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Discussion Starter #1
Our van started smoking the other day on the way to work, got out and it looks like coolant is splattered on one of the radiator fans and being spread to the exhaust (causing the smoke). Today, there was about a 6 inch wide puddle of coolant in the driveway. My only guess could be a radiator leak? I am clueless because while I know these vans have their fair share of problems, I have never heard of a radiator leak from them. Any thoughts or experiences?
 

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Had to replace my radiator a couple years back - pin hole leak near the top. Nothing as bad as what you're reporting, but it's not unheard of.
 

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Yep. Sounds like a cooling issue. You can have it pressure tested at a radiator shop or do it yourself. I just changed out a radiator on mine two weeks ago. I ordered it and somehow I ended up with two of them. If you need one I'll sell it and ship it to you.
 

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Got a good look at it today, there is a nice (almost as described above) pinhole leak in the top drivers side of the radiator. It was squirting directly on the fan and on the exhaust... A new radiator is in store for me, I hear the radiator sealant is bad news? How much for the radiator filex13?
 

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In the box brand new, never used, Spectra Premium CU2795 Complete Radiator. Asking $80.00 OBO plus shipping.
 

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The price depends on where you buy it. Plus the radiator should be pretty easy to replace. Also if you haven't done so already,I would advise you to change the upper and lower rad hoses, and that metal pipe going from the lower rad hose to the water pump if its rusted. Your shot on the water pump, if its not leaking then leave it alone. Change the clamps also and use HOAT antifreeze.

I'm on my third radiator if you include the OEM one.
 

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I think I have a radiator leak, too. Our 2007 Grand Caravan appeared to be dripping a slimy fluid from the bottom of the bumper. It didn't look or smell like coolant. Yesterday, after a short drive, there was a pretty decent puddle under the van and about a quart of coolant was gone from the recovery tank. A quick look at the hoses didn't show any leaks. A little later in the day, I thought I saw a wet spot on the radiator tank just above the petcock.

I am not an expert mechanic, but I have changed a couple of radiators before (Ford Ranger and Pontiac Grand Am). How does this one fit on the difficulty scale? For example, on the Ford I had a lot of problems with leaking fittings on the transmission cooler lines.

So I am debating whether to take this one to the shop pr try it myself. Is there any advantage to that? Or, if I do it myself, is there any advantage to buying a Dodge radiator or hoses? Are there any tricks to the installation I should know about?

We bought this van new and have driven it a little over 70,000 miles without any major repairs. It does use about a quart of oil every 1000 miles as described elsewhere on this forum, and we are presently experiencing the passenger sliding door problem. After I get the radiator issue resolved I will take a look at the door. My wife loves the van,it is a nice ride, and it is paid for, so I think we will be keeping it a while. so you will probably be seeing me here from time to time. Thanks to all for reading.
 

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My T&C 2006 3.8 Lts had a leak on the "radiator tank"; radiator is composed of two tanks on each side, these are black and made of plastic and the one that fails most of the time is the tank on the right side or driver side since this is the one that receives the hot water from the engine creating a thermal shock; I took it to a radiator shop and they replaced the tank (detach the clamps that bonds tank with radiator body/grille) and performed a pressure test...it was fixed and avoid me to buy a brand new radiator. At any rate would suggest you get a new radiator as doesn't seem quite expensive.
 

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Replacing the radiator isn't that hard. It will take some time though. I did it in about 2-3 hours and I was just taking my time. Make sure as you disassemble that you remember how everything goes. There are rubber strips along the top and sides. The radiator I got ( Spectra Premium CU2795) came with a bar/bracket across the top that you will have to remove as it's probably for the same model of part but for use in a different model car. Good luck!
 

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There are some good videos on youtube on replacing the radiator in this model van. I actually gained two very good points from the one I watched:

1) You can get to the font side-mount bolts by removing the headlights and reaching through the opening there
2) The transmission cooler sits between the radiator and the a/c condenser. The transmission cooler is pop-riveted to its mounting bracket, and the pop-rivets are known to break from vibration. Once that happens, the cooler will vibrate back and forth between the radiator and a/c condenser, and will eventually rub a hole through one or both of them. I did find two broken rivets on mine and wouldn't have known to look for them if not for the video.
 

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I replaced mine last year as it was leaking between the side tank and core on the top left - driver's - side. (Just in case you didn't know, right and left on a vehicle are from the perspective of sitting in the front seat). Anyway, a new one was about $100 from the local auto parts store. I had the trans cooler broken off like pgaines describes so I fabbed up a new brace to hopefully keep it from happening again. I didn't know the headlight trick to get at the front bolts. I used cussing instead.

Bill
 

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The van and I survived the radiator replacement. Thanks for the advice.

A couple of observations:

(1) It took me about six hours to do this, but that included a lunch break, a couple of breaks to get out of the heat, and a trip to the store to get some distilled water. It also inclluded a half hour lost in fishing a dropped socket out of the engine.

(2) The van has 71,000 miles on it, and I was pleased to see that the coolant I removed still looked clean. In addition, the upper and lower hoses still seemed pretty solid. ( Unfortunately, they were pretty well seized to their mounting points and I had to cut them off. I hated that because I think they would have been excellent emergency spares.) Had the radiator not leaked, I feel like I could have made it to 100,000 miles before I would have attempted to change the coolant and hoses.

(3) I looked at the thermostat and elected not to replace it because it looked pretty clean and it would not come out of the housing easily. Access to the thermostat was simple enough that I think it would be a fairly quick job if the existing one fails.

(4) The youTube videos on the subject were helpful, and I wouldn't have thought about removing the cross bar to get access to the radiator if I had not watched the video. Nonetheless, the radiator was pretty tightly bound to the A/C condenser, and there wasn't a lot of play in the hoses to facilitate removal/installation. So I had to work with it for about 30 minutes to get it out. and about 10 minutes to get the new one in.

(5) Is there an easier way to drain the overflow tank than removing it? I tried a siphon pump, but it was minimally successful. So I ended up unbolting the tank and pulling it to clean it.

(6) Even though Dex-Cool is "factory approved", I went with Peak Extended Life (Yellow-Green) antifreeze. I had a bad experience with Dex-Cool on our Pontiac Grand-Am, and it destroyed all the gaskets.

So far, so good. I will keep a watchful eye on everything and probably flush and refill the coolant at around 100,000 miles.
 

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I would think that their would be a drain cork or something to drain the overflow tank. Maybe remove the coolant hoe going to the tank and let all the coolant drain. Don't take my word for it because I'm just guessing as I don't know.
 

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Yep. Sounds like a cooling issue. You can have it pressure tested at a radiator shop or do it yourself. I just changed out a radiator on mine two weeks ago. I ordered it and somehow I ended up with two of them. If you need one I'll sell it and ship it to you.
U still have that radiator?? 2006 3.3 engine559-310-3976 text for I am deaf
 

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In case anyone is thinking about replacing the radiator themselves... It is pretty easy to do. Look for youtube videos. My factory radiator sprung a leak after 15 years and I also went with the Spectra Premium CU2795 which fits and works perfect. For coolant I have had excellent luck with Valvoline Zerex G-05 which is also approved for my Ford Five Hundred.

2005 Town and Country bought new 251k miles
 
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