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Roland, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 445
Experience:  Master Certified for 10 years, Been working in Dodge Dealerships since 1992
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2000 Dodge Stratus: The rubber part that attaches..radiator cap

Customer Question

I have a 2000 Dodge Stratus. The rubber part that attaches to the radiator (the part that the radiator cap attaches) continues to crack. We have replaced it about 20 times in the last 6 months. When it first started, it was also overheating. We replaced the water pump but it did not really help the situation. I have taken it to a mechanic 3 times in the last 6 weeks and have been told that he cannot find anything wrong, "some cars just do that."
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.

Welcome to Just Answer,

Where did you buy the radiator from ?

Some after market part suppliers are not worth the cheap price. Though i will be honest with you, the side plastic tank is a problem even with other chrys model cars: as well with other car lines, Ford, GM, etc...

I have had luck with a custum built radiator from 1-866-863-8080 ask for Dave. See he will custum the radiator with Aluminum side tanks and provide lifetime warrenty. this radiator will hold up to the high temps and will not crack. under pressure.

Modine stopped making radiators and this company was the best now aftermarket people use there name, due to they where popular, and slid an aftermarket radiator in a Modine box. So, call Dave and compare. Consider the Aluminum side tank or sell the car.

, Regards, Leon

Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.

Thank you For using

Kind Regards, Leon

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I have not replaced the radiator, just the rubber part. I believe I heard someone refer to it as the thermostat housing. Do you think the entire radiator needs replacing?

Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.

Are you talking about the plastic tank that is to the left and right of radiator (End caps) or the thermostat housing ?? Is there an upper radiator hoes going to it ?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The thermostat housing. It keeps cracking and radiator fluid pouring out......we have replaced it about 20 times in the last 6 months. The thermostat has been replaced about 3 times, so it is not that. The mechanic has checked all of the hoses and they are okay. He also checked to make sure there were no leaks in the head gasket and there were not. I just need to know what could be making it do this so I can fix the thing. Thank you so much for your time! Laughing
Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.
ok thank you for clarifying this i have a Dodge Intrepid, and mine used to do this. I am calling my parts guy in the morning, so i will talk to you sometime in the afternoon, Thanks, Leon
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so very much!!!
Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.
What liter engine do you have, Leon
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It is a 2.0
Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.

thank you

be back

Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.

My Guy did not have your car model. I searched for you and found a chrome water neck so you can get rid of the Plastic Fantastic! and go Chrome!!!!!!

I am going to call for you in the morning and set this up for you , Lee

The water neck site is---

Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.
Yes ,they have one for you , Thank you for using, Leon
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for your time, but you have not answered my question. I am aware that I can replace the rubber housing with one made from a different material. That does not solve my problem. My question was, from the beginning, what is causing my car to overheat to the point that it continues to crack the housing? Sure, I can replace it with a chrome one that will not crack; however, something else will, like a hose, etc. I need to know what could be making my car do this. Again, a mechanic has checked it out on 3 different occasions and cannot find a problem.
Expert:  Master Tech Lee replied 7 years ago.

I am sorry i re read the question and i do see the small part of overheating . In the beginning to the end talks about the rubber (Plastic) thermostat housing.

Thank you for clarifying the main complaint.

Now with the housing leaking how much coolant do you estimate you loose and how often do you add coolant ??

And do you see steam or coolant in the oil -- it will appear are a white color in oil ?

These engines are known for head gasket problems. Is the engine miss firing?, running rough ? and/or loss of power?

pull the spark plugs do you see a brownish color to any of them ?

Again sorry for the misunderstanding, Regards, Leon


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The head gasket has been checked (just last week) and it is fine. There is no water in the oil. The engine is running fine. It varies on how much coolant leaks a day. Last Thursday, I never saw any steam. However, on Friday, there was steam coming out from under the hood after myXXXXXto work. I have not driven it any this weekend. Sometimes, the steam just pours out and fluid runs out near the front passenger side tire. We add coolant about 3 times a week and it varies from a cup at a time to a little more. When the housing actually cracks, we have to add much more, of course.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I have not heard back from you since Sunday. Any suggestions?
Expert:  Roland replied 7 years ago.

Hello, my name is Roland


There are two things I need you to check for me.


  1. water pump area, known to have leak when hot. should show stain marks from where the coolant leaked before.
  2. freeze out plugs in block. known to rust out causing a leak.

The way you are describing the coolant leak I would have to say it is the water pump causing the leak. The water pump vent/drain will be on the back side of the engine just behind the timing cover near the top of the oil pan.

With the thermostat housing I have seen two thing that brake them.

  1. thermostat install wrong causing the o ring gasket to roll, which causes to much pressure in one spot.
  2. housing over tighten and when the vehicle gets to hot the housing brakes since the housing can not move with the aluminum.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The water pump was replaced about 4 months ago and did not correct the problem. I will check the other things. Thank you for your response. I would like to keep this open until the end of the week. That way, if I need to ask you something further after checking these things I can. At that point, I will accept your answer and make a payment. The thermostat was replace before the water pump. This has been going on for a while now. Once we replace the housing, it will last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks before it cracks again. If you think of any other suggestions, please send them.