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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:21 AM   #1
98JEEPTJ
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Heater Core system leak.

Hey guys have been getting the coolant vapor film on my windshield with a noticeable smell. I have great heat no problems there. I also don't have any coolant on my passenger side carpet. I have 130K on the Hemi and I have no other evidence of a leak other than what I have described, the smell and foggy windshield. No engine temp issues either. I was going to top off the coolant and monitor that. It just seems strange because there isn't a big enough leak to create a puddle or any dripping and the windshield doesn't get soaked but it gets thick enough that you can't see out of it. Could it be just a loose line? I was going to investigate a little more in depth tonight. What else could it be if anything that I am not thinking of?

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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:57 AM   #2
caulk04
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Not sure what this particular setup looks like, but I've seen them leak out through the AC drain outside...just depends on the configuration.
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Unread 03-27-2013, 11:23 PM   #3
oldfamilyguy
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Quote:
the coolant vapor film on my windshield with a noticeable smell
From my experience thats all you need to know. Heater core. Leak starts small and grows from there. They can stay small like you have for quite awhile but breathing it isn't all that healthy.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 06:30 AM   #4
98JEEPTJ
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Did a compression test let the gauge sit on it for an hour didn't move! Nothing dripping from either the condenser drain or the heatercore! The smell has gone now but this morning it fogged up again I put the defroster on high cranked the fan to high and after about 20 minutes it started to clear it away. I have no idea what this crap is. It's not the typical antifreeze crud either. I have no idea. I'm going to get some anti fog crap and see what that does.
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Unread 03-28-2013, 08:14 AM   #5
oldfamilyguy
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Thats how they typically fail. Very small pin hole leak at first. Often only opens up when good and hot and can be intermittant. Like letting out little puffs of steam. If it smells like coolant thats what it is. They can go along time like that before its ever bad enough to notice a wet floor or even noticeable coolant loss. Even when you get it out it will probably look ok at first, just a bit of staining around the leak. And yours is original? So around 7- 8 years, surprised it lasted this long.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 10:11 AM   #6
98JEEPTJ
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Heater core has been ordered. I'm gong to do the cheater method for the install. Anybody else do this? Any tips or tricks?
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Unread 04-10-2013, 01:29 PM   #7
oldfamilyguy
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Yes, cheat is the way to go. You don't see people praising the jeep engineers often but to be able to get at the heater core this way, you gotta love that set up. Better if they spent a little more on a core that wouldn't leak in the first place though. I'm not sure if its necessary but I believe I took out the console to make a little more room. I don't like being cramped in any more than necessary, its awkward enough. Have some short nuts and bolts on hand to reattach where you drill out the spot welds on those supports. Oh and since the lines connect to the core inside there it is possible that is the source of the leak but likely the core itself.
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Unread 04-10-2013, 01:42 PM   #8
shortysmash
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This may be a dumb question but before doing anything with the heater core you do drain the radiator correct?
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Unread 04-10-2013, 02:01 PM   #9
Zlartibartfast
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I did not drain my radiator when I replaced the core in my old ZJ - I only emptied out the heater hoses themselves, then looped the out-bound hose back to the inlet on the block to keep stuff from getting in while I was working on removing the core. When I was done I burped the system and put in some coolant/water mix (maybe 2 quarts?)
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Unread 04-10-2013, 02:39 PM   #10
oldfamilyguy
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Quote:
before doing anything with the heater core you do drain the radiator correct?
No you don't have to drain the rad unless of course you want to do a coolant change at the same time. But the coolant lines are connected directly to the heater core inside so you need to have a container ready to catch the coolant thats released when you disconnect them.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 07:28 AM   #11
98JEEPTJ
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Well that was a pretty straight forward install. I ended up taking the shifter trim pieces out and the passenger side of the center console off and popping out the heater control panel. This allows the passenger side dash piece to swing freely for more access. This piece is a solid piece that extends over to the driver side. It bends in the crevices out of sight when reassembled. There was no pressure on it when I folded it to the center console. I kept removing trim pieces till it would stay on its own. There are 4 screws behind the airbag panel to remove also. You will also need to remove the passenger side trim panel that the door closes against there is a screw in there also. I would say about three cups of coolant drained from the hoses and core. This took me about 2.5 hours I wasn't in a hurry and I had all day.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 10:12 PM   #12
oldfamilyguy
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Ya it pays to cheat sometime. Just curious how does the core look. When I changed out my wifes I thought I made a bad diagnoses at first. Really had to look to see it actually was leaking, Just a small bit of stain. The coolant level never seemed down but you could sure smell it inside with the heat on.
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Unread 04-16-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
98JEEPTJ
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Mine was apparent when I took the trim out and folded it around. The insulation was all nasty and stained. When I pulled the heater core line protector off and pulled the core out it was all stained and crusty at the bottom. Antifreeze crust and crap everywhere.
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