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Old 05-05-2010, 08:46 PM   #1
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Engine temp guage maxed out

Just bought an '87 YJ, and the temp guage maxes out within a few minutes of driving. Doesn't matter if I'm driving slow/fast/idling.

I opened the radiator cap, and the coolant level is full. I don't appear to be leaking coolant anywhere and "so far", nothing smokes. lol

I know there are several things to check, but I'm a newb (I DID just replace my muffler and tailpipe thx to the answers on another post here) so I'm not a master mechanic, but can turn a wrench.

My question: What should I look for first? I have searched other posts, and I have seen alot of possibilities (thermostat, water pump, heater core, etc.) just want to progress from easiest check/fix to hardest so I'm not wasting time and money.

Any help would be appreciated.....

Daif

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Old 05-05-2010, 09:26 PM   #2
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The cheapest is the thermostat which is easy to find, most likely its stuck in the closed postion which isnt allowing the fluid to flow into the block, also its easy to find just follow the upper radiator hose where it meets the block is where she lays, you just have to unbolt that.

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Old 05-06-2010, 12:46 AM   #3
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yes and a good way to test this with out tearing into it is just wait for the jeep to get hot. then open the hood and grab the top radiator hose, it should be hot. if its not hot then the thermostat is not opening and your are getting no coolant flow. a new thermostat should only be like 8-9 bucks make sure you get a super stat they are guaranteed to break open if they ever break cheap insurance.
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:39 AM   #4
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changes stat...still no love...

OK....I changed the thermostat (7.99 at checkers).

Took it for a drive, and it seemed a little better, until I hit 50 mph, and the temp guage went from middle to completely pegged out in 2 seconds.

When I got back, I checked the upper/lower rad hoses and they were hot.

Any ideas on what to check next?

Thanks....

Daif
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Old 05-06-2010, 01:46 AM   #5
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What does the coolant look like? Nice and clean?

It almost sounds like the radiator core is gone. Usually, they start puking instead of a full internal failure.

Only other thing I can come up with it is the fan. Is the stock fan?
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:29 AM   #6
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the biggest thing is to make sure that the gauge is functioning properly. might just be the yj gauges not working right... again
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Old 05-06-2010, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morphious View Post
the biggest thing is to make sure that the gauge is functioning properly. might just be the yj gauges not working right... again
I agree w/Morphious...you need to consider that there's nothing wrong w/the engine temp; it may be a bad guage.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:16 PM   #8
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Maybe switch out your temp sending unit? It's cheap and easy to replace.

Original Replacement Parts 53005056 - Temperature Sending Unit for 87-91 Jeep® Wrangler YJ - Quadratec
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:19 PM   #9
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yeah my gauge went out and i had to get an aftermarket one... otherwise like stated before try a new thermostat first
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:23 PM   #10
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The temp sending unit is cheap and easy. Mine was reading just the opposite, never got about 150..Most parts stores carry them
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:23 PM   #11
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when my YJ did that it was my water pump that failed. but not like i had to do much searching bc when i pulled over it dumped all my fluid all over the freeway shoulder.

now just a quick question in your 1st post did you open radiator cap right away or after you let jeep cool? bc if you opened it right away and didnt see it bubbling etc from bein very very hot then i would guess bad gauge or thermostat.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:39 PM   #12
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so yeah if its not boiling over and shooting steam chances are tis not over heating but be very sure before writing it off though you dont want to warp a head or something
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Old 05-06-2010, 05:00 PM   #13
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I had the exact same symptoms and it ended up that the impeller in the water pump was not turning. The key on the shaft had come loose. Had to replace the water pump
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:41 PM   #14
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Thx for the replies...

Drove up to Denver in it this morning (about 30 miles) and about 10 minutes into the drive it the temp guage maxed out. Got out, and was able to open the radiator (was just barely warm) and no boiling.

On the way back, the temp never inicated above 22 or so, and didn't max out at all.

There is never any smoke or any other indication that then engine is sunning hot.

I will check the guage (I'll search thew forum to see if someone has posted how to do that) and change out the temp sending unit. I'll also check out the water pump and fan.

Thanks again for the replies...you guys are fast, and have had great advice.

Daif

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