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Discussion Starter #1
I changed the cabin air filter Saturday, then for some reason the heat in the car is no longer as hot as it used to be. I've confirmed that I replaced the filter properly. What else can I look at? The AC works perfectly, but the heat is almost lukewarm now
Oh by the way, here's what the old filter looked like:
215253
 

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I changed the cabin air filter Saturday, then for some reason the heat in the car is no longer as hot as it used to be. I've confirmed that I replaced the filter properly. What else can I look at? The AC works perfectly, but the heat is almost lukewarm now
Oh by the way, here's what the old filter looked like:
View attachment 215253
Mine was worse! Full area above the filter was mouse nest. Likely your heater core is plugged. New filter makes more air volume and thus less temperature.
-chart-
 

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Assuming you have a Vulcan, search "Clinton Flush" on this site.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Update: I took the car to my neighborhood lube shop (they do a good job) and had them flush since I intended to have it done anyway. It was after that I realized the car DOES have heat but it seems to work best when DRIVING. If the car is just idling, then the heat is weak, but once on the road all is well. The temp gauge indicates correct operating temps (even though the gauge DOES have its issues), so I don't think the t'stat is the problem, but I might just change it out anyway. Maybe the water pump could be a possible cause? Or do you all think I should just change out the heater core anyway?
 

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A shop "flush" (likely a drain and replace) is nowhere near as thorough as even a drive around cleaner let alone a reverse flush.

Changing the heater core is a big job and not warranted at this point.
 

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It is a partially plugged heater core. Take it from someone who has own three of these and had to do all three to recover heat. You get heat at highway speeds because the water pump is turning faster and pushes more hot water through plugged core. You also have to make sure the bypass hose is crimped off to force the flush water through the core. Flush is useless if you don't do that.
 

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I've done a Clinton flush 3 of the last 4 years I've owned our car, in the Fall. Each year it gets hotter. Four years ago it had no heat at all. Last night I tried the heat (first cool night after flushing 2 weeks ago) and it was blazing hot.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I finally got around to attempting the flush a while back, but haven't had time to post my update. My first attempt was kinda meh.. It took a while to figure that I had a couple things different on my 2007 than Old Wagon did (or those details were just not mentioned?) It really helps to loosen/remove the top brace/bracket for the alternator, but when that's done, the serpentine belt is loosened as well. Additionally, it made sense (for me) to remove the top engine mount as well. Getting to the bypass hose was very difficult for me (and I'm not a big guy). There's just not too much room there, so when I try it again, I'll remove the windshield cowl covers to see if that frees up some room. By the way, is there a special tool to move the serpentine belt tensioner? I couldn't get a socket on there so I had to use two wrenches to move it!
The other issue I ran into was that my vise-grips didn't want to clamp securely on the bypass hose, so I have to get a new one. In the meantime I attempted the flush and just a regular pair of pliers and squeezed as hard as I could..LOL...
I did a REVERSE flush first and got a small amount in dirty water out, then everything else was pretty clean after that. Same thing when I flushed the regular direction.
When I purchased the car, it really seemed to take a long time for the engine to warm up and as the weather got colder, it seemed to take longer (maybe 5 to 8 minutes before the temp gauge showed normal temps, so the thermostat was fine. So I decided to burp the car after flushing the heater core. Removed the cover from the reservoir, started the car, heater on hot and fan on full, and let the car run. Once up to temp, held the revs at a steady 2500 rpms. I got a BUNCH of air out! Once it appeared to properly burped, I topped off the coolant and called it a day.
That actually helped because now the car warms up significantly quicker than it ever did, and there is SLIGHTLY more heat now once the car is at proper operating temps. The only issues now are that the heat (such as it is) seems to be engine speed related. At idle, the heat output decreases, almost back to cold. The gauge indicates normal temps and does NOT waver.
And of course, the colder it is, the longer it takes to get said heat..I'm hoping I don't have a water pump issue. The cooling fans still come on a little more than I'm used to but the car is not overheating.
So the plan is to do the flush again, with a better pair of vise grips. I'll also change the thermostat, just because. If that doesn't improve things, then I'll put in a new heater core.
 

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The water pump won't push as much hot coolant through the heater core when you are sitting idle. Also, for my 2000, removing the windshield cowl gives a lot more access for pinching the bypass hose and affords a good time to replace the cabin filter.
 

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Good news that you got air out and get heat quicker.

Did you put any cleaner / citric acid into the heater core and let it sit before doing the reverse flush?

Another thing that affects the amount of heat is having the right coolant concentration. Water absorbs more heat than coolant so if you have too much coolant in the mix, your heater core won't get as hot.

My coolant change procedure is more thorough than a single drain and fill, gets much more of the old depleted coolant out and automatically moves the ratio to 50:50. You can also add a chemical cleaner before you start in the knowledge you'll be getting most of it out.

1) Optional - add chemical cleaner. Drive around to let it work.
2) Drain and fill with gallon of distilled water. Run to mix and bleed.
3) Drain and fill with gallon of distilled water. Run to mix and bleed.
4) Drain and fill with 100% coolant. Run to mix and bleed.

When doing this, you should notice the heat gets better at step 2 and even more at step 3 because there is more water in the mix. After step 4, it will be a little less but still better than when you started.
 

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Compressed air really helps and I can do a flush in an hour or less. I use a vice grip to pinch off the bypass hose. I disconnect the heater hose going to the waterpump and the other hose goes to the area around the thermostat. I reverse flow and then forward flow at least ten times. I posted some pics earlier.
 

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Swapping the heater core is easier than messing with it over and over again in my opinion, it only took me 5 hours to do one. The key is having remote hose clamp pliers for the firewall hoses and it's just time at that point
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The water pump won't push as much hot coolant through the heater core when you are sitting idle. Also, for my 2000, removing the windshield cowl gives a lot more access for pinching the bypass hose and affords a good time to replace the cabin filter.
Thanks. It was replacing the cabin filter that somehow led to all this! :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good news that you got air out and get heat quicker.

Did you put any cleaner / citric acid into the heater core and let it sit before doing the reverse flush?

Another thing that affects the amount of heat is having the right coolant concentration. Water absorbs more heat than coolant so if you have too much coolant in the mix, your heater core won't get as hot.

My coolant change procedure is more thorough than a single drain and fill, gets much more of the old depleted coolant out and automatically moves the ratio to 50:50. You can also add a chemical cleaner before you start in the knowledge you'll be getting most of it out.

1) Optional - add chemical cleaner. Drive around to let it work.
2) Drain and fill with gallon of distilled water. Run to mix and bleed.
3) Drain and fill with gallon of distilled water. Run to mix and bleed.
4) Drain and fill with 100% coolant. Run to mix and bleed.

When doing this, you should notice the heat gets better at step 2 and even more at step 3 because there is more water in the mix. After step 4, it will be a little less but still better than when you started.
Interesting!! Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Compressed air really helps and I can do a flush in an hour or less. I use a vice grip to pinch off the bypass hose. I disconnect the heater hose going to the waterpump and the other hose goes to the area around the thermostat. I reverse flow and then forward flow at least ten times. I posted some pics earlier.
Yup! I looked at your post. I didn't flush as many times as you though, and I've got to get a better pair of vise grips!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Swapping the heater core is easier than messing with it over and over again in my opinion, it only took me 5 hours to do one. The key is having remote hose clamp pliers for the firewall hoses and it's just time at that point
I thought about this too, but I figured I'd give it one more shot! Sucks not having a garage too :-(
 

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May search/google the youtube video: Heater Core Shortcut by Realfixesrealfast. Fwiw, Harbor Freight Tools sells specialty hose crimping pliers for cheap. The remote hose clamp pliers are available all over the internet.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think time finally caught up with me. While taking my son to work last night, I kept hearing what sounded like water trickling behind the dash on the passenger side. Heat was minimal.. When I got back home and pulled the carpet back, I found this, and the firewall was damp..
Probably best not to drive the car until I can get the core replaced, right?
 

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