Overheating 97 GTS

Discussion in 'RT/10 and GTS Discussions' started by jthunderbird, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Hey everyone,

    I did use the search function but still a little unsure. My car started overheating a couple of weeks ago. The temp went high but then back to normal then high again. Now, it gets high immediately (within a few minutes of being started).

    Initially I thought thermostat because the temp came back down once so thought maybe it was sticking and now is stuck. A little more troubleshooting yesterday and when started, my upper radiator hose has no pressure at all (I can easily squeeze it flat) and my heater pumps out cool air.

    This leads me to believe the water pump is at fault. Also, there is a slow leak while running (another symptom of leaking faulty water pump in other cars and I assume Vipers). I just read a thread that said if the temp gauge was working then the water pump is working... not sure about this.

    Any ideas? I am still pretty sure it is the pump. I am pretty mechanically inclined but would love to see a guide or video if anyone knows of one they can link to me. Leaning towards the Mopar pump from Rock Auto.

    Can anyone verify my diagnosis of water pump before I drop a couple hundred and a Saturday on this?

    Thanks
    JT
     
  2. Soundkillr

    Soundkillr Enthusiast

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    Definitely sounds like the pump!
     
  3. KyViper

    KyViper Viper Owner

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    Looks like you have had the 97 for three or so years now. How long since the last coolant change?
    Ky
     
  4. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Yea I saw during my searches yesterday that the coolant should be flushed regularly but was not aware of this before... never had a vehicle where that was a thing but I know the Viper is a special beast.

    It has not been flushed since I have had it. I had it in the shop once to change the oil and adjust the aftermarket roller rockers. Car has 30k and I have put about 2k of them on it the past few years.

    Would not flushing the coolant cause the pump to crap out?

    Thanks for the help guys, I appreciate it.
     
  5. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    jthunderburd, you are not alone in your discovery-in-progress concerning the cooling system oh Gen II (and Gen I) Vipers.

    1992 through 2002 Vipers came with silicate containing coolants... Currently labeled "Mopar Antifreeze/Coolant 3 Year Formula". Yes, it is green...and represents the "old style" green cool and. While any 20 year old water pump can die, neglected cooling systems with silicates/phosphates can contribute to failures on a premature basis.

    The Viper's plumbing can be challenging to comprehend and to properly service without a manual and/or a guide. Many folks have no idea about the overflow bottle in the nose...and all the things that have to be done to service these systems.

    You need a service manual and hopefully some experienced guidance to make this process successful and painless.

    Here is a decent article of coolants...forget the color that you think you remember.

    https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2014/08/01/tech-101-the-colors-of-antifreeze/

    Lots of info exist on the various Viper forums...as well as helpful folks who are willing to talk with you.
     
  6. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Thank you for the reply. I just found a pdf of a 98 Viper Service Manual and it outlines the water pump removal and installation, though not in super detailed fashion.

    I will go ahead and order it and hopefully get it swapped this weekend or next. Thanks for the help fellas.

    JT
     
  7. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    Before you start going crazy with stuff, make sure the cooling system is full and has no air pockets
     
    Bonkers and InTheZoneAC like this.
  8. Marilyn F Savage

    Marilyn F Savage VCA Legacy Member

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    We had a seminar once (pre-2000) where a Viper coolant system was flushed and the 'burping' of the air out was a process in itself. Air can also cause the symptoms reported. You would smell a leaky pump.
     
  9. InTheZoneAC

    InTheZoneAC Enthusiast

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    I would start with the leak first before jumping to the pump. How low is the coolant? Have you tried doing a proper refill with the air temp set to max heat (air or a/c doesn't need to be on) letting the engine get up to temp and cycle the fan and thermostat while keeping an eye on the level and make sure it's topped off, including the resevoir. If you have air you'll see splashes or bubbling of coolant out of the radiator so have a ton of rags and gloves on.

    Being able to squeeze the hose tells me you're low on fluid and there's air in there. It should always have some amount of pressure due to fluid filing it up. Top it off and tell me if your temp gauge stays at normal readings consistently.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  10. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    Good advice guys, I had a shop for 40 years, I can't tell you how many times Vipers came in over heating with owners thinking they needed pumps or T stats and turned out to be air in the system, anyway I am not saying you don't have an issue, just saying check that first. Viper cooling systems take time to purge all the air out.
     
  11. KyViper

    KyViper Viper Owner

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    JT, hope you are getting this figured out. I have the Factory service manual and will be happy to send you PDF copies of specific pages it will help.
    If you do change the pump, I would also recommend changing the antifreeze and through system flush as well.
    A older car will have a lot of crap floating in the system that will damage and clog pumps and radiators.
    I check the Forum every morning and will get info to you asap.

    Ky
     
  12. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Thanks for all of the info guys.

    I went through the refilling process and I do not think air in the system was the problem. I got the pump in yesterday but it didn't come with a gasket (my dumb ass fault for not making sure) so I ordered one. I intend on getting the pump swapped out Saturday and have a buddy coming over to help.

    Ky, I found a pdf of the servic emanual for a 98 and it kind of briefly describes the procedures. Is yours more detailed? I would love a copy of the whole thing but specific pages for waterpump and related items (loosening belt and other pre-requisites) would be awesome.

    Thanks for the input guys, I will update after I get the pump swapped.

    JT
     
  13. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    EXPERIENCED Viper coolant changers will tell you that a Gen II should self eliminate trapped air gradually after several FULL heat cycles over a few days time...IF you use a new pressure cap each time that you service this system...AND, if you understand and maintain the recovery bottle fluid level properly along with the hoses that return the fluid temporarily stored in he recovery bottle by being certain that there is no vacuum leak in said hoses as the engine/coolant temperature return to ambient temperature. Always check and note level in recovery bottle before you start the engine AND after you return from a drive for the first half dozen trips. In that way, you will have no surprises...IF your recovery bottle does not have the commonly found hole in its bottom corner from bumping nose on a curb and driving a closeout panel fastener through said bottle.
     
  14. KyViper

    KyViper Viper Owner

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    JT, I have put a file of info together. Pls PM me your email and I will forward you the file.
    The file is 19 pages and too big to post.
    KY
     
  15. KyViper

    KyViper Viper Owner

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    JT, e-mail sent with Info. Hope this helps.
    Ky
     
  16. callmedpit

    callmedpit Viper Owner

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    I'm having similar issues with my '97 BW GTS. I spoke with JonB from PartsRack about it (who was kind enough to walk me through the burping process), but I'm still having some issues and don't want to bother him too much. Maybe you guys can help, as I think I'm maybe not burping the right way.

    As I understand, if you can squeeze the upper radiator hose (even when the car is cold), that's essentially an indicator that there is air in the system?

    Here are the notes that I took for burping so you can see the process I am using:
    • You know it needs to be burp if the top driver's side radiator hose can be squeezed really easily while the car is cold
    • Make sure heater is on full blast inside the car
    • Keep towel around the pressure/surge tank on the passenger side to make sure it doesn't bubble up everywhere
    • Pour distilled water until the tank is about 2/3 full
    • With 2 people, have one person squeeze the upper radiator hose slowly with two hands and the other person see/hear if it bubbles up in the tank
    • As you let go slowly, the other person will pour distilled water down in the pressure tank
    • Keep repeating that process, could be 20 or 30 times until hose is no longer soft/squeezable and no more bubbling up. This gets the air out of the motor.
    • Ideally, the overflow tank in front of the passenger wheel well should be half full at the end, can take light on cell phone with video to see the level
    • Fill water to brim on the pressure/surge tank, close and try running car
    I attempted to do this and went through over a gallon of distilled water without any change. There is no sign of leakage or anything, so I don't know how the coolant could have gotten so low, unless it's another issue? Another odd thing is that when I add water to the surge tank, I can fill it to the top, and by itself, the water will start to go down. I took a video, skip to around 42 seconds and you'll see what I mean: https://photos.app.goo.gl/mHgC8hPEERCUY3m6A

    I reached out to a local shop I use for oil changes, he was saying that the upper radiator hose being squeezable cold is normal...so I just wanted to get clarity around this. When the car is cold, should you be able to squeeze the upper rad hose?

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Tagging @Jc121285 who has been a soundboard for me during this process, thanks Joe!
     
  17. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Thanks for all the help fellas. I got the pump changed but no change.

    There is still a leak somewhere that only starts once the car starts warming up. As the car warmer and warmer, the leak gets greater and greater.

    In changing the pump, I verified all of the hoses look good. I am worried that maybe it got too hot when this first happened and maybe I blew the head gasket between a coolant channel and external to the engine.

    I've never heard of this happening in any vehicle before but I just can't see where it is leaking from and can't figure this out. Anyone have any ideas on what else could possibly be leaking?

    Thanks, this forum is awesome.
    Jt
     
  18. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    You say the leak gets greater and greater as the car gets warmer, so you see antifreeze on the ground. If you see no fluid leaking, then you have a blown head gasket, if the oil is clean, then its leaking into the cylinders and getting burned up and going out the exhaust. Much better then leaking into the oil, resurface the heads and replace the gaskets.
     
  19. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Oil is clean. I see fluid on the ground. Just can't spot where it is coming from.
     
  20. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    Can you confirm the coolant level in the overflow bottle hidden in the front fascia?
     
  21. lane_viper

    lane_viper Enthusiast

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    I am going through this same scenario also. I bought a new water pump thinking it was the water pump gasket.

    I am not 100% confident, so I'm doing the Timing cover gasket also.

    My leak is running right next to the Oil filter, and it's a drip drip leak. Noticed a puddle of coolant under the car. There is an upper coolant passage way from the engine to the water pump through the timing cover. I've read some horror stories about this gasket failing and spilling coolant into your oil.

    Going to replace the water pump, WP gasket, Timing cover Gasket and the crank seal while its all apart.

    Just wanted to give you another option on where the leak could be coming from.

    Mine never overheated, I just happened to notice the puddle while in the garage.
     
  22. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    lane_viper said: "I've read some horror stories about this gasket failing and spilling coolant into your oil."
    Yes, that has certainly been observed in 96-98 Gen II's...
    and, in our Region, a couple of Gen I's though that's much more rare.
     
  23. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Timing cover gasket huh?

    I will do a little research on that to see if it is my issue? I was really hoping someone could tell me that it is silly talk to think that the headgasket could be blown and have these types of symptoms! I have never seen a head gasket blow from a coolant chamber to external ONLY...

    Any other ideas of where to look? My next plan is to jack it up even higher so I can get comfortable underneath it and really watch for the leak... that or take it to the Viper tech about 30 miles up the road and bend over.
     
  24. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    Once again...Can you confirm the coolant level in the overflow bottle hidden in the front fascia?
     
  25. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    Threw my damn back out and just now felt ok enough to contort myself into the engine bay to check.

    I got under it and poked a flash light everywhere I could and could not locate the hidden bottle. Is it on the passenger side or underneath the front cover on top in front of the air box?
     
  26. AZTVR

    AZTVR Enthusiast

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    Look at the photos in the first post of the following thread and read the other posts. What one typically does is remove the 3-4" round rubber plug fron the wheel well side and stick your hand in there with a flashlight and light up the bottle. Then you look at the slot cut into the wheel well to see where the fluid level is. https://www.viperclub.org/vca/threads/extra-coolant-reservoir.657592/
     
  27. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    Good link, AZTVR !
     
  28. steve e

    steve e Viper Owner

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    Forget about the hidden bottle, jack the car up and put it on jack stands and go under the car and find the leak, from what I am reading from your posts is you are leaking fluid onto the ground, well find the leak, if your back is still bad send some else under there.On till then we can all guess whats wrong.
     
  29. jthunderbird

    jthunderbird Viper Owner

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    I have the car jacked up... I just can not for the life of me see where the leak originates. It eventually makes its way to the front of the engine right in the center for the most part. Where else could it possibly leak from? It is not the upper or lower radiator hoses, not the two heater core hoses, and not the water pump gasket.

    Can it be coming from where the thermostat is mounted? Or maybe a blown head gasket between a coolant chamber and external engine... basically hoping to find that there is some other spot (timing chain cover was mentioned earlier) where coolant COULD be leaking from so I can watch one particular spot.

    Just being under it and looking for the leak has been fruitless thus far.

    Steve, so do I have to remove the front bumper to see that thing!? I looked today and there is no way to get visibility to that thing without removing extras... maybe removing the fender well mud cover?

    As always, appreciate the help fellas.
    JT
     
  30. Steve-Indy

    Steve-Indy VCA Venom Member - Great Lakes

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    No, you do not need to remove the front fascia to identify the recovery bottle. There is a view port through the fender wheel liner which must be clean...noting that I found one painted over two weeks ago !! This is a vertical "slit" in the liner right in front of the inner edge of the right front tire. Once you remove the 4 inch diameter rubber cover over the access hole to the fog light connector area, you can place a small, bright LED light right up against the bottle itself, the fluid level in the bottle can be evaluated through the viewing "slit". Admittedly, I have also seen one Viper with a missing bottle, and many with holes in the bottom. In those cases, the fluid just spills out on the ground...which will also occur if the bottle is full and there is a vacuum leak on cool down preventing the "overflow" from returning to the system. Give me a call and I can guide you more easily. 317-402-9013
     

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