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Radiator??? White smoke. Got a tow to the house


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White smoke = evaporating coolant. start it up and look for leaks (it might have to get up to temp for them to be really apparent). If you hoses are squishy and feel like bloated rubber (should be firm, yet movable), replace them. Hoses are dirt cheap. if there are any spring type clamps on the hoses look for a leak around them, they leak when they get old and lose their spring. Look down the sides of the radiator tanks for a leak and look across the cores for any imbedded items. Keep looking and you will find it, coolant runs down hill, so look for the wet spots and start looking up above them. Best of luck!

 

dave

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White smoke = evaporating coolant. start it up and look for leaks (it might have to get up to temp for them to be really apparent). If you hoses are squishy and feel like bloated rubber (should be firm, yet movable), replace them. Hoses are dirt cheap. if there are any spring type clamps on the hoses look for a leak around them, they leak when they get old and lose their spring. Look down the sides of the radiator tanks for a leak and look across the cores for any imbedded items. Keep looking and you will find it, coolant runs down hill, so look for the wet spots and start looking up above them. Best of luck!

 

dave

 

Thanks Dave. The rubber hose on top is squishy, not firm, so obviously it's not under pressure. I'm out of town these weekend, so I guess when I get back I'll pull the radiator for a better view. I'll go ahead and order new hoses.

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White smoke out the grill? Seems kinda odd. Try removing the radiator and taking it to a Radiator Shop where they can pressurize it up to 16 lbs while under water to confirm if its leaking.

 

Think a test is worth it or should I just buy a new radiator? I found some online for under $100.

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you can test it yourself, make sure the cooling system is full, run it up to pressure, and look for leaks!

 

Can be hard to see leaks on the fan side but you'll probably see SOMETHING.

 

I haven't really "tested" it yet, but if you're standing in front of the truck, the left side of the radiator under the metal piece holding the radiator is where the white smoke comes from and the green puddle is below, but I just can't see good enough. I need to pull the radiator.

 

The rubber hoses appear to be ok, but I'll probably still replace them. I think the leak is from the side of the radiator or one of the metal lines (or connectors) coming out of the side. Those are for the transmission and heater I think, right?

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Sounds like either the radiator inlet is leaking or the tank is leaking where it joins the cores or there's a bad spot in the hose. If you want to test it you can pull the radiator and use a garden hose with a nozzle on the end. Wrap a rag around the nozzle (the kind with the squeeze handle off and on), you want a good fit when you put it in the inlet or outlet. Next fill the radiator with water with it lying on the ground, then put your hand over the other inlet or outlet and give the radiator a little pressure. Look for where your leak is at, it should be easy to see with it on the ground. Be careful not to over pressure it, i have 72psi of water pressure at the house and the radiator only supports around 16-18psi normally.

 

Does your radiator have plastic tanks or metal? Sometimes the plastic tanks give up the rubber seal between the cores.

 

Dave

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It obviously has a hole in it. The question is, where is it and is it repairable? If it is you could repair your self for free or have a radiator shop repair it for a lot less than a 100 bucks. If they want more tell them to pound sand.

 

Radiators corrode from the inside out and if yours is in good shape on the inside then maybe a quick soldering job is all it needs which would be cheaper than a new one. However, if its corroded and weak, then you'll have another leak soon after you fix this one and a new radiator would be in order anyway. Remove it, visually inspect it, check for debris floating in it, discoloration, and obvious rust. What is the color of the fluid in the overflow/pressure bottle? Is there debris caked to the inside of the bottle? If so could be a sign that there is rust in the system and at a minimum a good flushing is in order. Its best to run a good quality antifreeze with anti corrosive properties and flush and replace it every few years, or yearly. If not, rust will occur inside the radiator, heater core or from the coolant passages in the engine, its inevitable.

 

Remember, your coolant will behave differently under heat and pressure depending on your ratio of water and antifreeze. Pure water will vaporize and steam or blow out of a small hole at 212 degrees at sea level, faster when under pressure or higher in elevation. The 4.0 likes to run around 210 so running straight water or very diluted coolant is never a good idea. I try to run no less than a 50/50 mixture. More antifreeze in the mixture will allow more heat and pressure before it starts to geyser out of a hole, but it will still leak just not as bad as a diluted mix.

 

Testing it in a tank (or a kiddie swimming pool) under pressure is the best way to find all the leaks in the radiator, you can do it in the vehicle but you may miss the cracks that may not be wide enough to be obvious. Under water you'll see the bubbles. Take special care in cleaning the surface of any repair area; wire brush it, then burn off any paint, ensure its bare and clean copper, then solder up the hole.

 

Dave is exactly right,,,,Also take a pair of pliers and gently squeeze tight all holding tabs on both tanks, assuming its got plastic tanks or removable tanks. Its common for those tabs to loosen after many years and cause leaks. Those can be hard to find sometimes.

 

Radiators are my enemy :fs1: It seems I've been fighting them my whole life. It started with two old mustangs I had as a teenager here in TX when I couldn't afford new ones, 136 degree patrols in Iraq, then continued with the MJ, and recently I've had to repair two XJs, two ZJs, and Mom's vile Northstar POS Cadilac.

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What is the color of the fluid in the overflow/pressure bottle? Is there debris caked to the inside of the bottle? If so could be a sign that there is rust in the system and at a minimum a good flushing is in order. Its best to run a good quality antifreeze with anti corrosive properties and flush and replace it every few years, or yearly. If not, rust will occur inside the radiator, heater core or from the coolant passages in the engine, its inevitable.

 

The color is good and no debris. I'll probably end up just buying a new radiator and hoses, water pump, and thermostat and go from there.

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hey thats nothin i know a guy who took out 2 rads in 2 wheelin trips aka 2 days

 

If I get within 50 feet of a car the radiator goes out,,,the walmart parking turns into yellowstone when I walk through it. :cheers:

 

If I get within 50 of my Comanche something else breaks on it. :fs1:

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I was finally home long enough this weekend to work on the "beater." I pulled the radiator and sure enough, the plastic is cracked on one end, explaining my white smoke and leak. So I need to pick up a new along with a new line I snapped trying to disconnect it from the radiator. That thing was a b*tch!

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