator caps are you using a 14-16 psi as I believe is recommended or a 18 psi? The radiator is new but after sticking my finger (gritty, rusty) in it I'm sure it's clogged. As a grandma with all her tools at home...I would love your help in a plan of attack for this disaster of a truck once I bring my tools down. I'm thinking the water pump needs to be changed as it's the original but how about the heater core? It seems to me it could be filled with crud too.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    I think you are right about the radiator. I would remove it and take it down to a local shop and have it tested. If it passes great, if not then I personally would upgrade to a two core, if it doesn't already have a two core. With the radiator out, I would completely flush the system (as I stated before I used a vacuum pump to pull the gritty junk out, but whatever you have a available to flush the system thoroughly will increase your chance for a longer lasting repair). Then I would put it back together, if you don't see any damage to the timing chain cover. Since my Durango has rear heating (an option not available in '98, I believe) you may not have the same corrosion issue at the thermostat that I had. It couldn't hurt to change the thermostat and the water pump if everything looks good. I installed the stock thermostat because it came with the timing chain cover. In addition, the electric fan is programmed to come on when the temperature gauge hits half-way. I kept the stock radiator cap on the truck. I did the work on my durango about a year ago and it's been running cool, even at 100+ temperatures. Hope this helps.
  • kacey22kacey22 Posts: 4
    Well, my durango 5.9 was bogging out and I ran a diagnostics on it, it came up o2 censor (high voltage) bank 2 sensor 1. Ok, so I had the o2 sensor on driver side before cat changed but my car is still overheating and the engine light still comes on. The scanner didnt show anything but that sensor. What could it be?
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    While the O2 sensor might help with the "bogging" and cause an engine light to come on, I don't believe there are any sensors that will tell why your car is overheating (unless all of mine are defective). The only indication that it is getting hot is the temp gauge and if your are unfortunately enough there is some other indicator that comes up when the engine gets really hot. My wife saw this indicator come up, and from what I've read most people are buying new engines if this indicator comes up. Anyhow, not knowing the year of your Durango and much about the 5.9 engines, if they are anything like the 4.7, then I would have the radiator tested by a shop that specializes in radiators. Depending on the shop, you might have to remove the radiator or pay extra to have them drain and test it. If it comes back clogged, I would have the cooling system thoroughly flushed before installing a new radiator. I'm guessing this first, because it has been a problem for me, however I would have to know more about the overheating symptoms to give a more accurate idea of what could be wrong.
  • kacey22kacey22 Posts: 4
    Thank you for replying. my durango is a 2001. Well it all started when it lost power and bogged at lights and stops, then after we let it go for a couple months we noticed when we used the air conditioner it started to heat up to like the 3/4 line on the temp gauge. now I have a baby due in 2 weeks and I cant even use my air. I ran the diagnostics and it said bank 2 sensor 1 but no other code. I keep getting mixed answeres on where bank 2 is. Some say driver side some say passenger. I dont know which one to change to start with. It seems like we never really have to put water in the radiator so i dont know if that is normal or not. Now I noticed something leaking under the front passenger side under where the shocks . Im just at a loss and I dont know what to do. I dont have money for a mechanic so I am trying everything I can to research what I could check.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    The O2 sensors can be a little confusing. I can't remember exactly, how they are numbered but here is my guess. On my Durango, there are 4 O2 sensors. Bank 2 is likely the passenger side and sensor 1 is the one before the catalytic converter. I had one go out but I think it was bank 2 sensor 2, there was no real performance difference just a code and engine light on. I don't know if the sensor before the catalytic converter would cause bogging. If the water from the passenger side is clear and does not smell like antifreeze then it is probably condensation from the air conditioner (not a problem, most cars do it). Getting back to your overheating problem. Have you checked the coolant level? Do not remove the radiator cap, especially if the car has been recently driven or started. You can check the coolant level from the resevoir. There is a dip stick in there. If this is low or empty your problem may be fairly simple. If it is full, then I need to know a couple things like how long does it take to get over half way on the temp gauge? Is it a couple minutes or does it happen after about a half hour of driving. Does it get hot while moving or at a stop or both? I can warn you that if your car is getting 3/4 warm it is getting dangerously close to causing a major problem. When a car gets hot repeatedly or even very hot just once, it can warp the heads which will be the cause of a major repair (usually into the thousands, likely 4 or 5 thousand dollars). If you see your car getting over half way hot, put on the heater to help the car cool down. If you can't stand it in the front and don't have passengers in the back, put the rear heater on and see if that helps to control the overheating. If this seems to help, I would think your problem is radiator related. It could be other problems too, like the thermostat sticking or the water pump. If the vechicle has several miles on it a new belt may also be in order. If you can find someone to work on it that you trust and is mechanically inclined to change the radiator, water pump, thermostat and put new coolant in should cost about $400. If you have the dealer do the work it will probably be closer to $1000. If you get back to me with some more symptoms, I'll try to give you my best guess.
  • kacey22kacey22 Posts: 4
    Well it takes a about half hour to start going over the middle. If we have the air on it will heat up alot faster so we haven't used it. My car has like 120,000 miles and the belt squeaks sometimes but can that cause heating? It seems okay when we go short distances and go to like the store and back but when we have to run errands or have appts. it heats up when we have to be gone for a while. the radiator itself under the cap never needs water but the overflow sometimes needs water. My air conditioning works but we just cant use it. So you dont think the bad sensor would cause the heating? I just went to say thank you alot for taking the time to help me. You have helped me so much more than anybody else I have talked to. You sound like you know what your talking about. By the way when the scanner said sensor was high voltage, would anything make it run high or does that just mean it is getting bad?
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    The O2 sensor is probably just bad, I would just replace it. I think the one I bought for mine was $75 - $100. They aren't that hard to replace. They can be a little difficult to get a wrench on, but once they are broken free they usually come out fairly easily (I think they use anti-sieze compound on the threads). I don't think there is anything to be overly concerned about the high voltage. I think it is reading higher than its normal range, or a higher voltage for longer than it expects indicating that it is defective. On the overheating part, because it is taking about a half an hour to get to the middle and can somewhat be controlled by not using the air conditioner then, I would say its not the thermostat. While I don't trust the radiators on these vehicles too much, there are a couple other easier and less expensive things you could try. First I would change the belt ($25-$35). If it is slipping then the water pump isn't turning as reliably as it should. In addition, the fan clutch isn't turning with the speed it needs to draw in air over the condenser and radiator. This brings me to the next thing I would change. The fan clutch. Autozone has them for about $55. Both the belt and the fan clutch are fairly easy to change. If you have never had the coolant flushed and drained then I would also get that done. It is fairly easy. Generally there is a stopcock at the bottom of the radiator to drain the system. You will need a big container or a couple 1-2 gallon containers to get all the fluid out. After it is empty, close the stopcock and refill at the radiator cap. Once full at the radiator, fill (don't over fill) the coolant reservoir. Start the car and monitor the coolant reservior. If it goes lower or is drained, replenish the supply until it is steady at full. Generally, you want to use 50% antifreeze and 50% water. You can buy this mixture, but it cost more than mixing it yourself. Generally, I like to do about 60% antifreeze and 40% or so water. If you have questions on changing out the fan clutch or belt you might be able to get a book (Chilton or Haynes) from the library or your local automotive store. Some of the automotive stores have "How tos" on their websites that can be very helpful.
  • kacey22kacey22 Posts: 4
    well, thanks to you telling me the RIGHT side bank 2 was on, i changed that sensor and after 34 miles still no engine light. thank you for your help really!! The only thing is it didnt heat up but it did fluctuate, it probably went to about a lil over halfway but went back down. Well lets just say dont go to mechanics in bakersfield haha they dont know what they are talking about. Thank you again though! Now my new baby will have air conditioning :)
  • hello Sdout, was looking for posts similar to my problem and found yours. I have a 2001 durango RT, never had overheating problems before. I was driving on a 200 mile trip, 101 degrees outside, driving 75 no prob and a train of cars go by going 85...well, I speeded up to follow and after a few miles noticed check engine light came on temp gauge was getting close to red line....immediately backed off, turned heater on and got it to drop back down. pulled over very shortly thereafter and bought antifreeze. Was low, I rushed replacing it and after I boiled over another gallon of antifreeze I replaced a total of 9 quarts, capacity is 14.3. Never overheated again but runs a slightly hotter than normal and if I pushed it beyond 75mph, temp gauge will start creeping up again. I've driven several times this week in city, stop and go traffic, etc... and no problems, only on open road and pushing motor above 75mph. Any ideas? and thanks!
  • I replaced everything; the temp statis, water pump, radiator, and heater core and now I have taken my heads off and taken them to a machine shop to see if there is a crack in the heads. I did notice a little rust around the head gaskets some maybe the machine shop can shead a little light on my problem. I hope this help! Good Luck!
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    Generally, when a vehicle gets hot quickly, it is easy to assume that something is wrong with the thermostat. However, since your vehicle was able to cool down and run at near normal temperatures, I don't think this is your problem. The components I think could cause this problem would be the fan clutch, electric fan, water pump and the radiator. Since both the fan clutch and the electric fan would both have to fail at the same time, I don't think this is your problem. You can test these components by performing the following. Open the hood and run your vehicle at idle with the AC on (the AC acts as a load an will help to get the car warm). When the car is above 1/4 but on quite to 1/2 way, the fan clutch should engage. You should hear a noticable roar, which is the fan clutch engaging and speeding up to increase air flow over the radiator. Generally, this will bring the temperature down. However, this may only cause the rising temperature to slow. If the roar continues and the temperature rises to the the halfway point the electric fan should engage (you may need to use a flashlight to see if its running). You have now accomplished the maximum air flow. If one of the fans is not engaging replace it. If both of these are not cooling the system down then I think your problem is likely with the radiator. The next likely problem is the water pump. Of course if you have over 60,000 miles or so and haven't changed your belt, I would change it also. In addition, if the coolant hasn't been changed in a few years it couldn't hurt to drain the coolant and put in some fresh coolant. Hope this helps.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    I forgot to mention a couple of things. First, if your oil hasn't been changed in a while or is low it can cause more friction and lead to overheating. Second, it that when the fan clutch engages the RPMs on the vehicle should increase. This shouldn't be confused with the AC compressor engaging and the RPMs increasing. If you are having a problem telling turn off the AC. I know that you stated it was over 100 degrees, but the vehicle should have adequte cooling even at those temperatures. If the vehicle was heavily loaded (with a trailer or something) on a hot day going up hill then it might be normal for the vehicle to get a little warm. Anyhow, again I hope this helps.
  • Thanks!, will inspect the fan clutch and fan. I have replaced water pump earlier this year and keep oil changed regularly. Hope this is problem.

  • jlb10jlb10 Posts: 1
    My 2003 durango runs fine if i am running 70mph down the freeway but in stop and go it will start to run hot. I often will cut off the airconditioner to help until I get moving again. When i get home and pull into the garage after about an hour i will have a huge puddle of anti-freeze on the ground. I add more to the veihicle and it just happens again and again. Thanks in advance for your comments
  • blue05blue05 Posts: 42
    The most overlooked part is your radiator cap the spring weakens overtime allowing the over flow also have coolant temp sensor checked . If you buy the pre mixed coolant thats 50/50 you should be fine, but sometimes people top off or fill with the concentrate and forget to add water this will cause overheating also try a product that transfers heat . ( Better Wetter ) or (Purple Ice )
  • americoamerico Posts: 3
    my truck has just started to run temp. gauge went almost to took about a half hour to reach that point..then sat idling in traffic......thats when the temp light came on...after driving for a bit the temp went back leaks anywhere........the clutch fan seems to be working......i see it turning and also put a piece of paper up against radiator and it stuck to it...i have an 03 durango....there are 2 fans.......the fan clutch.....thats the big one right?....that is always on......the fan in front of that one...the small one (eletric fan?) when does that one come on.......any suggestions..
    thanks, Rico...
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    I think that a little more information is needed, if you can answer these questions I might be able to give you some more help. Where is the coolant leaking from? When was the last time you changed your coolant? I suspect that it is coming out of the overflow tube (from the reservoir). I think that it is possible that radiator has become partially clogged which has limited the amount of coolant that get cooled. At 70 mph, you have good air flow through the radiator quickly cooling the coolant and keeping the vehicle from overheating. When you are at slower speeds the air flow is reduced causing the coolant to get much hotter. At this point it sounds like you can control the overheating by turning off the AC. I think what could be happening to your vehicle is that it is running hotter than normal. Since the thermostat is a mechanical device and not electrically driven at some point this is staying open to allow cooling. Since the car is not running the water is not being actively circulated. The thermostat open allows the water to enter the radiator, however since your coolant is hotter than normal it has expanded and if your radiator is holding less because is partially clogged or blocked then the remainer should find itself dumping into the overflow container. However since there is more coolant than the overflow can hold it starts pouring out onto the ground creating a puddle. If this is not your problem then my second guess would be a defective fan clutch causing the vehicle to heat up in stop and go traffic. However, if your leak is coming from somewhere other than the overflow container then you need to find the leak and repair it.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    First, I think you should check your coolant level. If you have not changed your coolant in the last couple of years, then I would change and fill the coolant. The clutch fan is connected to the bigger metal fan and to the water pump. The fan should always spin when the motor is running. When the coolant gets warm the fan clutch engages and you should hear a noticeable roar and the RPMs should pick up slightly. This increases the air flow over the radiator helping to maintain the coolant temperature. This generally happens when the coolant reaches over 1/4, but less than 1/2 way on the temp gauge. At the half way point, the electric fan should kick in to provide even more air flow. At this point you have reached the maximum air flow the cooling system can create. Generally, when operated in normal circumstances the metal fan and fan clutch should be able to maintain the coolant temperature. Since your vehicle got very warm, it sounds like it might have been low on fluid or the water pump is not working well. Another possiblity is that the thermostat has stuck open. When this happens it takes a while for the car to overheat, but because the coolant does not get enough time in the radiator to cool down and the coolant tends to get hotter and hotter. If you are going to replace the water pump, the thermostat is fairly easy to change. I generally don't trust the radiators in these vehicles and almost recommend changing it if you continue to have problems after changing the water pump, thermostat and putting in new coolant.
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