Chrysler Full-Size Vans 1989-1998 Repair Guide

Cooling System

Print

See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Typical cooling system flow schematic



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Be sure the rubber gasket on the radiator cap has a tight seal



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Periodically remove all debris from the radiator fins



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Cooling systems should be pressure tested for leaks periodically

The cooling system level should be visually inspected each time the hood is opened. Antifreeze should be replaced at 52,500 miles (84,000 km) and then every 30,000 miles (48,000 km).

If necessary, hose clamps should be checked and soft or cracked hoses replaced. Damp spots or accumulations of rust or dye near hoses, the water pump or other areas indicate areas of possible leakage.

Check the surge tank cap for a worn or cracked gasket. If the cap doesn't seal properly, fluid will be lost and the engine will overheat. A worn cap should be replaced with a new one. The surge tank should be free of rust and the coolant should be free from oil. If oil is found in the coolant, the engine thermostat will not function correctly; in this case, the system must be flushed and filled with fresh coolant.

Periodically clean any debris such as 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 needlenose 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.

FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



The use of a good quality ethylene glycol based or other aluminum compatible antifreeze is recommended. It is best to add a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to avoid diluting the coolant in the system.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 5 and 6

  1. Check the fluid level in the reserve tank to make sure the system is properly filled. Top off the cooling system using the recovery tank markings as a guideline. If you top off the system, make a note to check it again soon.
  2.  

Never overfill the reserve tank.

  1. A coolant level that consistently drops is usually a sign of a small, hard to detect leak, although, in the worst case, it could be a sign of an internal engine leak (check the engine oil for milky white contamination). In most cases, you will be able to trace the leak to a loose fitting or damaged hose.
  2.  

Evaporating ethylene glycol antifreeze will leave small, white (salt-like) deposits, which can be helpful in tracing a leak.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: The coolant overflow bottle is located in the left front of the engine compartment, adjacent to the washer solvent bottle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: The coolant level should be between these two lines when checking or adding the coolant mixture into the overflow bottle

DRAIN, FLUSH & REFILL



See Figures 7, 8, 9 and 10


CAUTION
When draining coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted to ethylene glycol antifreeze, and are likely to drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantity. Always drain coolant into a sealable container. Coolant may be reused unless it is contaminated or several years old.

Ensure that the engine is completely cool prior to starting this service.

  1. Remove the radiator and reserve tank caps.
  2.  
  3. Place a drain pan of sufficient capacity under the radiator and open the petcock (drain).
  4.  

The petcock is plastic and easily binds. Before opening the radiator petcock, spray it with some penetrating lubricant.

  1. When the system is completely drained, close the petcock and fill the system with a radiator cleaning fluid (clean water may also be used, but is not as efficient).
  2.  
  3. Idle the engine until the upper radiator hose gets hot.
  4.  
  5. Allow the engine to cool and drain the system again.
  6.  
  7. Repeat this process until the drained water is clear and free of scale.
  8.  
  9. Flush the reserve tank with water and leave it empty.
  10.  

If you decide to add the antifreeze and water separately (instead of pre-mixing them), be sure that you add a sufficient amount of antifreeze, before topping off with water.

  1. Determine the capacity of the coolant system, then properly refill the cooling system with a 50/50 mixture of fresh coolant (antifreeze and water), as follows:
    1. Fill the radiator with coolant until it reaches the radiator filler neck seat.
    2.  
    3. Start the engine and allow it to idle until the thermostat opens (the upper radiator hose will become hot).
    4.  
    5. Turn the engine OFF and refill the radiator until the coolant level is at the filler neck seat.
    6.  
    7. Fill the engine coolant overflow tank with coolant to the proper mark, then install the radiator cap.
    8.  

  2.  
  3. If available, install a pressure tester and check for leaks. If a pressure tester is not available, run the engine until normal operating temperature is reached (allowing the system to naturally pressurize), then check for leaks.
  4.  
  5. Check the level of protection with an antifreeze/coolant hydrometer.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: The radiator drain is located at the bottom of the radiator, on the driver's side



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8: Loosen the drain plug and let the fluid drain; if drainage is slow, make sure that the radiator cap is off



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Inspect the radiator cap for damage to the seals (arrows), and check that the pressure relief spring is functional



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 10: Pour the coolant mixture directly into the radiator; a funnel can be used to avoid spillage

 
label.common.footer.alt.autozoneLogo