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Unread 11-01-2010, 10:36 AM   #1
Topgun514
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Steam coming from radiator but not overheating

Hey everyone, I have a hopefully quick questions about my radiator.

Last night I noticed some steam once I parked at night coming from the front of my radiator. The steam did not smell sweet and I was not driving through any rain, precip, puddles etc. BUT, sometimes I can smell sweet coolant but I figure it is stuff still burning off. I lost about 2 bottle fulls late this summer when my cap went twice causing it to overflow. I can still visually see the antifreeze on a few portions of my engine bay (ONLY from when it exploded, I have a visual memory and when I check these spots they are not from a leak)

I have not seen any leaks and inspected for cracked hoses but all are well. Also, my coolant level has been steady. The only thing I can think of is that with me using my heat more and more now, I am circulating air potentially through the system and maybe I need to burp it again?

Thoughts? Or because it was about 34 degrees when I was driving, there is just a chance it was steam from a hot engine like steam from your breath.

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Unread 11-01-2010, 10:42 AM   #2
RussellZJ98
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My engine just recently started up the same issue. Smoke coming from the front right portion of the radiator. Almost by my battery. I cannot find any leaks, but the coolant smell is strong. When I first noticed it there was coolant around my fan. It slowly went away after a couple days, and I thought it had overflowed and burnt off the coolant, but yesterday it started smoking again. I'm curious to see what kind of answer you get. I was going to pull my radiator but I'm not sure it needs to be pulled.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 02:48 PM   #3
Topgun514
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I am waiting to see...this issue could be due to just steam coming off hot things at night I am hoping...maybe its time for hood vents
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Unread 11-01-2010, 04:29 PM   #4
tjwalker
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As long as your coolant temperature is staying around 200, you shouldn't have to burp it again.

Any antifreeze that was on the engine from late summer should have burned off long ago.

I think you probably have a small leak and you just haven't found it yet.....keep looking as small leaks can turn into very big leaks quickly and then you'll have bigger fish to fry. For leaks, I usually get the vehicle up on a hoist and get a very good light on it and perform a thorough inspection for clues of leakage.

You have an 88 which has a "heater control valve". They can start to leak when they fail and they fail pretty frequently. I would start by inspecting that valve very closely.

And watch the coolant level closely until you find it.
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Unread 11-01-2010, 04:40 PM   #5
cruiser54
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Pressure checking your system would be a good idea to help pinpoint your leak now. Now is always better than later, cuz later you don't know where you'll be when it lets go real good.........
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Unread 11-01-2010, 09:18 PM   #6
Topgun514
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Where is the heater control valve?

I have a spare radiator just chilling in my garage so I will hope its that guy if anything at all.
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96 XJ Sport- Sold
Now: 88 RENIX 4.0 XJ, Project Overlander
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Unread 11-01-2010, 09:35 PM   #7
cruiser54
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Passenger side of the engine bay. Follow the hoses back from the front of the engine back toward the firewall.
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Unread 11-02-2010, 10:45 AM   #8
Topgun514
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Nothing found yet. On a cold night could I start the engine and let it warm and see if the engine bay just steams with condensation or see a leak better under pressure?
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96 XJ Sport- Sold
Now: 88 RENIX 4.0 XJ, Project Overlander
3.5" Lift, RE SF LCA's with skids, 31x10.50R15 Duratracs, ARB Roofrack, Custom Bumper, Glasspack, Bored TB, Custom seats
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Unread 11-02-2010, 01:42 PM   #9
medicmandan
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I chased a leak for two weeks. Pressure tester helped me find it in five minutes. You can borrow one from most of the parts places. I had a hairline crack in one of the plastic tanks.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 01:26 PM   #10
Topgun514
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Well if you look infront of cars now here in SLC there is steam coming from out of there headlights. I am still searching for a leak but am trying to stay optimistic about this all.
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87 XJ pioneer-Totalled
96 XJ Sport- Sold
Now: 88 RENIX 4.0 XJ, Project Overlander
3.5" Lift, RE SF LCA's with skids, 31x10.50R15 Duratracs, ARB Roofrack, Custom Bumper, Glasspack, Bored TB, Custom seats
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Unread 11-03-2010, 05:10 PM   #11
cruiser54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topgun514 View Post
Well if you look infront of cars now here in SLC there is steam coming from out of there headlights. I am still searching for a leak but am trying to stay optimistic about this all.
Best to pressure test the cooling system and find the problem before it becomes a huge problem in a not so convenient location.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 05:30 PM   #12
Topgun514
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Yeah, will autozone do this? Or midas or something, last time I went to midas they couldnt even test my cap (i refused them to look at anything else- didnt even bring the Jeep, just the cap!!!

And if it is easy and free too, that is a given in the Jeep world of College.
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87 XJ pioneer-Totalled
96 XJ Sport- Sold
Now: 88 RENIX 4.0 XJ, Project Overlander
3.5" Lift, RE SF LCA's with skids, 31x10.50R15 Duratracs, ARB Roofrack, Custom Bumper, Glasspack, Bored TB, Custom seats
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Unread 11-03-2010, 10:00 PM   #13
medicmandan
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I think they charged my card $100 to borrow the tool which they refunded when I returned it. If you can manage to do it in the parking lot they'll probably just hold your DL.

Where in the valley are you?
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Unread 11-03-2010, 10:41 PM   #14
Topgun514
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Salt Lake City, I venture between campus and sugarhouse if you see my jeep, where about you?
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87 XJ pioneer-Totalled
96 XJ Sport- Sold
Now: 88 RENIX 4.0 XJ, Project Overlander
3.5" Lift, RE SF LCA's with skids, 31x10.50R15 Duratracs, ARB Roofrack, Custom Bumper, Glasspack, Bored TB, Custom seats
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