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'95 Explorer needs new heater core

merc80

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Middle TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
'95 XLT 2wd
My wife drives a '95 Explorer and it's appears the heater core is leaking. It seems to be a very small leak as not much coolant is being lost, but the coolant smell is noticable in the vehicle.

My first question is...Anyone ever have any luck with radiater stop leak products?

If anyone has ever replaced a heater core in this vehicle, they'll understand why this might seem like a good option;) I plan to disconnect the hoses coming from the core to prevent any of the product from entering the radiater or engine block. I'm not sure exactly how I'll do it, but I'll probably try to rig some kind of gravity feed system.

My second question...I have already replaced the heater core once, about 3-4 years ago. Why would it have failed again so soon?

Thanks in advance.
 


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budwich

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When was the last time you changed your antifreeze and checked its mixture. Those are typically causes of failures. Other issues on failures depend on where the failure occurs... ie. at the piping joint ( vibrations). In addition, are you sure your leak is coming from the actual heater core or possibly just a loose connection that is allowing fluid to run down lines and into the cab.
 




dogfriend

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My first question is...Anyone ever have any luck with radiater stop leak products?
.

I don't recommend using stop leak. Even if it works, it will be just as effective in clogging the smaller passages in your radiator and heater core.
 




merc80

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Budwich, the antifreeze had been changed every other year since the heater core was originally replaced. I changed it this summer, and again I replaced the water pump two weekends ago. I checked the hose connections from under the hood and they seemed okay, no signs of a leak.

Dogfriend, I wouldn't let it pass through the radiator. I plan to attempt to feed it through the heater core only. The way I see it, the worst that will happen is that it plugs an already defective heater core. If need be I can replace it again, I just REALLY don't want to spend the 8+ hours it would take.

I plan to take a good look at it this weekend when I have enough time and daylight. If I do need to replace it, anyone have any good time-saving tips?
 




Turdle

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dogfriend

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Dogfriend, I wouldn't let it pass through the radiator. I plan to attempt to feed it through the heater core only. The way I see it, the worst that will happen is that it plugs an already defective heater core. If need be I can replace it again, I just REALLY don't want to spend the 8+ hours it would take.

I missed that on the first read, but I'm not sure how you are going to keep it from getting in the radiator eventually. The stuff I'm thinking of circulates through your cooling system until it gets lodged in a crack (or cooling passage) somewhere along the way.

I can appreciate that you don't want to replace the heater core a second time.
 




merc80

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Dogfriend, I'm thinking that with a small electrical water pump and some redneck engineering I can keep it circulating through the core only. Normally I'd rather just fix it the right way, but I'm only replacing the heater core as a last resort.

Thanks for the help so far guys.
 




merc80

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I attempted to plug the leak in the heater core this weekend. Here's how I did it. I used a small bucket, a very low power submersible pump, and a few feet of 5/8" hose and connectors. I bought a bottle of "CarGo Liquid Glass Metallic Seal-Up" from AutoZone. Using 5/8" hose I plumbed the discharge side of the pump to one side of the heater core. I connected the other hose coming from the heater core to about 5' of extra hose. I filled the bucket with water, turned the pump on, and drained all coolant from the core. Once the core was flushed, I added a couple gallons of water to the bucket, along with the sealer. I put the hose attached to the core into the bucket. I allowed it to circulate this way for about 45 minutes. I was continually taking water from the bucket and heating on stove to try to simulate normal operating temps. After that I let it sit for about 5 hours. While it was sitting, every once in a while I'd blow into one of the hoses to make sure it didn't get completely blocked up. After waiting, I flushed the sealer out of the heater core with more water. I then flushed the water out with coolant. At this point I started vehicle and burped out the little bit of air that was in the system. My wife drove it the next day. She said it smelled like coolant for about 10 minutes, but that went away. So far it's been 2 days, and about 200 miles and the coolant smell has not returned. Cross your fingers for me. ;)
 




dogfriend

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Good luck. :)

Maybe you should patent the process. Then you can franchise the business. Heater Cores R Us. :D
 




MountaineerGreen

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I attempted to plug the leak in the heater core this weekend. Here's how I did it. I used a small bucket, a very low power submersible pump, and a few feet of 5/8" hose and connectors. I bought a bottle of "CarGo Liquid Glass Metallic Seal-Up" from AutoZone. Using 5/8" hose I plumbed the discharge side of the pump to one side of the heater core. I connected the other hose coming from the heater core to about 5' of extra hose. I filled the bucket with water, turned the pump on, and drained all coolant from the core. Once the core was flushed, I added a couple gallons of water to the bucket, along with the sealer. I put the hose attached to the core into the bucket. I allowed it to circulate this way for about 45 minutes. I was continually taking water from the bucket and heating on stove to try to simulate normal operating temps. After that I let it sit for about 5 hours. While it was sitting, every once in a while I'd blow into one of the hoses to make sure it didn't get completely blocked up. After waiting, I flushed the sealer out of the heater core with more water. I then flushed the water out with coolant. At this point I started vehicle and burped out the little bit of air that was in the system. My wife drove it the next day. She said it smelled like coolant for about 10 minutes, but that went away. So far it's been 2 days, and about 200 miles and the coolant smell has not returned. Cross your fingers for me. ;)

Nice work! That Liquid Glass works well, I used it once in a 2.9 with a cracked head. :)
 




Turdle

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hmmmm I wonder if I could make this work. Mine is leaking drips
 








marragtop

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What sort of 'low power submersible pump' did you use? Would a boat bilge pump work?
 




Turdle

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What sort of 'low power submersible pump' did you use? Would a boat bilge pump work?

That is my plan, if not I will try a small outdoor pond pump I have laying around.
I would guess something with less than 100 gallon per hour flow rating.
 




merc80

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marragtop, My original plan was to buy a very small bilge pump. However, someone I work with offered to lend me theirs. I'm in the swimming pool business, and the pump was the type designed to drain water off an aboveground pool cover in the winter. I think the flow rate was roughly 130 GPH.
 




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