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Heating & Cooling 3rd Gen Dodge Ram Heating & Cooling Problems and Questions.


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  #1  
Old 05-31-2011, 07:55 PM
albow albow is offline
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Default Anybody know what's happening?

Pulling my boat home. Less than 2 miles from the ramp, my idiot light comes on saying check gauges. My temp meter is pegged. I quickly shut off the air and pull over and it quickly drops 10 or so degress where it's not pegged so I let it keep running. I find water leaking somewhere upfront. We throw some water in the res and I start for home, gaetting only 1/4 mile uphill before it almost pegs again. I let it cool a little (quickly drops again) and limp back to the campground/ramp, where it quickly tried to max out on the very small hill I went over, but as long as I was on the flat or coasting, it stayed near the upper end of normal.

After it cooled, I went back and filled the res, cranked it and it wasn't leaking. After several minutes, I finally revved it up to a constant 2000rpm and finally got it to just over 200 so the thermostat would open. At first, it still wasn't leaking and was only pushing clear water out the res (had it filled slap full), but then we finally saw anti freeze colored fluid leaking. I am having to assume it was coming from the radiator, since the area around the hoses was essentiall dry, and it was also dry all around the water pump. Also, the drips were coming off the bottom of the radiator, about 1 drop or so per second. We finally shut it off (probably had been running 20min or more in 85 degree heat and never got above 210) and noticed the radiator cap was cool to the touch, but the driver side top of the radiator was too hot to keep your finger on and also the hose leading to it was quite tight with pressure and heat. A brave soul slowly opened the radiator cap. We could hear it vent some but it didn't steam or any other fanfare. It wasn't the cleanest in the world but we couldn't see anything major (almost dark now also). One of the guys who came up said he's seen the radiators leak at the seams when highly pressurized and maybe that was what was happening. He said to go ahead and fill it up and we'd probably find where it was leaking now, as it turned out to be really low on fluid in the radiator and took about a gallon and a half.

Well, I cranked it and we saw it kind of bubbling there where you put the cap on, like water was working it's way through. We put the cap on and it never leaked, so I took a chance and brought her home, boat and all. I tried my best to make it overheat when I got close to home (30 min drive) by running it almost at the redline for 2 or 3 miles with the air on (about 78 degrees out by then) and it barely inched up on the needle. I wish I had thought to feel both sides of the radiator when I got home.

Now, I'm not sure what to do. I'm glad it's all ok at this second but unsure about what's actually wrong and how long it will stay okay as well. I was planning on throwing some stop leak in there because from everything i've heard, it doesn't harm anything these days, but I'm still a little leery of doing it. I also plan to drain and flush with a hose in the radiator, or possibly get a prestone kit and actually backflush it. The cooling passageways in the block should be a lot larger than the ones in the radiator I would think, so any harm done by the stop leak would be to the radiator I would think, so I probably have nothing to lose, but again, I'm not certain where the leak is.

Has anybody ever seen this before and know what's going on? It's a 2003 Cummins (the 305 hp model) with a manual tranny.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:16 PM
albow albow is offline
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Default

Well, now I'm 99% sure it's a leak in the radiator. Started leaking soon after I cranked it today, but not bad. I just had time before dark to drain the radiator and put in a couple bottles of flush/cleaner stuff and drive it up the road. I think I'm going to take a chance and put the stop leak stuff in once I get this stuff flushed out. I didn't think the radiator core looked bad inside. I am going to make a new post asking if anyone has ever used stop leak in a radiator. Oh, I guess the reason the diver side top of the radiator was hot yeasterday (warm but not hot today) was because the radiator was so empty. My radiator cap was still cool to the touch tonight after 20 min running down the road, with a steady drip underneath the radiator.
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