Dodge Dakota overheating

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My brother has I think a 2002 Dodge Dakota with a 6 cyl engine. He says it started running hot then the check engine light came on. He said
there are no leaks. I am assuming it is the thermostat. Where is the thermostat on this engine and is it hard to get to and change? What should I look out for? Could this just be the temperature guage sending unit?
Any advice is appreciated!
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You might check for proper clutch fan operation too. (is it running agressively when engine is hot?) Also if it is the thermostat, it will tend to over heat quickly, if it is a slow process, it is likely not the Tstat. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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Before, I had a 99 Ram 1500 with that same V6. I usually check the fluid levels and the truck never had any leaks. In 2002 the temp gauge would go max for a moment then back to normal temp. every once in a while. I thought it was the thermostat and changed it. Spent an hour changing it as it was not easy to get to. It is on top down a piece that looks like a pipe. After I changed it the temp gauge would still do the same thing.
I just thought to check the fluid level in the radiator and it was very low. Ended up putting about 3 gallons in it.
Never know until you check the obvious.
GB
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Three gallons low? Where was it going to? Man, that engine must have had serious problems.
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Especailly since it should only hold about 4 gallons give or take. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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No..I realized later that I had not checked the water in a LONG time since I observed no leaks from the engine at all.

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It may be the water pump. Dodge uses a sheet metal impellar that will carode into a ninja star and not move the fluid.
beekeep
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stryped wrote:

Do not assume it's the thermostat. In the hundreds of thousand of miles I'v put on a variety of vehicles, I've never had a thermostat go bad. I've heard of it, but never experianced it. So it's not all that common. OTOH, bad water pump, blown head gasket, collapsing lower hose - those I'v experianced over the years.
--
.boB
Arrived: 2006 FXDI, Red.
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On Tue, 25 Apr 2006 23:06:13 -0600, ".boB"

Do not be so bold, I have seen many thermostats stuck closed in my life (some stuck out too) and had a few happen to me too. Not sure it is the problem here though. On a side note if you car starts overheat and you need to nurse it home, roll down windows, turn off AC (if it is on) and turn heater on full blast as it usually will had enough cooling to nurse you ride to safety if driven conservativly. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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