Question about Chrysler LHS

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The 3.5 Liter engine is overheating although there has not been any couse leading up to this issue. There was a similar episode in the past that came and then disappeared just as fast. I don't feel confident that either the water pump or head gasket are at fault and I don't know exactly how to differentiate between the two. The thermostat has been examined and is fully operable and at this time we're almost 100% water from the replacement of lost antifreeze. I don't see any excess watrer beneath the timing belt cover indicating a water pump. Do you suggest that I take the front cover off to physically inspect the water pump. Seems like the place to start>

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  • johnnyboy2 Jul 29, 2008

    Your reasoning sounds very good and I appreciate learning this information. After writing earlier I decided to remove the timing belt cover to see what I could learn there. Removing the top bolts and then looking inside I could see that the timing belt was very loose leading me to believe that the belt tensioner preventing sufficient contact to move liquid through the system. Seeing that I had a direction I decided to move the car into the garage to complete the repair. Now the belt is tight but the tensioner doesn't have the action necessary to respond to the belt. I've removed it an am headed toward a replacement, thinking that this will bring the result I need. Thanks for your efforts, the loose belt really surprised me but answere the circumstances as there are times that there is no problems and other times the engine overheats.

  • johnnyboy2 Aug 05, 2008

    The engine is back together and operating as well as it ever has. We found that the water pump looked as good as new but was quite hard to turn. I suspect that the tensioner was not operating correctly allowing the belt to slip against or possibly not even turn the pump. At this time all is fine with a replacement tensioner. I als freed up the idler pulley. The belt is as tight as I'd ever expect a timing belt to run. Because there is no antifreeze remaining to speak of, I'm running the engine without the thermostat until satisfied that we've actually corrected this problem. Can't afford to loose this engine.

  • johnnyboy2 Aug 05, 2008

    The engine is back together and operating as well as it ever has. We found that the water pump looked as good as new but was quite hard to turn. I suspect that the tensioner was not operating correctly allowing the belt to slip against or possibly not even turn the pump. At this time all is fine with a replacement tensioner. I als freed up the idler pulley. The belt is as tight as I'd ever expect a timing belt to run. Because there is no antifreeze remaining to speak of, I'm running the engine without the thermostat until satisfied that we've actually corrected this problem. Can't afford to loose this engine.

  • Anonymous Mar 20, 2009

    My 1993 chrysler lebaron overheats and i have changed the radiator and thermostat, the car just blows out cold air as well.

  • Anonymous Apr 29, 2009

    I have almost the same problem, my car is always overheating and always throws the water by the cap. I only changed the water pump and since then my car is always overheating.

  • elguero1616 Apr 29, 2009

    I have almost the same problem, my car is always overheating and always throws the water by the cap. I only changed the water pump and since then my car is always overheating.

    Crhysler LHS 3.5 1997

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Most water pumps have what is called a "weep hole" in them. It's there by design, and it's positioned so that as the water pump's bearing wears over time, it exposes the weep hole and allows coolant to leak out. This is so you know that the water pump is worn and you can change it before it fails and takes your motor to the great beyond. Most likely your car has one, so I'd lean away from it being the cause.

If your coolant is disappearing at a decent rate, chances are you have a head gasket leak into the cylinder, and the coolant is being burned away. Have you noticed any smoke from the tailpipes at all? If coolant is being burned off you should see smoke coming out and it should have a sweetish "coolant" smell if there is any significant volume of it. If you're not losing very much at all, it could be either a small tear in the head gasket, or possibly a coolant hose has cracked and is allowing some coolant to leak out.

If possible, I encourage you to park the car and put clean cardboard under the car. Let it run for 10-15 minutes with the cardboard underneath, revving the engine up occasionally (this will speed up the water pump, add cavitation to the system, and add pressure to the system as well). Then shut the car down. Check later on (at least a couple hours later) to see if anything has dripped on the cardboard. If it has, try to note as carefully as possible where on the engine it appears to have dripped from, and you can narrow down your leak spots from there. If the cardboard is still clean, then your engine must be consuming the coolant, and that would be a head gasket problem.

Posted on Jul 28, 2008

  • Jeremy Dellow
    Jeremy Dellow Aug 05, 2008

    Great to hear that it's running well. The only thing that makes me uneasy is the idea of running with no thermostat. Regardless of the climate where you live, the thermostat is a key player in keeping your engine in good thermal health. I'd reinstall it ASAP - you truly need to have it for things to work correctly.

    Remember to "burp" the radiator when you reinstall the t-stat and refill the coolant. Fill it as much as possible, then close the cap and jack the car up, so that the opening of the thermostat (the direction the coolant will flow through the t-stat out of the engine) is facing upward. Start the car and allow it to run until the temperature gauge is about 3/4 of the way to overheating. Then shut it down and let it cool sufficiently to pop the radiator cap. The run-in time that you do allows coolant and air bubbles (which you'll have) to circulate. The air bubbles will become trapped behind the closed thermostat and keep it from opening. This blockage is why your temp gauge will go up high. Once the engine is cool enough to safely open the radiator cap, do so. The drop in pressure will let the t-stat open, and the air bubbles will flow upward and "burp" out of the open radiator. Then you can set the car down level, top off the radiator, start the car, and add any additional coolant/water needed to completely fill the system. Then you're truly done with the work.


  • skoolieb Jun 21, 2013

    " Hopefully with only one bleed cycle...??? " Depending on what motor you have it could be a pain to get all the way blead...??? Sometimes 3-4 cycles and rarely buy i've had more.. .

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Just changed the timing belt, it started when it was in the air and the front of the engine was still off. put it all back together and it won't start. took the front off again and timing is spot on. getting fuel but no spark. any guesses?

Thanks
Griz

Posted on Mar 29, 2010

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