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Chrysler Repair/Dodge '99 3.3 L; no heat/ gauge reads hot


QUESTION: Hello Roland,

I have a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan, with over 140.000 miles.  I recently replaced the radiator and refilled it with antifreeze, replaced a hose that burst. Now when I drive the car the temperature goes up to hot, even though the fan comes on.  I must state that the thermometer was taken out and not put back in.  Plus the heater does not work. Help can I put the thermometer back in to avoid replacing the head gaskets? I also checked the oil to see if there was a milky residue, but everything is good. Help

ANSWER: Hi Elaine,
I don't understand your question relating to head gaskets? Do you have loss of coolant from the tail pipe (do you see excessive white smoke from the tail pipe when you start the van up from cold and if so does that smoke smell of anti-freeze?) or you do have a trace of oil in the coolant, or do you hear bubbling sounds coming from the upper surface of the engine soon after start up, or you are loosing coolant withoug seeing any leaks? ANY of those present?.
If not then I see no reason for the head gaskets to be an issue.
Did someone suggest you have a leaky head gasket and on what basis?
Replacing the thermostat will not impact the head gaskets one way or the other but it will probably make the circulation of coolant a bit less efficient yet.
So let me know more of the history of this issue.
The temperature going to hot even with the fan running and the thermostat removed does suggest that the coolant is not circulating efficiently (or perhaps at all) through the engine OR that you are low on coolant (what is the level of coolant in the overflow bottle)? If the level is OK and yet the engine runa hot right away even with the fan running then the coolant pump may be failed/failing.  Also which size (L) engine you have?
Sorry to ask so many questions but overheating can have many possible reasons.
Please 'rate' my answer (see the PS below).

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Roland,
to your questions. Yes someone suggested that maybe the head gaskets were blown. There is no excessive white smoke from the tail pipe when I start the van up from cold. No smell of antifreeze,checked the oil and it looks normal, no bubbling sounds coming from the upper surface of the engine soon after start, not losing any coolant. Coolant not low, checked radiator and level is normal checked overflow and it is normal. We filled it to just about minimum. The vehicle is a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.3 liter engine.

ANSWER: Hi Elaine,
What are the signs of getting too 'Hot' other than the 'no heat' from the heater and the reading of the temperature gauge?
Does hot coolant ever fill the bottle and then blow steam out the cap on top? Do you ever see steam coming out from under the hood?
Does the temperature stabilize below 'off the scale on the hot side'? and if so at what reading?
How hot does the upper radiator hose feel when the gauge reads hot?
There are two hoses that go through the firewall to the cabin that supply the heater core. When the gauge reads 'hot' compare the temperature of those two hoses to your touch, do they seem equally hot and are they hot?
Thanks for answering my questions. It may be that the temperature gauge is inaccurate (except for the fact that the fans come on).
What is the reading of the gauge when the fans come on?
Please do rate my answer and consider giving a 'nomination' to me.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Roland, thanks for answering all my questions.  Are you familiar with the Blue Devil head gasket sealant and the Blue Devil Pour and Go sealant or any other type of head gasket sealant. Thanks for your time.

Hi Elaine,
I am only familiar with the Bar's Leak brand of sealers and those seem to be well-formulated.
But I don't see any basis so far in what you have told me to believe that you have a head gasket leak, so without any evidence I would advise against using any sealant in this situation. I will be interested in your answers to my last questions.
Please 'rate' my answer, as I previously requested.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question, briefly unavailable, or asleep overnight, so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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