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Oil in Radiator

I have 2004 Dodge Intrepid 3.5L with 153K miles. For the past tow months I am getting oil in the radiator but NO antifreeze in the oil. Oil level gets low but the transmission fluid is fine. No coolent smoke, No Oil smoke, Have been draining coolant, Passed emission 3-months ago, Gas mileage is fine @ 23MPG. I have to add about quart a month (1000?-miles). I have been using Mobile-1 synthetic since bought the car at 108K. Currently 153K miles on the engine. Two years ago water pump and timing belt was replaced.
If it is the head gasket then why oil is fine and no coolant in the oil. It is Not transmission Fluid either.
Any idea??


  • Very likely a head gasket. About the only other possible to check out is whether or not the car has any kind of "oil cooler" incorporated into the radiator. Some cars have oil coolers and trans oil coolers and to save weight and space they put them all in one unit. If you have this kind of system oil could be leaking from the oil cooler tubing into a regular coolant tubing due to rust, or leaky "0" ring seals. Look carefully at the radiator for lines coming into and out of it. There are lots of lines in the radiator area; AC lines should be easy to identify then look for more lines which might carry oil or trans fluid.
  • Check the right side of the radiator for engine oil cooler lines. Heavy duty cooling, tow package, police and taxi will likely have an engine oil cooler.

    2004 Dodge Intrepid oil cooler.gif
    640 x 365 - 15K

  • Very possible that it has oil cooler since it is a police cruiser and has an idependent brake cooler.
    I will update when I get the time to check it out.
  • edited November 2011
    Head gaskets can fail in a myriad of different ways....sometimes it goes one way....and others a different failure mode will be present. The important thing is that you know its a head gasket issue.

    Good call on the oil cooler tho guys, I thought of that but you beat me to it....should be easy enough to prove that out tho.....they very RARELY will do this to you however....Oil coolers in the rad seldom fail without trauma of some sort so.....

    Dont forget to take the cylinder heads to a machine shop to be spec'd out at THE VERY LEAST.....they will tell you if you need to "cut" the heads back to square again....and is necessary....there is no other way to properly do a head gasket. Just an FYi

  • Thanks guys finally had a time to raise the car and checked it out. It is the oil-cooler that is leaking into the radiator coolant but so far not coolant-leak in the oil.
    Since it is Intrepid police package, should I replace the radiator or just cut and splice the oil-lines together? Are these high pressure hoses with steel wire in them? Can I cut and splice them with a hose clamps?
  • Replace the radiator. An aftermarket radiator can be had for less than $140. I wouldn't cut the hoses, you can disconnect them from the radiator and connect them together with a piece of steel tubing to get by for a while.

    Plastic side tank radiators don't last forever and replacing it now may save you from an inconvenience in the future. It may be due to the local enviroment but recently I've replaced a few 2004-2006 Toyota radiators with cracked plastic tanks, even $500. radiators don't last forever.
  • Thanks,
    Great Suggestion.
This discussion has been closed.