Any advice would be greatly appreciated

So I purchased a used 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Feb '18. Last month or so, I started noticing a smell. Like when your engine overheats except the gauge showed it was not hot. There’s a hose that collapses and stays that way for who knows how long, because it isn’t always pinched or collapsed. The plastic tank for the coolant is way past the “full” sign and I cannot see the coolant when I remove the radiator cap. I purchased a new rad cap hoping that’s all it needed. When I remove the new cap, I can hear a sucking sound, like pressure being released or something. There is nothing indicating a leak of any sort that I can see. There’s a tiny bit, just a puff real, of whitish steam or smoke that is produced out of the tail pipe when I first start her up, usually after its sat all night. I cannot afford to take her in to a shop, I have watched so many YouTube videos and googled every topic I can think of to no avail. My jeep is our only vehicle so I’m dreading the day something terrible happens that will make it impossible to fix. Please help. Thank you in advance.

I think you need to replace the radiator hoses. They soften over time and need to be replaced periodically.

You didn’t mention whether you added coolant, or not.
Hopefully you did.
What you need to do is to monitor the level of coolant in the radiator daily–when the engine is stone cold.
If you find that the level keeps dropping, and if there is no obvious leak, then there is a likelihood that you have a breached head gasket.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of a breached head gasket don’t improve, and can eventually lead to destruction of the engine, so I think that you have no choice but to take the Jeep to a well-reputed mechanic’s shop.
Do NOT go to a chain-run operation like Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys, or–God forbid–AAMCO. Ask friends, relatives, and co-workers for a recommended independent shop where they can do some simple tests to determine if the head gasket is bad.

Please check back with us to let us know how this situation proceeds for you!

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Dang, no I have not been adding coolant but I will get some and do that. There’s a shop in town that does free diagnostic test and so I’ll probably take the jeep in tomorrow. I will for sure check back and let y’all know. Thank you so much for responding to my situation. I appreciate greatly.

I’m thinking you’re right. I wonder if the hoses are easily replaced, in other words, if I could do it myself.

Can you describe the hose that sometimes collapses: its location, diameter, what it connects to on each end?

The hose is at the top of the engine, it’s curved and is approximately 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter and about 1.5 long maybe.

15286423511511135539816wow ok I was wrong on all the dimensions. Here’s a photphoto of the hose. It’s only about a foot long and is not collapsed at the moment.

Looks like a radiator hose to me. You should replace both hoses that look like that’s one. The coolant has to be drained to do this. I’d replace the doolant at the same time.

Alright man thank you so much!!

I wonder if your new rad cap is the correct one. If in doubt, get the same one installed by the carmaker, from a dealer or a junkyard. When the engine cools, the rad cap should let some of the contents of the overflow tank be drawn back into the radiator. That seems to not be happening, so the top radiator hose is collapsing instead.

Some of your symptoms suggest a head gasket leak, but get that rad cap squared away first and see how it goes. In the AM with a cold engine, take off the rad cap and make sure the rad is filled with coolant or at least water.

Alright. Yea I didn’t know if to add or not to add but someone did mention that earlier so I will make sure to do that. As for the cap, there’s a couple of junkyard I can call. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

I don’t think a used radiator cap will help. The radiator should be filled to the very top, if it isn’t the engine may be a quart low or a gallon low, just fill it up.

If the upper radiator hose is still collapsing after the engine cools check to see if the hose to the reservoir is plugged or if the reservoir is plugged with sediment.