Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Akron, OH
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Coolant leak FOUND!!!
Took the PM in to my regular mechanic this morning to service (fluid and filter) the trans and rotate the tires (45,000 miles). While it was up on the lift, he discovered the source of the coolant leak that I have so far been entirely unable to locate. The giveaway turned out to be the fine layer of salt and brine that covers everything in Ohio, the coolant leaves a reddish pink stain on this white filth. I believe he was able to see it steaming as well.
The leak comes from passenger side of the radiator, where the plastic tank is joined to the aluminum (I assume it's aluminum) radiator core. As I understand it, this join is made with some kind of epoxy that bonds with both plastic and metal. From under the hood, you can peer directly down at the radiator edge and see a pinkish stain perhaps 2 inches long. One reason I wasn't able to find it more easily might have been the fan - if they are on you won't see it steaming, and if the surfaces are mostly clean you probably wouldn't notice it either. I suspect that without the layer of salt scum, any moisture would evaporate off of the hot radiator, making it further difficult to find.
Step Two: I went directly to the dealer, who had good and bad news. Because I'm past the bumper-to-bumper, and because a radiator isn't included in the 100k drivetrain warranty, he couldn't cover it. I told him that I wanted to start generating a paper trail, since the van is only 4 months old and this can only be a manufacturing defect - it's not like I can cause the radiator to leak in 4 months of normal use. He gave me the number, so I called Chrysler. They confirmed that they couldn't/wouldn't cover it immediately, but there might be a recall or TSB in the works that would cover it. They generated a case number, so at least I have something. The fellow on the phone was very helpful, and without saying it outright, he basically said that if I pester them enough they would probably cover it. It's scheduled for a trip to the dealer in 3 weeks to perform the TPMS recall, and more documentation would occur then.
Luckily...LUCKILY I keep records of everything regarding the truck. Every tank of gas, every observation or change, and every bit of service I perform. So I looked in my book and noticed that the first time I refilled the coolant was at 32k. This is just my handwritten record, but I have my receipt for the coolant with the date I bought it. That's probably enough documentation to tip the grey area in my favor.
So....inspect your radiators, and even if you have to pay, have someone top up your coolant and keep the receipt. Many of us on this board are still under warranty, so now is the time!
Per the dealer, if the coolant loss was severe, you can have a rad installed by any garage and fight with FCA later to reimburse you. It doesn't have to be done by a dealer, though customer service stressed that it's better if it is because they have an in place mechanism for flat-rating the dealer. Speaking of, my dealer couldn't come up with a part number for the rad, but he took a guess that it's a 1-2 hour job. I haven't bothered to see how/if the rad differs from the minivan unit, or if it crosses with any other OEM part number.
And that's the story so far.
A growing fleet, you may call me Admiral: 2014 3500 159"extended gas, and a 2014 2500 136" gas