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Old 10-11-2009, 01:15 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Middle of Oklahoma
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Weird radiator problem

So some of you have been very helpful as I begin posting questions about the TJ I purchased about 4-5 weeks ago. I ordered and installed a RE BB kit, kept the 33's, hooked up the jeep to our rv and headed for Utah.
Drove it around in Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument and out to Rattlesnake Arch area without problems, rubbing etc.
On to Moab, spent the night at Dead Horse Point, got up and took off driving for maybe ten minutes. When I came back to the jeep there was a small puddle of anti-freeze and my heart stopped. Checked all around and thought that the top tank seam was leaking. There was liquid running down the rear face of the radiator, not a lot but still very troubling. Drove it carefully back to our campsite, picked up two five gallon jugs of water and took off for Canyonlands National.
Watched it very carefully and continued driving on pavement for awhile. Checked at every stop and not another drop. After multiple checks without additional leaks we took of on Shaeffer Trail and ended up back in Moab. Not a tough road by any means but bumped the jeep around enough that any seam leakage should be obvious. Nothing not another drop.
Went back to the RV, got up this morning and drove about 100 yards to a flat spot so I could hook up to the RV and once again there was antifreeze dripping (slighlty) and it could be seen all around the seam of the top tank. And once again as the day progressed it never leaked another drop.
I've messed with cars all of my life and I'm kind of stumped, all I can think of is the thermostat sticking first thing in the morning and after it functions once it's fine. Other than that I'm stumped, I like leaks that heal themselves shut but I know better than to believe that I'm that lucky. Any thoughts?? I'm in Provo, Ut. tonight and will be in the Salt Lake area for 2-3 days before heading out to the four corners, monument valley area. Thanks

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Old 10-11-2009, 09:31 AM   #2
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I'm having the same problem. Bought the Jeep three months ago and changed everything, fluids, hoses, belts... Recently I've been noticing a small spot on the driveway, I looked under the hood and it looked wet under the top hose so I adjusted the hose clamp. I drove it to work....nothing, couple hours later I noticed another small spot. I have now changed from the original hose clamp to a screw tight one.

I'm thinking it might be the radiator. These things are half plastic. The good thing is that they are not very expensive and not hard to replace.

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Old 10-11-2009, 05:58 PM   #3
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looks like mine was the hose clamp, fingers crossed
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Old 10-11-2009, 06:08 PM   #4
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I live just east of Grand Junction GeePers. If you do need to work on it and or a place to stay if you do need to work on it, let me know here. We'll work something out and get it fixed if there's a problem.
Have a safe trip!
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:34 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Middle of Oklahoma
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Blackegg, thanks for the offer we'll see what develops. I like problems that don't come and go, they're the pits to diagnose. It's like your wife telling you that the car is making a funny noise, SOMETIMES!
I'll check the hose clamps, maybe when things get warm and swell a bit the leak seals up but who knows. I won't be driving it much for a couple of days while we are in Salt Lake City so maybe I can get it figured out.
From Salt Lake we're heading down toward Blanding, Ut. and the Four Corners area. Being out on a trail in the desert with a leaky radiator is Waayyy down my list of favorite things.
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:00 AM   #6
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The seal on the top tank will expand a little when hot, could be closing the leak...pressure test it when cold....
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:24 AM   #7

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It a 2pc tank plastic top metal center. Your are seeing signs that you may need to replace it sooner than later.. You can try to ever so carfully use a flat blade screw driver to tap the top in, try to make it seat better. Keep an eye on it...and plan to change it. I was on a trip and had to put one of those metal flake sealers in so I could get home, did the trick but I hated haveing all that crap in the system.

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Old 10-12-2009, 10:45 AM   #8
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1st thing I'd try is to replace the radiator cap. Normally, there's lotsa pressure in the system building up as the t-stat holds it back. Then, comes the hot load...and the leak. I agree the radiator could be leaking too - especially when faced with the abrupt pressure/temp. change when the t-stat opens.

Good luck - happy trails!

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