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Old 12-04-2019, 12:17 PM
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What is this debris in my coolant recovery bottle ...sand?

Hi all,
I have a 2014 JKU Sport (currently 46,132 miles) and I noticed that not only is my coolant recovery bottle nearly bone dry, but it has these tan particles settled at the bottom. There are a few black particles too, but 90% is tan.




Shame on me for not checking my fluids as I should, I admit that. However, I always take the JKU in for service at the Jeep dealer and never once have they caught this either. I've taken the Jeep in for 3 oil changes since owning it (first oil change right after purchasing it used in May 2017 at 35,233 miles, then every 5,000 miles thereafter) they say I should do this preventative service or do that one and I have them do. I plan to keep this JKU indefinitely so maintenance is a drop in the bucket. Fuel induction cleaning treatment, automatic transmission flush, RADIATOR FLUSH...okay do it. All with less than 45,000 miles.

So here I am back to this morning noticing the dry coolant recovery bottle with debris. It looks like sand is the best way I can describe it, but just a little larger. I checked my service record and the radiator flush I had done was May 30, 2018 at 35,456 miles. I now have 46,132 and it's been 18 months since the service. I haven't noticed any leaks on the ground but where the heck is the missing coolant? I don't notice any coolant smells either, but I do park outside in an apartment parking lot. I also admit I have not done any off roading or beach driving so where is this debris coming from? And how bad can this be for the engine?

I already have a service appointment scheduled and the JKU will be parked until the Jeep dealer flushes the system again and can give me some more info, hopefully. I have strained out the particles using a coffee filter and put what little coolant that was left in the recovery bottle back into the bottle.

Also, this stuff was purple when I had them do the radiator flush and refill, is it normal to be this brown after 10,000 miles?

Thanks all, this is really frustrating

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Old 12-04-2019, 12:51 PM   #2
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Casting sand & stop leak put in by the factory. It can clog up your heater core to the point your heater can stop functioning.

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Old 12-04-2019, 08:28 PM   #3
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In some of the other threads they said that's radiator stop-leak, now that the OEMs are using flimsy aluminum radiators to save weight, the factory coolants have stop-leak that looks like sand
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:50 PM   #4
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flush it ASAP!
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Old 12-10-2019, 11:55 AM
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Just an update for future reference.

Dealership found beginning stage of sludge buildup throughout the system. Casting sand confirmed in the bottom of the recovery bottle. $3,600 for the STAR Bulletin repair.

No recall, no goodwill warranty and I will not be paying for this repair at 46,xxx miles and 18 months of ownership. F* this POS Chrysler abomination.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nitrofish View Post
Dealership found beginning stage of sludge buildup throughout the system. Casting sand confirmed in the bottom of the recovery bottle. $3,600 for the STAR Bulletin repair.

No recall, no goodwill warranty and I will not be paying for this repair at 46,xxx miles and 18 months of ownership. F* this POS Chrysler abomination.

Agreed, for a known manufacturing defect, that's a rip
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:03 PM   #7
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I think you should involve @JeepCares in this one. Sounds to me this should be covered in the 5/60K warranty. You're barely halfway to the maintenance interval for flushing the system. But...I'm not the expert.
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:41 PM
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I think you should involve @JeepCares in this one. Sounds to me this should be covered in the 5/60K warranty. You're barely halfway to the maintenance interval for flushing the system. But...I'm not the expert.
Just got the JK back from the dealership. Total cost of the bill was $229.49 to diagnose "a leak coming from the radiator" and a bottle of coolant to top off the recovery bottle. No further work was authorized or performed. No flush was performed either as "it may make the leak worse."

The issue of casting sand and sludge throughout my coolant system remains untouched. No goodwill/good faith repair work was authorized as it was "outside of the timeframe/mileage allowed for goodwill repairs" per both the service tech and his manager....I'm certain they missed the point that this issue came from the manufacturing process before I even bought the Jeep, and not only mine but many other JK's out there with the same exact issue! This is why I was asking for a goodwill/ good faith repair. Deaf ears. Jeep certainly does not care.

I cannot stop thinking what a rip off! They cant even tell me where the leak actually is, just that it's coming from the radiator. For $229.49 I shouldn't have to go and find the leak myself that Chrysler caused. This is why I brought it to you!
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Old 12-11-2019, 01:21 AM   #9
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Chrysler did not cause the leak. The manufacturing process of the radiators in all domestic and probably all foreign vehicles has changed. They have gone to an aluminum core to increase heat transfer and plastic tops and bottoms to save weight and avoid dissimilar metals.

That being said, the casting sand is their issue and it is a known issue. Apparently their process of getting the sand out of the engine block during manufacture is not efficient.

The repair cost is excessive. It would consist of replacing the radiator and possibly replacing the heater core vs cleaning it, and not much else. most of the cost is labor as getting to the heater core is a laborious process in the flat rate table. What many do is repeated flushing with plain water (most use distilled) to get the sand out. This will work as long as the heater core is not blocked. Depending on where you are, this may or may not be feasible this time of year.

After flushes no longer show signs of casting sand, replace the radiator. Unfortunately the best choice is OEM. While there are aftermarkets, most have more issues than the stock Mopar.

New car dealers don't show the same loyalty to the purchasers of a used vehicle as they do to new vehicle purchasers.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:06 AM   #10
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To the OP,

I just went through this on a 2017. It's most likely the factory stop leak along with a radiator leak. There are a ton of threads on this.

Pull the upper plastic shroud and your grill. Look in the upper driver side corner with a flashlight. That's a common leaked point. Also check driver side lower corner and thermostat housing. All very easy to self diagnose once you have calmed down a bit.

Either way, if you don't want to do the job yourself, find an Indy shop and have them replace the radiator, thermostat housing and perform a flush and refill with Jeep PURPLE OAT coolant.

....and live happily ever after.

Should be about $500-$600 bucks all in at an independent shop.

Cheers and good luck.
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:33 PM   #11
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Coolant filter seems like a good idea as part of the replacement process:

https://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/c...l#post34617371
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:50 AM
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Update: I got under the JK last night and found some dripping coming from the lower radiator hose at the clamp. I'm hoping this is where the leak is coming from and confident with the advice you all are posting that I can take care of this repair on my own. When warmer weather comes back I plan to flush both the radiator and the coolant recovery bottle, back flush the heater core and change out the lower radiator hose. I still need to remove the radiator shroud and inspect the top of the radiator to see if there are any signs of a leak up there. If I have to replace the radiator I'll purchase an OEM unit and put it in myself.



I used to work on my vehicles in the past when I was younger and had less money but now it's easier both physically, and for peace of mind, to take it to the "professionals" to have it repaired and documented. I have to say after having this issue, then getting ripped off by the dealership and doubting they did anything more than see the sample I gave them and went right to the STAR Bulletin, and getting the support from the forums I've got the itch to start getting my hands dirty again. What good is it to have repairs documented if Chrysler knows about an issue and doesn't do anything about it? As for peace of mind, I don't think I can count on the Jeep techs like I thought I could. I'm kicking myself for spending that $229 for the diagnostic when I could have used that towards my own repairs. Big lesson learned for thankfully a relatively small price! Thank you all very much for your advice
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:59 AM   #13
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That is the spirit.
With Moto Guzzi we have a saying; "Moto Guzzi, making mechanics out of riders since 1921".
Perhaps with Jeep it could be the same thing only since 1941....
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:04 PM
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After letting the engine sit cold for 24 hours I started it up this morning and let it idle to operating temperature around 180 degrees. I found another drip, this time coming from the coolant recovery bottle hose that connects to the top passengers side of the radiator right near the radiator cap. This leak is dripping right down to where I saw the drips on the lower radiator hose clamp and might in fact be the only source of the leak. I was not able to replicate the leak from the lower radiator hose clamp area.




I then wiped the ares down that had signs of drip marks, zip tied the section of coolant recovery bottle hose that attached to the radiator and ran the engine for 30 minutes at idle, getting the temperature up to 221 at the highest point. Zero signs of leaking from that area, or the lower radiator hose where I first suspected the leak. Fingers crossed this is the problem area! If so I will replace the zip ties with a proper hose clamp. I still have the sand and sludge to deal with but that will be when the weather warms up.

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Old 12-12-2019, 02:49 PM   #15
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I would trim that recovery hose at the cap and jam it back on. Or get a proper clamp.
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Old 12-13-2019, 01:07 AM   #16
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My overflow was down 2 inches again. No signs of any leaks anywhere. No signs of any pink or purple anywhere. Coolant is cheaper and easier than a radiator.
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:55 PM
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My overflow was down 2 inches again. No signs of any leaks anywhere. No signs of any pink or purple anywhere. Coolant is cheaper and easier than a radiator.
After a few days I noticed I'm a hair below the mark I placed. There is a cutout on the back of the plastic radiator shroud in the top where if you peak through with a flash light and see the rear of the top drivers side radiator. I see dried pink/purple coolant so I am assuming I do have the radiator leak. Man...
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Old 12-14-2019, 03:32 PM   #18
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After a few days I noticed I'm a hair below the mark I placed. There is a cutout on the back of the plastic radiator shroud in the top where if you peak through with a flash light and see the rear of the top drivers side radiator. I see dried pink/purple coolant so I am assuming I do have the radiator leak. Man...
That is where mine formed a leak - right at the seam. I drove it for a while like that before I had it replaced.
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Old 12-14-2019, 04:15 PM   #19
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After a few days I noticed I'm a hair below the mark I placed. There is a cutout on the back of the plastic radiator shroud in the top where if you peak through with a flash light and see the rear of the top drivers side radiator. I see dried pink/purple coolant so I am assuming I do have the radiator leak. Man...

Sorry you had to find out about Fiat building bottom of the barrel garbage cars like this but the JK has a pretty good resale value. I would cut my losses dump some stop leak in it and sell it to some other sucker and buy a reliable car.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:00 AM   #20
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I could look for the leak but I really don't want to find one. If I don't see it it ain't there. I will just replace it myself and save the bucks. I know OEM is the standard fix but something inside of me wants to find something better. FCA doesn't build the JK, they own the company that makes them.
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Old 12-15-2019, 03:46 AM   #21
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What is this debris in my coolant recovery bottle ...sand?

Try a local shop for a custom radiator. Itís going to be very pricey, but that may be the best non-Mopar option.
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Old 12-15-2019, 03:30 PM   #22
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Just flush it yourself and refill with clean coolant. The previous owner may have mixed in the wrong coolant in there and that causes gelling.
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Old 12-15-2019, 03:44 PM   #23
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This is a common problem with not just Chrysler but all aluminum radiators with plastic ends. The two materials expand at different rates and eventually separate. Jeep replaced our radiator in the 2015 Sahara while still under the 36K warranty. Our symptom was a coolant smell for quite a while before a leak was actually visible. The sand is a different known problem. Good luck.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:22 PM
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Just flush it yourself and refill with clean coolant. The previous owner may have mixed in the wrong coolant in there and that causes gelling.
That's an excellent write up you did for the cooling system flush sticky.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:43 PM   #25
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That's an excellent write up you did for the cooling system flush sticky.
Thanks! Did a lot of research to do it right, figured Iíd share. Iím sure it can be improved.

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