Voyager/Caravan leaking coolant

opiklopopiklop Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Chrysler
I have a 1995 Chrysler Voyager (3.3 V6). A few days ago the heater stopped blowing warm air and soon after that the engine started overheating.

The radiator was empty and the fan fuse was out. After filling the radiator, I could see coolant dripping from under the engine. The leak was pretty big, because it emptied the radiator in about 30 mins. The leak was only visible when the engine was running.

Then, all of a sudden, the leaking stopped. At the local repair shop the mechanic couldn't spot any leaking at all. Still, his guess was that it was a head gasket problem.

Now, is there a hose linked to the radiator somewhere on the driver's side of the engine? I couldn't see any leaks from above the engine, and the leakage point is not under the radiator itself. What could be wrong here? I'm hoping it's the water pump or anything else than the head gasket, which would be pretty expensive to fix.


  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    I'm not sure about this, but I think if it was a head gasket, you would see coolant in the engine oil. :confuse:

    If the leak is one of the hoses or radiator, you might only be able to spot it when the system is under pressure. Did the mechanic do a pressure test on the cooling system or just did a visual check?
  • opiklopopiklop Member Posts: 3
    The mechanic only did a visual check and there was no leaking visible at that time (or after that either, which is the strange thing here).

    Now after driving around for a while, there still is no leaking or overheating. Maybe it was the water pump that let the coolant out for some reason (rust blocking the system or something)?

    And there is no coolant in the radiator at the moment, just water, and I can't see any of it in the oil either.
  • akburbakburb Member Posts: 3
    Did you ever find your leak? I just noticed my 1997 3.3 is leaking coolant. I jacked my car up and found a leak that appears to be coming from the head gasket on the right rear corner of the engine (which is on the back-drivers side of engine if looking from the front) I'm trying to find out if others have had this problem. There doesn't appear to be any coolant in the oil.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    The Used Oil Analysis (UOA) results for our 1998 DGC 3.8 (virtually identical engine as yours) came back showing a small percentage of coolant in the oil. That said, you would never have known simply by looking at the oil that came out of my engine as it simply looked like good-old oil. ;-)

    Thinking "head gasket", I yanked the heads this last June and replaced the head gaskets. Unfortunately I didn't find a "smoking gun" when looking at the old gaskets, and sure enough, when I put her all back together, my coolant usage remained unchanged from before the gasket swap. I'm now thinking that one of the "O" rings in the timing chain cover has a slow leak and is draining into the oil. :-(

    Anyway, I told you that to tell you this. I did a fair amount of research on these engines before I dove in and found two interesting things:
    1) Engines with cast iron blocks and cast aluminum heads (like ours) have a tendency to "blow" head gaskets (as a general statement).
    2) The Chrysler 3.3 and 3.8 engines seem to be fairly immune to this phenomena, however, it does happen upon occasion.

    FWIW, there is an individual on another site that I exchanges posts with from time to time that has a 1996 DGC with over 400,000 miles on the clock. He made it to 360,000 miles on the original engine by simply putting oil, filters and plugs in it, and the only reason why he replaced it was that one of the rocker shaft towers (that holds the bolt from the rocker arm shaft) broke. He could have simply replaced the front head, however, he found an entire motor with "only" 140,000 miles on it for like $150, so he decided to go that route instead.

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Regarding your other query about the difficulty of doing a head gasket job:

    Hmmm, for starters, I haven't turned a wrench in anger for over twenty five years on anything more difficult than brakes and such, so needless to say, my skills are a tad rusty. That said, even accounting for the fact that transverse Vee engines are a pain in the hind parts to work on, I think I managed to do the entire job in about forty hours of wrenching, including having to manually cut one of the nuts off the cross over exhaust pipe due to a sheared off bolt. I'm thinking that that problem alone consumed an easy eight hours trying to figure out how I was going to deal with the issue.

    If you do decide to attempt this on your own, I'd be happy to give you a few pointers. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • opiklopopiklop Member Posts: 3
    The leak was on the right front corner. I tried a few cans of those liquids that are supposed to seal the leak, but they only worked for a short while. I had no other choice but to have the gasket replaced.

    I still don't know for sure what made the leakage disappear and then come back every now and then. Maybe it had something to do with the engine heating up to a certain temperature which was finally too much for the gasket. I couldn't spot any coolant in the oil, but then again, I'm no expert and didn't have the oil analyzed.
  • michael101352michael101352 Member Posts: 1
    I also have a 1997 and when I went under it turned out to be two freezout plug's it's the one above the starter and the one in the middle on mine but I found out too late the engine sound's like the hyd lifter's are messed up but somebody told me a oil light would come on if that or the oil pump wasn't working now I am not sure what to do if any body has any idea's on that one please give me some info.

    Thank's Mike
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    So, what happened to your engine? Did you overheat it? Did you run it out of oil?

    These are pretty rugged engines so you might still be able to get some life out of it yet, and if it really is toast, they're also very plentiful in bone yards, and not for very much money either.

    Best Regards,
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