Coolant level up when engine overheats



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Thread: Coolant level up when engine overheats

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    Cool Coolant level up when engine overheats

    I flushed the radiator fluid on my TC 2000 3.8 (140k miles) using the recommended Prestone coolant.

    The purpose was to resolve the engine overheating problem that occured each time the outside temperature was above 90F or when sitting in traffic for a while.

    Since then I have identified 2 new issues:
    - I can hear noise from the vents that the A/C normally makes when switching from outside air to recycle air... but this noise is repetitive, it seems each instance the A/C condenser kicks in.
    - More annoyingly, I had filled the coolant liquid to the max line after having flushed the radiator fluid: the engine still overheats in heavy traffic after which I noted the coolant line sitting well above the max line, half way between the max line and the top of the coolant container.

    I don't understand why my coolant level goes up after the engine overheats:
    I had put the front vehicle on ramps after my last fluid flush and let the engine run until it reached its normal operating temperature, after which I switched the heating on to get rid of any air in the cooling system.

    Any idea is welcome in helping solve this one. I am thinking of replacing the thermostat next, but I don't really want to add more changes before solving the cooling issues I have right now... Thank you.

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    Welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by bedoum View Post
    Since then I have identified 2 new issues:
    - I can hear noise from the vents that the A/C normally makes when switching from outside air to recycle air... but this noise is repetitive, it seems each instance the A/C condenser kicks in.
    Is this the same noise that you would hear if you manually switched from outside to recycle air yourself, like a clicking/door sliding noise?

    Quote Originally Posted by bedoum View Post
    - More annoyingly, I had filled the coolant liquid to the max line after having flushed the radiator fluid: the engine still overheats in heavy traffic after which I noted the coolant line sitting well above the max line, half way between the max line and the top of the coolant container.

    I don't understand why my coolant level goes up after the engine overheats
    It's physics at work. The coolant expands in volume when the temperature rises. The system can only hold a fixed volume of coolant, so the overflow goes into the bottle.

    Question: Do you notice that the coolant level in the bottle is lower (back to normal) when the engine has cooled off for a while (like overnight...)?
    Last edited by jgiurleo; 04-26-2009 at 07:34 AM. Reason: spelling
    2009 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT (3.8L), Light Sandstone Metallic, 125K miles
    2005 Volvo XC70, 160K miles

    Previous van: 2002 Chrysler T&C, eX (3.8L)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgiurleo View Post
    Welcome!



    Is this the same noise that you would hear if you manually switched from outside to recycle air yourself, like a clicking/door sliding noise?

    It's physics at work. The coolant expands in volume when the temperature rises. The system can only hold a fixed volume of coolant, so the overflow goes into the bottle.

    Question: Do you notice that the coolant level in the bottle is lower (back to normal) when the engine has cooled off for a while (like overnight...)?
    Yes, this is the same noise as if I had manually switched from outside to recycle air myself.

    Yes, the coolant in the bottle resumes to normal level on my following use of the vehicle if my trip does not make the engine overheat.

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    Yes, the coolant in the bottle resumes to normal level on my following use of the vehicle if my trip does not make the engine overheat.
    The one good thing about that is that it usually means that you do not have an internal leak or head gasket problems. If you had a headgasket problem, it usually draws the coolant into the cylinder, thus you lose fluid and have to constantly fill the tank, or the internal leak does not allow the system to be sealed and will not draw the fluid back into the system when the system cools down.
    Hope you find your problem.
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    Change your THERMOSTAT... that controls the temperature rise and fall in the engine. It is an inexpensive part, and should cure your problem. I am surprized that no one has mentioned this yet!
    Regards, -John

    1998 Chrysler T&C LXi 3.8 220 K miles and counting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DSMLVR View Post
    The one good thing about that is that it usually means that you do not have an internal leak or head gasket problems. If you had a headgasket problem, it usually draws the coolant into the cylinder, thus you lose fluid and have to constantly fill the tank, or the internal leak does not allow the system to be sealed and will not draw the fluid back into the system when the system cools down.
    Hope you find your problem.
    Agreed, I don't loose any coolant, but I will be driving to Florida next month and I would like to pre-empt any issue with the overheating engine a thousand mile from home!

    A little more on recent fixes I have made to the car, in addition to the radiator coolant flush:
    - replaced the original transmission oil cooler with a bigger one and replaced transmission cooler hoses
    - replaced the radiator fan assembly with a new one as one fan was not working on the original assembly

    So technically, it should all be working... yet the engine still overheats and the A/C does this ongoing outgoing/recycle noise...

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    Quote Originally Posted by biometrics View Post
    Change your THERMOSTAT... that controls the temperature rise and fall in the engine. It is an inexpensive part, and should cure your problem. I am surprized that no one has mentioned this yet!
    Yes, this was my next planned move, so I may grab a fail safe one from an autopart place today and install it... I'll keep you posted on how it goes from there. Thank you.

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    Make sure the system is pressurizing when hot, if not maybe replace the radiator cap?
    Worked on mine.
    1999 Grand Caravan SE 3.3L

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    If the thermostat and rad cap and backflush don't cure it and you have verified the fans are running as designed, I would either pull the radiator and have a shop flush it or replace it. A coolant flow restiction will show up quickly when less air is flowing through the radiator as when idling or moving slowly. At speed the added air flow will mask the restriction.

    Have you checked for pump flow? Run the engine with the cap removed and watch for continuos flow past the cap opening. Helps to drain some coolant to get the level below the cap opening.
    Last edited by RIP; 04-26-2009 at 02:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIP View Post
    If the thermostat and rad cap and backflush don't cure it and you have verified the fans are running as designed, I would either pull the radiator and have a shop flush it or replace it. A coolant flow restiction will show up quickly when less air is flowing through the radiator as when idling or moving slowly. At speed the added air flow will mask the restriction.

    Have you checked for pump flow? Run the engine with the cap removed and watch for continuos flow past the cap opening. Helps to drain some coolant to get the level below the cap opening.
    I will look on the radiator side if the thermostat replacement does not fix the engine overheating problem.

    I have checked the pump flow by running the engine with the rad cap off:
    It did drain some of the extra coolant, but I stopped the process as the overflowing coolant was running along side the radiator... I still have that nice coolant smell now each time the car engine reaches its normal running temperature . I have since then 'invested' in a pump and have planned to extract the extra fluid that way.

    I will keep you posted both on the thermostat replacement and pump flow check... won't happen this weekend though, the wife re-assigned me to a kids bday party...

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