Off Road Truck Overheating? Part 2 Major Issues to Check!

Overheating can cause extensive damage to your truck engine if the problem is not corrected immediately, especially if you take your truck off-road.

Even if you’ve invested in upgrades like the 2019 GMC HD open fender system to make your truck more capable, it’s essential that you keep an eye on your temperature gauge and look for symptoms of overheating.

Part 1 of this article series talked about the common, easily detected and repaired issues that can cause your truck to overheat.

When those don't prove to be the answer, it’s time to consider more serious problems and the need to get the truck to your favorite auto shop if the repair job is more than you can tackle yourself.

1. Thermostat Problems

Cooling system thermostat valves detect coolant temperature, opening and closing to allow more or less coolant to flow through the radiator and cooling system as needed.

When the thermostat is non-functioning, or if its accuracy is off, it won’t open when necessary or open far enough to provide adequate coolant for the system.

Check your thermostat function by removing it from the truck and testing it in a pot of hot water to ensure that it’s functioning the way it should.

A properly functioning thermostat should open fully once it reads 10 to 15 degrees above its temperature rating.

If yours fails to do that, you should replace it as your entire cooling system will fail to keep the engine cool enough due to lack of fluid flowing through it.

2. Water Pump Not Functioning

Though your 2019 Chevy 1500 ViCowl might help keep the inside of your truck a little cooler and shaded from the sun, the water pump is the chief means of pushing coolant through your radiator and the entire engine cooling system.

Symptoms of a failing or non-functional water pump are coolant leaks from the bearings and seals or any leaks seen on the bottom of the pump.

A failed water pump should be replaced immediately because if you’re going off-road with your truck a lot, consider a more durable high-efficiency pump that can handle more than the stock pump to further improve engine cooling.

3. Radiator Problems

The radiator is a critical component in every truck’s cooling system as it keeps the coolant sufficiently cool so it can be continually recirculated to cool the engine.

It is a pressurized system that loses efficiency when the pressure cannot be maintained.

The 2019 GMC 1500 Grumper is built to aid this need with increased airflow to keep your radiator cool and functioning properly.

A chief cause of depressurization as well as the associated loss of coolant is a leak in the radiator, whether due to damage, corrosion, or some other reason.

In this case, the ideal repair& is to replace this critical component, as commercially available fix-leak products can cause more problems than they solve.

A radiator that is clogged with dirt, corrosive debris, or other material will also impede the flow of coolant throughout the system.

A flush may be all that is necessary to get your radiator flowing again; in extreme cases, replacement may still be preferable.

4. Head Gasket Issues

The head gasket is a critical component that keeps the engine oil inside the engine by sealing off the opening between the block and cylinder heads.

It prevents leakage and keeps the cylinders compressed so the engine can turn over.

Any damage to the head gasket can cause overheating in a number of ways such as allowing air into the water pump, causing coolant to leak into the cylinders and burn off, and affecting the pressurization of the entire cooling and combustion system.

It can also allow engine oil to leak out, which reduces engine lubrication and increases friction.

5. Transmission Problems

Though they are far from the engine, automatic transmissions can increase engine temperature as they run hotter than manual transmissions.

This is due to the torque converter which is constantly turning even if the transmission is still.

Problems with the transmission or the torque converter that make it run even hotter risks generating enough heat that the cooling system cannot handle if it’s all radiated through the block.

If you’re aware of transmission or torque converter issues with your truck, check this area too when trying to diagnose your overheating problem.

Tend to Major Overheating Issues Right Away

When you’ve researched all the minor issues described in Part 1 and determined that your truck's overheating is due to something major, getting repairs made quickly is critical.

The concerns listed on this page can result in extensive damage to your engine if not immediately noticed and resolved.

At the first sign of your temperature gauge creeping into the red, pull over, let your engine cool, then start looking at the options.

The sooner you figure out the problem, the sooner you can get it correctly repaired and back on the trail!

Check out the initial part in this series - Off Road Truck Overheating? – Part 1 Minor Issues to Check! - first to eliminate the smaller issues that could be causing your overheating.


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Take A Look At The 2019 GMC 1500 Grumper!