Heater core problem-Blend door fix worked, but I caused a much worse problem | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Heater core problem-Blend door fix worked, but I caused a much worse problem


February 15, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 XLT, 91 E.B.
I was cutting an opening on the air plenum box to view the door and went to deep with the knife. I put a small hole in the heater core. I kind of smelled antifreeze, but did not think it was from my bump/stab at on the heater core. I completed my blend door fix and all was good. I was driving down the road and my windows started to fog up and lots of antifreeze smell. I pull over. open my opening I had created on the air plenum box and it wet inside there. Not soaking, but wet. Confirmation that I had punctured the heater core. Now what? Is it possible that I could try some antifreeze stop leak and have it fix the hole? Or does that stuff not work? Do I have to replace the heater core? If so, is it really a full days work getting to it on a 97 explorer? Super glue maybe? I need help.
I need the I'm a Tard emoticon on this one.:eek:

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I would try the stop leak first. From every thing I have seen or heard about replacing heater cores a tube of stop leak is a whole bunch easier.

That stop leak crap can clog stuff up and cause more problems than it will fix. Use at your own discretion.

I was worried about the stuff clogging everything up. I went to the store and looked at the various bottles and they all said they do not block the system except for the leak. ( I am sure it is just there marketing to sell the stuff.) I bought a bottle of the good stuff?. about 5 bucks. unconditional guarantee. I will most likely try unless someone else has some ideas. Right now my knuckles are so scraped up from pulling the actuator out. I do not want to get all bloody again at least for a couple of days.

here is the best advice i can give to you and give to all.
we have a radiator bussness in the family and have fixed and repaired numberous heaters and rads, and after pulling the side tanks ect.... off rads, water pumps ect......... there is stop leak powder chunks everywhere.
we see wynn's stop leak and recommend it to everyone. i have seen this stuff in action and it kicks ass.

The wynns line of stop leak does not clog the rad, heater ect........ it looks just like a small bottle of antifreeze, no powder chunks ect.... in it, it has a clotting agent that works amazing. i have used this stuff lots, like the known issue the explorers have that the seal where the plastic tanks and rad meet the seal starts to leak and the tank is known to crack at the front where you cant see untill you pull the rad.

we also do lots of tractor rads for the farmers and even though the rad is not leaking, we add it so during the bouncing around if it was to get a pinhole leak ect...... it seals it self up.

here is a link to see what the stuff looks like.


Ok, I am going to search for Wynns radiator stop leak. any suggestions? from your link they said Walmart, which was the only place on the list that I had heard of, but I don't know if that is only Walmart Canada. I will give Walmart USA a try. do we have any Wynn's distributors among our group? I found a link for USA. and did a search. the closest place via the search gave me a distributor in TX.

A heater core is like $20, and takes about 20 minutes. VERY simple. I reccomend this route. I will even give you a walkthrough, if needed.

At FPN it was like 57 bucks. no big deal there. I am told the 91 through 94 Explorers are different from the 95-up explorers in regard to heater core repair. I thought it was a complete dash removal for the newer ones. But if you know how to get it done on the newer ones. I welcome the input and the walkthrough. I would rather just put in a new core. More permanent.

My mistake, for some reason i was thinking you had a 1g. :)

It's still an easy job. Well at least easier than parting with the $$$ to have a dealer do it. You will need to remove the R134 from the ac and have the same shop put it back in after you get it all back together. If you have a friend, some real basic tools, and a weekend you can do the project.


Does anyone have a quick write up on the procedure, or the link to a writeup. Some of the writeups I have seen are saying to pull the dash.-not what I want to do.

I could not find the Wynns stop leak. I will try the stuff I bought and let you know how it worked. Still willing to replace heater core. just need instructions

River rat. you mentioned it is a easy job. Are you talking about removing the entire dash to get to it or another way?
By the way the stop leak stuff I used. kind of worked. The windows do not fog up, but I still have the smell in the truck. when I initially turn the heater on?

remove the refigerent and have the same shop put it back in..people do that hehe