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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2015, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Radiator Exploded!! Please Help

Hello guys,

Im new to the forum and not that technical expert when it comes to car parts. my brother and I borrowed dad's commander for a day picnic together with some friends...

when we return home and just about to park the car in the garage we saw a smoke coming from the front part... huge smoke then we were all very scared then my friend bill immediately put water on the radiator then suddenly it exploded... until now we really dont know what to do.... please help
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2015, 11:31 PM
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First thing is come down no good decisions are made in a panic. Second you poured water in a hot radiator which instantly turned it into steam. You also don't want to put tap water in their either and should never work on a radiator when its hot. Also you fill the coolant in the reservoir tank. This Jeep takes a specific coolant sold by the dealer or G05.

Now based on your stated skill level about all you can do is make sure you coolant is at the proper level. If anything else is wrong your going to probably want to take it in to get fixed. If you did put coolant (antifreeze) besides the two I mentioned you will need a coolant flush no matter what. I'll post the steps for you to check in a minuet.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2015, 11:38 PM
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Can you tell me what engine you have? 3.7 4.7 or 5.7


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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its 4.7 engine sir.... we had contacted a mechanic nearby. hope this all goes well until my dad finds out our stupidity
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 08:38 AM
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Did the radiator or anything else actually burst or explode, or you just describing water added to the radiator to an overheated engine that caused the water to violently flash into steam, making lots of noise, steam and splash bursting out of the fill port?

Did you get a warning the engine was overheating? The temp gauge going into the red?

1st, lesson learned, if you've got cooling system problems, overheated engine, you have to let it cool off gradually. You had cold water to hot metal, the thermal shock can crack the block. I've done it. You don't open a hot radiator, I had a friend who did and spent a week in the hospital with burns all over his body.

Now, what might be wrong, you haven't given us enough information to really diagnose the problem. It sounds like you had a coolant leak, you or your dad were NOT checking fluid levels properly, and did NOT notice the dropping coolant level. Your engine overheated or the leak got bad enough that steam started coming out of the leak at which point you panicked. It could have been as simple as a failed pressure cap on the radiator and the steam was venting from there.

Hopefully you didn't do any damage by adding the cold water to hot metal, the "explosion" you describe was only the water flashing violently into steam. The mechanic hopefully will locate your coolant leak or problem and be able to tell if you did any damage.

You didn't say what year your Commander is, but regardless the factory fill coolant is suppose to be changed at 5 years, if this has NOT been done, then it is due anyway. So the coolant system should be drained, flushed and refilled with the proper coolant.

The proper Coolant is Chrysler HOAT anti-freeze, and it is tolerant to mineral laden tap water, although that is NOT best, you should use distilled water in your cooling system.

Many of the aftermarket anti-freezes, i.e. the stuff sold on store shelves, does NOT identify what type of anti-freeze it is, making false claims of being universal, able to mix with all anti-freezes, meets the requirements of all manufacturers, etc; its all B.S., they do NOT. Get the Chrysler HOAT anti-freeze from the Dealer, or Zerex G-05 (the aftermarket equivalent) of course Ford and Mercedes used the same anti-freeze, so if you get their HOAT it would work just as well. All of them have recently switched to OAT anti-freeze, so make sure you asked for HOAT when you buy it.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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actually, we got a warning that temp gauge going into the red. I guess the water was leaking already that's why. I guess when I said exploded.. it was just the water burst into the air due to a very hot surface

Bill suffered some burns in his arms and need to be treated from a nearby clinic.

was it also the reason why the engine overheated due to water leaking from the radiator? I mean, radiator lacking of water already

yeah guys, lessons learned also..... maybe due to panicking that's why Bill immediately pour water upon seeing a smoke. we thought it was fire that's why water was the first solution that pop into our mind.

the mechanic inspected the radiator and coolant and if I remember it vividly, he said there was a damage and recommends to by another coolant to replace the damaged one.

would you know some reputable online car parts store please? I mean with good reviews and tested by some people here. Ebay is also a good choice right?

thanks for all the help
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2015, 10:08 PM
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What was damaged? You have couple of options for parts. I try to use NAPA when I can or RockAuto.com


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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the radiator has cracks already near the cap.... I'll try to contact NAPA and rockauto as what you've recommended... hopefully, this is within my budget
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim_Steep25 View Post
was it also the reason why the engine overheated due to water leaking from the radiator? I mean, radiator lacking of water already
Yes, being low on coolant will cause you to overheat, there is NOT enough coolant circulating in the system to cool all the metal, so the engine gets hotter and hotter.

Or there could be a malfunction in the cooling system or engine that could cause it to overheat, if it gets hot enough it will boil over and all the coolant could have been forced out during the overheat.

Regardless, you have a malfunction that needs to be figured out and repaired.

Again, remember, checking the coolant overflow jug is NOT the proper way to check coolant level. You have to open the radiator (WHEN IT IS COLD) and look inside it. If the cooling system has a leak, it will NOT suck coolant back in from the Jug, so the level on the Jug will NOT be accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim_Steep25 View Post
yeah guys, lessons learned also..... maybe due to panicking that's why Bill immediately pour water upon seeing a smoke. we thought it was fire that's why water was the first solution that pop into our mind.
Ok, know you know NOT to ever open a hot radiator/cooling system, sorry your buddy has to put up with burns, but he's probably lucky it wasn't worse.

But think about it, you've seen smoke from fires before, and you've seen steam from a boiling pot of water before, remember both can come from an engine, so don't panic and assume one or the other, figure it out first. If your engine is overheating it very likely to have steam coming up from the engine compartment.


Never pour cold water over or into extremely hot metal, the thermal shock and sudden contraction can cause that metal to crack and split wide open. People have destroyed their engines pouring cold water into the cooling system of an overheated engine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim_Steep25 View Post
the mechanic inspected the radiator and coolant and if I remember it vividly, he said there was a damage and recommends to by another coolant to replace the damaged one.
That doesn't make any sense? Did he say Cooler? or Radiator?

Oh, RockAuto and NAPA, as well as just about every place is carrying a lot of crap for quality parts now a days. If they offer several different brands of one particular part, assume the cheapest or one much cheaper than the rest, is crap. At the very least google the brand and see if people say good or bad things about it. I can tell you to stay away from AirTex, that is one brand know for pure crap of what ever replacement part them offer. (and you can find AirTex on RockAuto or AdvanceAuto)

Last edited by Mongo; 03-06-2015 at 04:33 PM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim_Steep25 View Post
actually, we got a warning that temp gauge going into the red. I guess the water was leaking already that's why. I guess when I said exploded.. it was just the water burst into the air due to a very hot surface

Bill suffered some burns in his arms and need to be treated from a nearby clinic.

was it also the reason why the engine overheated due to water leaking from the radiator? I mean, radiator lacking of water already

yeah guys, lessons learned also..... maybe due to panicking that's why Bill immediately pour water upon seeing a smoke. we thought it was fire that's why water was the first solution that pop into our mind.

the mechanic inspected the radiator and coolant and if I remember it vividly, he said there was a damage and recommends to by another coolant to replace the damaged one.

would you know some reputable online car parts store please? I mean with good reviews and tested by some people here. Ebay is also a good choice right?

thanks for all the help
Bill is lucky. I have heard of way worse. That system is pressurized and above the boiling point of water, you could melt the flesh off of your face.
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