Chrysler Full-Size Vans 1967-1988 Repair Guide

Cooling System


See Figures 1 and 2

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Fig. Fig. 1: Cutaway view of a typical cooling system flow

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Fig. Fig. 2: Cooling systems should be pressure tested for leaks periodically

Never remove the radiator cap under any conditions while the engine is running! Failure to follow these instructions could result in damage to the cooling system or engine and/or personal injury. To avoid having scalding hot coolant or steam blow out of the radiator, use extreme care when removing the radiator cap from a hot radiator. Wait until the engine has cooled, then wrap a thick cloth around the radiator cap and turn it slowly to the first stop. Step back while the pressure is released from the cooling system. When you are sure the pressure has been released, press down on the radiator cap (still have the cloth in position) turn and remove the radiator cap.

At least once every 2 years, the engine cooling system should be inspected, flushed, and refilled with fresh coolant. If the coolant is left in the system too long, it loses its ability to prevent rust and corrosion. If the coolant has been diluted with too much water, it won't protect against freezing.

The radiator cap should be looked at for signs of age or deterioration. Fan belt and other drive belts should be inspected and adjusted to the proper tension (See Belt Tension Adjustment).

Hose clamps should be tightened, and soft or cracked hoses replaced. Damp spots, or accumulations of rust or dye near hoses, water pump or other areas, indicate possible leakage. This must be corrected before filling the system with fresh coolant.


See Figures 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

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Fig. Fig. 3: Be sure the rubber gasket on the radiator cap has a tight seal

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Fig. Fig. 4: To add coolant to vehicles with a reservoir tank, remove the reservoir cap ...

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Fig. Fig. 5: ... and add the required amount of a 50/50 mix of water/antifreeze to the level indicated on the tank

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Fig. Fig. 6: To add coolant to vehicles without a reservoir tank, remove the radiator cap with the engine cold ...

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Fig. Fig. 7: ... and add a 50/50 mix of water/antifreeze until the level is 1/4-1/2 in. below the opening

While you are checking the coolant level, check the radiator cap for a worn or cracked gasket. If the cap doesn't seal properly, fluid will be lost in the form of steam and the engine will overheat. Replace the cap with a new one, if necessary.


See Figure 8

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Fig. Fig. 8: Periodically remove all debris from the radiator fins

Periodically clean any debris-leaves, paper, insects, etc.-from the radiator fins. Pick the large pieces off by hand. The smaller pieces can be washed away with water pressure from a hose.

Carefully straighten any bent radiator fins with a pair of needle nose pliers. Be careful-the fins are very soft! Don't wiggle the fins back and forth too much. Straighten them once and try not to move them again.


See Figures 9 and 10

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Fig. Fig. 9: View of the coolant recovery tank

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Fig. Fig. 10: Coolant protection can be checked with a simple float-type tester

Completely draining and refilling the cooling system every two years at least will remove the accumulated rust, scale and other deposits. Coolant in late model vans is a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol and water for year round use. Use a good quality antifreeze with water pump lubricants, rust inhibitors and other corrosion inhibitors along with acid neutralizers.

  1. Remove the radiator cap. Drain the existing coolant by opening the radiator and engine drain petcocks, or disconnecting the bottom radiator hose at the radiator outlet.

Before opening the radiator petcock, spray it with some penetrating lubricant.

  1. Close the petcock or re-connect the lower hose and fill the system with water.
  3. Add a can of quality radiator flush.
  5. Idle the engine until the upper radiator hose gets hot.
  7. Drain the system again.
  9. Repeat this process until the drained water is clear and free of scale.
  11. Close all petcocks and connect all the hoses.
  13. If equipped with a coolant recovery system, flush the reservoir with water and leave empty.
  15. Determine the capacity of your cooling system (see the Capacities Chart). Add a 50/50 mix of quality antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and water to provide the desired protection.
  17. Run the engine to operating temperature.
  19. Stop the engine and check the coolant level.
  21. Check the level of protection with an antifreeze tester, replace the cap and check for leaks.