Keeping a Wrangler cool
Dealing with cooling issues on a 1994 Wrangler Short Cuts

By: Ron Hollatz - 3/2000

FlowKooler high-flow water pump.
Not much extra space in there

I started having some intermittent cooling problems with the Money Pit last spring. Occasionally my temperature gauge would go from its normal 200 degrees up to 230 - 240 degrees no matter what the air temperature and the humidity was. I've used a Flex-A-Lite dual electric fan for the past couple of years If I shut down and let the motor cool off, the temperature would remain normal for the rest of the day, or if I ran at a higher RPM for a few minutes the temperature would go back to normal. I even tried removing the thermostat from my electric fans, but that didn't seem to make any difference. Since I had to remove everything from the front of my motor in preparation for my 700-R4 transmission swap, I thought it would be a good time to go through the cooling system and make some upgrades.

I pulled the radiator out and sent it to a local shop to be pressure tested and cleaned out. I don't have a lot of extra room in front of my motor so a larger radiator really isn't an option unless I want to do some fabricating. If the upgrades I'm doing now don't work out I'll have to look into that in the future.



FlowKooler Water Pump

One of the first things I found during disassembly was the bearing in my water pump had a lot of play in it. I decided this wasn't a good sign and purchased a FlowKooler water pump built by the BrassWorks. They produce a pump, which flows at double the normal rate at 900 RPM but returns to normal at higher RPM's. The FlowKooler pumps are new, not rebuilt, and include a lifetime warranty. The pumps are available for most Jeep vehicles and come in standard and reverse rotation, so make sure you know what you have to start with. I've heard a lot of debate whether the higher flow is better or not, but since I needed a new pump anyway I thought I would give it a try.

When I compared the two pumps one of the first things I noticed was the extra plate riveted on to the back of the impeller. This plate is available separately if you want to try to rivet it on yourself. Otherwise, the two pumps looked identical. The new water pump came with a new gasket and a basic set of installation instructions. It is a good idea to consult a shop manual for more detailed instructions. Plan on spending most of a day installing the pump. The pump itself is easy to install but you have to remove everything from the front of the motor to get at it. If you are using a stock fan it will have to be removed first. I had my radiator out anyway so I had plenty of room to move around. The power steering pump bracket bolts to the water pump so it also needs to be removed. Loosen or remove the power steering pump to get at the bracket bolts conveniently hidden behind the pump. Once everything is out of the way it is a simple matter of unbolting the old water pump. Make sure you put a drain pan under the motor when you are removing the water pump, there will be coolant trapped inside the block.

Installation is pretty much the opposite of the removal process. Make sure you clean the old gasket off the engine before installing the new pump. This is a pretty common mistake and you don't want to have to redo the whole thing if it leaks. A note was included with the new water pump telling me to make sure there was enough clearance for the rivets on the back of the pump. In some cases two gaskets are required. I used a thin coating of Permatex Ultra Copper on each side of the gasket during the install. I then put the pump on and torqued it to spec. After I put everything back together I installed a new set of Goodyear Super Hi-Miler Hoses and one of their Gatorback serpentine belts.

Turbo City High Flow Thermostat Housing
thermostat housing

The folks at Turbo City have a couple of different options available to help keep your jeep cool. I've been happy with their Air Tube Kit and the Hi-Flow Throttle Body I put on a couple of years back so I decided to try their stage 1 cooling kit. The kit contains a thermostat housing, which has been opened up internally for greater flow and a 160-degree Hi-Flow thermostat. At first glance this looks like something you could do at home with a Dremel tool, but it would take a while. I also wanted to keep my stock housing as a spare and there isn't much of a price difference between the Turbo City version and a stock replacement. I'm concerned the thermostat temperature might be a bit low, but with the other modifications I've already done Turbo City feels this is the right one. Installation only takes a few minutes. Remove the old one, clean up the gasket surface, and bolt on the new one.

Conclusions

I haven't had a chance to try any of these modifications in the real world yet since the Money Pit is waiting for a transmission upgrade. I did run it for a while in the garage and the difference was pretty impressive. At idle I'm usually at around 200 degrees. With the new parts the motor never got over 160 degrees. Granted this was on a 50ish degree day with no load on it, but I ran it for quite a while without the fan and it ran like a champ. The new pump is a little louder but if the temperature will stay down that's a small price to pay. I'll post my results after I return from this year's Easter Jeep Safari in Moab.

Contacts: Related Links:
  • The BrassWorks
    Dept. ORN
    289 Prado Rd.
    San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401 USA
    Phone 805-544-8841
    Fax 805-544-5615
  • Turbo City
    Dept. ORN
    1137 West Katella Avenue
    Orange, Ca 92867 USA
    Phone 714-639-4933
    Fax 714-997-1196


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