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Overheating

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Old 07-09-2018, 10:08 PM
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Default Overheating

1998 XJ
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145k miles

So I havenít driven the Jeep for an extended trip in a while and today I hopped in it for a about an hour ride to go kayaking and low and behold as soon as I got to my destination I got a check gauges light and the temp gauge was almost topped out. I shut it off and popped the hood to see if there was any obvious causes but didnít see anything. The coolant level was good, radiator cap and hoses were hot as hell. I decided to just continue on with kayaking (since I literally pulled up to me destination as it started to overheat) I let it sit there for about 4-5 hours once I was ready to head home I started it right up and drove it home with zero issues.

Aby idea what what could be going on? Iíve read before that the cooking system should be upgraded in these but I have not done anything of the sorts yet.

I sold my other car yesterday so itís become my only DD so it would be nice to solve the issue as quick as possible
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:17 AM
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That could have been a stuck thermostat, or it could have been a head gasket letting go. I have read (but have not verified myself) that the entire cooling system can be replaced for about $200, so it does not make any kind of sense to risk trashing an engine by overheating it.

I suggest the first thing to do is to verify your head & head gasket integrity. You'll need an exhaust gas test kit. This will tell you if you have exhaust gasses in the coolant. If you do, it's time to pull the head to see if it's the gasket or the head itself.

If you don't have a head problem, it's time to clean up your system. Likely you have a few components which are shot. Water pump, fan clutch, hoses, thermostat, and yea, probably the radiator. A lot of folks here swear by the Autozone Specter. Lifetime warranty. You can buy better quality radiators, but you will pay through the nose and not get that warranty. Use a good quality T-stat. Some people swear by Stant, some swear at them. Nobody complains about Mopar, except the price. But compared to a trashed engine?

How's the color of the coolant? If it's brownish, you should flush it well BEFORE you replace things. Drain the existing coolant, fill with distilled water, and a good flush product from the auto parts store. Drain, replace the needed components, and refill with distilled water. Run it that way for a week to make sure it's all very clean, then drain and fill with coolant.


As for "upgrading", no need. We have several members here who live in very hot climates who have stock systems and zero problems. If it's in proper working order, the stock system will handle anything other than slow rock crawling in desert temps. Those folks do need to look at upgrades. The rest of us, no.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:37 AM
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Did your system boil over?

Check the coolant for an milky residue and the engine oil for any signs of coolant.

If that is fine spend $40 and replace the Thermostat and the Radiator Cap.

The drive it till it fails again.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueRidgeMark View Post
That could have been a stuck thermostat, or it could have been a head gasket letting go. I have read (but have not verified myself) that the entire cooling system can be replaced for about $200, so it does not make any kind of sense to risk trashing an engine by overheating it.

I suggest the first thing to do is to verify your head & head gasket integrity. You'll need an exhaust gas test kit. This will tell you if you have exhaust gasses in the coolant. If you do, it's time to pull the head to see if it's the gasket or the head itself.

If you don't have a head problem, it's time to clean up your system. Likely you have a few components which are shot. Water pump, fan clutch, hoses, thermostat, and yea, probably the radiator. A lot of folks here swear by the Autozone Specter. Lifetime warranty. You can buy better quality radiators, but you will pay through the nose and not get that warranty. Use a good quality T-stat. Some people swear by Stant, some swear at them. Nobody complains about Mopar, except the price. But compared to a trashed engine?

How's the color of the coolant? If it's brownish, you should flush it well BEFORE you replace things. Drain the existing coolant, fill with distilled water, and a good flush product from the auto parts store. Drain, replace the needed components, and refill with distilled water. Run it that way for a week to make sure it's all very clean, then drain and fill with coolant.


As for "upgrading", no need. We have several members here who live in very hot climates who have stock systems and zero problems. If it's in proper working order, the stock system will handle anything other than slow rock crawling in desert temps. Those folks do need to look at upgrades. The rest of us, no.
Iíll get that test done first thing. If I can find everything I need for $200 (assuming I donít have a head issue) I would be extremely happy with that

coolant doesnít look brown and I havenít seen any milky colors in the oil.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Desertfox1023 View Post
Did your system boil over?

Check the coolant for an milky residue and the engine oil for any signs of coolant.

If that is fine spend $40 and replace the Thermostat and the Radiator Cap.

The drive it till it fails again.
No, it never boiled over.
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sota View Post
coolant doesnít look brown and I havenít seen any milky colors in the oil.
Alas, a lot of people have had head or gasket problems and never see any sign of coolant in the oil. The exhaust gas test is conclusive.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:34 PM
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I agree with mark. One of the purposes of this site is to troubleshoot before throwing many expensive parts at something or 'driving it till it drops'. Do a radiator flush first thing. ChrisFiXx has a good video on youtube. Took me 1 day and 40$. My baby has never run more consistant temps.
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Old 07-11-2018, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyBoy View Post
I agree with mark. One of the purposes of this site is to troubleshoot before throwing many expensive parts at something or 'driving it till it drops'. Do a radiator flush first thing. ChrisFiXx has a good video on youtube. Took me 1 day and 40$. My baby has never run more consistant temps.
Iím going to do the flush and test for head gasket/head issue as soon as my block tester gets in. Iím hoping like hell its not the head


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Old 07-11-2018, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sota View Post


Iím going to do the flush and test for head gasket/head issue as soon as my block tester gets in. Iím hoping like hell its not the head


I did a block test on my '00 not to long ago. I sucked some anti-freeze out of the radiator and let it get to operating temperature. Did the test. Fluid stayed blue. Cause problems could show up when the engine is real hot I let it idle for about an 1 hour in the driveway. Put fresh fluid in and did it again. Still stayed blue. Then my buddy joking around says let's put it near the tailpipe and see what happens.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Ralph77 View Post
I did a block test on my '00 not to long ago. I sucked some anti-freeze out of the radiator and let it get to operating temperature. Did the test. Fluid stayed blue. Cause problems could show up when the engine is real hot I let it idle for about an 1 hour in the driveway. Put fresh fluid in and did it again. Still stayed blue. Then my buddy joking around says let's put it near the tailpipe and see what happens.
Interesting. Were you having overheating issues or just testing?
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Sota View Post


Interesting. Were you having overheating issues or just testing?
Just testing. I have the infamous 0331 head in the '00. Always been a little nervous about it. The Blackstone Labs test was inconclusive as far as if there was anti-freeze in my oil. Been toying with building an engine. Got a buddy who can handle this and I would be able to be part of the process. Figured it might not be a bad idea to see if I could get a handle as to what condition my engine is in. So I went to town on tool purchases. Compression tester. Which I have done. Got good readings. The block tester. Which came back fine. Coolant pressure tester. Discovered a minute leak from the thermostat housing which I took care of with a new gasket. Going to do a leak down test soon. And put a mechanical gauge to her to see what my oil pressure really is. Still might build an engine. Not a stroker per se but maybe a little somethin' somethin'. LOL.

Last edited by Ralph77; 07-11-2018 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ralph77 View Post
Just testing. I have the infamous 0331 head in the '00. Always been a little nervous about it. The Blackstone Labs test was inconclusive as far as if there was anti-freeze in my oil. Been toying with building an engine. Got a buddy who can handle this and I would be able to be part of the process. Figured it might not be a bad idea to see if I could get a handle as to what condition my engine is in. So I went to town on tool purchases. Compression tester. Which I have done. Got good readings. The block tester. Which came back fine. Coolant pressure tester. Discovered a minute leak from the thermostat housing which I took care of with a new gasket. Going to do a leak down test soon. And put a mechanical gauge to her to see what my oil pressure really is. Still might build an engine. Not a stroker per se but maybe a little somethin' somethin'. LOL.
I put 302k on my 00 TJ with the 0331 and it never failed. To this day the engine still runs great.

If your block test didn't show any problem and the oil analysis didn't come back with a problem I'd leave it alone until it cracks or there's a good reason to tear it down and rebuild it. However, if you're going to tear down a perfectly good engine, you might as well go all in.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PatHenry View Post
I put 302k on my 00 TJ with the 0331 and it never failed. To this day the engine still runs great.

If your block test didn't show any problem and the oil analysis didn't come back with a problem I'd leave it alone until it cracks or there's a good reason to tear it down and rebuild it. However, if you're going to tear down a perfectly good engine, you might as well go all in.
I would build a completely different engine. If I did this. Which so far, cause of the tests I have run, seem unnecessary. Would try to find a lower mileage '99 down block to use if I did. In my travels I have come across a couple TUPY heads. One from an '04 Grand Cherokee that the top of a piston was broke in. Paid $50 for that one. Picked up another for free from a later '02 TJ. My logic for the '99 down block would be cause heads in those appear to be less likely to crack meaning less of a chance of anti-freeze getting down there and trashing internals which hopefully means better shape and less work for the machine shop. Turn it into a distributerless one. I already scoffed the computer and wiring harness from a Federal Emissions '00 in the boneyard for $50. Can't tell you what I might do with that. Wink wink.

Last edited by Ralph77; 07-11-2018 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:04 PM
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I agree, flush the system really thoroughly and maybe just run straight water with a coolant flush for a day if you can. Backflush the heater core too.
Then change the thermostat, rad cap, and burp the cooling system. Top it off and keep an eye on the fluid level

If you see the temp hit 1 tick past the middle, you need to go A/C Off, heater on full hot, blower on full, and engine RPM to at least 1500 to start dumping heat out of the cooling system. Avoid boiling over, its really bad for the head and head gasket.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by investinwaffles View Post
I agree, flush the system really thoroughly and maybe just run straight water with a coolant flush for a day if you can. Backflush the heater core too.
Then change the thermostat, rad cap, and burp the cooling system. Top it off and keep an eye on the fluid level

If you see the temp hit 1 tick past the middle, you need to go A/C Off, heater on full hot, blower on full, and engine RPM to at least 1500 to start dumping heat out of the cooling system. Avoid boiling over, its really bad for the head and head gasket.
Now that I think about it. I didnít run with the AC until about the last 15 minutes of the ride and thatís when I had the issue
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