• Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

Heater core options?

wesalexleft

Well-Known Member
Joined
August 2, 2009
Messages
148
Reaction score
2
City, State
Memphis, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
I've been trying to trace a very small coolant leak in a 2003 4.6L and have finally determined it must be the front heater core leaking. I've come to this because it's finally turned cold and the car truck is now fogging the windows unless the AC is run constantly to avoid the fogging. I've been checking the coolant levels daily, with little to no change in coolant level, but after driving it for several weeks, I've lost over a quart of coolant. Funny, no real coolant smell in the compartment until now, but with winter finally here, the windows have remained up and the smell is faint, but noticeable. I also put dye in the coolant, and just barely visible is the smallest trace of dye on the AC vents... So now, on to the options.
Fixing immediately is out. It's my sons college truck and he leaves Sunday. No time to fix right away. It will be spring before I would have time to tear into it on that scale. I could pay, but I'm assuming the cost will outweigh value of the truck-anybody got quotes to share? I could let him drive it for the next few months and deal with the fogging while watching the coolant level. 2nd, I could bypass the front core and let him get by with rear heat only, but it's going to be a long winter for him that way. 3rd, I could try some stop leak-any input here??Not my normal way of repairing, but I'm limited in options. If this let him get by for a few months, then I could replace the core on my terms. Are ther any other ideas or ways to repair and/or cope??:feedback:
 




Exproblems

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 17, 2011
Messages
1,684
Reaction score
11
City, State
Orchard Park, N.Y.
Year, Model & Trim Level
'05 Explorer XLT 4.0L
2nd, I could bypass the front core and let him get by with rear heat only, but it's going to be a long winter for him that way. 3rd, I could try some stop leak-any input here??Not my normal way of repairing, but I'm limited in options. If this let him get by for a few months, then I could replace the core on my terms. Are ther any other ideas or ways to repair and/or cope??:feedback:

Option 2 or 3 might be the way to go for now. On option 2, he may get enough heat from the rear heater core and the front heater core bypass will solve the leak issue in the cooling system for now. Don't need your son to get sick from the smell of coolant either. Option 3, if the vehicle isn't worth the cost of a heater core repair at a shop, then stop leak may help in that situation. If you think the leak is small in the heater core, then I wouldn't use a full bottle of stop leak at first. Use a smaller amount first(1/4 or 1/2 a bottle) and see if that plugs up the hole without over loading the cooling system with excessive amounts of stop leak. It just might buy you some time and keep heat to the front of the vehicle. Good luck!
 




wesalexleft

Well-Known Member
Joined
August 2, 2009
Messages
148
Reaction score
2
City, State
Memphis, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
Thanks for the input. I've thought more about the bypass, but that would leave him with virtually no defroster through winter. I'm thinking more about the Alumaseal or similar stop leak, and giving it a shot in a small dose. If it clogs the core, it has to come out anyhow. I wouldn't want to damage the engine however. It's a 2003, but shelling out over a grand labor to have the core replaced is rough on a truck that's value has dropped greatly. The truck has 100K on the clock, runs great, but I'm seeing 8-10 hours labor on the core. At 100.00/hour, that's just rediculous! Has anyone had any luck with Alumaseal for small pinhole leaks? I drove the truck for about 40 miles last night, and the loss is tiny. It's a cumulative loss over weeks for about a quart to 1.5 quarts. Come spring break, I can tear out the dash, replace, fix the recirculate blend door, recharge the AC. and get it all back together.
 




Exproblems

Explorer Addict
Joined
April 17, 2011
Messages
1,684
Reaction score
11
City, State
Orchard Park, N.Y.
Year, Model & Trim Level
'05 Explorer XLT 4.0L
Thanks for the input. I've thought more about the bypass, but that would leave him with virtually no defroster through winter. I'm thinking more about the Alumaseal or similar stop leak, and giving it a shot in a small dose. If it clogs the core, it has to come out anyhow. I wouldn't want to damage the engine however. It's a 2003, but shelling out over a grand labor to have the core replaced is rough on a truck that's value has dropped greatly. The truck has 100K on the clock, runs great, but I'm seeing 8-10 hours labor on the core. At 100.00/hour, that's just rediculous! Has anyone had any luck with Alumaseal for small pinhole leaks? I drove the truck for about 40 miles last night, and the loss is tiny. It's a cumulative loss over weeks for about a quart to 1.5 quarts. Come spring break, I can tear out the dash, replace, fix the recirculate blend door, recharge the AC. and get it all back together.

I just found something you may want to look into. Portable, 12 volt windshield defrosters. Have never used one myself or know if they work, just found it thru a search online. But for $20 or so, they might be worth a try to buy you some time. If you get one of these and they work to defrost the windshield, you can go with the bypass choice. Check the link below.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=Portab...frosters&form=DLCDF8&pc=MDDC&src=IE-SearchBox

I know of Alumaseal and Bars Leak and I have seen "Bars Leak" stop leak products advertised on the automotive TV show called "2 Guys Garage". On the show, they recommend using Bars Leak products and refer to them as a great product. That $100 an hour labor rate to repair the heater core, is that from a radiator repair shop or Ford dealership for the repair. The radiator shop near me charges $70 per hour for labor and they do heater cores, gas tanks and AC work as well.
 




Top