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Dodge Repair/Thermostat/coolant leak: '04 Ram


QUESTION: I keep smelling antifreeze after I drive and a while back it was real low but my gauge never shows past the half way line (hot) is it my thermostat and if so I live in Texas should I get one that opens at 180 or 203 for my Dodge ram 2004

ANSWER: Hi Dean,
If the engine coolant as shown on the gauge is not running toward the H-side routinely (and assuming that you are not low on coolant in the system) then I would not change the thermostat at all. If you are smelling anti-freeze in the cabin (and not seeing any leaking out in the engine compartment) then it may be that you have a coolant leak in the heat/ac system located under the dash. Check to see if the carpets under the dash are wet which would be an indication of that kind of a leak.
If you find that you have such a leak it would be smart to try some coolant system stop-leak such as "Bar's Leak" added to the coolant. I suggest that because the alternative is to remove the heat/ac system from under the dash which is major job requiring disassembly of the dash (about 25 steps in each direction of the process!).
So the bottom line is to locate where the coolant is leaking, and then figure out how to stop it. So let me know when/if you find the leak and we can 'go' from there.
Please 'rate/nominate' my answer/me (see the PS below).

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

QUESTION: the reserve always go goes dry after a week

Hi Dean,
Absent any sign of steam coming out from under the hood while driving, or leakage of coolant under the engine or around any of the hose clamps or the reserve bottle or the radiator cap, or any wetness on either side of the radiator, or wet carpets in the cabin, do you see any excessive white smoke coming out the tail pipe when you first start the engine when it is cold? All the things I have listed abpve are sites where coolant can be 'lost'. We have to find which one of these it is.
Thanks for the rating/nomination... which you can do once more if you would like.

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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.

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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.

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