Overheats Going into the Mountains - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
Problems / Dealer Service Having a problem with your vehicle? Were you treated fairly or poorly at a dealer? Warranty issues? Let us know.

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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Overheats Going into the Mountains

Hey all. So two questions, one quick and one not so quick:

1. Has anyone used a coolant system flush product on their XK/WK? Is it safe or am I risking further damage?
2. I think I have a clogged radiator - Would you agree? Short version: Overheats under any kind of sustained load. Long version below.

Could of quick details: My XK eats water pumps. I'm on number...4? in ~100k miles. I am well versed in how to fill/bleed the XK and know the symptoms that are shown when it is not done properly.

Synopsis: Coolant and thermostat was changed ~40k ago. Water pump was about ~15k ago. Last year we attempted to take the XK for a day trip into the mountains, and ventured up I-70 from Denver. XK ended up running very hot (5/8-3/4 on the temp gauge) near the end of the first hill, so I rolled we windows down and ran the heater. Ambient temp was in the 70s. The next hill was worse, so we canceled our trip into the mountains and went home. The jeep was not loaded down by any stretch.

Took a road trip a month ago. Flat highway, 100 degree temps, the XK doesn't really care. I think it is running hotter than normal, but still ok. Took it up into the mountains again today on a road it didn't previously have a problem with - traffic moves well, grade is reasonable, and temps aren't high. Traffic slowed to 25mph on the last hill and the Jeep started to climb in temps again. Once again, not loaded down. I can confirm the fan is coming on appropriately, the system is properly bled/burped, and all fluid levels are good.

I'm fairly convinced the radiator is operating at a very reduced efficiency due to buildup. As long as there is enough airflow and not an engine load, it'll do fine. But as soon as the load is higher than usual and/or airflow becomes even a whiff of an issue, temps start to climb. I'd really like to fix this b/c I want to be able to take day trips into the mountains and explore with my family, and this is the only vehicle that can transport my son. I can confirm the issue is also getting worse.

I'm ready to order a new rad and spend a weekend replacing it myself, unless anybody else has any better ideas. Also, tempted to try a 'flush' product but I'm not sure how bad of an idea that is.

Thanks!

Edit: Order new rad and thermostat.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 01:45 AM
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@Aerogt01 What kind of coolant are you using?

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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Zerex G-05
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 10:57 AM
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I'd do a new radiator. The jeep is old enough and with it running this hot this many times, those plastic sides have probably gotten pretty weak and could crack at any time. Honestly after that many water pumps, I would have already done the radiator.
I know it's probably dumb saying this...but make sure you haven't been putting the thermostat in backwards
Try a pressure test on the system as well, if you haven't already.

Another thought- does the engine actually FEEL really hot? Maybe see how much a new temp sensor is...it could just be incorrect readings. I used to have these read wrong ALL the time on my old XJs. On the 5.7 engines the sensor is really easy to get to. Not sure where it is on the 4.7, though.

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Need to get it on a dyno....
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 11:10 AM
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Sounds like you have a huge mess on your hands.
Since you're on your fourth water pump. Is there any chance you've been changing brands of antifreeze? Some antifreezes are not compatible. And they will cause jelling.
That's the only thing that I can think of, that would cause your radiator to clog up. Or you have severe corrosion inside your system.
Also, could your thermostat be installed backwards?
And why are your water pumps failing?
Are you buying quality pumps? And are they being installed properly?
You have a lot of things to look at.
Before you put that new radiator in there. I definitely would make sure you don't have any jelly or corrosion particles inside your engine. And I would take a peek at that thermostat to. Better safe than sorry. It's just two screws. Get a paint strainer and strain all your antifreeze that you can get out of the car. That way you can inspect for particles and jell there too.
As far as flushing goes. I'll let other folks chime in on that. I'm sure opinions will vary.
Just don't ruin your new radiator.
And running hotter than normal is not okay.
Also make sure there's no rats nest or build up between your condenser and your radiator.
That could be your only problem. A vehicle eating up water pumps as a big concern though.
I'm sure they're many more variables that we can think of here. But I'm just trying to state some obvious stuff.
Just my 2 centavos.

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spraygun View Post
Sounds like you have a huge mess on your hands.
Since you're on your fourth water pump. Is there any chance you've been changing brands of antifreeze? Some antifreezes are not compatible. And they will cause jelling.
That's the only thing that I can think of, that would cause your radiator to clog up. Or you have severe corrosion inside your system.
Also, could your thermostat be installed backwards?
And why are your water pumps failing?
Are you buying quality pumps? And are they being installed properly?
You have a lot of things to look at.
Before you put that new radiator in there. I definitely would make sure you don't have any jelly or corrosion particles inside your engine. And I would take a peek at that thermostat to. Better safe than sorry. It's just two screws. Get a paint strainer and strain all your antifreeze that you can get out of the car. That way you can inspect for particles and jell there too.
As far as flushing goes. I'll let other folks chime in on that. I'm sure opinions will vary.
Just don't ruin your new radiator.
And running hotter than normal is not okay.
Also make sure there's no rats nest or build up between your condenser and your radiator.
That could be your only problem. A vehicle eating up water pumps as a big concern though.
I'm sure they're many more variables that we can think of here. But I'm just trying to state some obvious stuff.
Just my 2 centavos.

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Yaa, x2 for all this. I didn't even think about possible jelling....

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Need to get it on a dyno....
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerogt01 View Post
Zerex G-05
Good! That is the correct coolant.

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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 12:32 PM
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I fought an issue like this on a motorhome once. The radiator looked clean from behind and inside but after everything else was done I decided to pull it and have it cleaned or replaced. Once I separated the ac condenser, I found the radiator was completely covered/caked with dust allowing almost no air to pass through. Appherently had some oil spoiled on it that collected the dust.
Worth a look even though it's a pain to get to.


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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wombler View Post
Yaa, x2 for all this. I didn't even think about possible jelling....
Embarrassing secret: about 80k ago I did top off with universal coolant. Flushed twice since. Also, a shop that did a wp replacement two pumps ago used universal, and I made them dump it and use the right stuff before I took delivery.

I was looking at the Zerex super clean product and figured I might as well give it a shot. Thoughts anyone?

Thanks for all your input so far.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 04:38 PM
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I've never really heard anything bad about flush systems. Just speaking in general for any coolant system- no specific vehicles.
Just gotta make sure you read all the label specifics on the stuff and make sure you aren't using with other products that can make worse, or systems it shouldn't be used in....since our's is a little weird with the 3rd row system

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Need to get it on a dyno....
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