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Discussion Starter #1
Guys its been awhile but I am in need of help bad. My 92 Sable with a 3.8 motor has acted up in a big way. Was driving down the road the other day and noticed a smoke or vapor mist coming out of the defrost vents on the dash (had the defoster off too). The window started to fog so I turned the defost on and the window immediately frosted over causing me to get into a near close call accident. Pulled over to the side of the road waiting for it to clear and it did not. The vapors coming from the car defrost vents were hot. Managed to get it to work by wiping the windows with a cloth. On the way home I left the defrost off again but this time noticed a very small amount of smoke/vapors coming out but in addition this time the car started running a lot hotter than it normally does and at one point it stalled out on me at a stop light and barely started back up.

What do you guys think? I am hesitating going to my mech. now because you guys have always hit the nail on the head with my problems, thanks
 

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It sounds like your heater core needs to be replaced. If there is a sort if sweet smell out of the vents, it could be antifreeze.
 

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I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but to me it sounds more like a blown head gasket...
 

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Yeah it does sound like a gasket.
Look for whitish exhaust and check your oil to see if it is fouled. Pull a plug to see if you have a greenish crust on it. Those will confirm a head gasket problem.
 

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Definetly a heater core. It leaks then there is an air lock in the system which causes the engine to get very hot and perhaps overheat. Not a job you would want to be doing. Very hard to get at.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oil looks fine, plugs cool, no white smoke coming from exhaust so

Exactly where is the heater core for me to get to it? I looked it up and autozone has the core for 20 bucks. exactly how hard is it to get to??

Thanks
 

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REALLY!?
I have had that happen to my cars, and nothing happened.. Like, I had a Voyager with 200k miles, and it did it.. There was no smell... It was like humidity..
 
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Originally posted by memphisguy2000@Jan 3 2004, 06:18 PM
Oil looks fine, plugs cool, no white smoke coming from exhaust so

Exactly where is the heater core for me to get to it? I looked it up and autozone has the core for 20 bucks. exactly how hard is it to get to??

Thanks
My money goes on the heater core. The heater core is located on the passenger side of your car. Look for antifreeze around there or on the passenger foot well. The reason it is hard to get to is that your dash must come out to gain access to it.
 

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Before condemning the heater core, inspect the heater core inlet hose connections with a flashlight and a mirror. They have a tendency to leak, spraying hot coolant through the firewall opening and into the heaterbox , perfectly mimicing a leaking core.

If there is no evidence of leakage at the hose connections, then the core is leaking. Replacement procedure can be found at http://www.denniswolfe.com/Taurus/RepairGuide/Repair.htm

Steve
 

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If the heater hoses check out OK, then you ought to do a compression test (keep your eye on #4 cylinder especially) and a cooling system pressure test before you go ahead with the dreaded heater core replacement job.

You can "rent" the gauges needed for these tests from AutoZone for a modest, refundable deposit.

IMHO, you want to be 100% sure about that 3.8L essex.
 

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I would agree that it is the heater core. If it is be sure and check your motor mounts as the flexing of a bad mount is one of the primary causes of this failure.

Do not buy the cheapest heater core. This is too much of a job to do again in 90 days.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey guys....it turned out to be an all day project and a couple trips to NAPA and Auto Zone today but it was the heater core, late night but I got it all back together. IN addition I had to change the antifreeze which was aa good thing because the fluid in there was almost brown.

Again, thanks a million guys
 

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Thats great! Im glad it was the heater core. It is a cheaper fix for you for sure.
 

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I know this is an old thread but I am looking for a guide to replacing the heater core on my 1995 SE. The link posted either didn't have heater core information or I was too stupid to find it. Neither the cheapie manual I have (Clymer?) nor the autoZone site seem to cover this either. I understand that it is an big task involving removal of the dash and steering column? I would appreciate any guidence possible. Thanks!
 
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