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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just recently bought a 2008 T&C that has been great except for one thing: the coolant inside the reservoir appears to sometimes boil over, with white smoke emitting from the lid. It appears to only happen when I am idling, and even at that it is intermittent. The previous owner did say that he has had to replace the thermostat multiple times and gave me a container of coolant with the purchase. Today the car threw a P1281 code, again seems to be pointing to the thermostat.

So why do these keep failing? I just replaced it around 2 months ago, the only thing I can imagine is something in the cooling system is causing the coolant too become to hot which might be damaging the thermostats. There may be a leak in my cooling system as well since my reservoir is always below low.
 

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2008 Chrysler Grand Voyager Limited
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I had issues with my 2008 (3.8l) with coolant issues when I first got it 2 years ago.
leaking heater “y” pipes was the first thing I found and fixed before they blew altogether.
next was a damaged rubber seal on the radiator cap was letting coolant freely out into the over flow container.
the last thing I did just a couple of weeks ago was the intake manifold gasket as that had developed a leak. It appear as fluid collecting on the top of the bell housing.
Since the last one fluid level has remained pretty constant.
If you squeeze the hose from the thermostat to the radiator it should be firm - if it is soft there is air in the system and I would be looking hard for a leak - it may not be immediately obvious.
( if you do need to do the intake manifold - do the rocker cover gaskets as well they will be brittle and break whe you pull them off any way )

your thermostat “issue” I would suspect is a symptom of low coolant level rather than a faulty thermostat.
 

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Next time the radiator cools off completely, remove the radiator cap and look for signs of leak stop. It will be noticeable. If the previous owner (PO) sold the car with extra coolant, I would bet they tried all kinds of "chemical fixes in bottle" before giving up and selling the car - or - they were told it needed intake/head gaskets and they gave up.

If you can track the history of the PO's previous maintenance, call the shops the PO used and try to get the info. It will help with the diagnosis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just found out a bit more today. When idling, the coolant reservoir slowly fills up with boiling coolant. Before this strategy happen, the reservoir is just fine with coolant around low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I love an easy fix......
Was the gasket toast?

Yea the inner ring wasn't sealing. I ended up flushing the coolant system shortly after, and to my surprise found I have an intake manifold leak. Looks like another project on the chopping block, although from what I've seen they don't look hard at all for the gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The temp needle keeps dipping down close to cold when driving on the highway. I just replaced the thermostat about a month ago, just tested the new one in boiling water, works fine. The new thermo came with a black gasket ring, I installed a Felpro thermo gasket as well, can you use both or only suppose to use one?
 

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The temp needle keeps dipping down close to cold when driving on the highway. I just replaced the thermostat about a month ago, just tested the new one in boiling water, works fine. The new thermo came with a black gasket ring, I installed a Felpro thermo gasket as well, can you use both or only suppose to use one?
Use one, FelPro makes good gaskets. Ever double gasket an oil filter? Results aren't good.
 
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