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Old 08-22-2010, 08:37 PM   #1
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4 cyl overheating, can't make it stop

Here's the problem...my '97 4-cyl will not stop overheating at idle/sitting in traffic. Here in south LA the heat index has been reaching 105-110 lately, which is probably the cause since the radiator, radiator fluid, and thermostat are all new (I did notice a slight decrease in overall eng temp as well as a decrease in speed which it overheats after the thermostat change, but still didn't stop it). I also put a 12" electric fan on the front of the A/C radiator, this didn't do anything for the problem. At idle with no A/C, temp gradually starts rising and won't stop. If I have the A/C on, temp rises considerably quicker. Either way, it will not come back down until I start moving again. The fan and fan clutch are operating normally, no kinked hoses or anything either. I'm stumped! I suppose its the heat, but even so it "shouldn't" keep rising like it does...any help?

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Old 08-22-2010, 08:40 PM   #2
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Did you flush the block real well with all the changes?

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Old 08-22-2010, 08:48 PM   #3
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Yeah I stuck the hose in there and flushed it, heater core got flushed beginning of last winter also so don't think there's any blockages.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:01 PM   #4
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My 2.5 in the yj was doing that before too. I ended up starting out with a new radiator thermostat heater hoses and upper and lower cooling hoses flushed it put in new coolant and it was good for a while then it started up again this time i replaced the water pump and i havent had a problem since that
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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Sounds like a like a blockage or a bad thermostat. Just take the thermostat out and see it that helps.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:03 AM   #6
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You may want to look at your waterpump not cycling the coolant properly. Mine wouldn't heat UP. Make sure when you remove it (it really is an EASY job on the 2.5), you get the right kind. If there is an R on the impeller, make sure your replacement is the same type.

A new radiator, t-stat, and coolant should work fine, even in LA (lived up in the Mojave desert area myself with my TJ). But if you have a blockage at the heater core or the pump isn't cycling it properly, you'll have a problem.

My new pump was something like $32.00 or so at Advanced Auto (I have a 97 4cyl too).
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:51 PM   #7
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Oh, the water pump is new also, replaced a year ago just not as new as everything else. I'm certain the water pump impeller was the R type, I paid special attention to this. Elaborating a bit more here, it won't overheat in cooler weather, or in the morning or late evening when it's not a sauna outside. Which is why I suspect the heat, but know that even still it shouldn't be doing this regardless. Humph...guess I'll give it a good flushing out and see what happens, thanks fellas
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:53 PM   #8
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Sounds like a like a blockage or a bad thermostat. Just take the thermostat out and see it that helps.
Couldn't be the thermostat, was overheating before I replaced it...and the new thermostat lowered the overall eng temp a few degrees but did nothing for the overheating issue.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:06 PM   #9
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go pick up a radiator flushing kit and completely flush the entire system following the instructions. sounds like you have some build up inside that needs to be flushed. a water hose will not do it correctly.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:11 PM   #10
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What is the temp running and is the gauge accurate? Is your fan shroud intact? Make sure the radiator is clear of any debrie and air can flow through unobstructed. Make sure you don't have air in the cooling system.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:22 PM   #11
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I would not rule out the fan clutch, a electric fan no matter the size will never move as much air as a locked up mechanical clutch fan.

Also be sure that your electric fan is spinning the correct direction. (pushing air towards the engine)
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:47 PM   #12
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another thing, any leak in the cooling system...even a pinhole leak, will cause overheating. You need to rent one of the vacuum pressure testers from your local parts house and test the cooling system/ radiator cap for leaks. Pressure it up to the specified lbs on the radiator cap, and check for leaks.

This is why it's important to have a properly sealed cooling system:

The cooling system uses pressure to further raise the boiling point of the coolant. Just as the boiling temperature of water is higher in a pressure cooker, the boiling temperature of coolant is higher if you pressurize the system. Most cars have a pressure limit of 14 to 15 pounds per square inch (psi), which raises the boiling point another 45 F (25 C) so the coolant can withstand the high temperatures.

Amazon.com: OTC 7991 Universal Cooling System Pressure Tester:…
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:01 PM   #13
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go pick up a radiator flushing kit and completely flush the entire system following the instructions. sounds like you have some build up inside that needs to be flushed. a water hose will not do it correctly.
Ooooh, I've done that once before to a previous vehicle, baaaad ju-ju. Those kits often work too well and dissolve gunk that plug small leaks...clean, but pissin' coolant from 10 different places afterwards!
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:04 PM   #14
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What is the temp running and is the gauge accurate? Is your fan shroud intact? Make sure the radiator is clear of any debrie and air can flow through unobstructed. Make sure you don't have air in the cooling system.
Temp stays just under 190 when it isn't overheating. Fan shroud is intact. Definitely no air in the system, radiator is topped off and overflow is filled to correct level.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:07 PM   #15
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another thing, any leak in the cooling system...even a pinhole leak, will cause overheating.
I've never pressure-checked it, but highly doubt there are any leaks. My old radiator leaked residual amounts, never dripped but you could smell coolant all the time. Now with all the new parts, the smell is gone and fluid level hasn't changed in weeks...weird.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:11 PM   #16
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I would not rule out the fan clutch, a electric fan no matter the size will never move as much air as a locked up mechanical clutch fan.

Also be sure that your electric fan is spinning the correct direction. (pushing air towards the engine)
Electric fan is pushing from front of A/C radiator, should probably re-locate it to the back of the eng radiator though and reverse the motor wiring to pull. With the engine running, the clutch fan seems to operate normally, and its not locked up b/c it'll still turn freely (with little resistance) by hand.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:20 PM   #17
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Your radiator cap can cause the system to loose pressure which will lower the boiling point as well. It will not draw the fluid back from the overflow when it cools and will allow air in the system. Anything up to 220 degrees should be acceptable.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:23 PM   #18
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That fan in pusher set up in front of the radiator can't move air like a puller and could actually hurt your situation.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:32 PM   #19
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i would leave the electric fan in front of the radiator mounted to the a/c condenser. as for the fan clutch it should lock up when the temp is hot and spin somewhat freely when its cool. you can halfa$$ test it when its hot shut if off and while its still hot try to spin the fan. when the engine is hot it should be harder to spin
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #20
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Here is what little advice i can offer...its from a 76 ss nova with a 350 and not a 4 banger jeep but for what its worth.

Same exact issue you are describing after replacing all the same parts...Bought two bottles of rad flush,at this point i had nothing to lose, Followed the instructions almost to the T. Only thing i did different was instead of letting it idle for awhile and then drain I took it out and gave it a work out for a few minutes .

Brought it home, and undid the bottom hose after it had cooled a bit. Insane amount of stuff came out. Then filled it with straight water and let it run for a bit and drained it again to get the rest of the crap out if it. Put it all back together and filled it with 50/50 antifreeze and water. Took it out for a nice long ride and it never got above 160 degrees with out a thermostat.

Like I said it's not a jeep and I am sure others will frown at my methods but it worked amazingly well for me after looking at other culprits

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