Dodge Journey: Preliminary checks


Establish what driving conditions caused the complaint. Abnormal loads on the cooling system such as the following may be the cause:

  • Prolonged idle
  • Very high ambient temperature
  • Slight tail wind at idle
  • Slow traffic
  • Traffic jams
  • High speed or steep grades

Driving techniques that avoid overheating are:

  • Idle with A/C off when temperature gauge is at end of normal range.


Consult Trailer Towing information of owner's manual. Do not exceed limits.


Determine if any recent service has been performed on vehicle that may affect the cooling system. This may be:

  • Engine adjustments (incorrect timing)
  • Slipping engine accessory drive belt(s)
  • Brakes (possibly dragging)
  • Changed parts. Incorrect water pump or pump rotating in wrong direction due to belt not correctly routed
  • Reconditioned radiator or cooling system refilling (possibly under filled or air trapped in system).

NOTE: If investigation reveals none of the previous items as a cause for an engine overheating complaint.

These charts are to be used as a quick-reference only.



TEMPERATURE GAUGE READS LOW 1. Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) set indicating a stuck open engine thermostat. 1. (Refer to THERMOSTAT) Replace thermostat, if necessary.

If a (DTC) has not been set, the problem may be with the temperature gauge.

2. Problem with Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) sensor or circuit. 2. Refer to SENSOR, Coolant Temperature for checking the ECT sensor
3. Problem with temperature gauge. 3. Check Gauge operation. (Refer to Appropriate Service Information)
4. Coolant level low during cold ambient temperature, accompanied by poor heater performance. 4. Check coolant level. Inspect the system for leaks.
TEMPERATURE GAUGE READS HIGH OR ENGINE COOLANT WARNING LAMP ILLUMINATES. COOLANT MAY OR MAY NOT BE LOST FROM SYSTEM. 1. Trailer being towed, a steep hill being climbed, vehicle being operated in slow moving traffic, or engine idling during high ambient (outside) temperatures with air conditioning on. High altitudes could cause these conditions. 1. This may be a temporary condition and repair is not necessary. Turn off the air conditioning and drive the vehicle without any of the previous conditions. Observe the temperature gauge. The gauge should return to the normal range.

If the gauge does not return to the normal range, determine the cause of the overheating and repair.

- 2. Is temperature gauge (if equipped) reading correctly? 2. Check the gauge. (Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information) Repair as necessary.
- 3. Is temperature warning lamp (if equipped) illuminating unnecessarily? 3. Check warning lamp operation.

(Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information) Repair as necessary.

- 4. Low coolant level. 4. Check for coolant leaks. Repair as necessary.
- 5. Pressure cap not installed tightly. If cap is loose, boiling point of coolant will be lowered.

Also refer to the following step 6.

5. Tighten pressure cap.
- 6. Poor seals at pressure cap. 6. (a) Check condition of cap and cap seals.

(b) Check condition of filler neck.

If neck is damaged, replace as necessary.

- 7. Wrong pressure cap installed. 7. Vehicles equipped with 2.4L engines use different pressure caps than vehicles equipped with 2.7L/3.5L/2.0L Diesel engines.

Verify proper pressure cap part number.

- 8. 2.4L Vehicles: Coolant level low in radiator, but not in coolant recovery container. This indicates the radiator is not drawing coolant from the coolant recovery container as the engine cools. As the engine cools, a vacuum is formed inside the cooling system.

If the radiator cap seals are defective, or the cooling system has a leak, a vacuum cannot be formed.

8. (a) Check condition of pressure cap and seals. Replace cap if necessary.

(b) Check condition of filler neck.

Replace if damaged.

(c) Check condition of hose from filler neck to coolant container. It should be tight at both ends without any kinks or tears.

Replace hose as necessary.

(d) Check coolant recovery container and hose for blockage.

Repair as necessary.

- 9. Freeze point of coolant not correct. Mixture ratio may be too rich. 9. Check coolant concentration.
- 10. Coolant not flowing through system. 10. (a) 2.4L Vehicles: Check for coolant flow at filler neck with some coolant removed, engine warm, and thermostat open.

Coolant should be observed flowing through filler neck. If flow is not observed, determine reason for lack of flow and repair as necessary.

(b) 2.7L/3.5L/2.0L Diesel Vehicles: Engine coolant motion should be observable in coolant pressure container when revving the engine while running.

- 11. Radiator or A/C condenser fins are dirty or clogged. 11. Clean obstruction from fins.
- 12. Radiator core is plugged or corroded. 12. Clean or replace radiator as necessary.
- 13. Fuel or ignition system problems. 13. (Refer to IGNITION CONTROL - SERVICE INFORMATION )
- 14. Dragging Brakes. 14. Inspect brake system and repair as necessary.
- 15. Bug screen or other aftermarket accessory is being used causing reduced air flow. 15. Remove bug screen or accessory.
- 16. Thermostat partially or completely closed. 16. Check thermostat operation and replace as necessary.
- 17. Electric radiator fan not operating properly. 17. Check electric fan operation and repair as necessary.
- 18. Cylinder head gasket leaking. 18. Check cylinder head gasket for leaks.
- 19. Heater core leaking. 19. Check heater core for leaks.

Repair as necessary.

TEMPERATURE GAUGE READING IS INCONSISTENT (FLUCTUATES, CYCLES OR IS ERRATIC) 1. The gauge may cycle up and down. This is due to the cycling of the electric radiator fan and/or changing vehicle operating conditions. 1. A normal condition. No correction is necessary. If gauge cycling is going into the hot zone, check electric fan operation and repair as necessary.
2. During cold weather operation with the heater blower in the high position, the gauge reading may drop slightly. 2. A normal condition. No correction is necessary.
3. Temperature gauge or engine coolant temperature sensor is defective or shorted. 3. Check operation of gauge and repair as necessary.
4. Gauge reading rises when vehicle is brought to a stop after heavy use (engine still running). 4. A normal condition. No correction is necessary. The gauge should return to normal range after vehicle is driven.
5. Gauge reading high after restarting a warmed-up (hot) engine. 5. A normal condition. No correction is necessary. The gauge should return to normal range after a few minutes of engine operation.
6. Coolant level low (air will build up in the cooling system causing the thermostat to open late). 6. Check cooling system for leaks.
7. Cylinder head gasket leaking allowing exhaust gas to enter cooling system. This will cause thermostat to open late. 7. (a) Check for cylinder head gasket leaks. Repair as necessary.

(b) Check for coolant in the engine oil. Inspect for white steam emitting from exhaust system.

Repair as necessary.

8. Water pump impeller or pulley loose on shaft. 8. Check water pump and replace as necessary.
9. Air leak on the suction side of water pump allows air to build up in cooling system. This will cause the thermostat to open late. 9. Locate leak and repair as necessary



1. Pressure relief valve in pressure cap defective or wrong pressure cap installed. 1. Verify proper pressure cap part number. Check condition of pressure cap and seals. Replace as necessary.
2. Cooling system over filled. 2. Drain cooling system to proper level.


1. Coolant leaks in radiator, cooling system hoses, water pump or engine. 1. Pressure test and repair as necessary.
DETONATION OR PREIGNITION (NOT CAUSED BY IGNITION SYSTEM). GAUGE MAY OR MAY NOT BE READING HIGH. 1. Engine overheating. 1. Check reason for overheating and repair as necessary.
2. Freeze point of coolant not correct. 2. Check the freeze point of the coolant.
3. Coolant level low. 3. Fill cooling system to proper level.
HOSE OR HOSES COLLAPSE WHEN ENGINE IS COOLING 1. Vacuum created in cooling system on engine cool-down is not being relieved through coolant recovery container system. 1. (a) Radiator pressure cap relief valve stuck.

(b) Hose between coolant recovery container and radiator is kinked.

Repair as necessary.

(c) Vent at coolant recovery container is plugged. Clean vent and repair as necessary.

(d) Coolant recovery container is internally blocked or plugged.

Check for blockage and repair as necessary.

ELECTRIC RADIATOR FAN OPERATES ALL THE TIME. 1. Fan relay, Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or engine coolant temperature sensor defective. 1. (Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information) Repair as necessary.
2. Check for low coolant level. 2. See Standard Procedure Repair as necessary.
3. Defective transmission temperature sensor. 3. Check for transmission related diagnostic trouble codes. Refer to 41TE Transmission Diagnostics.
4. Defective A/C pressure transducer. 4. Refer to appropriate Powertrain Diagnostic Service Information for any related trouble codes.
ELECTRIC RADIATOR FAN WILL NOT OPERATE. GAUGE READING HIGH OR HOT 1. Radiator fan motor defective. 1. Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information. Repair as necessary.
2. Radiator fan relay, Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or engine coolant temperature sensor defective. 2. Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information. Repair as necessary.
3. Blown fuse in Power Distribution Center (PDC). 3. Determine reason for blown fuse and repair as necessary.
NOISY FAN 1. Radiator fan blade loose. 1. Replace fan assembly.
2. Radiator fan blade striking a surrounding object. 2. Locate point of fan blade contact and repair as necessary.
3. Air obstructions at radiator or A/C condenser. 3. Remove obstructions and/or clean debris from radiator and/or A/C condenser.
4. Radiator fan motor defective. 4. Replace as necessary.
INADEQUATE AIR CONDITIONER PERFORMANCE (COOLING SYSTEM SUSPECTED) 1. Radiator and/or air conditioning condenser is restricted, obstructed or dirty. 1. Remove restriction and/or clean as necessary.
2. Electric radiator fan not operating when A/C is on. 2. Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information. Repair as necessary.
3. Engine is overheating (heat may be transferred from radiator to A/C condenser). High under hood temperature due to engine overheating may also transfer heat to A/C components. 3. Correct overheating condition.
INADEQUATE HEATER PERFORMANCE. 1. Has a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) been set? 1. Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information.
2. Coolant level low. 2. Repair as necessary.
3. Obstructions in heater hose fittings at engine. 3. Remove heater hoses at both ends and check for obstructions.

Repair as necessary.

4. Heater hose kinked. 4. Locate kinked area and repair as necessary.
5. Water pump is not pumping coolant to heater core. When the engine is fully warmed up, both heater hoses should be hot to the touch. 5. Repair as necessary.
HEAT ODOR 1. Various heat shields are used at certain driveline components. One or more of these shields may be missing. 1. Locate missing shields and replace or repair as necessary.
2. Is temperature gauge reading above the normal range? 2. Refer to the previous TEMPERATURE GAUGE READS HIGH . Repair as necessary.
3. Radiator fan operating incorrectly. 3. See Diagnosis and Testing Repair as necessary.
4. Has undercoating been applied to any unnecessary component? 4. Clean undercoating as necessary.
5. Engine may be running rich causing the catalytic converter to overheat. 5. Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information. Repair as necessary.
POOR DRIVEABILITY (THERMOSTAT POSSIBLY STUCK OPEN). GAUGE MAY BE READING LOW 1. For proper driveability, good vehicle emissions and for preventing build-up of engine oil sludge, the thermostat must be operating properly. Has a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC ) been set? 1. Refer to the Appropriate Diagnostic Information. Replace thermostat if necessary.


1. During wet weather, moisture (snow, ice or rain condensation) on the radiator will evaporate when the thermostat opens. This opening allows heated water into the radiator. When the moisture contact the hot radiator, steam may be emitted. This usually occurs in cold weather with no fan or airflow to blow it away. 1. Occasional steam emitting from this area is normal. No repair is necessary.
COOLANT COLOR 1. Coolant color is not necessarily an indication of adequate corrosion or temperature protection. Do not rely on coolant color for determining condition of coolant. 1. Check the freeze point of the coolant.
COOLANT LEVEL CHANGES IN COOLANT RECOVERY CONTAINER 1. Level changes are to be expected as coolant volume fluctuates with engine temperature. If the level in the container was between the MIN and MAX marks when the engine was cold, the level should return to within that range after operation at elevated temperatures. 1. A normal condition. No repair is necessary.
    Flow check
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