Heater Core or Water Pump or....??? - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 01:28 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Gatineau/Ottawa
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Year: 2002
Model: Ford Taurus
Engine: 3.0L 12v Vulcan V6
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Heater Core or Water Pump or....???

Hi All!
So here's my story -
I have a 02 OHV SE Taurus that I have always taken care of... however recently I had to lend the car to a friend who returned it after about a month (I was away on holiday) and he said that he had some problems with the coolant going missing and decided to pour water, some Prestone yellow coolant etc... and kept driving!!
Long story short, when I took it back, the coolant tank had a hairline crack that was slowly dripping coolant. I ordered a new doorman one immediately since that's what they had on short notice and replaced it. Drained the radiator and put new golden Zerex 05.

Now here are the issues I had prior to lending it and may have been increased due to a bit of negligence -

1) Heat in the dead of winter was very low to the level of non-existant (or barely lukewarm)
2) Each time I turn on the heating, I can smell (very strong) coolant which goes away (or almost goes away) once the blower runs for a bit... the windows get all foggy leading me to drive with them down in -28C
3) I didn't drive it much in the winter and now have decided to tackle the issues
4) The air-conditioning is super cold and is working fantastic
5) Now (In the summer) the heating is blowing hot (but this had happened a year back too where summer the heating was working perfect, and when winter came, I just kept at the same temps as the weather
6) In Canada we have bitter cold and while I'm not expecting magic, the coolant smell with the poor heating has me confused.
7) The engine (I think) is running slightly hotter (I remember the needle always sitting at 1/3 from the bottom, and now it sits at 1/2) but I'm not sure if that is the normal since I've driven my work car for a bit of the time and may have forgotten!
Is it the heater core or the water pump or the lines or the timing cover gasket or something else??
Can someone help?

Last edited by asax; 08-11-2019 at 01:30 AM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Westminster, CO
Chapter: Midwest
Year: 2000
Model: Ford Taurus
Engine: 3.0L 12v Vulcan V6
Posts: 328
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I think you have a small leak in the heater core. That would account for the smell of antifreeze/coolant. It would also explain the fogging of the inside of your windows. It also sounds like your heater core may be pretty much blocked, quite common on this engine. I don't know why you would have heat in the summer, but not winter when you need it. If you had a water pump problem you would probably be overheating, have leaks at the weep holes, or hear bearing noise from that area of the engine. My 2000 Vulcan temp runs at a little under half. Ordinarily would advise you to try a heater core flush, as well as entire system. That does not address possible heater core leak. System could be pressure tested for leaks, but coolant smell with fogging windows tells me there is a leak. You may be looking at heater core replacement. See YouTube for videos as well as a shortcut which I cannot vouch for as fortunately have not needed HC replacement.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 07:47 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: North Canton, Ohio
Chapter: Midwest
Year: 2006
Model: Ford Taurus
Engine: 3.0L 12v Vulcan V6
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Plugged heater core will not cause a rise in temperature because what doesn't go through the core goes through bypass. Pretty common to have a plugged core on a OHV engine. Check normal things like thermostat, tank cap, tank for cracks and coolant level, but see if you can use scan tool to get live data. Normal temp is 197 degrees on there engines.

Leaking timing cover will not cause overheat unless coolant level is low.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 10:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Westminster, CO
Chapter: Midwest
Year: 2000
Model: Ford Taurus
Engine: 3.0L 12v Vulcan V6
Posts: 328
Rep Power: 0
Trader Score: 0 reviews
Agree with Automender12345, if heater core is blocked there is a bypass hose to keep coolant flowing, if flushing heater core best to clamp off the bypass hose with a towel and clamps or vise grips. I too had a cracked reservoir at about 18 years, drove me crazy finding it because it was on the bottom of the reservoir, not visible unless you removed it for inspection. Some have recommended a new cap for the reservoir to prevent sudden failures of the old cap. I hope not but think you may have to replace the heater core. It involves removing or moving the dash back for access. Let us know what you find. Our Canadian friends certainly need heat for your winters.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Today, 08:58 AM
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May search: heater core shortcut video by realfixesrealfast.
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