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Old 11-05-2019, 11:58 AM
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Off road use, and radiator stress causing coolant leaks

My 2015 Jeep Wrangler has only 13,000 miles, but the radiator developed a small leak on the driver’s side. It is out of warranty, and the quote to replace it is just under $1,000. In addition, the serpentine belt tensioner needs to be replaced, and the quote was around $450.

I called the Jeep Cares hotline, and they opened a case. I fully understand that a warranty is a warranty, and my Jeep is about 28 months out of warranty.

I have taken the Jeep on many of the shelf roads, and mountain passes around Telluride, and Ouray. It has never been abused. I have a couple of questions.

1. It all the flexing under off road use causing stress on the radiator, causing it to leak coolant? Can I change something in the Jeep to minimize the flexing?
2. My best option seems to be a new Jeep radiator. Has Jeep changed the radiator design so that this problem is minimized/eliminated?

Thanks.

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Old 11-05-2019, 12:14 PM   #2
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I've never seen flexing cause a radiator to leak.

2014 and 2015 (maybe 2016?) have been proven to leak, there are multiple threads on the forum documenting it. My '14 made it about 2 years and 45,000 miles before it failed. I replaced with an Omix-Ada factory style, it mostly mounted right up. 1 bolt needed a little extension.

I recently replaced it with one of the Cold-Case (forum sponsor) aluminum radiators. I'm sold on it right now because of the better temps I'm getting. Only time will tell on longevity.

If Jeep doesn't warranty it the install isn't too hard and can be done with simple hand tools.

Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:18 PM   #3
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I don't think it is stress/flex that is causing the issue. Almost all the failures we are seeing are in the same spot. This just happens to be the hottest part of the radiator. IMO it is a dissimilar materials problem and adhesive issue. These material expand at different rates and the adhesive that holds it together is failing for this reason.
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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I think it is a case of how cheaply the radiators are made. But Jeep isn't alone in that, many brands nowadays are making radiators really cheaply.
If they will not warranty it, which is likely but it doesn't hurt to ask (loudly), I would do it yourself or have a local independent shop do it for less money. And I certainly would not pay good money for a poorly made OEM radiator. There are other options out there, some are better made and some are cheaper.
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:29 PM   #5
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Here's a pretty good thread with some of the aftermarket manufacturers actually participating in the discussions around design...some point at "flexing" as contributing to the issues and one even mentioned a theory on electrolysis (due to bad grounds?) as a problem.

PAGE 2 on this thread is where it really gets interesting.

https://www.jkowners.com/forum/engin...ator-saga.html

Interesting "flexible" mounting idea by one of the members over there...


And here's a second thread discussing the flexing with aftermarket aluminum units.

https://www.jk-forum.com/forums/modi...-338742/page2/


I just bought a 2017 and found a leak in the usual place (upper driver side corner hiding under the plastic trim piece).


<D>
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:07 PM   #6
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Radiator is not mounted derectly to the frame, is mounted to the front body structure and the body is mounted on rubber mounts which compesate frame flex.
Probably frontal impacts like sudden stops might stress the radiator(s) and not frame flexing offroad.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:03 PM
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Well, Jeep Cares does care about their customers. They will cover the full cost of radiator replacement, parts, and labor. I simply stated my case without getting emotional, and I had an answer within 72 hours. I am impressed.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:38 AM   #8
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Well, Jeep Cares does care about their customers. They will cover the full cost of radiator replacement, parts, and labor. I simply stated my case without getting emotional, and I had an answer within 72 hours. I am impressed.
I think I am having the same issue. Last time dealer said it was fine and just a bad cap. I contacted Jeep Cares before reading this thread.

I have the extended MOPAR warranty, but another $100 I am out and rental.
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:30 AM   #9
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Well, Jeep Cares does care about their customers. They will cover the full cost of radiator replacement, parts, and labor. I simply stated my case without getting emotional, and I had an answer within 72 hours. I am impressed.
Curious which dealership you will be using?

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Old 11-08-2019, 08:44 AM   #10
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Well glad @JeepCares about you.
I just explained my 2015 has had coolant and radiator issues twice now leaving my stranded and not sure my dealer will fix again properly. All I got was, “we will document your case.”

At least with my last issue, something came about and offered. Oh well...Losing faith in FCA and now with a 2015 and 42k maybe its not a full time DD anymore and I need to look elsewhere. That new FORD BRONCO might be it.


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Old 11-08-2019, 05:05 PM   #11
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Well glad @JeepCares about you.
I just explained my 2015 has had coolant and radiator issues twice now leaving my stranded and not sure my dealer will fix again properly. All I got was, “we will document your case.”

At least with my last issue, something came about and offered. Oh well...Losing faith in FCA and now with a 2015 and 42k maybe its not a full time DD anymore and I need to look elsewhere. That new FORD BRONCO might be it.


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Yeah, because FORDs never have issues......
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Old 11-09-2019, 06:41 AM   #12
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Yeah, because FORDs never have issues......
True, my Explorer did.My most reliable haven been Japanese cars, Honda and Subaru.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:32 AM
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Curious which dealership you will be using?

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Flower Motor Company in Montrose, CO.

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