2004 Liberty running hot **SOLVED**

24kkarat

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Hey friend. Install a nice new radiator and you should be good.
I had a 2003 with 187k miles. I had originally motor and could never flush it out clean enough. The gelling issues are real with the orange hoat and other antifreeze is real, but you have a a new motor with new pump etc , so cross that off. It's running well most of the time except heavy load, so cross off any boogie men from gaskets and such.
Check your thermostat install orientation and burp it well when you install new radiator and you should be good to go.
BTW, my old radiator would not drain through the drain, which puzzled me. My radiator was plugged with goo 1/3 up from the bottom! That could be Goodluck!
Also make sure you backflush your heater core with really high flow water. Both ways. They sludge up too. Happened in my 2010 KK. Flushed and now works like it should.
Gooduck!
 

mduclow

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Thankfully, after a few quick checks, there are no blown head gasket or similar issues.

Thought I would add/update. I bought a mech. water temp gauge, installed it this morning and went out for a drive. I did test the gauge first with boiling water and a harbor freight laser temp reader, it is within 2 degrees as I tested and that's fine for my purposes here.

Now, I can't believe this is how Jeep sets up the cooling system on these. As indicated by others, the temp gauge didn't move off "half" until it was reading 225+ on the new gauge, additionally, it had gotten to the bottom of the half point at about 170+ on the new gauge.

I don't like that at all. I can park the Liberty with the gauge having just gotten past the half point, think I am fine, and shut it off and go inside. In reality if it has started creeping past the half way point, it is 230+, which to me says it's approaching a heat soak point. Not good in my opinion. Especially if this is a regular thing in the summer.

I really don't like how the factory gauge let's you think you are fine with temps, when in fact you just might be tickling hot all the time.

I'm feeling even better about the new radiator now. I might even consider wiring in a temp control for the fan and just disconnect it from the factory wiring. I would much prefer to have the high speed only just come on at about 205 or so. Waiting until 225+ to fully engage the cooling system, to me, is too high, I don't like that.

I much prefer it when a vehicle runs in the 195-205 range, not the 215-225 range that these Liberty's (mine) seem to run at in the summer as a normal temp.
 

JeepJeepster

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Get a mechanical fan and with the Hayden clutch, it shouldn't go over 204F.

When I only had the electric fan, it would kick on low at 217F every-time. Now with the mechanical fan, it only kicks on when the trans gets hot or the A/C is on. The engine hasnt went over 204F no matter what Im doing since I installed the mechanical fan.
 

Andrey Levy

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I had the same problem with my Liberty 2005. Suddenly it started to overheat when climbing or when 4x4 engaged with the A/C. My mechanic replaced the fan clutch on the mechanical fan and the issue resolved.
 

mduclow

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got the radiator late yesterday. Impressive looking piece.
 

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mduclow

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Hey all, got that radiator installed this morning.

So, did it need some modification, yes. Was it a pain or difficult, no.

The fan shroud needs to be trimmed at the motor, where it says "hot caution" cut that strip off across it or it will smash into the a/c and alternator. I think I cut about an inch worth off.

The upper radiator hose needs about 1-1/2" trimmed off it, and the lower (I didn't trim) probably wants about 1/2" - 3/4" trimmed off it. I did trim about an inch off the small hose at the upper radiator hose, also.

That was it, everything else was as a direct fit would be.

The fan shroud slipped into a notch and bolted on as it did on the original, the A/C condenser on the back slipped into a notch and bolted on like the original.

Everything lined up and fit like the original with the above noted exceptions.

The lower hose leaked a lot on initial install, it turned out to be that it was jamming against the radiator a bit, once I pulled it away from the radiator a little and re-tightened the clamp it stopped leaking. That's why I comment that the lower hose probably wants about 3/4" trimmed off it's length.

Airflow is still an issue on this Liberty. I will be addressing that in the very near future.

Test drive. After filling it, burping it and letting it run a bit without any leaks I felt confident going for a drive. It is definitely better than what I was dealing with previously. It is still showing an airflow issue, but this radiator is doing a good job of cooling.

In stop and go traffic at 85 degrees with the A/C on and 6500' in altitude she only went over 220 once hitting 230, that was 20 minutes into the drive and having just climbed 350' in altitude, she dropped right back to 210 in about 3 minutes after hitting 230, and it was only at 230 for maybe a minute.

As soon as I got on a road I could run 65 on, she dropped to 195 within a couple minutes. The fan and shroud design has way too many big gaps and is inefficient at providing adequate low speed airflow.

Most of the test drive had temps in the 200-210 range, only creeping past 210 for a total of 8 or 9 minutes on the whole 35 minute test drive. And that was when climbing or in stop and go traffic. This is why I think it has an airflow issue (fan not good enough as it is), and I feel I can fix that with a $22 adjustable temperature control direct wired to the high speed side of the fan. I think if I get the high speed fan coming on at about 205 or so and maybe close some of the shroud gaps it probably won't hit 220 much, if at all.

Transmission line fittings are a standard 5/8"-18 fine thread. I have not yet plumbed the trans lines through the radiator, honestly I didn't want to cut the lines until I knew the radiator was in and good. I do have barb fittings already on the radiator, I just need to cut the supply hard line and run the hose. Easy.

Final thoughts... I am satisfied, was hoping for a little better, definitely worth the price. Would do it again.

I will continue to update.
 
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JeepJeepster

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Since you have a separate trans cooler, its not a must to use the rad cooler. It will cool the trans more, but will also add a little heat to the engine.

Its not so much that the fan isnt good enough as is, the Jeep engineers just thought it was ok to wait till 217F for the fan to kick on.

Be careful wiring something to the high side of the fan. I do believe the low side needs to be off before the high side kicks on.
 

mduclow

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So, I kind of thought there still might be an air pocket in it and there was. Took it out for another drive, 1 hour+, and it barely went over 210 staying mostly around 200.

At one point about 25 minutes in I had a super steep grade incline, 2nd gear, 3500 rpms with the A/C on, 85 degrees about 90 second climb, literally plateaued at a stoplight that was turning red when I got to it. She had been at 200, spiked to 218 at the top of the hill, and went to 222 sitting at the light. As soon as I started moving it cooled right back down to 200. That's what I was hoping for, that kind of performance.

Then at the very end of the drive the temp spiked to 220+ and wouldn't cool down, I think it developed another air pocket.

I'm letting it cool, will try to burp it again after it's cooled some.

But this radiator is looking pretty good to me.

As to the fan, I was thinking I would simply unplug it from the factory wiring and just hook up the ground and high speed wire with the temp control. EDIT: OK, OK, before you all start yelling, relay, proper ground, etc... but direct and unplugged from factory wiring
 
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mduclow

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I'm now thinking maybe I should just close up the bigger shroud gaps and add the mechanical fan.

This Liberty of mine does not have the mech fan and I'm starting to think my situation is one that would benefit from it.

And on that note, I think this new radiator moved the electric fan about an inch closer (probably less) to the motor, I hope there is still adequate clearance for the mech fan.
 
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JeepJeepster

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When did the temp spike? When you were cruising along or when you were stopped? Sure seems odd you climbed a hill for 3 minutes and it was fine then later on it suddenly spiked. When the A/C is on, the fan should be on low constantly and will kick on high if needed. Have you seen/heard the fan kick on high? Before the mechanical fan, my engine stayed at 195-200F with the A/C on, ALWAYS. Towing or not towing.

I was wondering about the clearance issue with the mechanical fan when you said the electric fan was closer to the engine. It will be very tight. Be careful with the electric fan wiring, I shaved the insulation off of mine trying to installed a bigger mechanical fan clutch. The original hayden replacement fan clutch is shorter than the one I was trying to use.

Still odd. Ive towed 8,000lbs with my liberty on a 90F day with the throttle wide open for several minutes, it didnt even think about overheating.
 

mduclow

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OK, so I let it cool down and it had a HUUUGE burp!!

It was showing a bit over filled prior and after the burp it took about 5+ cups of coolant to bring it to the cold fill line.

Took it out for another 45 minute drive. Outside temps are 62 degrees, no A/C, some climbing - not severe but typical for around here (6500'). I wanted to see what it was doing now that it seemed to burp all the air out.

The new water temp gauge never went over 197, and it stayed around 189-192 almost the whole drive. Air is definitely out.

In total, with the new radiator, I think it took a little more than 4-1/2 gallons of coolant. I think that is about a gallon over the stock radiator.

Very pleased, will test again in the heat with A/C.
 

mduclow

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Got up this morning and checked the fill level for the coolant, she burped good again last night, took almost 1/3 gallon of coolant to bring it to the cold fill line.

Took her out for a drive again, great temps, then she started getting hot again (215-227), more air, then it dropped back to 200, she must have burped, then she started to get a little hot (210) again, really?!?

I must have really gotten a whopper of an air pocket in there when filling it on the repair.

I've always burped a radiator by running cold with the cap off, let it warm up, thermostat opens and usually it will just flow and push the air through. This Liberty seems to want trap air all over the motor.

But, she had 3 cool down burps and one on a drive. So, maybe there is not much left in there, she's cooling down now, will see if she gives another burp. I might want to run the heat again for a bit.

For those of you that don't know what I mean by a "cool down burp" - primarily those reading this not involved in the forum - it is (basically) when the temps get a little high, like 220+, and you let it cool down to ambient (essentially). The pressure drop (from going hot to cold in a sealed system) kinda creates like a vacuum and (can) literally pushes the air out to the high point, in our case the overflow reservoir, essentially burping out the air.
This is just a simple explanation for understanding the concept, it is a bit more than just that.
 

mduclow

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OK, 1 more test drive. I actually do think it has just about burped out any and all air in the system.

I went for a 1 hour drive. 86 -92 degrees out, A/C on, hills, climbs, all of it. Never went over 210. First 30 minutes stayed at about 192 - 197, then it climbed to about 200 ish for the rest of the drive.

A couple times it just about hit 210, but that was only after a good climb or sitting in traffic at a light after some minor climbing, and in the 92 degree heat.

She might have burped a little air on the drive, too, because she cooled a few degrees near the end of the drive, dipping back under 200.

Keep in mind for me at this altitude (6500') my motor doesn't make the same power, so this Liberty always has to work a little extra hard for everything compared to sea level, 1000' or even 2000'. Heck, everybody runs 85 octane instead of 87 because of the low oxygen in the air! I had never seen a pump with 85 octane before moving here!

Additionally, I'm at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just south of Denver. So there is a lot of hilly terrain out here, and some of those hills are hundreds of feet at a time. That's normal, "go to work" type driving out here, gas mileage always suffers out here for the altitude and hilly terrain.
 

mduclow

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Hopefully there is still enough clearances for a clutch fan with this non-oem radiator.
By the way the radiator was designed I would think the mech fan should fit, but I suspect it is probably close

She keeps burping air. Temps will be great, then they'll climb a little. I'll park it and temps will climb to almost 220, then she'll purge the air. I'm seeing a pattern here. I've easily added over a gallon of coolant from burping/purging air.

Wow, did I get a big air pocket in there!

I'm really liking this radiator, I might actually run into a slight issue in cold temps with it cooling too much, we'll see this winter.
 
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AaronFord

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I have a little project in the works on my KJ. Can you share where you got the radiator and where you lost clearance?
 

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mduclow

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I have a little project in the works on my KJ. Can you share where you got the radiator and where you lost clearance?
Sure.

3-Row All Aluminum Radiator, it was off amazon. I think they are out of stock now, their inventory sold very quickly after I purchased mine.

Clearance was only the fan shroud - just trim it. It is closer to the A/C and alternator, I think I trimmed about an inch worth off across it, basically removing the "Caution Hot" strip.
Upper radiator hose needs to be shortened 1-1/2" and the little one next to it.
Might want to shorten the lower a half inch.

I don't know exactly how much closer the electric fan is to the motor with this new radiator, but I believe it is an inch or less. I do not have the mechanical clutch fan, so I don't know about clearance. Could be tight, but I'm inclined to think it would fit. You can ask the vendor that question, if it was tested for clearance with the mech fan.
 

mduclow

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Let me give you all an update.

It's an excellent radiator, especially for the price, get one.

I'm STILL dealing with purging air, but it is now just about all out. Let me explain.

I have been building old muscle cars for 40+ years, I have never had a problem, after more than 25 dry fills on a coolant system, with an air pocket and certainly nothing like this. I obviously filled the system wrong and got a very large air pocket in there, almost 2 gallons worth so far, really.

Up to this morning, I would take her out for a drive, temps will be about 190-195, then she'll creep, 200, 205, 210, 215, 220, even 230+ a few times for a minute. Ok, another pocket of air has moved, I know how to get it out now while driving! I'll turn erratically, hit some bumps and dips, ****, she'll drop back under 200, air pocket moved/purged. Temp gauge reads 192, great! Here we go again, repeat above.

This morning she went to almost 210 a couple of times, about 215 once and the rest of the time she lived at about 192 ish. It's 92 outside right now. I do think there is still some air in there, but it is almost completely out, it is much more stable with the temps right now even when it is moving the air around.
I also think (maybe) right now the air pocket is getting read by the new gauge at the sensor, the upper hose neck to the motor. I used the purge plug location for the sending unit. I think air is moving to that point before purging and the new gauge is reporting it.

When it is completely purged I will take her up in the mountains and see how she does with that kind of strain and heat. I'm pretty sure she'll take it with little complaint with this radiator.

I will continue to update.
 
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mduclow

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Hey all, wanted to update.

There is something going on with this motor. It runs fine, doesn't **** white smoke, and the oil is clean and clear. All the obvious signs of something like a blown head gasket or cracked head are not there, but she keeps taking coolant and producing air in the system. Baffling.

So, she is at the shop to have a block check done. This should show the presence of carbon monoxide in the coolant if it exists.

The not bad part of this is that when I bought the motor I got the best, 5-year, anything happens it's covered, warranty for it, which also includes $100/hr. labor charge. So there should be minimal out of pocket cost if she needs anything related to the long block.

Additionally, and this really hurts, this past weekend she lost reverse, I'm pretty sure it's the clutchpacks and not just a line pressure issue or something else small and simple.
I want to figure out the cooling issue first and then she'll get a proper diagnosis on the trans, but I think she's going to be getting a trans swap.
Any help on a good swap that is inexpensive would be hugely appreciated, I still haven't told the wife about the trans, she's going to **** a gasket herself over that!

I'll keep you updated, but that radiator is a good deal, glad I bought it.
 

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