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Old 02-24-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
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Common radiator problem?

ugh opened the hood on the 4 day old wrangler today and got a bit of a shocker. I can see a noticeable amount of coolant seeping from around the top of the radiator where the 2 pieces meet. Its not a lot really but its defiantly noticeable and i can smell it sometimes when i get out of the jeep. Is this a common failure point on TJ radiators? Im going to add some stop leak to it later and hope for the best. Would really suck to replace the radiator on a jeep i barely used so far (one nice day of easy four wheeling to get a feel for her)

Btw. Wrangler has a little over 111,000 miles on it if that helps any.

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Old 02-24-2010, 10:17 AM   #2
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On my yj the guy i bought it from said there was nothing wrong with it and it had 114000 two days later i noticed the radiator was completely corroded and leaking like a son of a b**ch. Call 1800radiator if you decide to get a new one thats where i got my new one from and it was only 120 bucks.

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Old 02-24-2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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on my YJ i had a new radiator in it this summer yet i keep loosing coolant from my overflow. The tank isn't cracked and the hoses all seem fine. Gonna flush everything out tomorrow and replace clamps and hoses
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by AtcoTrailsINC View Post
ugh opened the hood on the 4 day old wrangler today and got a bit of a shocker. I can see a noticeable amount of coolant seeping from around the top of the radiator where the 2 pieces meet. Its not a lot really but its defiantly noticeable and i can smell it sometimes when i get out of the jeep. Is this a common failure point on TJ radiators?
Yes it is and once it starts leaking where the top or bottom is crimped to the aluminum core, that's it... it cannot be repaired unlike radiators that are soldered together. You need a new radiator.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:30 AM   #5
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I'm having the same problem with my 97 TJ. Sounds like a common problem for the older TJ.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:32 PM   #6
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on my YJ i had a new radiator in it this summer yet i keep loosing coolant from my overflow. The tank isn't cracked and the hoses all seem fine. Gonna flush everything out tomorrow and replace clamps and hoses
You more than likely have a cracked head. the over flow tank disappearing coolant around a gal every month or so? Its going out the exhast more than likely through a small crack in the head which only expands when the motor gets warm. or it could be the water pump.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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read this thread. Some info in there

Champion 3 row aluminum rad full install
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:57 PM   #8
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3 row radiators aren't recommended for a Jeep, they aren't as efficient at cooling a Jeep in the typical ways Jeeps are used as 1 or 2 row models are. In fact, Jeep went from 2 row to 1 row radiators around 2003 or so to help improve the cooling. The reason is that because 3 rows have to fit into the same space that 1 or 2 row radiators do, 1 row radiators have to use smaller water channels plus the added rows don't let air flow through them as easily.

The most expensive all aluminum radiators installed into the desert racers are generally always 1 row models. So while 2 row is still "ok", I would not install a 3 row radiator into a Jeep if I had a choice.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:58 PM   #9
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Once again Jerry, thanks for your expertise. Never thought about it that way.
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:08 AM   #10
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hey guys new development. I kept the hood open and let her run for about 2 minutes and eventually the leaking around the top stopped. Heat expansion? Tried some Bars leaks in it and have not seen leaking yet, ill check it when i get home from school. I also noticed that the upper radiator hose was collapsing on cool down. Bad rad cap? Could this problem become worse over time?
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:01 PM   #11
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I had a one row radiator that was terrible. The Jeep always ran hot. It was not until I put in a 3 core that I was able to keep the temperature down. I did have mine bored .060" though.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:32 PM   #12
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Mechanic pointed out the same thing to me last month on my new to me 2001 TJ. He said it WAS common on these radiators and told me to keep an eye on it. I added some Stop Leak (about a 1/4 of a sleeve), ran it, and it seems to have solved the problem (for now).
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
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In general, I'm no fan of radiator stop leak products. If I was 200 miles from home and it was an emergency, I'd use it. But at home in my garage if I had a leaky radiator, no way. Stop leak products can cause bigger problems later on.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:50 PM   #14
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If your radiator has plastic tanks replace it. If they can be repaired they will just crack in another place. Some radiator shops try, but it's futile.

TJ's don't have good airflow through the radiator to start with - especially if you have air conditioning and a trans cooler. And a winch helps block the air too.
The air has a hard time getting through all that, then it faces difficulty getting around the engine to get back out - splash panels are tight, engine bay is crowded. The hot air has to get out before more cool air can come in.
3 rows just add to the restriction.

Ask your radiator shop - there is a core called "High Efficiency" - it has more tubes and more fins - avoid it. Another type of "high efficiency" core has less tubes but bigger tubes (holds more coolant) and are krinkled to slow the water down. The are used in stationary engines and construction equipment - where airflow is a problem.

Most radiator shops don't use them because the profit isn't as high, but they work soooo much better. Some will pretend they never heard of them. Ask around.

I put one in my motorhome - it was impossible to overheat it.

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