Found some topics on my problem, but no answers. Help? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 07-17-2007, 09:21 AM   #1
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Default Found some topics on my problem, but no answers. Help?

Hello. I am new to the board. I inherited my car from my Dad and i remember him telling me that he usually found good stuff here to help with problems.

My problem is that I smell coolant real bad in the car and the car blows a vapor when on defrost. The vapor is so think that it fogs the windows up realy bad.

when I searched for problems I seen a repeating theme of heater core. But it also said that I would see coolant leaking on the floor, which I don't. I also saw that the 2000-2005 cars might have an intake gasket problem? Mine'* a 95 so I don't know if it applies. My dad recently rebuilt the engine and it'* been running great ever since. I did notice the collant was a little low it doesn't leak any, so i figure it'* burning off somewhere.

I'm trying to show him that I can fix these things on my own, or at least find out whats wrong on my own.

Any help? Thanks!!!
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:35 AM   #2
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Welcome to the club. Glad to hear the car is still in the faimily.

On the smell and beginning of fog on the inside of the windows, that is the typical symptoms of a heater core starting to go bad. It may not show up as a leak inside the car right away..but it won't be long.

The heater core can be changed by removing a couple things under the dash and undoing the heater hoses on the firewall. The hoses will probaby be the hardest part of the job.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:42 AM   #3
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Cool, that sounds a lot better than an engine gasket. Do you think it'* something a novice mechanic can do, or should I enlist the help of Dad?

Also, is there any way of telling if the core is bad by looking at it? the reason I ask is because we have a "pull your own parts" junkyard nearby. If I could do the whole job myself, I would like that better.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:46 AM   #4
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To re & re a heater core is labor intensive in my opinion, but can be done. If you were thinking of getting one from a yard I would have it pressure tested by a rad or similar shop before installing it. I don't know if the removal part is worth the cost savings, but that would depend on how valuable your time is. I think Boosty has some pictures in one of my threads that he may be able to post. Heck maybe I can find it.
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:53 AM   #5
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I recommend a new heater core. They are not that pricey and you will not want to do this job twice. You will need a special cable tool to remove the spring clamps from the heater core on the engine side of the firewall. Here is a link to a photo of the one that I use.

http://www.thetoolwarehouse.net/shop/MAY-28650.html

Removing the passenger front seat will provide easier access under the passenger side of the dash.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:16 AM   #6
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So while contemplating replacing this heater core, the problem has suddenly gone away. No more coolant smells, and no more water vapor fogging my window. Can this problem be intermittent? The core should still be replaced right? Any insight?
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:35 AM   #7
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I would check your coolant NOW!!!!!

Leaks like that don't just normally "dissappear" I would check the coolant level and make sure that it is not low, and fill it up.

while there is a chance that some rust or corrosion or gunk could have broken loose and *temporarily* plugged off the hole, I would guess that there just isn't enough coolant to make it to the heater core.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonofaBonny
The core should still be replaced right
I would think so. I just called my local Auto Zone parts store, and they had a new one in stock for under $50 with a lifetime warranty.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maymybonnieliveforevr
To re & re a heater core is labor intensive in my opinion, but can be done. If you were thinking of getting one from a yard I would have it pressure tested by a rad or similar shop before installing it. I don't know if the removal part is worth the cost savings, but that would depend on how valuable your time is. I think Boosty has some pictures in one of my threads that he may be able to post. Heck maybe I can find it.
Frankorama is thinking of the Evap core. Which we shouldn't confuse with the heater core. Heater core is fairly easy to get to.. still a couple hour job though.

Only way i see the smell disappearing is if there was a small amount spilled somewhere or something..but the fogging windows...mmmmmm I don't like it.

Check that level like Ryan mentions..
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Old 07-23-2007, 12:12 PM   #9
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Thank you sirs, i will report back with my findings. I wanted to replace the core this weekend, but life happened. maybe this coming weekend
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Old 07-23-2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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Although it may not be the problem here, the intake gasket issue was from 95 to 2005. If yours has not been done, you may want to add it to the list of things to do.
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