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Michelle B
Dodge Dakota
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11/20/2012
15:16:31

Subject: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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Last July, had heads replaced in my 4.7L V-8 Dakota. Also had water pump replaced in conjunction.

In January, had same overheating problem...turns out had a faulty water pump. Shop replaced it with new one, no cost to me, and replaced thermostat and rad cap.

In June this year, same problem....drinking coolant. Can't figure out why. Seemed to overheat every 4-6 weeks or so, discovered empty rad/reservoir each time.

Now, just had it happen AGAIN, end of October. Three weeks later, same problem...

Where the hell is my coolant going? No leaks that anyone can find, no white smoke, no antifreeze smell in cabin nor exhaust.

Any help would be most appreciated.
Thanks,
Michelle



Noogies
Dodge Dakota
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12/02/2012
16:36:08

RE: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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Hi, Michelle. Had to reply, as I saw nobody else did. My '02 QC 4X4 4.7 was doing exactly the same thing. Turned out that the #8 cylinder was full of coolant, even though the only symptom of the problem was coolant loss and subsequent overheating -- no white smoke, only evident leak was out of the spit tank which overflowed because there was no vacuum to suck coolant back into the system. As long as I kept topping it up, it ran great.

I would look first to the shop that did the heads -- the gaskets on these things are a very tricky "floating" design and it's easy to screw up an installation if you haven't done a lot of them. That said, if it's been running excessively hot for too long/far, it may be time for a whole new engine because there's no way of knowing what other damage has been done. Sorry about that, but it ended up being the solution to my problem.



Michelle B
Dodge Dakota
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12/02/2012
16:40:17

RE: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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Thanks Noogies. Actually, the next day, I had it in another shop for something totally unrelated....and they told me the heads were done incorrectly. The shop that did the original work wouldn't work with me, even though I'd had it in there several times because it just kept drinking coolant. Same deal, no other symptoms so they told me I was crazy.

Anyway...they said since I was past the 12 month warranty mark I was hosed.

So. I traded that truck in, got a 2007 Dakota and resolved never to visit that shop again. :)

Thanks for the response, I appreciate it. Good to know I'm NOT crazy.



noogies
Dodge Dakota
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12/02/2012
16:41:46

RE: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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PS -- You should probably start with a compression and cooling system pressure test before you throw a whole new engine at the thing. That's how I isolated my problem --low compression in #8, and pressure test drove coolant into the cylinder.



noogies
Dodge Dakota
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12/02/2012
16:46:32

RE: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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Whoops -- disregard. Didn't expect a reply so fast! Glad to hear everything worked out (maybe kind of expensively, though)... but kind of surprised you went for another Dakota. Be curious to hear how this one goes for you!



Michelle B
Dodge Dakota
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12/02/2012
16:50:37

RE: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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No worries...they did all that, or said they did, compression/cooling tests. The cooling system check is what the second shop did to determine heads were bad. Not sure what they did differently.

Original shop has a good reputation....very surprised this all went as bad as it did.

LOL yeah.....most expensive head job in history right. :/

I loved my Dakota. It's a great truck. The new one seems to be good, only had it a week and a half though, so time will tell.

Thanks again for the responses, I do appreciate the time!
MB



noogies
Dodge Dakota
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12/02/2012
17:06:25

RE: 2002 Dakota Drinking Coolant
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Not a problem. Good luck with your new truck.



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