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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after 19 years and only 41,887 miles, my radiator has developed leaks at the seams. I noticed a drop in coolant in the reservoir tank so I parked it until I could get my Mityvac pressure tester back from someone I loaned it out to for the same reason.

Just did the test about 30 minutes ago and as soon as I hit 18psi, I could see it slowly seeping out of the seams. (Let's hope that's all that it is and that there's not a potential head gasket issue either!)

I'm planning on building the Jeep up for overlanding in the future, as well as looking into a low-boost turbo setup to give the Jeep a little bit more oomph. With that in mind, I'll probably want to forgo a stock rad replacement and look for something that will provide even better cooling, especially under overlanding conditions out in the desert. Any recommendations on potential candidates?

Also, while I'm doing all of this, I'm going to swap out the hoses with fresh ones, but should I also take a look at the thermostat? The Jeep never overheated (I do a lot of hilly driving out here in the Hill Country) and it never had an issue getting up to temp. Should I just follow the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rule of thumb? If it's recommended that I do swap the t-stat, what else should I inspect/replace since I'm already tearing into it?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've ordered a 3 row radiator from Champion, and new hoses and thermostat from the dealer.

Thanks for all the input!
 

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Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I replaced my radiator with the OEM from WeRMopar.com. My 99 TJ had 80,000 miles. I also replaced the water pump, thermostat housing, thermostat (Do Not install the so-called "fail safe" type as they WILL fail!). Also the serpentine belt was replaced and also the hoses. Figured while I was into the cooling system anyway... This topic has a number of opposing proponents. Some will claim the high-end, higher-priced radiators are better than a single row, all aluminum radiator. The OEM got me 80,000 miles, so figure I'm good to go for at least another 80.000. Maybe way more since I want the original owner and can't control the maintenance or lack thereof before I bought my TJ
 

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Well heck, we didn't get much time to offer input. I would have recommended against a 3 row and the Champion brand would not have been my first choice. Keep in mind that the number of rows does not necessarily indicate how well a radiator will cool. Jeep went from a 2-row to a 1-row radiator around 2000 or 2001 for slightly better cooling characteristics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This thread has well over 100 views within the first hour, haha. I ended up searching elsewhere and reaching out to a few friends with TJs who aren't on the forums for suggestions on radiators.

I've never heard anything bad about Champion, nor ever heard any issues with cooling falling short with a 3-row rad. In fact, a few members on these boards seem to be running the Champion 3-row with no issues to date.

Thermostat is NOT the fail-safe style, and is rated for the correct temp of 195 degrees. All I ordered additionally was a new housing gasket, as I don't see a need to replace mine at this point in time. Water pump is one of those things that I don't touch unless I KNOW it's having issues.

Hoses are OEM, so can't really go too wrong there.
 

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This thread has well over 100 views within the first hour, haha. I ended up searching elsewhere and reaching out to a few friends with TJs who aren't on the forums for suggestions on radiators.

I've never heard anything bad about Champion, nor ever heard any issues with cooling falling short with a 3-row rad. In fact, a few members on these boards seem to be running the Champion 3-row with no issues to date.


Thermostat is NOT the fail-safe style, and is rated for the correct temp of 195 degrees. All I ordered additionally was a new housing gasket, as I don't see a need to replace mine at this point in time. Water pump is one of those things that I don't touch unless I KNOW it's having issues.

Hoses are OEM, so can't really go too wrong there.
My Champion lasted about 6 months before it cracked, also it made my engine run hotter. I replaced it with a OEM & everything is back to normal.
 

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Just replaced mine and came to the forum for help. Everything I searched said stay away from aftermarket. I went with a factory and have no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My Champion lasted about 6 months before it cracked, also it made my engine run hotter. I replaced it with a OEM & everything is back to normal.
Really? How long ago was this?

The appeal of an all-aluminum radiator is that (if welded together correctly) should last well beyond the lifespan of the rest of the vehicle.

Nearly 20 years on the original radiator isn't too bad, as I'm thinking it's age that killed the seals as opposed to mileage.

Aftermarket can be hit or miss, especially when there isn't good competition to force companies to step up their quality control.

I will cancel the order for the radiator for now and do some additional research. Not really wanting to do this again in another 20 years, but if cools best, then I suppose that's what I need to roll with.
 

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Really? How long ago was this?

The appeal of an all-aluminum radiator is that (if welded together correctly) should last well beyond the lifespan of the rest of the vehicle.

Nearly 20 years on the original radiator isn't too bad, as I'm thinking it's age that killed the seals as opposed to mileage.

Aftermarket can be hit or miss, especially when there isn't good competition to force companies to step up their quality control.

I will cancel the order for the radiator for now and do some additional research. Not really wanting to do this again in another 20 years, but if cools best, then I suppose that's what I need to roll with.
A few months ago.
I would cancel the order & just get a OEM one. I got mine from Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ordered a replacement from WeRMopar, and used the opportunity to pick up a new support rod catch, and a hood bumper for the fender, since both of those went missing somehow.

Everything should be here in two days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Then eventually rear main seal and oil pan seal will be next, down the road.
 
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