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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'92 Dodge Caravan, Overheating Problems

Q: I own a ‘92 Dodge Caravan, 3.3l V6. It overheated on my daughter, and she drove it perhaps 5 miles with the check gauge light on. I found a hole in one old hose and replaced it (the one entering the block just below the water pump, the hard one to get at. ). After refilling with just water, the engine runs at normal temp for about 10 minutes, then immediately goes very hot. I noticed that the interior heater did not put out warm air. I checked the water lever and found that after it had cooled down it had lost considerable water, but not externally. The oil seems to be waterless, so I am wondering where the water could be going. I do hear a boiling sound from the engine about 20 minutes after engine cutoff, but that seems to be in the vicinity of the overflow tank. It’s a mystery to me. I also have noticed that the air cooler fan does not operate when the water is over normal temperature. What would you suggest?... John Richard

A: I’d say your daughter went a little too far with the warning light on. At this point you have described, almost perfectly, the symptoms of a failed head gasket or cracked cylinder head. This condition allows air pockets to form in the cooling system from the combustion process and coolant to escape via the exhaust. If you snap the throttle just right I’m sure you’ll get a good cloud of white smoke from the exhaust. There are a couple of ways to prove this failure. There is a chemical that reacts (changes color) to the presence of CO2 in the cooling system. CO2 just happens to be a by-product of the combustion process in an engine. If a reaction occurs the engine has to be disassembled. Both cylinder heads should be removed and inspected for gasket failure or head damage and serviced as needed.

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