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kenpoengineer 02-05-2009 09:13 AM

2003 TJ Burning Coolant
Hi Guys,

New here. Jeep Wrangler owner since 2003. Rig now has 127k miles on it so she's getting older.

Flushed and replaced coolant system this past summer. Recently, during the worst cold spell to hit Ohio (-4) I lost heat when I stopped moving while at a traffic light. As soon as I got moving again the heat returned. I checked coolant level and found the reservoir filled to the max. The level would return to normal and the cycle would repeat itself every day. I replaced thermostat and the same thing happened. I also noticed that there was no pressure after running engine and removing (carefully) radiator cap.

I replaced radiator cap and that took care of the problem. Heat is fine, temperature holds, everything seemed fine for a few days. Then, I noticed coolant was disappearing and now I'm smelling burning coolant.

I'm assuming a blown head gasket. Oil is fine just burning coolant in the engine compartment (lots of it). It's 10 today and I'm just adding coolant to get me to the weekend.

Do you guys agree that it's a blown head gasket? Is there anything else I can look at? How much will it cost to repair? Is it worth repairing or should I look at having a rebuilt engine installed instead?

My rig is a 6 cyl Rubicon and has many add ons. I love this thing and don't want to get rid of her.

Thanks in advance

Duck Dodgers 02-05-2009 09:27 AM

Is it overheating? When you say it is burning coolant, do you mean your losing it it the engine compartment? Or it is just disappearing? This sounds more like the water pump to me. Is there coolant leaking from the weep hole in the pump?

kenpoengineer 02-05-2009 09:31 AM

Because it's so cold I really can't get my head into the engine compartment.

The burning coolant "cloud" appears as the engine temperature is coming up to temperature then starts to clear. I'm burning about 1/2 quart of coolant in driving to and from work for a total of 60 miles.


Duck Dodgers 02-05-2009 09:42 AM

You can't open the hood and look in? Is there coolant on the ground? Keep the hood open as it comes up to temp and see if there is a leak.

I was smelling coolant a while back and could not locate where it was coming from. Then it got cold. I found that I had a pin hole in my radiator that would have other wise not been seen.

If your getting a "Cloud" under the hood then you do have a leak and the best way to find it is in your cold weather.

One last thought. When ever I fill my reservoir to the "full" mark, it burns off and then stops burning it off. Never overheats and runs just fine. If I refill to the full mark it does it all over again. So I just don't fill it to full. Just a thought.

snwchris 02-05-2009 10:55 AM

Check the gasket around the water pump, to see if leaking or look from under the Jeep to see if there are any drip trails on the engine or other parts since it's cold out, might be able to see them a little better

Duck Dodgers 02-05-2009 11:52 PM

You figure it out yet?

kenpoengineer 02-13-2009 01:22 PM

Figured it Out
Thanks for the help.

It wan't a blown head gasket.. thank goodness! 127k miles!!

1) Bad radiator cap.
2) Bad water pump. It finally failed on me last Monday. Replaced it!

All is well so far.

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