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Old 12-03-2008, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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1998 Taurus, 3.0L, Vulcan, no automatic climate control. I've spent many hours searching and reading and trying things, but still have no heat.

Symptoms - No trace of heat inside car. Blower works fine. Heater core hoses at firewall are same temperature, but not hot like the bypass hose. The rubber hoses up to the metal hoses (firewall side of bypass tee) are hot, but the metal hoses and hoses connecting right to the heater core are just a bit warm, but not a temperature differential between the two. Car running at normal operating range. Car does not overheat on long trips. Degas tank full. Coolant looks all brown and corroded. Disclaimer: Wife's car and she did say that the heater worked a few times, but I haven't experienced that, and she hasn't now lately. Problem has been going on about a month, but that's about when we started using the heater too. We did have a problem over the summer where the coolant leaked out and got real low, which turned out to be a cracked degas (overlow) resevoir.

My possible problems: Blocked heater core, bad thermostat, low fluid level, water pump impeller rot, air pocket in cooling system, bad blend door actuator, bad blend door, or stratification (secondary) temperature blend door problem (Ford TS .

What I've done: 1) Made sure coolant level was full to within a few inches in resevoir. 2) Disconnected hoses and directly flushed and backflushed heater core 3 times with garden hose. Water ran freely either way each time and there was not a lot of crud coming out although the overall coolant is brown and ugly. 3) Tried pinching off bypass hose, still no heat. 4) replaced thermostat, no change in engine temperature, so even though it looked very rusty it was still working. 5) tried bleeding the air out by disconnecting the hose that leads into the degas overflow tank (originates from top of thermostat). There was not a constant stream of water flow but came in spurts, running for a bit and then not. I presumed this was due to the thermostat opening and closing. 6) Disconnected heater hose coming from the water pump but after the bypass tee, and started the engine. Pretty sure I had the bypass hose clamped off too. Water would flow out of the hose at a good rate, but again it would flow for awhile and then not. While the water was coming out (and very hot I might add) I connected it up to the metal tube that goes to the heater core and checked the air inside the compartment, but still ice cold. 7) Took off the blend door actuator and confirmed that it moved the full range, about 90 degrees, while I turned the manual heat control knob. 8) Inspected the fitting that the actuator goes into and made sure that piece wasn't broken. 9) moved the metal lever up and down that controls the blend door and listened to different sounds of air, seeming to say that it was working. 10) went ahead and did a quick flush of whole system and added new antifreeze since it is now snowing outside, ugh!

What next? My thoughts right now are either 1) the water pump isn't quite pumping right, although the car does not overheat and water was flowing well through the heater hose today, or 2) the stratification (secondary) temperature blend door (whatever that is, there was a TSB on it anyway), or 3) the heater core is shot, even though it is not leaking inside and water is flowing through it.

My guess right now is #2, the secondary blend door thing. Can someone tell me how to get at that? I have the instrument panel off, glove box out, blend door actuator out, and can get at the cover of the heater core, but I have no idea how or where to get at this secondary blend door. Here is the TSB for it, but I still can't figure it out. http://ford.justanswer.com/uploads/fordguy...TSB-02-23-6.pdf What is the plenum? I've tried searching for pictures but have had no luck. I'm still not 100% convinced that water is really flowing through the heater core, but everything I've done says it should be and yet not even a little warm air coming out.

OR, if there is something I'm missing or overlooking or making the wrong assumptions about, then by all means let me know! I'm open to ideas. The car isn't worth what the dealer would charge me to fix this.

Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
1998 Taurus, 3.0L, Vulcan, no automatic climate control. I've spent many hours searching and reading and trying things, but still have no heat.

Symptoms - No trace of heat inside car. Blower works fine. Heater core hoses at firewall are same temperature, but not hot like the bypass hose. The rubber hoses up to the metal hoses (firewall side of bypass tee) are hot, but the metal hoses and hoses connecting right to the heater core are just a bit warm, but not a temperature differential between the two. Car running at normal operating range. Car does not overheat on long trips. Degas tank full. Coolant looks all brown and corroded. Disclaimer: Wife's car and she did say that the heater worked a few times, but I haven't experienced that, and she hasn't now lately. Problem has been going on about a month, but that's about when we started using the heater too. We did have a problem over the summer where the coolant leaked out and got real low, which turned out to be a cracked degas (overlow) resevoir.

My possible problems: Blocked heater core, bad thermostat, low fluid level, water pump impeller rot, air pocket in cooling system, bad blend door actuator, bad blend door, or stratification (secondary) temperature blend door problem (Ford TS .

What I've done: 1) Made sure coolant level was full to within a few inches in resevoir. 2) Disconnected hoses and directly flushed and backflushed heater core 3 times with garden hose. Water ran freely either way each time and there was not a lot of crud coming out although the overall coolant is brown and ugly. 3) Tried pinching off bypass hose, still no heat. 4) replaced thermostat, no change in engine temperature, so even though it looked very rusty it was still working. 5) tried bleeding the air out by disconnecting the hose that leads into the degas overflow tank (originates from top of thermostat). There was not a constant stream of water flow but came in spurts, running for a bit and then not. I presumed this was due to the thermostat opening and closing. 6) Disconnected heater hose coming from the water pump but after the bypass tee, and started the engine. Pretty sure I had the bypass hose clamped off too. Water would flow out of the hose at a good rate, but again it would flow for awhile and then not. While the water was coming out (and very hot I might add) I connected it up to the metal tube that goes to the heater core and checked the air inside the compartment, but still ice cold. 7) Took off the blend door actuator and confirmed that it moved the full range, about 90 degrees, while I turned the manual heat control knob. 8) Inspected the fitting that the actuator goes into and made sure that piece wasn't broken. 9) moved the metal lever up and down that controls the blend door and listened to different sounds of air, seeming to say that it was working. 10) went ahead and did a quick flush of whole system and added new antifreeze since it is now snowing outside, ugh!

What next? My thoughts right now are either 1) the water pump isn't quite pumping right, although the car does not overheat and water was flowing well through the heater hose today, or 2) the stratification (secondary) temperature blend door (whatever that is, there was a TSB on it anyway), or 3) the heater core is shot, even though it is not leaking inside and water is flowing through it.

My guess right now is #2, the secondary blend door thing. Can someone tell me how to get at that? I have the instrument panel off, glove box out, blend door actuator out, and can get at the cover of the heater core, but I have no idea how or where to get at this secondary blend door. Here is the TSB for it, but I still can't figure it out. http://ford.justanswer.com/uploads/fordguy...TSB-02-23-6.pdf What is the plenum? I've tried searching for pictures but have had no luck. I'm still not 100% convinced that water is really flowing through the heater core, but everything I've done says it should be and yet not even a little warm air coming out.

OR, if there is something I'm missing or overlooking or making the wrong assumptions about, then by all means let me know! I'm open to ideas. The car isn't worth what the dealer would charge me to fix this.

Thanks!
[/b]

Since you didn't mention any smell of anti-freeze odor in the car's interior my suspicion is that the bypass hose is doing its job of insuring that the car doesn't overheat, however, this prevents you from getting hot coolant to the heater core. It's most likely that your heater core is toast. If you DYI you have to remove the driver's air bag, pull the steering wheel, remove the clusteer and the radio/climate controls, remove the underside and side trim pannels. Unbolt the dashboard and remove it. Gain access to the plenum unit which contains the a/c evaporator, heater core, and the blower motor as well as control doors. When you disconnect the vent door actuator from its actuator rod you can get access to the a pannel behind which is the heater core. Remove the hoses inside the engine compartment and remove the heater core. Replacement is the reverse.

Also, disconnect the battery before attempting to remove the air bag and always hold it away from you after unbolting it from the steering wheel. Place it in a safe static free place so it doesn't accidently inflate.

The collision book quotes an hour labor for the heater core, half an hour four the steering wheel, and six hours for the instrument panel. So your looking at least 8 hours of labor if the job is done for you. At $85 an hour that's $680 without parts. I suspect though that they'll quote you about $900 w/o parts. The heater core is about $75 and the seals are about $20. So you'll be looking at a c note on this repair if you don't DYI.

Once you've done one of these you can do it again and again.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Water flows through the heater core though when I flush it. There are no leaks inside and no smell of antifreeze.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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hi,

when water temp is hot (normal), temp selector to heat,

turn on vent and tell us if the air is cold, warm or hot, or very hot.

if water pump has not been changed, that is your first place,
along with a new thermostat.

I have '99 wagon and sable, same problems.

bad water pump impeller.

regards,

james
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My wife just got home, after scraping the ice off the 'inside' of the windshield, and I found out some new information. She said the time it got hot was when she was driving on the highway for about 20 miles. Mostly she drives shorter trips. So I went out and revved the engine to 3500 rpms and very quickly I started getting warm air. Let off to idle and it started getting cold again. Let run at idle for 5 minutes or so and it was still warmer than it has been (it usually feels like the AC is blowing) but it wasn't really warm either. Revved the engine again, and warm air again.

I seem to rember that being indicative of the bad water pump. Weird though that it doesn't leak or overheat, modes of failure I'm familiar with anyway.

Quote:
hi,

when water temp is hot (normal), temp selector to heat,

turn on vent and tell us if the air is cold, warm or hot, or very hot.

if water pump has not been changed, that is your first place,
along with a new thermostat.

I have '99 wagon and sable, same problems.

bad water pump impeller.

regards,

james
[/b]
The answer is when the car is hot, and the selector is on full heat, it always feels like the AC is on. Revving the engine as I described above got warm air to flow. I did change the thermostat today, but testing afterwards, with car at normal operating temperature, it was still cold air.
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Old 12-04-2008, 12:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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What you got there is a shot water pump...the impellers are surely rotted away. The fact that the heat begins to work at higher RPM's and the coolant was grudgy brown is indicative to this. Get that fixed and you'll be feeling that 'vulcan' heat every 96-99 owner will inevitably lose one day
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
What you got there is a shot water pump...the impellers are surely rotted away. The fact that the heat begins to work at higher RPM's and the coolant was grudgy brown is indicative to this. Get that fixed and you'll be feeling that 'vulcan' heat every 96-99 owner will inevitably lose one day
[/b]

Had one in the shop a couple years back doing the same thing - only had heat when the engine was revved up, yet the engine didn't overheat. Water pump impeller was rotted off.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks all. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this weekend and I'll be able to put in a new water pump. Looks like a pain with very little room to work and frozen fingers will make it pretty miserable.

Any tricks or gotchas to watch out for before I start? I see I need to use sealant on screw 3 I think it is, otherwise looks pretty straight forward.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Loosen the bolts on the water pump pulley before you remove the belt, to help hold the pulley from turning. I also usually remove the 2 nuts from the engine mounts so i can jack the engine up to make more clearance. I can't remember for sure, but you may have to do this anyway.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Loosen the bolts on the water pump pulley before you remove the belt, to help hold the pulley from turning. I also usually remove the 2 nuts from the engine mounts so i can jack the engine up to make more clearance. I can't remember for sure, but you may have to do this anyway.
[/b]
I'm trying to change the water pump and there is at least 1 bolt that just seem impossible to get at. It is the farthest bolt to the right (nearest front of car) and is down under the automatic belt tensioner. I feel like I need to remove the whole assembly (bracket) that the alternator and power steering pump are attached to but can't figure out how to do that, or even if it is something easy to do. Probably have to take out the bolts I'm trying to loosen anyway. Once I get that one off the next one lower looks like a bear as well.

I can actually get a wrench on the bolt but just have no way to break it free. Best try was sticking my hand up through the wheel where I could at least get a little leverage.

Any ideas?
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