2008 Grand Caravan coolant leak
Our 2008 Grand Caravan started to smell of evaporating coolant after a long drive of over an hour. Shorter drives didn't seem to matter, but when we stopped at backed-up intersections so the car had to idle, we would get steaming, but I couldn't get out to check it so drove on to destination and checked everything - smell but no leak. Coolant would get low after a few of these, but it wouldn't do this every time we made this trip. I finally put some stop-leak into the radiator. That seemed to work for awhile, but in short order it was doing this again. Now, however, there was a brown stain forming on the metal shield over the crossover exhaust pipe. I felt underneath of the water inlet housing where it connects to the engine and found a small drop of coolant. I pulled off the radiator hose and the water inlet housing to find the thermostat. The water inlet housing is made of thermoplastic with metal inserts for the bolts. The thermostat has a rubber gasket - the gasket was "blown" out (shredded - completely separated). The new thermostat came with the rubber gasket, but the gasket has a square appendage on it that has no place to go in the inlet housing, in fact, it makes the gasket not fit too well. I aligned it with the mark on the housing that puts the thermostat's vent at the top. After reassembling and refilling, I test drove successfully and since then the leak has been stopped. This type of thermostat gasket does not look much like a winner.