Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Boston Mass. area
Rep Power: 0
There's nothing like a Gen 3 heater to clog up by the time cold weather sets in. In the past, I have depended on others to get the heater flushed, but...
After 2 tries by Midas to clear my heater (with a cooling system flush) with LESS heat each time, I decided to try it on my own.
The easiest way to get at the heater fittings is to work with the hoses attached to the engine (water pump on passenger side, engine block on the driver side). You don't risk breaking off the fragile fittings on the firewall that go to the heater.
On the passenger side, it's easy if you take out the top bolt on the generator brace, loosen the other bolt on the brace and swing the brace back.
Then with space to access the hose clamp, you now remove the hose from the heater to the water pump.
You then fit a Home Depot hose repair end (about $4) to the heater hose and connect it up to a garden hose leading to your outdoor faucet.
On the other side, remove the corrugated rubber air intake (remove one electrical fitting and remove a small hose -- loosen the stainless clamps and move the air intake to the side).
Now, with space to access the hose clamp on this side, remove the hose from the engine block.
You then fit another Home Depot hose repair end to the heater hose and connect it to a length of hose to a bucket... or to your driveway. It was freezing when I did mine, and I didn't want to turn my driveway into a skating rink.
Clamp the bypass hose. You lose points if your vise grips are so tight they cut the bypass hose...
Turn water on and off at the faucet several times. This cycles the pressure inside the heater core and loosens up crud. If the engine hoses or heater core rupture from city water pressure, it was time to replace them anyway. Then let it run for a while (In my case, long enough to fill the 5-gallon bucket.) Plenty of crud should come out. Empty the bucket.
Repeat until the crud flow has pretty much stopped. At least a cup of particulate and flake crud came out of my heater.
The Clinton Add-on
And now, the Clinton touch, which I discovered purely by accident simply because I wanted to remove as much water from the heater system as possible. Didn't want to dilute the antifreeze, which was brand new from the Midas flushings...
I took the inlet hose off the garden hose and blew into it,
However, after I blew the heater clear of water, it was obvious that a bunch more crud had come loose as a result of the blow... er.. Clinton job. Hooked it back up to the garden hose and the water ran brown with lots of crud.
I repeated the Clinton job four more times - more brown water, more crud. Apparently blowing the heater clear agitates the water inside enough to really clean the pipes out. Purists should note that there was no blue dress or cigar involved in any of this.
After hooking it back up again, replacing the alternator brace, replacing the air intake and its electrical and air connections... so much heat I actually had to turn the heater down. Before this, I never turned my heater down in 2 years.
Forgot to include the overview photo:
1986 MT-4 4-cylinder (R.I.P. circa 1990, rust, clutch)
1994 Station Wagon (R.I.P. circa 9/2005)
1991 Station Wagon (R.I.P. 1/2007, but the Benz that pulled out in front was bent much worse)
1998 SE Station Wagon (R.I.P. 2/28/09 at ~186k)
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2000 Taurus SE wagon w/Vulcan & AX4S / tropic green metallic | gray cloth interior | purchased 6/12 at 51k miles