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Mopar Certified
Mopar Certified, Dodge Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 11332
Experience:  24 Year Chrysler/Dodge Certified Specialist
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2002 Dodge Intrepid SE: overheating..local garage..hose..we drove it

Customer Question

Hi I own a 2002 Dodge Intrepid SE with 116k miles 2.7 engine. Car stated overheating & took to our local garage mechanic & said it needed this plastic hose because it was leaking so we drove it for a week & it overheated. again. This time he said it's going to be Big $$ most likely head gasket job. Antifreeze is in the oil. The engine turns over & starts & runs no noises & then I shut it off for fear of causing additional damage. I talked to a service advisior & chief tech at the dealership & they said bring it in it may be a water pump or radiator or headgaskets. They would test the co2 or or monoxide levels in the oil to determine the problem @a cost of 1-4 hundred $ then if it needs head gaskets the total cost would be around 2K less the 1-4. I'm Unemployed & have done major overhauls & engine swaps in the past is there a cheap fix to determine what direction to go so I can fix myself. Manuals, instructions or tests or step by step service guide info. Thank you John
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

Hello my name is Mark.


If you are getting antifreeze in the engine oil it is either going to be a water pump issue as this is mounted inside the timing cover or a head gasket issue. I would tend to believe it is more likely a water pump issue. Can you get access to a pressure tester to pressurize the cooling system? Are you seeing any coolant leaking on the ground?


There are also products available at most parts stores that can be added to the cooling system to test for combustion gases........which would indicate a head gasket issue. These are inexpensive and are generally referred to as a "block tester".



With engine not running, wipe the coolant bottle neck sealing seat clean.

Attach a radiator pressure tester to the coolant bottle, as shown in (PRESSURE TESTING COOLING SYSTEM) and apply 104 kPa (15 psi) pressure. If the pressure drops more than 2 psi in 2 minutes inspect all points for external leaks.

All hoses, radiator and heater, should be moved while at 15 psi since some leaks occur while driving due to engine rock, etc.


If there are no external leaks after the gauge dial shows a drop in pressure, detach the tester. Start engine and run the engine to normal operating temperature in order to open the thermostat and allow the coolant to expand. Reattach the tester. If the needle on the dial fluctuates it indicates a combustion leak, usually a head gasket leak.


If the needle on the dial does not fluctuate, race the engine a few times. If an abnormal amount of coolant or steam is emitted from the tail pipe, it may indicate a faulty head gasket, cracked engine block or cylinder head.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Did a presure test but could not get any presure to hold. wHAT NOW??
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

Ok, if the system is not holding pressure then it is leaking. If you do not see any leakage on the ground then the leakage will be internal. In other words the water pump or the head gaskets.


Either way it will need to be disassembled. Seeing as the timing chain has to come off to pull the heads I would remove the timing chain cover first and this will give you the opprtunity to view the pump for leaks. If you can see it leaking you've found your answer. If there is no leak then you will be pulling the heads.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
There is a leak on the left front under engine front portion. Also I took off the oil cap filler area & looked at that area it had white foam type residue along with an antifreeze droplet showing. Should I put more fliuid in the resevior & presure test again to try to determine where the leak is coming from? Is this the area of leak by the water pump?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

When the water pump leaks it will run out a hole in the side of the timing cover............this hole is pretty hard to see, but this would make the leak appear to be from the front of the engine on the passenger side.


It will also leak into the oil and that is why you are seeing the white foamy stuff.


By all means add some more water to the system and see if it comes out from where I am suggesting to you.


It goes without saying that the oil and filter will need to be changed once the repiars have been done.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Tried adding water to resevoir & appling presure but the presure builds but then releases with no outward signs of leaks. head gasket?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.
Nah, i bet it's the water pump.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Why are you so confidient it's the water pump not the head gaskets or internal crack in the block somewhere? Are they prone to this problem?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

The water pump is far more likely to leak than the head gaskets.


If you would prefer a professional opinion of someone who actually gets to test your vehicle in front of them......feel free. You have been quoted the prices for that.


I am simply trying to answer your questions based on what you tell me and my experiences.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok thanks for the help I guess the next is start by tearing it down to finally dertermine which it will end up being. Any good step by step book or manuals I should refer to before tackling such a job?
Again Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

I will gladly send you some instructions but this is a pay site.


So far you haven't found the need to ACCEPT my responses. If you can do so i will send you some info.

Mopar Certified and other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.


The water pump on all models can be replaced without discharging the air conditioning system.


Drain cooling system. (Refer to 7 - COOLING - STANDARD PROCEDURE)

  1. Remove radiator upper crossmember. (Refer to 23 - BODY/EXTERIOR/GRILLE OPENING REINFORCEMENT - REMOVAL)
  2. Remove radiator fan. (Refer to 7 - COOLING/ENGINE/RADIATOR FAN - REMOVAL)
  3. Remove accessory drive belts. (Refer to 7 - COOLING/ACCESSORY DRIVE/DRIVE BELTS - REMOVAL)

    NOTE: The water pump is driven by the primary timing chain.

  4. Remove the timing chain and all chain guides(Refer to 9 - ENGINE/VALVE TIMING/TIMING BELT/CHAIN AND SPROCKETS - REMOVAL).
  5. Remove bolts attaching water pump to block (WATER PUMP - 2.7L).
  6. Remove water pump and gasket.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for the above reference area but when I go there they ask for user name & password XXXXX log in what do I use??
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 8 years ago.

For step1.


  • Open hood.
  • Mark bolt locations on the upper radiator closure panel.
  • Remove bolts attaching windshield washer bottle and speed control servo, if equipped
  • Remove headlamp jackscrews both sides.
  • Remove fasteners attaching upper bumper fascia.
  • Remove bolts attaching the forward edge of upper radiator closure panel.
  • Remove bolts attaching upper radiator closure panel.
  • Disconnect hood latch cable from hood latch.
  • Remove upper radiator closure panel from vehicle.
  • For replacement of upper radiator closure panel, remove hood latch, and any other hardware

    For Step 2


  • Remove radiator upper crossmember
  • Disconnect radiator fan motor electrical connector.
  • Partially drain cooling system below the level of the upper radiator hose.
  • Disconnect upper radiator hose from radiator.
  • Remove radiator fan attaching fasteners and upper clip
  • Remove radiator fan by lifting upward to clear radiator.


    For step 3



    1. Loosen tensioner pulley locking nut (ACCESSORY DRIVE BELTS).
    2. Loosen belt adjusting bolt (ACCESSORY DRIVE BELTS).
    3. Remove generator/power steering belt.


    NOTE: The A/C drive belt self tensioner is NOT a dynamic tensioner. After adjustment the tensioner bracket bolts are tightened. The torsion spring is no longer responsible for tensioning the A/C belt. The torsion spring is only used for initial belt tensioning.

    1. Remove generator/power steering belt to gain access to A/C belt.
    2. Loosen BUT DO NOT REMOVE tensioner locking bolt and pivot bolt
    3. Insert 1/2" drive breaker bar into square opening on belt tensioner. Rotate tensioner counterclockwise until belt can be removed from pulleys .
    4. Slowly rotate tensioner clockwise to relieve spring load.



    Step 4



    1. Remove upper intake manifold. Remove cylinder head covers, crankshaft vibration damper, and timing chain cover.
    2. CAUTION: When aligning timing marks, always rotate engine by turning the crankshaft. Failure to do so will result in valve and/or piston damage.

    3. Align crankshaft sprocket timing mark to mark on oil pump housing . The mark on oil pump housing is 60° ATDC of #1 cylinder.

      CAUTION: When the timing chain is removed and the cylinder heads are still installed, DO NOT rotate the camshafts or crankshaft without first locating the proper crankshaft position. Failure to do so will result in valve and/or piston damage.

    4. Remove primary timing chain tensioner from right cylinder head
    5. Remove camshaft position sensor from left cylinder head
    6. Remove chain guide access plug from left cylinder head

      NOTE: When camshaft sprocket bolts are removed, the camshafts will rotate in a clockwise direction.

    7. Starting with the right camshaft sprocket, remove the sprocket attaching bolts. Remove camshaft damper (if equipped) and sprocket
    8. Remove left side camshaft sprocket attaching bolts and remove sprocket
    9. Remove lower chain guide and tensioner arm
    10. Remove the primary timing chain.