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Yesterday I started smelling a faint smell of antifreeze. I popped the hood couldn't see any leaks but noticed the upper radiator hose was swelling by the tstat. Hose seems to be in good shape. Could it be the thermostat is faulty/closed? This is a 2006 Chrysler Town and Country 3.8
 

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I just replaced the radiator cap as I thought that might be the issue. But I just looked and the overflow tank is pretty full and upper hose is still swelling. Any ideas? Still thinking it's the tstat
 

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Check the spring type clamp on that hose. They fail sooner than the hose, in my experience. Hoses seem to last forever, almost. A weak clamp could be the source of a leak as well.

How about a picture of the hose that's swelling?

Can't see the thermostat being the problem. Is your temperature gauge in the danger zone with lights flashing?

The reservoir should be "pretty" full when the coolant is hot and go back down as the coolant cools off.

What's the coolant level in the radiator, that's the horse's mouth.
 

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In my experience, the upper radiator hose tends to fail. I had one split open, pretty much in the middle, when I was a couple hours from home. Fortunately, there was an autoparts store a couple miles away. I just replaced it again (3 1/2 years after the last replacement), because it was getting a bulge.
 

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The reason I replaced the cap because there was a little bit of antifreeze on the cap and around it. That seems to fix that issue. The new cap has the pressure release on it and after I drove it, I popped the hood and the hose was still swelling, but no leaks around the cap. Good thing. I pulled the pressure release on the cap and the hose instantly stopped swelling, so I went to pick up a new hose. Going to replace it this afternoon. I'll reply back when I'm finished. Thanks for all the help! And as far as temps, van not overheating, was just a little concerned about the amount of antifreeze in the overflow.
 

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Well I replaced the tstat and the hose and walla, no more swelling! I tell ya that hose was super glued on the tstat housing, sure seemed like it, but good to go. I did notice my temp was fluctuating before hand and now it's steady. So out of the 3 things I replaced did the trick. Oh well I'm happy and didn't spend an arm and a leg.
 

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Good job and good luck for the future. (y)
 

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Well I replaced the tstat and the hose and walla, no more swelling! I tell ya that hose was super glued on the tstat housing, sure seemed like it, but good to go. I did notice my temp was fluctuating before hand and now it's steady. So out of the 3 things I replaced did the trick. Oh well I'm happy and didn't spend an arm and a leg.
Glad you changed it. It would have burst eventually. The hose does get stuck tight onto thermostat housing. There's an inexpensive tool called a "hose pick" that makes it easier to remove hoses like that.

61eC2tLodAL._SX425_.jpg
 

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I suppose if a hose is going to go bad, it would be at the point of maximum heat. It's wise to replace the clamp there as well.

For hose removal, a light twisting motion will work via vice grips or channel locks. Once it starts to give way, problem solved.
 

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I suppose if a hose is going to go bad, it would be at the point of maximum heat. It's wise to replace the clamp there as well.

For hose removal,
a light twisting motion will work via vice grips or channel locks. Once it starts to give way, problem solved.

.....I suppose if a hose is going to go bad, it would be at the point of maximum heat. It's wise to replace the clamp there as well.

Yes, just make sure you use same type of clamp as OE. Those clamps are designed to expand/contract as temperature changes, preventing hose damage.

For hose removal, a light twisting motion will work via vice grips or channel locks. Once it starts to give way, problem solved.

If that fails, use a knife to cut the hose. Use a screwdriver to unstuck the hose if needed.
 

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.....I suppose if a hose is going to go bad, it would be at the point of maximum heat. It's wise to replace the clamp there as well.

Yes, just make sure you use same type of clamp as OE. Those clamps are designed to expand/contract as temperature changes, preventing hose damage.

For hose removal, a light twisting motion will work via vice grips or channel locks. Once it starts to give way, problem solved.

If that fails, use a knife to cut the hose. Use a screwdriver to unstuck the hose if needed.
What? .......... and here I thought you favored the shiny, long lasting, all stainless steel worm type clamp, over the plated, low quality metal, spring type clamp, that fatigues over years of expansion and contraction, dropping coolant and leading to an overheated system, at the most inconvenient time. :)

Well, I never! ................. Ha, ha

.
 

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What? .......... and here I thought you favored the shiny, long lasting, all stainless steel worm type clamp, over the plated, low quality metal, spring type clamp, that fatigues over years of expansion and contraction, dropping coolant and leading to an overheated system, at the most inconvenient time. :)
Well, I never! ................. Ha, ha
Yeah, you are correct. OE clamps must be replaced very often, at least every 20 years or so as a preventive measure, before they get weak and fail.
 

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Yeah, you are correct. OE clamps must be replaced very often, at least every 20 years or so as a preventive measure, before they get weak and fail.
10 years on the 2002 GC, 15 years on the Jeep and 8 years on the 2007 GC, to failure of one or more OE hose clamps.
 

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Just for the fun of it:

Three Types of Hose Clamps for Cooling Systems: Spring Vs. Worm Vs. T-Bolt

I'm writing about three different types of clamps used on cooling systems in cars because I see that sometimes mechanics doing repairs on your car don't use the best, longest-lasting kind.
Spring clamp (constant-tension clamp)

Spring clamp (constant-tension clamp)



Spring Clamps (Constant-Tension Clamps)
On most automobiles as they come from the factory, the hoses in the cooling system are connected, fastened, and sealed from coolant leakage by spring clamps (also called constant-tension clamps). They are commonly referred to as spring clamps because they apply constant tension on the rubber hose. Automobile manufacturers use spring clamps on cooling system hoses because haven't found a better or cheaper way to apply tension to the hose regardless of the hose's condition. This matters because as the hoses age, they may harden, soften, swell, or lose their structural rigidity, and spring clamps will continue to apply force on the hose regardless of the condition of the hose.
I do have an issue with plastic compression ring clamps that are force-fitted onto the hose. These plastic clamps can't be serviced, and when I work on cars like this, I have to cut or saw off these plastic clamps and replace them with a serviceable clamp.

Worm Clamps: An Inferior Alternative
When I am working on a leaking cooling system, often I am annoyed to find that some mechanic (Jeepman maybe?) has replaced the original factory spring clamp (let's say an upper or lower radiator hose clamp) with a worm clamp. The mechanic probably went for the worm clamp because he didn't have the right tools to get the clamp off and didn't want to go through the hassle of putting the original clamp back on. Worm clamps are substandard compared to spring clamps because they fray the hose with the adjustment slots, they can strip, they can cut into the hose, they may not be able to apply adequate tension to prevent leaks, and they don't compensate the shrinkage of the rubber. So worm clamps are likely to lead to leaks in the future.


Source:

 

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Just for the fun of it:.

So worm clamps are likely to lead to leaks in the future.
Yeah, correct. worm clamps must be replaced very often, at least every 20 years or so as a preventive measure, before they get too wormy. :)
 

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Just for the fun of it:

Three Types of Hose Clamps for Cooling Systems: Spring Vs. Worm Vs. T-Bolt

I'm writing about three different types of clamps used on cooling systems in cars because I see that sometimes mechanics doing repairs on your car don't use the best, longest-lasting kind.
Spring clamp (constant-tension clamp)

Spring clamp (constant-tension clamp)



Spring Clamps (Constant-Tension Clamps)
On most automobiles as they come from the factory, the hoses in the cooling system are connected, fastened, and sealed from coolant leakage by spring clamps (also called constant-tension clamps). They are commonly referred to as spring clamps because they apply constant tension on the rubber hose. Automobile manufacturers use spring clamps on cooling system hoses because haven't found a better or cheaper way to apply tension to the hose regardless of the hose's condition. This matters because as the hoses age, they may harden, soften, swell, or lose their structural rigidity, and spring clamps will continue to apply force on the hose regardless of the condition of the hose.
I do have an issue with plastic compression ring clamps that are force-fitted onto the hose. These plastic clamps can't be serviced, and when I work on cars like this, I have to cut or saw off these plastic clamps and replace them with a serviceable clamp.

Worm Clamps: An Inferior Alternative
When I am working on a leaking cooling system, often I am annoyed to find that some mechanic (Jeepman maybe?) has replaced the original factory spring clamp (let's say an upper or lower radiator hose clamp) with a worm clamp. The mechanic probably went for the worm clamp because he didn't have the right tools to get the clamp off and didn't want to go through the hassle of putting the original clamp back on. Worm clamps are substandard compared to spring clamps because they fray the hose with the adjustment slots, they can strip, they can cut into the hose, they may not be able to apply adequate tension to prevent leaks, and they don't compensate the shrinkage of the rubber. So worm clamps are likely to lead to leaks in the future.


Source:

Interesting article but the author has obviously never left their comfortable shop. If they even work on cars at all.
*Try taking off, and reinstalling, a hard to reach spring clamp with the pliers in your emergency tool kit.
*Try cutting the frayed end off a hose, stretching it into place and expecting the spring clamp to hold it in place.
*Try scavenging a hose that's "close enough" and expecting a spring clamp to crank down on it enough to seal.
I could go on...

I always replace spring clamps with worm clamps for easier servicing in the future. Yes, I do have the tools to remove them properly but I don't see why basic parts, like hoses, should require special tools. I've never had a worm clamp, that I installed, shred a hose. I keep cars for a long time and a lot of miles too. Sure, if you torque one down like a suspension bolt it'll cause problems. With the proper torque they work great, are easier to use, last forever and may help you get home vs being towed.

Spring clamps speed up the manufacturing process. Worm clamps will get you home. Try standing in an AutoZone parking lot, 100 miles from home, with a new waterpump in your hand. The last thing you want to see is a spring clamp laughing at you from the bottom of the engine bay.
 

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Well said Derrick1971, I think I agree with you. :)

The quality of the spring type clamps is also questionable as the constant expansion contraction takes a toll on their strength by about 10 years. Older clamps may have been made better, and last forever, don't know.
 
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