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Old 06-28-2010, 04:21 PM   #1
popa's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Romania
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"Pull up" story or "stock Jeep radiators are crap"

I will tell you a funny () story about my jeep and his driver (that's me).

Few days ago I was on my holiday with my wife and a lot of stuff, plus some friends (with their cars or 4x4's), 400km away from home. At a certain moment I've noticed that the engine was overheating and the "check gauges" has lit (together with the beep warning). At this moment, me, in my extreme wisdom , I thought that if I will let the engine idle, it will cool down (notice that I pretend not to be stupid - well, most of the times, this is my 5-th car and I have +300k km "at the steering wheel"). Of course it dind't cool down but, instead, the radiator simply "exploded" (the upper plastic part was spread wide open fom one side to another), without prior notice.

I have learned few things (that I want to share with you):
1. When you have the "pull up"warning (you know, like in the planes, the GPWS system - the one that the Polish pilots that were carying the president, ignored and crashed ), you should listen to it and do what the common sense asks you: pull over and stop the engine, waiting for it to cool;
2. Jeep radiators are totally crap: instead of releasing pressure by the overpressure valve into the cap (via the expansion vessel), it just exploded (few seconds before I was to open the hood to allow it to cool - lucky me).

So, when the Jeep tells you something, you should listen to it and, also, from time to time, check for the pressure valve ion the cap (or replace the cap).

I will tell you tomorrow, how did I manage to get home on the wheels (without changing the radiator)

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Old 06-28-2010, 05:50 PM   #2
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I have not been too fond of the plastic radiators in two of my TJ's. They both leaked around the top seam so I replaced them both with quality metal radiators. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

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Old 06-28-2010, 06:19 PM   #3
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Location: Bay Area
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Let me guess ... filled the radiator back up and crack an egg in it?
98 TJ 4.7 Stroker!!! Unichip tuner, HPD30/D44, 4.56, Detroit Locker in rear axle, 3.25RC SL, 1.25BL, 1MML, 35x12.50x15, Cager Softs 15x8, XRC10 winch, Rancho 9000XL shocks with wireless remote
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:54 AM   #4
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Location: Romania
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Well,... not quite. I think I would have needed at least a dozen eggs or more. The radiator was spilt from left to right on the entire length (in some areas, the opening was 1 cm wide).
The only thing that came to my mind (well, besides calling in for a tow truck - 300$, or towing the Jeep 400 km back home - not the best ideea, since we had to cross some hills with lots of "ups and downs" and we had only textile slings, no tow bar) was to try to "glue" it with a bicomponent epoxy adhesive (Poxypol, in my case - it was the cheapest and only one available in that village). I used 5 doses of adhesive and still leaked. After one more, I have cured the leaks on the plastic tank but, after driving 10 km, I discovered that it leaked now at the joint between the plastic tank and the radiator body. With the help of two hammers, I closed a little bit more the tabs that secure the plastic tank and I was able to drive home with no problems, whatsoever.

This is how it looks (in the trunk of my other car, ready to go to the repair shop for a new aluminium upper tank.

Of course, I removed the thermostat, in order to be sure that it will not restrain the flow of water (actually, I don't know yet what caused the overheating: a stuck thermostat or a faulty fan clutch).

And, now, after telling you the whole story, I have a question: how do I diagnose the fan clutch (I know that, when hot, I should feel some drag, when rotating it, but, how much drag? It fells a little stiffer than when cold, but not much)?
If replacing the fan clutch with a fan spacer so that the fan will be rotating all the time, what will be the consequences (some say it takes some power from the engine, some say it's better)? Anyone done that?
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:36 AM   #5
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Nice repair job for the circumstances. I would never eliminate the fan clutch. It will make a lot of noise at highway speeds for one as well as create unnecessary drag on the engine which is possible for less fuel mileage, etc. I would replace the radiator and thermostat and put it all back together and watch it for a while.
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