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Old 10-18-2012, 06:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default No Heat

I have a 1998 Taurus with 120000 miles on it. It has the 3.0 vulcan engine. I can only get luke-warm heat at best. I flushed the complete system including backflushing the heater core. I also changed the t-stat. The blend door actuator is working and I assume the linkage is intact as I can hear a clunk at the end of the cycle from hot to cold. Both radiator hoses are fairly warm, but not hot.(can be held as long as you want to hold them) I was told that it most likely is the water pump. I find this hard to believe as on several occasions i have been in bumper to bumper traffic on 90 degree days with the air conditioning on and the temp was in the normal range. Wouldn't the engine overheat if the fins were worn off the water pump. The heater would not work when I turned it on last fall so the car was parked all last winter. I will need to use the car this winter.
Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 10-19-2012, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like the core is still plugged. Was there a bypass hose you forgot to clamp so the flush water went around the core? When everything is working the hoses will be hot enough so that you won't want to keep your hand on them for more than a few seconds.

It could also be that your thermostat is staying stuck open, so is the rest of the cooling system getting up to the proper temp (190-210F)?

If the water pump was eroded, I think you would see overheating issues in hot weather with the car idling for a minute or two. If it's the water pump, you will get more heat if you hold the engine at 2000 rpm for a minute or two in park. Try that and see if it makes any difference.

Obviously making temp measurements with a thermometer would be helpful to you while you troubleshoot.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I did clamp off one of the hoses when I flushed it, but can't remember which one.( I think it was the one that comes off of the t and goes twards the drivers side.) At this time just a small amount of rusty water came out and it was quickly runnig clean. I have also changed the thermostat twice. Today I went to Harbor Freight and purchased a thermometer. I let the engine warm up till the electric cooling fans came on and took the temrature of the hoses. This time I was unable to hold the heater hoses in my hand very long. The temp at the house which comes off the water pump was 192 degrees. The hose travels about a foot to a T. We now have two hoses. One goes into the fire wall (110 degrees) and the other twards the drivers side (170 degrees) The hose that goes to the drivers side then meets up with another T. We now have two hoses agin. One goes into firewall (170 degrees) and the other one goes into a sensor which is conected to the thermostat housing. (170 degrees)
The temrature will not change at all if you bring the RPM of the engine up.

Last edited by vmaxim; 11-16-2012 at 10:24 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If the coolant temp is only 110F at the core it probably means the core is not flowing very well. I'm thinking you should have gotten more than a little rust out of the core if you were flushing it properly. The bypass hose is the one that goes between the two T locations you described.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I assume that the bypass hose is the one that should be bloked off. I used a vice grip and surrounded the jaws with a piece of hose so I would not cut into the heater hose. Should I inject some type of cleaner into the core?
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You will probably be told that this is not a good idea, but here goes anyway. You can use liquid plumber to safely clean and disolve the crud in your heater core. Just get some in there any way you can. leave it in there for about 1/2 hour then flush it out. I did this over 3 years ago on my '02 and its still blowing out the heat with no problems. Good Luck!
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I assume that the bypass hose is the one that should be bloked off. I used a vice grip and surrounded the jaws with a piece of hose so I would not cut into the heater hose. Should I inject some type of cleaner into the core?
Yes, I think you did this properly.

Sometimes the flush doesn't work well. Remember to flush both directions, pulse the water on and off, and use compressed air if you have it. If you do decided to use drain cleaner or CLR, make sure you rinse it out really well (like 10+ gallons of water well) so it doesn't sit there and erode the core after you've used it. Using harsh chemicals may cause the core to leak, but they're your last option before having to replace the heater core.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I recently did a full system flush, heater was working fine. After a 150 mile freeway trip, my new (non-Motorcraft, ugh!) thermostat seems to have stuck open. Car is overcooling on freeway, takes a LONG time to warm up around town.... Yay! Get to do that job again. Using Motorcraft stat this time.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I constructed a flush tool which I could use to inject water and or air into the heater core. I disconnected the appropriate hoses and forced out the existing liquid in the heater core. With a drill pump I injected some Liquid Plumber into the heater core and left it sit in there for two hours. I then flushed the system out with water and air, alternating the flow direction. Much more rust came out this time than before. I reconnected the hoses and filled the cooling system. The engine was started and warmed up to operating temperature. Prior to this latest cleaning I could not get any heat on any setting. I now get 125 degree heat out of the dash vent, only on the vent position. When turned to bi-level, defrost, floor, only cold air comes out. The temp at the house which comes off the water pump was 205 degrees. The hose travels about a foot to a T. We now have two hoses. One goes into the fire wall (126 degrees) and the other twards the drivers side (166 degrees) The hose that goes to the drivers side then meets up with another T. We now have two hoses agin. One goes into firewall (166 degrees) and the other one goes into a sensor which is conected to the thermostat housing. (219 degrees)
I really question the accuracy of the thermometer, as I get different readings on the same hose almost every time I take a reading.


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Old 10-22-2012, 11:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I now get 125 degree heat out of the dash vent, only on the vent position. When turned to bi-level, defrost, floor, only cold air comes out.
This is normal because the A/C turns on for all those settings except floor. Now make sure the blend door is working and you can go from full hot to full cold and back again.

I'd like to see slightly higher temps so your core might still be partially plugged. You might have to replace it if you want more heat.

One more test for you. Try gently pinching the bypass hose and see if your register temps go up at all.

If it's an IR thermometer, be advised they don't work well with shiny surfaces. Matte black is best.
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