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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 23118
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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2004 dodge dakota: hoses, cap, water pump changed, and the radiator

Resolved Question:

I have a 2004 dodge dakota with 185K miles. Last September it started to run hot so I had the thermostat, hoses, cap, water pump changed, and the radiator flushed. No problem until now. In slow traffic or idle the truck will get hot and would overheat if I did not pull over, shift to nuetral, and rev engine as described in the owner manual. In fast traffic temp runs normal. Antifreeze doesn't appear to be leaking but did blow back through the resevoir once; lower hose was not pinched when this happened.

Took it to my local mechanic and he said under presssure there was no leak. He said he tried something (sorry I didn't catch the whole explanation) to see if it was a head gasket leak but said that didn't show any leak. His thought was that it may be the beginning of a head gasket leak and I may want to start thinking of trading it in because a head gasket job on this truck would be very expensive. Anyway for me to determine the cause? Is a head gasket job on this truck very expensive?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 7 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!

The headgaskets on the 4.7 are multi layered steel and shouldn't give a problem on their own. If there is a combustion leak into the cooling system it would more likely come from a head that was warped or small cracks in the roof of the combustion chambers. If you had a combustion leak it should have showed up on the test that was done, you should see bubbles in the coolant with the engine running, the coolant level should go down over time, you might see smoke from the tailpipe on startup, and it might run rough on startup.

It sounds like your problem is coming from lack of airflow over the radiator. If it runs hot when you are stopped but ok at higher speeds that means there isn't enough flow over the radiator to remove the heat from the coolant as it passes through. At low speeds the engine driven fan or electric fan (depends on how it's equipped) has to engage to pull air through the radiator, when you get to 30-40 miles per hour then there is enough natural airflow over the radiator to cool it.

Your truck most likely has an engine driven fan on the front of the water pump, and then an electric fan used mostly for cooling the a/c condensor when the a/c is on. If this is your setup then you'll want to have the fan clutch replaced. This is what is in the center of the fan blade and controls when the engine driven fan engages.
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