Gen I Overheating problems. What are some solutions?

bigr1

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hi all-

i was driving my 1994 Viper this weeekend and i noticed that the engine temperature really fluctuates in stop and go traffic. my question is. what can i do to combat this problem?

1. i already installed the ROE fan kit, but that only works post-shutdown.

2. should i get a upgraded radiator? if so, whats the best?

3. i have a 180 degree thermostat, that i have yet to install. should this help the problem?

4. what other suggestions can you all offer?

Thanks
 

Tom F&L GoR

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I have a '94 that had a leaking solder joint in the radiator just before the warranty ran out. I asked for, and got a new radiator. The new radiator was a superceded number, so it was from a newer car. The tanks and fins are the same, but the studs for the fan shroud are in different locations. Due to the plastic construction of the fan shroud, you can't make a shroud fit the "other" radiator. So they gave me a new fan as well.

The '94 and the newer (Gen 2?) rediators are the same size, but the fan is way different. Besides a little snafu with the plug (you'll have to either splice wires or disassemble the plug to switch) the new fan draws more amps, makes more noise, but cools down way, way better. While the needle rises slowly, it'll now drop quickly.

A general comment - don't rely on the dash gauge too much. I had an O2 sensor problem, borrowed a diagnostic code reader, and also saw the coolant temperatures that the ECU "sees." The temperature sensor for the ECU is a different one than for the gauge, I believe, but in any case, it reads lower (even lower than the thermostat temp.) and when it swings, it is out of phase with the dash gauge. Yes, cars may be different, but it showed me that the system wasn't running as high as the dash gauge made me think.

General comment #2 - you have 4 gallons of coolant. Unless you have air in the system, the needle shouldn't really flucuate too badly. It'll swing from 12:00 to 2:00 position, but it is supposed to. And the lower thermostat won't change this, the temp swing is controlled by the fan settings, which are something like 215F on low, 225F on high, off at 203F? Someone help me out here.

From my experience, I would try to get the newer fan. Some guy on the classifieds is asking for good, used fans all the time, maybe he's upgrading the motors and you can use the original shroud and turbo-fan?
 
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bigr1

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so how then exactly does a Gen II fan fit on a Gen I???

what temp differences did you notice???
 
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bigr1

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where should i look to check the headgaskets?

i looked underneath the car and there are no drips???
 

Jeff Torrey

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Randy- Take a high powered flashlight, or shoplight and look throught the intake manifold. If you see these faint white lines on the inside of the block, you are probably leaking anti-freeze from the head gaskets. But that will not make the car run hotter.
The temp will vary from 190 and go all the way up to the yellow mark on the gauge in traffic. Once it gets there the fan kicks in and it comes back down. Petty sure that is normal.
I did talk to Dan Cragin (The Viper Shop) <West Coast> about upgrading the radiator and fan when I installed AC on my car. He is pretty knowledgable about keeping the temps down. You may want to call him. I did not do the upgrade and the car is fine.
 

Greg W

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Sounds illogical but every time I'm in traffic with my '94 I turn on the AC, which engages the fan. This always brings the temp down to the normal range. This is of course if your '94 has AC.

Greg
 
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bigr1

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i am going to look at the manifold tonight, i am a little scared to do this, i hope everything is ok!

if not, what gasket should i use to replace the old one? is there a better aftermarket gasket to use that will prevent the leaking in the future???
 

REDSLED

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Make sure there is no air in the coolant lines. You might need to burp the system. There are instructions in the "How To" section of the board. You also may need to check the overflow bottle located behind the right front fascia. If it is empty or near empty you might be sucking air into the coolant lines. you also need to make sure you have the correct mixture of coolant/water. My 94 began to run hot when my mixture was off. My 94 runs into the yellow when running hard (keeping high RPM) instead of upshifting.
-Jonathan
 

Yves

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Yep.
Either you will have to burp the lines (let's hope so) or replace head gaskets.
I was confronted with the same issue one year ago. Unfortunately, it was the headgaskets.
And yes, the car ran very hot (since you get less and less coolant).
Gen I head gaskets are pretty crappy. They basically rot away. It's not a question whether this will happen, it's WHEN this will happen. There are now MOPAR aftermarket head gaskets with the Gen II quality. Make sure those are the ones they pop in. If not, the same thing will happen again within a couple of years...
I posted a full description of what happened to my car. Post must be dated somewhere January 2002. Included pictures and everything.
 

VIPER1996

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I have a 94 and I had the exact same conditions. My car has 27,000 miles. The temp was all over the place. Every once and a while I would smell anti-freeze. I located the leak at the thermo housing. I also checked the head gaskets and they had leaked at one time but were not leaking now. I did a dye test with a black light and found no current head gasket leaks. I decided since I was going to have to do the thermo anyway I went ahead and ordered the upper engine gasket kit from mopar (413.00) It is not a big deal for any good mechanic to install the gaskets. Its about an 8 to 10 hour job. I had my heads resurfaced and installed a 180 thermo. It made a difference in the motor temp. It will still get past 12 but not near as fast and the temp is more consistant. After looking at the original head gaskets, it is a matter of when not if. They were junk!!!!!!! The labor was $424 including resurfacing the heads. Do yourself a favor and replace the gaskets!! I hated to spend the money, but I sure feel a lot better now. If you want any more info let me know and I will be glad to help. I also want to thank all the people on the forum for helping my mechanic with torque specs and such. He thought that was awesome that you guys will take your time to help someone you don't know. Thanks again Brett
 

Yves

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I paid 1,600$ for the head gasket repair.
They even dinged one of my chromed rims for that price !
Don't let anybody fool you. In case of warranty repair Dodge pays the dealer for 6 hours of work...
Thank you Timberline Dodge
death2.gif
 

joe117

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My 94 ran all summer, even on very hot days, just like the General comment #2 in the above post. Now that I'm getting a cold day now and then it seems to take a long time to get up to the 12 O'clock position. In stop and go traffic, it then seems to go over to almost 2 O'clock and back as the fan cycles. Cold or hot day driving at any normal speed seems to keep it at 12 O'clock.
 
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bigr1

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VIPER1994-

Whats the part number from Mopar for the "newer" gakset that you used???? Thanks.
 

Birvini

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I found that the head gaskets on my 94 were leaking about a month ago. Thankfully I purchased an extended warrenty when I got the car. For the cost of my deductable, 200.00, the engine is at Arrow getting rebuilt. Hopefully It'll be back soon.
 

REDSLED

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Extended Warranty! Why pay all this $$$ out of pocket to fix the issues that Dodge has been dealing with since the Gen 1's came out. Buy the warranty and have the overheating, leaking gaskets, etc paid for by Dodge. This is the last year you can purchase the warranty for your 94. After Dec 31, 2002 no more warranty for 94's. That is the best upgrade you can purchase for a Gen 1. Food for thought.
smile.gif

-Jonathan
 
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bigr1

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i realize that getting an extended warrenty would help, but there are not any reputable dealerships that i trust with my viper in this area. i thought that ONLY a ddoge dealership can warrenty work? correct?

so if i do want a warrenty on my 1994 viper, could i go to my local dodge dealer to get it?
 

VIPER1996

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One thing you want to check on when you are trying to buy an extended warranty is will it cover a PRE-EXISTING condition. Most will not. You will also probably have to wait 30 days before making a claim. Do your homework before buying a warranty!!!!
 
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