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Cooling Systems -- Problems & Solutions (Radiator, Fan, etc)



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    It's possible that only one fan is working, and the AC fan is not.
  • O my gosh...did you get an answer? Mine is doing the SAME thing. If I drive over 50mph the temp gage climbs and the AC shuts off. As soon as I stop the car and idle....back to normal and the AC works. It's really wierd!
  • 90bronc90bronc Posts: 7
    Could be one fan....I don't klnow if the A/C fan is on the psgr side or drvr side....I changed the temp sensor..I looked for a relay in the fuse box and didn't see a relay for the RAD FAN...there is a 40 amp fuse for RAD FAN and it is good...guess I'll have to put 12 volts to the fans to determine if one is bad....

    also, would it be possible to wire the fans in paralell to have them both run at the same time or would it blow a fuse and/or cause other problems?

    or could it be a bad switch somewhere?
    1997 Dodge Caravan 4 cyl (2.4)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well you should be able to observe the fan operation. The AC fan will go on as soon as you engage the AC button or switch or whatever I THINK...the other fan will go on only when the engine reaches a certain you'd just let it idle and wait for it to go on so you can check operation. If your engine gets hotter and hotter at idle and no fan goes on, then you must have a sensor or relay issue.

    Yes you could add 12V to the fans to see if they are working. They rarely fail, but it can happen.
  • czookczook Posts: 2
    on our 98 Dodge Caravan, we found the relay to the RAD FAN way up high on the driver side of the Radiator. See if you can find it there.
  • cranky18cranky18 Posts: 1
    My van has been overheating for some time now. At first, the fan was locking up and burning up the fuse. If I unstuck it and replaced the fuse it would be fine. I finally had to replace the fan motor. It was O.K. for a while then it started again. It would overheat, usually in stop and go traffic, I could pull over and shut the engine off, start it again, and it would cool down and be O.K even in more stop and go traffic. Since then, I have replaced the waterpump and thermostat. I checked the relays for the fan control and they seem o.k. too. I took it to a mechanic and they said the fan (low speed and high speed were turning on at about 2 degrees higher than specification and that there was a 30 degree difference in temperature from top to bottom. They said one or both of these things might be causing the problem. I googled this problem and did not really find anything. The only thing is the fact that it will overheat and then I can stop and it is O.K. even under the same conditions. What about the bottom hose collapsing? Is it possible that it could collapse then I stop and it "uncollapses"? :cry:
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Has the radiator been checked? On an 11 year old car it's possible the radiator is clogged.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    A collapsed hose only occurs at high engine speed.

    Clogged radiator is a good guess. Have you checked or water in the oil or combustion gases in the coolant?
  • dgrasserdgrasser Posts: 12
    My 1998 Grand Caravan is doing the same. I just replaced the water pump last Fall and I can tell that it is circulating. The radiator w/o the fans (2 of them)running is enough to cool the engine until I turn the air on, then the extra heat causes the radiator to overheat and anti-freeze overflows.
    I also checked the 40 AMP fan(s) fuse and it is okay.

    With the vehicle off (the ignition is off, no key in it), I physically reached down and turned the fans (make sure you do this when the engine is cool as you could get burned on hot parts. Also, some vehicles fans go on even when the key is off). The fan blade/motor on the passenger side is seized up and the fan blade/motor on the driver's side spins freely.

    Not sure, but I am guessing that the good fan is tied in electrically with the other one, so it won't go on either.

    Anyway, looks like I need at least one fan motor. Not sure if they sell them separate or not. I checked my Haynes Repair Manual and it looks like it will be kind of a pain to remove the entire fan fixture, but do-able.
  • mps3817mps3817 Posts: 4
    I own a 1997 Regal with 180,000. The car started having heat issues about 12 months ago. IT was always overheating whern hot. Since then the heads have been changed, radiator changed twice, heater core once and a major flush. The cvar run at 3/4 hot all the time . IT seems trhat the system is getting clogged all the time. The red antifreeze looks like it is solififying. My insurance is writing off the car. Has anyone heardof this problem before?
  • steve248steve248 Posts: 1
    I have a good info, found on other web site.

    First, I had similar symptom: a '97 Town & Country. Starting 6/06, when A/C on, my overheat is slightly different - The temp on dashboard shows it is OK if car moves with smooth traffic. In stop-and-go, such as traffic light, I can see the steam. Or if the car was moving OK w/o overheat, pull to my garage and turn off the engine, I can hear the water boiling and steam comes out. I replaced the thermastat, and back-flush the cooling system. Add coolant to 40%. When engine is off, no more steam, but the coolant comes out the rad cap.

    2. Cause A: I found this info a web site

    Partial quote from this web. Some '98 has this problem:

    "There was a recall on your Caravan for this very problem. To correct this condition, the radiator fan relay must be replaced and the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) must be reprogrammed (flashed). The dealer will do this free of charge."

    3. Cause B:

    Below is the quote

    A. That's not a recall, that was a Technical Service Bulletin. And, sorry to say, it does not apply to your vehicle. The one that does apply to your vehicle is:

    NO: 08-34-96
    GROUP: Electrical
    DATE: Oct. 25, 1996
    Radiator Fan Relay Operation
    1996 - 1997 Town & Country/Caravan/Voyager 1996 - 1997 Chrysler Voyager (International Market)


    Conditions related to the radiator fan relay may result in the radiator fans not turning "ON" or not turning "OFF" as designed.

    The screws that mount the relay to the left front frame rail may break causing the relay to overheat and turn off because it no longer has heat sinking capability to the frame rail.

    If broken radiator fan relay screws are found, they must be replaced with revised screw P/N 06035202. Also, the relay may have been damaged because of the overheating (but may still be functioning) caused by the lack of heat sinking and should be replaced.

    Some vehicles may have an intermittent interference condition between the radiator fan blade(s) and the fan shroud that causes a high current draw that will fail the radiator fan relay.

    The relay can fail in an open condition preventing the fan motors from running and causing the engine to overheat. The relay can fail in a closed condition causing the radiator fans to continue to run with the ignition switch turned "OFF".

    If a failed radiator fan relay is found, it must be replaced with revised relay P/N 04886288AA AND screws P/N 06035202. Revised relay P/N 04886288AA has a higher current capacity that is able to handle the extra current draw related to the intermittent radiator fan/shroud interference.

    A number of vehicles may have corrosion develop in the radiator fan relay connector. On vehicles with this condition, the radiator fan relay connector should be replaced using pigtail service package P/N 04897034AA
  • dgrasserdgrasser Posts: 12
    Thanks for all the great info. I contacted the local Dodge dealer and provided my VIN number. They have a record of the recalls that were done on my van, including the relay, however, he said it may have gone bad again. For my 1998 Grand Caravan, this was a recall.
    Also, tonight I applied 12 volts to each fan and indeed the passenger side fan motor bearings are shot.
    This doesn't explain why the other one doesn't run though.
    After reading your info., I thought that perhaps the relay was "stuck" on causing one fan to prematurely wear out, but that would mean the other one should still be running.
    Anyway, I am going to have the dealer look at it and see if I can get the relay replaced again.
    I still haven't figured out if I can replace on of the fans/motors without taking the entire fan shroud out.
    Hopefully, I can get by with just replacing the one fan motors. It looks like it is mounted with heavy duty rivets though, so I'm not sure.
    Thanks again.
  • kappajenkappajen Posts: 11
    Hi! I need some help. I have a 96 Plymouth Neon and a friend believes that there is an air bubble. When I drive for a while at about 65 to 70 the temp gauge starts to go up and I turn the heat on (I know!) and then it goes back to normal. I've never watched to see how high it goes! To scary!! But I was wondering if anyone had any information regarding the proper procedure to bleed the air bubble out. Haven't been able to find a repair manual yet, so any help would be much appreciated! It's been so hot all over the place and i hate driving with the heat on!! Thanks again! :)
  • dhackdhack Posts: 7
    i have a 92 acura legend and it started overheating. so i changed out the radiator cuz it cracked one day when it was overheating, put new hoses and thermostat in it. still didnt stop it from getting hot. I found out that it was the head gasket leaking, had to get a new motor, found one on ebay and to get it down here and having it put in cost me around $1500. so pray that its not the same with your vehicle
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    With a Neon of that age, you have to look for a bad head gasket...a chronic problem with these cars and a possible cause of your distress.
  • 1996219962 Posts: 2
    Did the continuous running cooling fan get fixed? My 1997 van is doing the same thing. Engine is off but radaitor cooling fan stays running. Help?
  • 1996219962 Posts: 2
    My 1997 Plymouth Voyager radiator cooling fan runs with engine off. I pulled the fuse to save battery but with fuse in the fan will not stop running.
  • I have a 98 Chrysler Town & Country AWD that is overheating at highway speeds when the a/c is on and only in the summer. I turned the a/c off and temp goes to normal. If I turn a/c back on sometimes it will overheat. I replaced thermosat a year ago and both fans work. I saw the water in the radiator with particles. Any help would be appreciated. If I need to replace radiator, do I need to bleed the air out and how?
  • fkovfkov Posts: 1
    I am having similar problems with our 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan ES with 3.3L engine with 170K miles. Could you tell me if this recall extends to this vehicle?

    Thanks, Fred
  • randy09randy09 Posts: 1
    hey i got a 98 Voyager with the same thing. but witch one is the fan relay? what is it called?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I have a Ford Windstar w/ 3.8L that was diagnosed to have externally leaking front cover and intake gaskets about 1.5 years ago. Now it seems the leaking has progressed to internal as there is a layer of oil in the coolant overflow bottle. I do not plan to spend the required $1500 or so to replace these gaskets on an engine with almost 100,000 miles.

    I'm thinking a little oil in the coolant is less of a problem than getting coolant in the oil. Am I right about that or is the engine now near death?

    It seems like the overflow bottle can even act as an oil/water separator. The oil floats on the top but the coolant is pulled in from the bottom. So I was thinking if I keep the bottle over-filled the oily gunk will at least not get pulled back into the radiator and engine.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    What about the water going into the oil system and diluting the oil?

    Water does not lubricate rings, bearings, and lifters very well.

    You are close to a total motor lockup.

    Or, with exhaust gas going into the cooling systems, a huge overheating of the motor.

    A salvage motor might be the best idea to keep this vehicle on the road.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    What about the water going into the oil system and diluting the oil?

    But, I am not seeing any water in the oil, so far anyway.

    Or, with exhaust gas going into the cooling systems, a huge overheating of the motor.

    Why would I be getting exhaust gas in the cooling system :confuse: . The head gasket is not leaking, AFAIK. The front cover would not leak exhaust gas...not really sure what exactly the intake gasket is, but does not sound like it would be associated with exhaust. I do watch temp gauge, and it is always normal.

    Since, I did not know how long it took for the oil to accumulate and I added some bars leak stop to the coolant, after seeing the oil, I am doing an experiment. I drained the overflow bottle, washed it out, and put clean coolant in it. After driving to work and back yesterday (about 20 mi total) it was still clean.

    When I drained the coolant overflow, I would say there was maybe about an ounce or so of oil slurry floating on the top of the coolant. This had accumulated in the last few weeks, because I know it was clean when I checked the fluids about 3 weeks ago.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Well, with oil getting into the water, I don't see how water isn't getting into the oil.

    Maybe, but....

    You shut the car down, the cooling system is still pressurized to about 15psi until it cools down, the oil pressure drops to zero immediately - what's going to happen.

    Is the oil on the dipstick 'chocolate' looking rather than solid oil? Is so, this is water in the oil.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Is the oil on the dipstick 'chocolate' looking rather than solid oil?

    Nope, oil looks fine. I know that chocolate milk look :sick: ...once had that in a Voyager after it had been leaking oil from every seal for a while.

    You shut the car down, the cooling system is still pressurized to about 15psi until it cools down, the oil pressure drops to zero immediately - what's going to happen.

    I see what you are saying there. Is it possible the bars leak stuff had temporarily allowed a bit of oil to leak into the cooling sytem, but replugged the leak before any significant coolant went the other way???
  • morehpmorehp Posts: 30
    I have a '93 V6 Camry with about 160K.

    By way of background, I was told by the Toyota dealer about 3 months ago there was a crack in the radiator. I decided not to have it fixed because the coolant level seemed to be holding steady and there was no cooling problem at the time.

    2 days ago, I noticed the temp gauge creeping above the mid point when stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic. It would go as high as about 3/4 of the way up toward the red zone but not right to the top or into the red. (It has never done this before in 13 years and it wasn't that hot outside).

    Revving the engine to about 1200 rpm at idle, or speeding up to > 20-30 mph resulted in the temp going immediately back to normal. Temp remained normal once at speed.

    I can hear the fan going at idle, and as the temp rises above the midpoint the fan seems to really speed up (which I presume is normal). Coolant level was a bit low (at the "full cold" level when hot). The heater was working well and turning it on seemed to help a bit. The car was running fine through all of this.

    The dealer wants to replace the radiator and believes the condition was caused by low coolant level.

    Does this sound reasonable? It doesn't seem as if the coolant level is that low. I'm also not entirely sure why a coolant level problem would manifest only at very low speed. I would have suspected the fan but it seems to be running and, if it were the fan, why would increasing the idle rpm improve the situation?

    I'm happy to replace the rad if it will fix the problem but I'm not entirely convinced.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Your radiator also cools the transmission (if it's an automatic). If the separate oil tank in your radiator is leaking, you'll get auto trans fluid in your coolant.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Interesting...never thought of that. Would the oily sludge from that appear reddish, though? My sludge is black.

    I just checked and trans fluid looks normal, too. I'll check my trans fluid appearance along with the oil from now on...thanks for pointing out this possibility.

    Here is another strange thing. I opened the radiator cap yesterday to see if there was any oil visible there. There did not seem to be, just some of what I think is "leak stop" crud. But the coolant was not full all the way to the top. It was at least a couple inches low as I could not reach the coolant by sticking my finger in there. So I put some coolant mix directly in the radiator to top it off.

    I have not driven or even started the car since then, but today when I opened the radiator cap the coolant level was down again. Again I could not reach the top of the coolant level with my finger. There is no coolant on the garage floor under the car. :confuse:
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I think you should get the radiator changed. You have a radiator with plastic end caps (either side or top/bottom) and a metal core (aluminum). Most likely one of the seals is leaking between the metal core and the plastic cap. The symptoms you describe are classic for low coolant. Most likely the last time you filled the radiator up you didn't wait for the coolant to percolate down and it actually was still low, so when you looked at it the second time it was still low. If you really have 13 years of service on this radiator, that's real good. Most of these modern radiators don't last that long.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    It's a 1997, so actually 10 years not 13...but a leaky radiator is certainly a possibility. Before I put the bars leak in the coolant I was losing some every time it was driven...but never saw any leaks.

    That type of leak could explain coolant loss but not oil in the coolant, right?

    Adding a new radiator to the $1500+ already needed for the gaskets, would just confirm my decision not to fix it.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I would check the radiator cap and the rubber hose from the radiator to the coolant recovery tank (The plastic tank where you check the coolant level). Do this only when the coolant is COLD!

    A leak in the radiator, plus either a non-functioning radiator cap or a leak in the rubber hose to the recovery tank would allow coolant to leak out, but not be pulled back into the radiator when the engine is off and cools down. (This is the only way coolant gets into the radiator from the recovery tank - the engine cools and the lower pressure and a valve in the radiator cap allows fluid to be pulled back into the radiator.)

    This would allow the coolant in the radiator and the rest of the cooling system to be low, but not appear low in the coolant recovery tank.

    Allow the motor to cool down COMPLETELY and unscrew the radiator cap. If the radiator is not totally full, you may have a leak plus one of the above problems.

    At 160,000 miles one or both of these could need repair.
  • morehpmorehp Posts: 30
    Thanks a lot, Bolivar. I will do this.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    With more thought - just a leak in the radiator will probably let air be pulled directly back into the radiator, rather than having coolant pulled back into the radiator from the recovery tank.

    So, your radiator cap and hose to recovery could be fine, and you will still not get fluid pulled from the tank to restore fluid leaked out.

    You've got to get the radiator leak fixed.
  • morehpmorehp Posts: 30
    Thanks, Bolivar.

    I got the rad fixed and drove it today. So far, so good.
  • I have a 1992 Mercedes 190E 2.6 4 door sedan. Despite the fact my radiator and my thermostat have recently been replaced, my radiator still runs way hot. (unless I get up to at least 50 mph). (crappy service, I know). My fluid level is okay. I notice the following things so if someone could tell me the significance of any of these or if any of these are majorly suspect, let me know:

    1. The service advisor told me my water pump looks okay. I do not know if this is true or not, but there does not appear to be leakage of any fluid under my vehicle before or after use.

    2. In the hose that goes from the raditator to the expansion/fill-in tank, there is a major crook near the bottom - closest to the radiator. It is practically squeezed off. How significant is this?

    3. I only have 1 of 2 fans attached to the front of my radiator. I suspect this fan is not correctly electronically connected, so I was thinking of taking my vehicle to have the electronics this significant? I know this fan only kicks in once the temp gets above a certain level, but it does not even seem to do that. Also, does the fact that I have 1, instead of 2, present a major concern (once I get it working, obviously)

    4. My engine eats oil - medium to medium-bad level. Every 3000 miles, I have to add 1-2 quarts by the time of the next oil change (car has 186K on it). Might this play a role?

    other questions/comments:

    How easy is to replace the water pump if that is in fact the problem? Could I just buy a Chilton manual, or other manual, and figure it out? Is it attached to the timing belt?

    The other 2 major hoses in the radiator were replaced with the new radiator, but not the hose to the expansion tank.

    Thanks in advance for any comments and/or suggestions....
  • Need some advice regarding cooling fans. One of the two cooling fan motors is bad. It's on the driver's side of the car. A new motor at the dealer runs $170. I've seen some aftermarket cooling fan assemblies that have both fans and the shroud. Has anyone ever purchased on of these aftermarket assemblies? A new complete assembly from the dealer runs $350 while these aftermarket run around $130. Any thoughts out there?
  • HAve a 97 Grand Caravan. Same issue. I can't find the fan relay.. One the frame rail? Where is that ? Is this a small plug in board relay? Is this a recall year too? Ineed to fix quickly..
  • Found the relay took it off and tightened screws and now the fans run all the time. I will put on a new one. How do I reset the powertrain control module?
  • I have a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan. The fan relay was under recall and I replaced it in Dec. 1997. It went out again recently and they replaced it again for free because it had already been done under the recall.

    I had one bad motor (of the two) on the passenger side. It was seized up and this may have caused the relay to go.

    I ordered an entire new unit through and it has a lifetime warranty. It took less than an hour to replace.

    Here are the details:

    Part Name Code Qty Each Options
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
    Caravan 1996-2000 NEW 674a027 1 109.95 Style = Caravan 1996-2000 NEW
    Radiator / Condenser Fan Radiator / Condenser Fan Motor
    Motor Assembly OEM# Assembly OEM# 4682624 # 620140
    4682624 # 620140
    Subtotal 109.95
    Shipping 11.50
    Total 121.45
  • I have a 2001 Pontiac Montana. I noticed that the cooling fans will not turn on, even when the temp is over half. The fans do run when I connect them direct to the battery. The fuses are good, and I swapped the relays with no changes.
    Can somebody please help me!!
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Is your vehicle actually overheating? Coolant, steam coming out of the overflow tank?

    If not, stop worrying.

    Fans on many vehicle are set to only come on when the temp hits something like 220degrees. I know, I know, the thermostat in the car is probably a 195degree one, but I just telling you how the cooling design of some vehicles is done now-a-days.

    So, your guage might have to get to 3/4 or more before it is truly needing the fans to come on.
  • With the engine off and cool, try turning the fan blades. If one is seized up like mine was, that is the problem. If they both turn freely, then try applying 12 volts of DC power to each fan to see if they both work.

    There is also a temperature control up by the thermostat that might be the problem, if everything else checks out okay.

    Good luck.
  • The fans do work. I applied 12 volts to both of them and they run. I just got it out of the shop for a blown head gasket which cost me $1183. Now the temp is still running high when I sit in traffic and it boiled over, all without the fans coming on. It runs normal temp when moving. Anyone have any ideas? Quick fixes? Common solutions to this problem??
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Why didn't you tell this additional info the first time?

    If the head gasket job was bad, it would overheat at speed. So, that part was probably done ok.

    But, I bet something was not plugged back in, aa wire is pinched, etc, etc, etc. Take it back to the place that did the gasket job, there is something they did/didn't do that needs to be corrected.
  • Hi n2deep74,

    I have exact the same problem as yours. After fix the blown head gasket ($1250CAD plus tax) the cooling quit working. If the sensor wire is unplugged from the engine body, the fan kicks in within a few seconds.

    Did you find any solution to this problem?

    Thanks in advance,

  • Does anyone know where VW put the thermostat for a 95 golf? I'm anticipating it's in a hard to get at spot. Thanks!!
  • ron_mron_m Posts: 188
    This afternoon I had a coolant flush performed on a 2002 Lexus IS300. According to the vehicle's temperature guage, the engine is operating at its normal temperature. However, I can now smell the dreaded odor of burnt anti-freeze/coolant. I've looked to see if it's leaking from any of the hoses and all, but the best I can tell is that there is some red-colored coolant residue on several different parts within the engine bay. But most of these spots aren't very large. It's very cold here this evening, and when I pulled into the driveway a while ago and shut off the engine, there was some steam coming from the engine bay. Naturally I am concerned about this, but since the temperature never did get above normal during a 60 mile trip this evening, I am wondering if maybe some of the excess coolant that was spilled within the engine bay is just burning off and causing the slight amount of steam and odor. Can anyone offer any advice or personal experiences of their own after a coolant flush was performed on your vehicle?

    Thanks in advance.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I would keep an eye on it for a while. Most likely though it's waht you suspect, some coolant was spilled out on the engine and it's just cooking off. On some intake manifolds it can get down in the recesses and take some time to evaporate.
  • I'm trying to figure out why my cooling fan is not turning on. It rotates freely, the fuse is good and my engne temperature gauge seems to be working properly. I've narrowed the problem down to 3 possible things, but I need advice to further troubleshoot.
    I figure the problem could be the cooling fan switch, the fan relay or the thermostat. Is there anyway to rule out any of these possibilities without replacing each piece?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    There is also a sensor that triggers the fan. That's just a grounding sensor, that grounds out at a certain temperature, so if you could find that and ground the wire that goes to it--that might start the fan and at least tell you the fan is good. Also that sensor is not very expensive. I doubt the thermostat, but yes, the relay could be bad...grounding the sensor would also tell you the relay is okay.

    Some cars have two sensors, one to start the fan at the max temperature and one to stop it at the base or shut-off temperature. I'm not all that familiar with your particular cars symptom.

    So start a "diagnostic tree"--make sure the fan actually works first.
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