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Old 03-30-2016, 08:48 PM
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Radiators keep cracking! Help!

Hey guys, I have a 02 4.0L that has been through 4 radiators in the past year. Every time I put a new one in it cracks within days and I'm loosing my mind here!! Please help me.
First the original radiator cracked at about 70k miles then I put in a cheap replacement from oriellys. This one lasted about 4 months before cracking at the bottom where the plastic halves are crimped together. At this point I assumed the radiator was a piece of crap and bought an all aluminum mishimoto radiator. This one lasted about a week before it started leaking out of the middle of the fins, but it didn't completely crack like the first two.
I assumed this was some sort of manufacturer defect and made a warranty claim and they sent me out a new one. I installed this one and it started leaking from the fins within probably 2 days. Again not a devastating pour out all the coolant crack, but a moderate leak. At this point it was clear something was up and its not just faulty radiators. I've been driving the jeep still with the leak, I have to top off the radiator almost everyday to keep the coolant level acceptable.
One mechanic told me it could be a bad head gasket causing the coolant system to over pressurize and basically coolant would find the weakest spot to escape. This didn't make sense to me because the radiator cap should allow excessive pressure to release into the overflow tank, and the tank is empty.
Another mechanic told me that something could be bent where the radiator mounts, causing it to be under tension or flexing and prematurely failing. But all these cracks occurred on the road and I hadn't even been off road between installing the radiator and it failing.
I'm really at a loss here so any help from you guys would be awesome. Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-30-2016, 09:26 PM   #2
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A properly functioning correct 18 lb. pressure radiator cap would prevent it from being overpressurized. You've installed some questionable aftermarket radiators, I'd stop and go with a Mopar replacement. Properly maintained, they function well. I have only had one Mopar radiator crack and that was 18 years ago, close to 300k miles ago. Mopar radiators have an all aluminum core and they're more than capable of keep the engine cool in the hottest desert conditions.

Mopar 55037653AB at http://www.rockauto.com/

Don't let a description that includes for automatic transmission stop you from buying it if you don't have an automatic. It just includes the extra ports needed by an automatic transmission.

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Old 03-30-2016, 10:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
A properly functioning correct 18 lb. pressure radiator cap would prevent it from being overpressurized. You've installed some questionable aftermarket radiators, I'd stop and go with a Mopar replacement. Properly maintained, they function well. I have only had one Mopar radiator crack and that was 18 years ago, close to 300k miles ago. Mopar radiators have an all aluminum core and they're more than capable of keep the engine cool in the hottest desert conditions.

Mopar 55037653AB at RockAuto

Don't let a description that includes for automatic transmission stop you from buying it if you don't have an automatic. It just includes the extra ports needed by an automatic transmission.
If the OP has a manual trans, don't know if he does, why buy the auto trans radiator. It is about $100 extra for that trans cooler heat exchanger built into the radiator. If he has a auto, buy the auto radiator.
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:37 PM   #4
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You save money if you have a manual trans and need a radiator. Unless you want the cooler for a power steering cooler or a engine oil cooler. Maybe some are using the auto trans radiator cooler for other uses on a Manual trans rig?


https://moparonlineparts.com/mop-parts/#parts

Manual trans is a 55037652AA $197.20
Auto is a 55037653AB $290
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Old 03-31-2016, 01:42 AM   #5
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It's a bit surprising you'd be having this issue with nothing but street driving, especially with the Mishimoto radiator, although I think the radiator barn all metal rads were known to do this even on the street.

I would go back to a Mopar radiator, and replace the cap if you haven't already. If the issue persists then go from there.

Not relevant to the issue but the over flow bottle shouldn't be empty, it should be filled about half way.
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:51 AM   #6
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Jerry has a good point on the cap, unless all four rads didn't include a new one, a proper one if that. that's just ridiculous! that many within a year?! could've had a new set of wheels and tires for that kind of money LOL

btw what kind of coolant mixture are you using? i know you're not supposed to use anything but distilled water with your coolant mix, otherwise a pre-diluted coolant. tap water contains minerals that can clog and/or cause failure to the associated parts.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:57 AM   #7
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Something else to look for...I had this problem on another vehicle and couldn't figure it out but it was the early stages of head gasket failure. No noticeable fluid mixing (oil in coolant or vice-versa) but the engine compression was over-pressurizing the coolant. Blew up a heater core too....
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:58 AM   #8
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Also, I don't know why my pressure cap wasn't saving me but it wasn't.

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