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Dodge Durango Overheating Problems

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  • 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.

    MD
  • 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 hot.....my temp. gauge went almost to red......it 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 down........no 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.
  • If it is leaking on the floor inside of the truck, you have a bad heater core and it need to be changed. If you are having puddles under the car the thermostat may be getting stuck. What you can try is to drill a small hole in the thermostat so more coolant can flow through it.
  • americoamerico Posts: 3
    thanks sdout..........i will try those suggestions....... i appreciate the help..........i'll let ya know how it works out........
    Rico...
  • americoamerico Posts: 3
    thanks sdout..........i will try those suggestions....... i appreciate the help..........i'll let ya know how it works out........ohh yea i also just noticed that the resevior coolant was boiling and the level in the rdaitor went low after that.....the coolant level has been fine...thanks again
    Rico...
  • After reading all these post i feel better knowing i am not the only one with this problem, mainly this is to sdout, it appears to me you really know your stuff. So here's my problem.
    About 6 or so months ago I began smelling anitfreeze in my 03 durango something terrible, then i noticed a leak in the back of the car by the exhaust. So I took it to the mechanic and he told me that it was my rear heater core. (Sorry if I get some of my wording wrong, mechanically inclined I am not.) And it would be around 500 bucks to replace it, I could not afford that, so, they charged me 160 to bypass it. Well that worked fine until about 2 weeks ago.I was in New Mexico visiting my husband(he works out of town) and noticed the car sounded like it was ideling high when it came time to change gears, I went from the motel to the gas station, about 2 blocks, and while filling up to go home decided to check my transmission fluid on the suspision it might be low, it was fine so i decided to check my antifreeze since I had been having problems. I felt the cap first and it was not even warm, since I had only gone a few blocks I figured it was fine. Well, when I loosened the cap it blew off throwing antifreeze all over my, luckily it wasnt hot or i'd have been in a world of pain. Maybe I shouldv'e had the car turned off before removing the cap, i dont know. Then I drove the 2 hours home without a problem. The next day Wendell came home on days off and was washing his worktruck and our durango and had it running listening to the stereo so the battery wouldnt run down. Well, when he turned it off, there was a loud pop and antifreeze went everywhere, from the rear. just sizzlein the whole time and smoke going everywhere. I am sure the smoke was from the liquid hitting such a hot dry surface. After it cooled off he checked it out and said the shops bypass job had failed and the hose had busted or something, i dont rightly remember. I dont know what he done, but he said he fixed the hose and reclamped it. He ran the durango for about 30 minutes and it seemed fine. So we went about 30 miles away to an event with our kids. Car was fine. Then last week after doing some running around town I came home and when I turned off the car I heard a sssszzzzzzz noise and opened the hood and anitfreeze was coming out the resivoir tank. I thought it may be the thermostat, the car is getting hot yet it is full of antifreeze, again i really know nothing about cars. I also notice it is worse when running the a.c. So I went and got a new thermostat the premium one at that, and had it changed. But this past Saturday night Wendell was running the car again to listen to the radio. I started complaining because I knew my ride was still acting up, so finally after much ado he turned it off, and again fluid started coming out the reserve tank. Then one of his friends said he thinks its the fan clutch cause it spun to freely when he moved it. Now I have had it sitting in the driveway since sunday morning and took it this morning to the store. Not really far at all. maybe a half mile round trip. When I got to the store I smelled antifreeze, and seen a little was trickling from the reserve, I was at the store maybe 15 minutes, came home and parked it and decided to see if the internet could be of any assistance.
    So, with all that being said, I really hope you can be of some assistance to me. I am afraid this is going to be expensive and money is something we dont have a whole lot of. And I dont even know what a fan clutch is, I am assuming it is a.c. related, because the a.c. wont even work if you put it on high now, and when you do run it the air takes longer than normal to get cold. And I thought all the rear heater core done was ran the heater in the backseat, I know once they bypassed it the rear heater doesnt work, yet the rear a.c. does. I thought it was all the same switch, you just adjust the tepmerature control.
    I have had my durango sice 06 but it is an 03, with right under 90,000 miles, and until this it has not really given me any trouble at all. About a year ago, my step-dad took out the radiator and done a complete flush on it and changed the thermostat then as well cause it was overheating and giving me some trouble.
    All I know Is I have 3 children under the age of ten and cannot be without a vehicle, So I am really hoping to get some insight here as to what is going on.
  • Sometimes when I am tying to pass someone on the road and accelerate it does exactly the opposite, it starts sputtering as if its getting no gas to wherever the gas goes. Not sure if its related, with my luck it is probally something different altogether. My engine light has been on since we bought it in 06, iv'e taken it in a few times and they reset the light, but now after this last time liquid went everywhere the engine light has gone off, so I wonder now if the liquid might have messed up my sensors. Damned Durango!
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    Okay, you have given me plenty to think about and I appreciate that. Let me start off by saving you a few bucks with your engine light problem and show you how your Durango can help you diagnose your problem. In my Durango and Dakota (both 2001), if you have an engine light on you can retrieve the codes by turning the key on quickly (not start just to the "on" position) 3 times. You need to have your odometer set to show the regular miles (not the trip miles) and on the 3rd time a code should appear in the odometer. All cars made since 1996, have standardized on OBDII (I think) and will give codes in that format. For engine problems it will be something like P0455. The "P" stands for powertrain. You can then take that code and google it to find what sensor is detecting a problem and begin your troubleshooting process. These codes will even tell you what cylinder is giving you a problem (a great help when your car is missing and your don't know what cylinder is causing the problem). There are some specialized codes, but I believe most that are under 1000 are standard for all makes and models. This won't clear the engine light, but it will let you know where a problem is that needs to be fixed. Once the problem is fixed sometimes it takes several starts without detecting a problem before the light is extinguished. This may help with your stepping on the gas but stuttering problem. My guess is a bad O2 sensor or clogged fuel filter. Defective gas caps are known to give random check engine light messages. But when the light is on, try to check the code, it will be more accurate than my guess.

    Okay, now let's get to your overheating problem. One of the problems I think you may be having is with your auxiliary water pump. This water pump is designed to pump water to the rear heater core (it might actually be used to pump water to the front and rear heater core, I'm not really sure). I can't recall if the auxilary water pump uses electric power or not. I would think so, because it doesn't get it from the engine. It is located on the passenger side in the engine compartment on top of the fender well near the firewall. It's easy to identify because it uses heater hose just like the one running to the heater core. I have had this device cause problems before. I think what happens is that the water is unable to be pumped up into the heater core(s) and so that coolant ends up draining back into the rest of the cooling cyle that is working. This causes more fluid in the system than it can hold so some of it goes back into the overflow container, once the overflow container is full it begins to spill out onto the ground. In your case I think that your auxilary water pump may be starting to go and working intermittently. I think this might be why at times you have a puddle and this is what caused the bypass to "pop" off. In addition, when some of the coolant has been drained and the auxiliary pump begins to start working, it is robbing coolant from the main cooling system forcing the system to cool with less coolant. Since there is less coolant available, it begins to get hot. I don't have a real easy way to test the auxilary water pump except to see if it is powered with 12 Volts and listen to see if the motor is running properly. If you can find a way to see if it is pumping or stuttering or barely moving then you might have your answer. As far as I know this auxilary water pump can only be purchased through the dealer.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure that this is your problem or only problem. You stated your Durango is having a problem shifting and that your AC is not working great. Both of those have coolers (they look like smaller radiators). The one for the transmission is called a transmission cooler, the AC one is called a condenser. Both are located in front of the radiator (the transmission cooler is the smaller one, models without the towing package may not have it). All of them require good air flow over them to work correctly. If one of them is really hot, it can impact the effectiveness of the others. The fan clutch is a likely culprit because all three of these rely on it drawing in air over them to work properly. You could test this by running the vehicle and seeing if you hear the noticeable roar and an increase in RPMs between 1/4 and just under 1/2 on the temp gauge. This could be your only problem. The failure of the fan clutch to properly cool the car could have caused a build up in pressure and caused the bypass hose to "pop" off. If your car is getting over 1/2 way on the temp gauge make sure your electric fan is kicking on (located in front of the regular fan, you may need to use a flashlight to see if it is working).

    If I was in your situation I would check the fan clutch first and change if it does not kick on.

    I would check the coolant level as often as possible to make sure there is no fluctuation. If high or puddling sometimes and low at others with no leaks then I would suspect the auxiliary water pump. If you can bypass the auxilary water pump and still have fluctuating coolant level, change the main water pump.

    If fan clutch changed or working, no fluctuation in coolant, then I would suspect the radiator.

    It is important that after losing coolant you maintain close to a 50/50 mixture of coolant to water for best cooling results.

    When checking the coolant, do not remove the radiator cap if the car was recently running or is still warm to the touch. Check it from the overflow coolant container. If the car needs coolant it will take it from there, if it is dumping coolant it will fill it up. Do not overfill. Only fill to the top of the holes on the dipstick - this allows some room for the coolant when warm, but it should not normally flow out of this container.
  • First I wanna say thanks for the heads up on the sensor thing, now I just gotta wait for the light to come on again. So now to the water pump thing. Are there 2 ? I ask because you stated something about possibly bypassing the auxiliary water pump by changing the main water pump. Well I think I had the water pump changed back in september of 2007. I remember taking it and have something changed,but I dont remember if it was the water pump or the starter, but i'm pretty sure it was the water pump, but I bought it at auto zone and had a mechanic across the street install it so I dont believe it was the auxiliary water pump if you can only get it from dealers. I never go to the dealership, it is too expensive. I used to have my daddy do all my mechanicing, but he is 4 hours away and unavailable right now.
    I know my durango has a 5.9L engine and it is a 4x4 with the tow package. And I know that I do not have a clue about these different fans you speak of, but tonight my friends husband is supposed to be changing the fan clutch for me, he really seems to think that is the problem. I will have him read this beforehand though and I will let you know the outcome.
    However, last night I decided to go outside and check this all out for myself. Before I even started the durango I took off the radiator cap to check the fullness, keep in mind that it had not been driven for about 4 almost 5 hours, and when i release the cap it was like a small pressure was released and a bubble of antifreeze came out. It has done that about the last 5 times I have checked it. I started the car and after about 10 minutes of idling it was already to the half way mark. I felt the line going to the engine from where you put the antifreeze in and it was really super hot, yet the line on the other side of the the engine was real cool to the touch, so I wonder if it is possible the thermostat my husband installed could be faulty? I also bought a gasket and gasket sealer, but he did not use them, so could it maybe not have been sealed properly, he told me he didn't use it cause it didn't need it. Anyway while the car was started I noticed it is making a few new sounds. The most noticeable one is a mouse squeak kinda sound coming from down in the fan rotating area, sorry I dont know what things are to explain it better. But when I had my kid turn it off, I heard a kinda like a suction quitting, like at the car wash when the carpet vac cuts off. I also wonder if I should replace the radiator cap itself, because there has been fluid sitting right under the hose there as if it may be leaking out from the cap. The only time it seems to lose any liquid is the few times it has spewed out the reserve tank hole. I have preston 50/50 stuff that I have been using to refill it. I also noticed that the cap on the reserve was not fitting right. It was not closing down over the bumps around the rim, but I fixed that last night, But I was wondering if that could be why fluid was coming out of it?
  • P1494 is the code it gave me. And I read that it is involved in the fuel and emmisions stuff.Faulty Gas cap, leak in the line, so on and so forth type of related stuff. Thanks for the tip on that, I will take care of it as soon as I can.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    I haven't had that exact code but I've had a ton of P0455 and P0454 or something like that. One is a small evaporative leak and the other is a gross evaporative leak. The funny thing about this error is that it won't show on a full tank. It will only come up after the tank is down to about 80% full. It is also one of those errors that you may have to run the car for a little bit and then stop and start it again a few times before it goes away. If the gas cap is not on tight (until it clicks), it could cause one of the errors, I've listed above. After replacing 2 or 3 gas caps, I finally figured out what to look for. There is a rubber gasket around the gas cap (it mates to the metal filling lip). If there isn't a rubber gasket or it is cracked or split, that could be your problem. I haven't found a gas cap with a tether, so I drill a hole in the new gas cap and take the tether off the old gas cap. Anyhow, if you find that your rubber gasket is in place and the gas cap tight, then you will have to check under the car. About midway between the tires on the drivers side in front of the gas tank there should be a couple of gas lines (I think one end of the two hoses goes to a cannister looking device). One is smaller, like a typical fuel line and the other is a little bigger, not quite as big as a heater hose but close. Thoroughly check these hoses. If there are cracks you need to replace it or cut it back if you have enough hose (I cut mine back and it lasted for about 6 months to a year and then I was fixing the problem again, as described below). I think both of these hoses are evaporative only, so there isn't any gas in them. On my Durango, the backside of one of the hoses I couldn't see was entirely split. The really goofy thing is that one of the hoses has different sizes of pipe that it connects to. One side seems to fit fairly easy, but the other is a little bigger and a little difficult to get on (if you have to stretch it too much you will split the hose or weaken it and you'll be replacing it again fairly soon). Since the hose bends, you can buy the hose from Dodge or get some hose and use one of those hose spring forming devices (they are usually a couple bucks and keeps the hose from kinking). It is best to get fuel hose (but I think I had a hard time finding the hose for the larger size and may have used something like heater hose and a hose clamps to get it to fit). I had to fix this about a year ago and I haven't had the error return.
  • Shout out to sdout! Having same problem with over heaating as everyone else. Runs (under load- towing boat or using A/C) about 30 mins. then begins to get hot. Had in Radiator shop 3 times, all checks out OK. Added fluids, pressure check, new cap, radiator flush. Don't know what else to do. getting ready to replace radiator. Mine sould be dual core as I was told, along with a few other "lies" that it had Tow pkg. so not sure if it does since I can't find tranny cooler! This began at about 60K miles. Think new dual core will help; have been reading other forums and some have replaced radiators with no luck. Will check with my radiator mech. who looks at core width but didn't mention dual core. Will also check out timeing belt cover as you suggest. Also read that some factory installed thermostats were installed upside down at the factory! Have checked and mine OK. No check engine lights. Do you think 2000 has dual water pumps? Have rear A/c but not heat(that I'm aware of). Will check this also.Any additional input would greatly be appreciated as am getting ready to go to lake in 2 weeks!
  • 02 Durango, V8 4.7 overheats during summer (70 degrees or warmer) in stop and go traffic and at idle in drive , but stalls in stop and go traffic and at idle in drive during cold (30 degree F)winter weather. Temp sensor? Or could it be something simpler like thermostat or water pump or the fan clutch? In either situation if it's put in neutral, or being driven in moving freeway traffic it runs just fine. And when it overheats the coolant isn't boiling, and the hoses aren't excessivly hot.

    TIA for any advice.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    Sorry, I didn't receive a notification and just received another request from another person and saw your inquiry. I had the tow package cooling system installed on my Durango, which is different from the original tow package. The tow package itself should have the factory hitch with the electrical hook-up, a bigger alternator and flasher amp in addtion to the two core radiator and transmission cooler (located in front of the AC condenser). My Dakota had the OEM tow package. I noticed the difference right away because my truck had an aluminum colored radiator and the original radiator in the Durango was black. This might be something to check. I thought 2001 was the first year for rear climate, but I'm not for sure. One of my buddies had a 2000 or 1999 and it didn't have AC or heat. If there is rear heat you should have some type of rear controller allowing heat, in addition off of the thermostat housing (on the timing chain cover side) you will have the two heater lines going to the rear water pump. If you don't have a dual core radiator and transmission cooler, your ability to keep your car cool is somewhat handicapped. On a near 100 degree day, my Dakota will run almost halfway hot with nothing but the AC on. I'm not sure why Dodge ever made either vehicle without a dual core radiator. I noticed that you have not mentioned changing your fan clutch. I would test this to see if it is operating properly. Since you've had it flushed and fluids checked, I'm sure it had the right amount and good coolant in it. I would think that this truck should still be able to run with the AC on without getting hot and run under somewhat of a load without getting hot (I might be giving Dodge a little too much credit, but I don't think its an unreasonable thought). If it were me, I would check the fan clutch. If it seems to be working, then I would probably remove the water pump and thermostat. If there is some kind of corrosion then, I would consider getting the timing chain cover (if you buy the timing chain cover it comes with a water pump and thermostat installed, don't buy one before), if not then I would consider changing the thermostat, water pump, belt and fan clutch (I would do the fan clutch because you have to remove it anyway when you change the water pump, unless of course you have already changed one or more of those devices). The total cost for the thermostat, water pump, belt and fan clutch should be around or less than $150. If I had to guess from what you told me in the order of likelihood, the first is the fan clutch, then the thermostat stuck open, third the water pump, next the belt is old and slipping. I would not change the timing chain cover unless I found something to support that debris could have gotten into the cooling system, however if your radiator guy is right and everything checks then I would have expected your radiator to be clogged, which it sounds like it isn't. I hope this helps out. If you can think of any other symptoms let me know and I'll try to give you my best guess.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    Does your engine light ever come on? I'm thinking that you may have two different problems. The first when it gets hot in warm weather in stop and go traffic is likely related to air flow. This could be a bad fan clutch or a partially clogged radiator. It could also be due to low coolant level and old coolant. Improper coolant mixture could also be a factor especially if the level is low. The second problem might have to due with a hose coming from your gas tank. I have mentioned it before and it might be more descriptive than what I'm giving you here, but there are two hoses near your gas tank that go into a cannister. The hoses have a tendency to crack. They carry gasoline "vapors." I do not live in a cold climate, but I would image they would have even more of a tendency to crack in colder weather. However, if you do not have an engine light on, then this is likely your problem, because it will definitely come on if one or both of these hoses are cracked. Another cause could be a oxygen or mass air flow sensor, but again I would image that you would have an engine light on. On a Honda I used to have there was a warm engine sensor. The car would adjust its air flow and gas based on whether the car was warm or cold. The way I found out about it was one day I drove the car somewhere and got in it to take off, but it wouldn't start. It would turn over and act like it would start and then die. When I let it set for about a half an hour, the car cooled enough to allow it to start. I don't know if such a sensor exists in the Durango and again I would expect that you would have an engine light on. In a previous post, I also describe on how to check your engine codes, if you have an engine light on. It is possible that your throttle sensor is worn out and needs to be replaced. I have changed in on both my Durango and Dakota because when driving on cruise control the RPMs would suddenly increase for a short time then resume to normal. After I changed the throttle sensor (about $ 35), this went away. The reason I mention this is if an area in the sensor wore out then it might cause your car to die at idle and the engine light does not come on for this condition. If there is any more symptoms that you can think of please respond and I'll try to help you out.
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    I know you said you had your radiator checked. If you removed it or if a mechanic removed it make sure that your electric fan is plugged in and working. It should come on at the half way point or higher. If it is not coming on, you are not getting max airflow and it could be causing your vehicle to run warm because it is not getting the additional help it needs. If it is not coming on, the connection should be at the bottom of the radiator nearly right in the middle. It sounds like a pain to get to but you can actually get to it from under the front of the truck by removing a couple of plastic rivets and bending down the plastic protective cover behind the bumper. I've forgotten it before and had to plug it in this way. Again, I hope this helps, if you have anymore info, I'll do my best with it.
  • this am for the first time the engine light came on had a diagnostic done on it and it said something about emission or something like that sensors tech erased code and light went out suppose it is ok to drive vehicle >
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    You should be able to check the code, if it happens again by turning the key on and off 3 times (in an earlier post, I have explained exactly how to do this). It will save you the time and money for having to find out what is wrong with your vehicle. An emission problem could be something as simple like an O2 sensor or something more serious like a catalytic converter. Anyhow, when they erase the code, of course the light will go out because there is nothing to notify the computer that there is a problem. If it is an constant problem the engine light will come back on immediately. If it is an intermittent problem then it will come on when the problem happens again. When the codes are cleared, generally the computer has to relearn the operations of the vehicle, so you won't be able to get it smogged or checked within the next day or even possibly the next couple days. If you can get the code, then you can find out how serious your problem is. If they noted the code on the paperwork, you can google it and find out what the problem is. I had a friend who had some strange code on his CR-V, once it was removed it hasn't come back (it's been about 3 years), however most codes are an indication of a sensor failure or a problem and you will see it again if the problem was not resolved. Hope this helps.
  • I have a '98 Durango SLT with 5.2 engine. There are about 230,000 miles on it, but not all of that is on the current engine--we had to put in a new one in 2005 because of the oil sludge thing that 98s are known for, I don't know what year the current engine is but it was supposed to be free of that problem.

    A couple of weeks ago my heater core went bad and we had it bypassed. The mechanic said our radiator probably had a leak and was all corroded inside. Many things do leak out of the car judging from the assortment of puddles in the driveway.

    A few days ago I was driving up a mountain when the car started running hotter and hotter. By the time we got to the top it was steaming and in the red zone. When it was time to leave we filled it with water and ran it for a few minutes and it seemed okay, but as soon as we started driving again it went red.

    There was nowhere to pull over and once we got to paved road although it was still hot it was running okay. We were trying to make it 11 miles down the road to the gas station to buy coolant. But then the engine started clacking. At first it would stop if I drove slower, but then it was clacking continuously. The oil had been showing a little to the low side, but then abruptly the line fell to zero and we lost all power.

    We had to pay $80 to tow the thing back to civilization. The mechanic wants $600 to replace the oil pump before he even begins to evaluate what else might be wrong. We don't have any money.

    So my questions are: Does this scenario ring any bells? Is replacing the oil pump the thing to do? Is that a reasonable price (in Knoxville, Tennessee) to do such a thing? If we have to replace the engine, how much should we expect that to cost? Is any of this even worth it, given the age of our car and its mileage?

    Thanks.
  • egkpopegkpop Posts: 2
    Please help, sdout!! I cannot travel across my small town and back (about a 10 minute stop-and-go drive) without my Durango overheating to the red line. It never overheated before this. I checked radiator fluid recently, and added what was needed (it was pretty low). Because filling it to capacity hasn't worked, today, I removed the radiator cap and found a fair amount of gunk on the cap and inside where the cap connects (radiator logged?). By the way, if I travel at 55 MPH or higher, the temperature remains below the half-way mark. Also (and I'm not sure how I figured this out) but when the temperature reaches the red line, I can put the car in neutral, rev the engine to 4000-4500 RPMs for 5-10 seconds, and the temperature will lower to near the half-way mark. But the temperature remains low for only a few minutes until climbing back up to the red line. Running the AC does nothing, by the way. I'm trying to keep repair costs to a minimum. Should I start by flushing the system and refilling, then go from there (e.g., replace thermostat, water pump, timing chain cover, radiator, etc.)? Thanks for your help. Reviewing your other forum replies has been very helpful!
  • sdoutsdout Posts: 23
    Thank you for the information. You have made some really good observations and points. At first, I was inclined to think that your fan clutch is working okay because it is providing good air flow over the radiator when you put it in neutral and rev the engine, however, if that was true then why would you need to rev the engine, right? Since the electric fan is suppose to turn on at the halfway point, it makes me wonder if your electric fan is working. Since your vehicle is heating up rather quickly, I would run the vehicle at idle and make the following observations. Does the fan clutch kick on ( the noticeable roar when the temp gauge is over 1/4 but under 1/2 on the temp gauge)? Next, when the vehicle gets to the 1/2 way point does the electric fan kick on? My suspicion is that both of these are working, but I would check these because if they aren't working then we want to get these operating correctly to get the best cooling working for your vehicle. The gunk on the radiator cap is potentially the source of your problem, however it could also be the result. If the gunk is gritty (with metal particals) then I think perhaps something is breaking down (possibly the timing chain cover) and clogging up the radiator reducing the amount of coolant being cooled. If the gunk is thick but doesn't seem to be gritty then it could just be the coolant was old and possibly started clogging up the radiator especially if the level was low for a while. If the gunk is gritty, I would remove the thermostat and check behind it to see if there is any deterioration in the timing chain cover. If you aren't satified, you can check behind the water pump, also. If there is no grit and the gunk is just thick, then you can try to flush the system several times to see if you can get more of the gunk out. I would think you might be able to get some of the gunk out and it might help cooling for a while, but ultimately I think the problem is likely to reoccur in the future. If you are okay with constantly monitoring your temp gauge and routinely flushing your system this might work, however, I would replace the radiator. Here are the steps I would take. Since you are trying to keep costs down, I will put what I think is mandatory and needs to be done and optional on things that might be able to slide until you can afford it.

    - Check to see if the fan clutch and electric fan are coming on when they are suppose to, if one or both of them are not functioning, replace. (Mandatory)

    - Remove the radiator and have it pressure checked at a radiator shop. If it is clogged, replace it, the hoses and cap. (Radiator - mandatory, Hoses, if in good shape and free of gunk - optional, Radiator cap - this is close to mandatory, but at least it needs to be clean and free of gunk).

    - Before installing the radiator flush the rest of the system as thoroughly as possible.

    - If you have not changed the belt in a while, change it (If belt looks good - optional)

    - Install a new radiator cap (same as above).

    - Install new coolant (Mandatory)

    If you find your timing chain cover deteriorating, then the timing chain cover will need to be replaced which should include a new water pump and thermostat (mandatory). The radiator will likely be clogged and should be replaced (mandatory) along with the radiator hoses, belt and radiator cap (same as above).

    I hope this helps, if you have any other questions or find out anything you need help with, let me know.
  • egkpopegkpop Posts: 2
    Wow. You're quite the diagnostician. I am truly grateful. I'll let you know how it goes. Fortunately, I have a friend that can help who's very knowledgeable about cars in general. But your input will definitely get us on the right track, and sooner rather than later. Thanks again!!
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