07-28-2013, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: San Diego
First post and it's a breakdown! Overheating? Battery? Alternator? All of the above?
Hey all, of course my first post comes after a breakdown... welcome aboard, right? I've been lurking and searching a lot since picking up my 2005 Wrangler LJ automatic trans a couple weeks ago, and found a lot of useful info here, so hoping you guys can help out with this one.
There is likely a super easy explanation to all this, but I'm just learning what I can about how this thing works now, so bear with me...
Here are the details:
My wife and I went out to Otay Mountain Truck Trail near San Diego just for an easy break-in -- somewhere we could test the 4WD and have some fun but safe enough that we wouldn't need to go with a group or spot each other. It's basically a dirt road the Border Patrol drives, so no obstacles or real wheeling involved.
We had been on the trail for maybe 30-45 minutes in 4-HI without a hitch, stopping here and there to take pictures. Decided to climb a steeper off-shoot of the main trail, still no obstacles, just a good climb that I decided to put it into 4-LO for.
Made it to the top of that climb (maybe 200 yards, pretty steep) and parked. Here's where the trouble began.
- I parked while in 4-LO ... not sure if that's an issue.
- Got out to take pics and eat lunch and the radiator was gurgling like crazy. I had been watching the temp casually and it never climbed past 210 as far as I remember.
- Pop the hood and the coolant reservoir is boiling. Like a rapid, bubbling, loud boil.
- There was a dark spot on the hood insulation above the radiator, and we could see coolant had sprayed around the radiator out on to the engine, etc.
- We decide to let it cool down, but meanwhile, I went to turn the key to check the temp on the panel again and it was as if the battery had died.
- Guages were flickering, the speedometer, odometer, anything with a needle was all twitching in unison when the key was out and the door was open. When the door closed, all activity stopped.
- Turn the ignition key and one click, nothing else. The instrument panel would light up and then die.
It's hot, we're on top of a mountain, and we didn't pack a real survival pack, just a cooler with some water, snacks and luckily some adult beverages.
So we drank a little and cooled off. Maybe 20 minutes passed from the time we killed the engine until...
I spotted a Border Patrol truck down on the main trail and flagged him down. He came up and sort of laughed at us when we told him we'd called AAA and they were on the way.
He tried to jump us to no avail, so he helped us push it back to the hill and we coasted down to the main trail and rolled into a turn-out to wait for our tow.
We sat in the turn-out for about 20 minutes, trying to give directions to the incredulous tow truck operator over the phone.
Here's another thing that I can't decide if it matters or not -- I looked down and saw my cell phone charger in the cigarette lighter and thought for some reason I should just pull that out, since we're not drawing any power anyway.
Then I told my wife who was in the driver's seat to give it one more shot.
We drove off.
No more gurgling when we got home -- I assume because we were driving at higher speeds to keep it cool.
But if it overheated, why the spray? Is it a bad cap on my radiator? Why would my battery have stopped working? The radio wouldn't even turn on. Rokee II needs to be able to handle some time on the trail without overheating, so hoping to get this fixed soon.
Thanks for any thoughts, guys.