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Old 08-25-2010, 03:53 PM   #1
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Top of Radiator Exploded!

Help for a greeenhorn?! The plastic top section of the radiator on my 02 Wrangler x blew apart on the highway the other day, only seconds after the "Check Gauges" indicator came on, followed by the temp gauge rising quickly. I had not had any temperature problems before then (though I did have a freeze plug go bad 6 months before). Could there be any other culprits besides the cheap plastic top itself?

Second part of the question: is replacing the radiator a particularly hard task to accomplish? and could i use a used one?

Any help/advice you you could give would be great. thanks!

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Old 08-25-2010, 04:00 PM   #2
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hmmmm, thermostat sticking closed? i'd replace that too just to be sure.
replacing the radiator is not difficult and a used one is fine so long as it's been pressure tested.

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Old 08-25-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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Lol, your situation sucks. My radiator did the exact same thing (exploded on top where the plastic meets the aluminum fins) about 3 months ago, but happened to be about 100 miles from home and almost 40 miles to the nearest Autozone. $200 will getcha rolling again, six bolts hold it on and they're easy to get to. Good luck
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:11 PM   #4
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Probably a stuck/bad/defective or wrong model radiator cap since they are supposed to relieve the pressure at a safe point before the pressure builds to the point where the radiator blows.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:21 PM   #5
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Just replaced my last week and it took about 3 hrs. Hardest part is unbolting the cowl. I'm very happy with champion cooling three row aluminum.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:32 PM   #6
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When you buy your new radiator, I would stick with the latest version of the OE radiator which has an all aluminum 1-row core. Jeep went from the original 2-row aluminum core radiator to a 1-row for slightly better cooling. For the way a Jeep is driven, a 1 row radiator is more efficient at cooling than a 2 or 3-row radiator is.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for telling me now jerry! Haha

? I thought the more rows the more cooling capacity? Thats why I went 3 row

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Old 08-25-2010, 07:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdJonesJeeper View Post
Thanks for telling me now jerry! Haha

? I thought the more rows the more cooling capacity? Thats why I went 3 row

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Hah I hear you, more rows for better cooling does seem intuitively correct doesn't it. It took me a while to finally get my head around 1 row being better for our Jeeps after having it explained a few times by people far smarter about such things than I am.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:31 PM   #9
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I would disagree that a 1 row would be the best setup, but it could be. It is all about thermal heat transfer between the coolant, the tubes and the fins along with the area of the tubes not to mention the type of material the tubes and the fins are made of. Aluminum is one of the best heat conductors, but beware as I have heard some manufacturers line the radiator with an epoxy which will highly reduce the thermal transfer efficiency. Maybe I will have some time to do some calculations this weekend as I would be interested in the results. Only problem I see is that no two radiators are going to use the exact tube and fin dimensions along with the tube spacing. Any which way a metal radiator will normally hold up to more pressure over the long haul than the half plastic ones.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
It took me a while to finally get my head around 1 row being better for our Jeeps after having it explained a few times by people far smarter about such things than I am.
I don't believe you. YOU ARE the smartest MAN Alive!!!

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