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post #1 of 20 Old 12-12-2019, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Coolant boiling

Alright.

So... driving home from work today, all was normal.

Jeep temp stayed at 210F. All good... I could tell my eFan was turning on. Could hear it and feel the minor surge when it would start up.

I pulled into my underground parking spot and idled there for a little while I finished off my cigarette listening to a pod cast. May have idled there for maybe a minute or a minute and a half. I was actually thinking about how smooth my jeep purrs lol. Didnt really factor in that my eFan was not on.... but I also didnt check the temp gauge at all before shutting her down.

I could see some minor steam and overhear some hissing after shutdown. Opened the hood and the rad was REAL hot and steaming a bit.

I also could overhear bubbling/boiling in the feed line, thermostat housing and in the overflow tank.

This continued for a good while. I went back in the jeep and turned the key to the "on" position to check my temp gauge...and it was fairly high. Not in the red zone. Thankfully.

Checked my oil which looks good (changed it not too long ago). I assume my fan not on while I idled there got the coolant really hot (obviously). I will look into that later on tonight after a complete cool down but what else could now be affected by this? Rad cap?

I did open the rad cap while hot and had coolant splurge out so the rad and the overflow had all the coolant.... fairly certain nothing leaked and nothing is in the engine (thank god). Should I be worried about a head gasket? Rad cap? Warpage? The photo below shows how much coolant leaked out of the rad cap when I opened her up.

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post #2 of 20 Old 12-12-2019, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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I'll say when I put the key to the ON position to check the temperature after I opened the hood, it was at about 235F.

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post #3 of 20 Old 12-12-2019, 06:45 PM
Boojo35
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The things that come to mind

Coolant level was low enough to cause the thermostat to not work properly. Same thing as having an air pocket in the system after servicing it.

The thermostat took a poop.

The radiator cap holding pressure increases the boiling point of the coolant. It could be bad and not holding enough pressure. A lot of vehicles do not turn on coolant fans until 234 degrees. But then again, our YJ's have lower pressure caps to start with than some newer stuff. A lot lower pressure caps which does not increase the boiling point of coolant as much as newer systems.

My question is. Where was the steam coming from? It sounds like you don't know for sure. Maybe you developed a leak. More on the sudden side. The only place you should have steam on a system that has not been opened up and is from the overflow reservoir. And that should only happen if it is overheating.

When you removed the cap and it puked coolant, that can be normal when the system is really hot.... Even if the coolant level was low.

Your fan may not have come on during idling depending on how high up the sensor for it is and if you were really a little low on coolant at the onset of the event. Sometimes coolant sensors are one of the first things to starve for coolant when the coolant level drops a little. The are often in the uppermost reaches of the cooling system and require it to be full to work properly.

In the end. I would top it off and pressure test the system to check for leaks and then pressure test the cap. I recently purchased a new cap from quadratec that did not hold pressure from day one. If things are good there I would run it and monitor it closely. Make sure that the cooling system is burped and full after the thermostat opens. Make sure that both the bottom and top radiator hoses are hot around the 200 degree mark which verifies that the thermostat did indeed open.

Once it is fully warm and the system has been circulating you can shut it off and feel that the entire radiator is warm. Kinda a long shot but radiators do get clogged.

Another thing is to shine a light through the radiator and make sure the fins are clean and not clogged with mud, fuzzies from trees, etc. It has to pass air to cool.

Keep us posted.
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If you cannot fix it with a hammer then it has to be an electrical problem.
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post #4 of 20 Old 12-12-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information.

I fired her up just now... and all seems to be idling well.

Will be firing it up and letting it get up to temp a bit later on and will post about it.

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post #5 of 20 Old 12-12-2019, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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k well i am evidently low on coolant due to me opening the rad earlier and having a ton of the stuff make it's way to the floor.

As of now my coolant overflow was empty. But i fired it up... it's idling well... checked oil once more and its clean and free of contaminant/coolant as far as i can check. I let it get up to temperature, and i adjusted my eFan controller. It came on at 100F and it held the temperature and shut off as usual.

I wont drive it tomorrow and will be picking up some 50/50 to fill it up and take it for a leisure ride around the neighborhood tomorrow evening and i will follow up with this.

It is entirely possible that the fan controller just hiccup'd or perhaps i had it adjusted way too high (as winter is in full swing here). The jeep idled well, purring like a kitten as usual. I dont know what i'd do if i lost this engine right now.
@Boojo35 ...
1) steam was coming from the rad area (closer to the cap)
2) i will do as you instructed
3) when idling at temp just now both hoses were warm as well as the rad itself.

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post #6 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Drove it into work this morning and filled with 50/50 on route. Nothing strange, idled like a kitten, temp gauge never went above 210F, fan was working when necessary.

Other than all the overspill vaporizing off, things went smooth. I think crisis may be averted.

Anything I should be looking for as of now? Coolant overflow bottle level? Etc?

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post #7 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 08:21 AM
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I know you can't prove it now but my money is on low coolant level. Lots of weird things can happen that aren't explainable and seem intermittent. I've had the hose on my overflow bottle get loose/cracked edges and that caused fluid to dribble out which eventually leads to low fluid in the engine. I'd check that. If it's wet, dry it and check later.

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post #8 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Well... just checked the level at work after cool down.

In between the add and full mark on the overflow reservoir.

I am gonna pull the plug on my oil pan tonight just to see if water comes out. If not... I think I may have avoided the 2nd potentially catastrophic situation in the past 3 months by mere seconds/minutes.

Not sure how fluid would get low. No leaks. Anywhere.

It may have been a result of me popping the rad cap while hot... I mean a lot did flow out. Ah well. I'll top up, and monitor

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post #9 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 10:18 AM
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Where is your thermostat that controls your Efan?

It probably wasn't turning on, because you were sitting still, no air flow, so the stat didn't see the high temp. Coolant was flowing, but air wasn't.
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpounds View Post
Where is your thermostat that controls your Efan?

It probably wasn't turning on, because you were sitting still, no air flow, so the stat didn't see the high temp. Coolant was flowing, but air wasn't.
I was thinking a similar thought. If your fan comes on and goes off more than once within a drive cycle, your temp sender could be too low for the fan and radiator you have. In other words, if the temp sender triggers the fan too often, it's a strain on the relay, fan motor, and electrical system in general. A temp sensor that has too narrow a range could cause the system to overwork.

Do you know what the temp range is set at for your application?

Where is the temp sensor reading coolant temp or engine temp from?

Is there any chance the wiring may be vibrating itself off the Relay? On my LJ when I had an e-fan, I had used the female wire ends to attach the fan power to the relay blades. Over time, they vibrated themselves loose and I have intermittent fan failure. They still looked connected, but had lost their Grip.

The sensor I plan on using on the 3-fan setup on the MJ project is designed to be put either in-line of the upper return hose or, as I plan on installing it, into an upper bung on the radiator itself. The "low" range is 190-209 and the High Range is 209-236.

Your issue sounds like the fan did not trigger. Find out why.
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post #11 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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There is no issue...nor has there ever been with this particular controller. It was an issue with low coolant...

That sums it up. The probe itself is at the upper most passenger side corner of the rad under the hose... ideal me thinks.

It only comes on when the engine passes 210F... and shuts off once it is not. I suppose the lack of coolant was not allowing it to get a read on the temperature as the level sat too low? In combination with the frigid temperature outside.

Still no explanation for the low level of coolant in my system. Oil seems clean. Will be draining the oil tomorrow or tonight if I free up some time.

Have driven it a couple times today and there has been zero issue.
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post #12 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 03:40 PM
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Do you have an aluminum plastic radiator? Those can be susceptible to slow leaks at the tank gaskets. Look for baked on green residue around the area.

You said the steam was near the radiator cap so I would really look closely at both the cap seals, in fact I would be prone to just replace it because they are cheap. As someone else said I would closely inspect the rubber hose that runs to the overflow bottle for cracks and even for fitting tight on the ends. Other than that keep a close eye on the radiator for sure. You may have a real slow leak somewhere.

It really sounds like you had low coolant or your fan went wonky for a minute.

If you cannot fix it with a hammer then it has to be an electrical problem.
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post #13 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinjeeper View Post
There is no issue...nor has there ever been with this particular controller. It was an issue with low coolant...

That sums it up. The probe itself is at the upper most passenger side corner of the rad under the hose... ideal me thinks.

It only comes on when the engine passes 210F... and shuts off once it is not. I suppose the lack of coolant was not allowing it to get a read on the temperature as the level sat too low? In combination with the frigid temperature outside.

Still no explanation for the low level of coolant in my system. Oil seems clean. Will be draining the oil tomorrow or tonight if I free up some time.

Have driven it a couple times today and there has been zero issue.
Had a similar issue a couple weeks ago. plastic overflow tank got a hole somehow so coolant was a little low. Engine gauge was reading hot but the fan was not coming on.

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post #14 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 04:15 PM
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Your head gasket is ok. It takes a lot of heat to warp or blow.

Well... something happened. Something that you're going to have to find. Your engine is counting on it. I don't believe in flukes, only facts. After the pressure test, test the cap. A bad cap can not only fail to hold the right pressure, it can let air in. Air in the cooling system can do all kinds of funky stuff. It's the bad ground of cooling systems.

You know for 100% fact that the fan was running when the indecent occurred? It has to be 100%. Again, your whole engine is counting on it.
I don't like adjustable fan t-stats, especially on Jeeps that are subject to more dirt and water than a regular street car is exposed.
In fact, I would only use an OEM t-stat from something reliable, like a Camry, Hyundai, or even Chevy. That said, nothing lasts forever and eventually even those will need replacing.

You have to find out what happened. The next time might not be so convenient. It's can be during a storm in heavy traffic.

Bad fan t-stat?
Bad fan relay?
Loose connection to either above?
Cap not holding pressure?
Small coolant leak?
Air in system?
Coolant t-stat?
Dirty coolant/radiator?
Collapsing hose?

Watch closely till this is sorted out.

One last thing, the inside of your cooling system is NOT an equal opportunity employer. Some spots are going to be way hotter than others. Circulating water will take care of that until air is introduced. Then all bets are off. Your temp gauge is no longer reliable, the coolant t-stat isn't reliable, the water pump can stop pumping... all kinds of nonsense.
Internal temps can be way higher than what the temp gauge reads. All these things are designed to work in liquid, not air. The air turns the cooling system into a runaway heat machine like Fukushima. Even if air is not introduced, that's what boiling is. Air in the liquid. Steam. It stops removing heat. It starts slow, before you notice. A little hot spot, localized boiling, maybe in the head. Maybe on the side of number 6 cylinder. In than spot, the coolant has turned to steam and all cooling, right in that spot, stops. It gets hotter, then spreads. Then another hot spot happens. More localized boiling. Your gauge still looks ok, no coolant is being lost, yet.
Less heat is being exchanged.

Nascar engines run about 290*
They run water at high pressure to stop boiling. Coolant is slippery on a track.
They use 100 psi pressure relief valves which brings the boiling point to 335*
No t-stats, the coolant temp is regulated by airflow, the number of square inches (centimeters!) in the grill opening.

It's not the 260* (126*C) coolant temps that will cause damage, it's the temps in the steam pockets that will melt, crack and distort metal.
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-13-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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was in stop and go traffic on route home.

Never stepped a hair above 210F. Fan working as normal.

Got home checked the overflow - fluid still there. I really think @Waternut 's shot in the dark of low coolant level at the time it occurred looks more and more likely.

It's not a very convenient time to overhaul my cooling system to rid myself of paranoia's. For now, i'll just keep a bottle of coolant in the back and monitor VERY closely. Checking levels before and after a drive, etc etc.

I'll certainly post up if anything is found in my oil when i drain it tomorrow. Thanks to all who chimed in, and thank you @Chrisnvegas ....always look forward to your posts on cooling system threads. You're definitely the coolest guy in the desert. lol
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