Bad heater core, what can cause this? - Focus Fanatics
Ford Focus Forum
HomeContact UsAbout UsGalleryDiscussion ForumsMarketplace


Go Back   Focus Fanatics > Ford Focus Tech Discussions > General Technical Chat

General Technical Chat This section is for technical discussions relating to general maintenance, electrical issues, engine trouble, and recalls.

Search This Forum | Image Search | Advanced Search    
Ford Focus Tire & Wheels FocusFanatics Merchandise

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-23-2005, 06:55 PM   #1
CandiedYamz
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Fan#: 20012
Location: Canada
What I Drive: 2001 Burgundy SE Wagon (Zetec)

Posts: 7
FF Reputation: 1 CandiedYamz Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Bad heater core, what can cause this?

Hi all, my wife and I bought a used 2001 Focus SE Zetec Wagon this past March; its currently at ~107,000 km on the odometer.

I just got back from my mechanic who told me that my persistent issues with a slight burning smell from the heating vents, coolant leakage, too-slow defrost and excessive internal moisture are due to a ruptured heater core. Its not a cheap problem to fix for one that's not mechanically inclined.

I was hoping for some greater insight into how and why its heater core would blow out especially for a car only 4 years old and without any head-on accidents. I searched this forum hoping to find others who might've had this problem but it doesn't seem like a common issue nor is there any Ford recall as such. Could it be just my bad luck? Any gearheads out there who can enlighten me?


CandiedYamz is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-23-2005, 10:23 PM   #2
viney266
Focus Fanatic
 
viney266's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Fan#: 93
Location: westminster, maryland, MD
What I Drive: focus ztw ,zx3,mustang, motorcycles

Posts: 25,577
FF Reputation: 112 viney266 Excellent Standing Member viney266 Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (4)
The part is pretty cheap , but they are a PAIN to put in... They are known to be crappy on Fords. I had to put one in my bronco, ranger and my wifes old mustang...

There is really no specific reason I can think of to cause one to fail, other than it getting frozen.

...WELCOME to the Forum!
__________________
Speed is only a matter of money; how fast do you want to go?
viney266 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 01:00 AM   #3
CandiedYamz
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Fan#: 20012
Location: Canada
What I Drive: 2001 Burgundy SE Wagon (Zetec)

Posts: 7
FF Reputation: 1 CandiedYamz Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Pretty cheap, eh? My mechanic was quoting like ~$1,000 Canadian; I imagine from mostly from labour he said something about getting behind the dashboard!

Does that seem like the going rate for such a job? Am I getting bilked?

Oh, and thanks for the welcome! :)
CandiedYamz is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 02:47 AM   #4
CandiedYamz
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Fan#: 20012
Location: Canada
What I Drive: 2001 Burgundy SE Wagon (Zetec)

Posts: 7
FF Reputation: 1 CandiedYamz Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Man oh man, I've just been doing some online research and replacement cores are like $50-70 USD so I'm getting pretty damn suspicious about that ~$1,000 quote...
CandiedYamz is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 03:13 AM   #5
Oni
Oh yeah!
 
Oni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Fan#: 24899
Location: Mustang, OK
What I Drive: An unloved Focus

Posts: 2,522
FF Reputation: 4 Oni Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (6)
They're expensive to have replaced because they're buried behind the dash, which will take a while to tear apart and reconstruct properly. A heater core typically doesn't rupture but leaks due to corrosion. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but it's just like a very fine radiator except it's not for cooling, but to have the heat transfered off of it by blowing air over/through it. Also, once the coolants travels through your block and "picks up" heat, it'll reach your heater core and eventually travel back to your radiator. It is important to periodically flush your coolant system (not necessarily your fault per se) to cleanse it of any corrosive particles or chemicals that may have somehow entered the system.

My Thunderbird's heater core went out, and I remember the part being just around $100. I believe I was also quoted a guesstimate of around $400 to have the part installed. I'm not sure if it leaked due to corrosion or too much water in the cooling system. The coolant pipe running into the intake manifold on the car had a small hole formed by corrosion through the pipe. Then again, I also popped the safety seal (actual name escapes me) on my water pump due to too much water in the cooling system. The heater core leaked over a year or so after that event (started in the Fall with warmer weather - no freeze).

Your best bet is to flush the coolant system, and clean it out with several runs of fresh water and maybe a safe solvent. After that, there are plenty of coolant leak repair and sealants for you to use. Though, they're not always effective, it's a cheap alternative to replacing the heater core if it'll work.

I can't remember what I used, but it looked as though it had copper in it, and the liquid was clear. It was about $10-15 for the bottle at O'Reilly's. Though some people say they're a waste of money, after I used a sealant in my coolant on my T-Bird, I never did again have any heater core leaks. How did I know? No more condensation on the driver window and no more antifreeze leaking on the passenger floor!

Another option is to use liquid glass. It's a repair technique that's been around for a long time supposedly. Since the glass doesn't solidify until it comes in contact with air, it will stay as liquid in your coolant system posing no threat. Once it solidifies, you have glass sealant for all your leaks. You can pick liquid glass up at (oddly enough) pharmaceutical stores - i.e., Walgreens since that's where I worked and I asked my pharmacy about it. When I asked the pharmacy about it (that's why I said it's been around for a while), they told me they have a lot of farmers and such come in to request it for repairs on their tractors.

Hope that helps. Mine actually smelled like pancakes, so it wasn't so bad.
__________________
SVT Squad #80
1365 of 3985
Born: 04/25/2003


formerly known as the member ilcowil

Last edited by Oni; 12-24-2005 at 03:25 AM.
Oni is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 03:58 AM   #6
CandiedYamz
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Fan#: 20012
Location: Canada
What I Drive: 2001 Burgundy SE Wagon (Zetec)

Posts: 7
FF Reputation: 1 CandiedYamz Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Thanks, ilcowil, lotsa good info there.

[Homer Simpson]Mmmm, pancakes...[/Homer Simpson]
CandiedYamz is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 07:40 AM   #7
jboylan
Focus Addict
 
jboylan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Fan#: 5755
Location: VA
What I Drive: 2003 Silver SVT SVT Squad#

Posts: 1,281
FF Reputation: 1 jboylan Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
When my heater core went out on my blazer, I just rigged up a bypass line. Of course that's no good in canada in the winter. I was just way too lazy to take the dash apart, and I wasn't going to pay someone else to do it.
__________________
VF rear motor mount, K&N drop in filter, Wayne's tune, MSD plug wires and re-gapped plugs, Spec stage 2 clutch, spec aluminum flywheel, randomtech high flow cat, ebc slotted rotors, hawk hps pads.
jboylan is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 02:08 PM   #8
viney266
Focus Fanatic
 
viney266's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Fan#: 93
Location: westminster, maryland, MD
What I Drive: focus ztw ,zx3,mustang, motorcycles

Posts: 25,577
FF Reputation: 112 viney266 Excellent Standing Member viney266 Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (4)
What you are hearing may be a bit high, but I have never done one in a focus. The part itself is cheap and the labor is a bear. I did one in a mustang, took me 5 hours !!I would get a second quote on that. It still may be 500-600 dollars, like I said, the labor is a bear..
__________________
Speed is only a matter of money; how fast do you want to go?
viney266 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 03:00 PM   #9
spydee
Focus Jr. Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Fan#: 29915
Location: london, on
What I Drive: 06 liquid grey zx4 se

Posts: 32
FF Reputation: 1 spydee Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
I remember doing one on my parents old 95 escort. What a pain in the ass. We had to pull out the entire dash. Took my brother and I the better half of a day to do it.
spydee is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2005, 03:30 PM   #10
pspringe
Focus Fanatic
 
pspringe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Fan#: 17992
Location: Knoxville
What I Drive: 95 Metro, 03 Sonic Blue SVT

Posts: 1,725
FF Reputation: 5 pspringe Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
Don't put any of that junk in your system. It might fix your core temporarily, but it is also going to go through your engine block and radiator, where it is going to end up causing another problem.

The price you have been quoted is high. Part of the dash needs to be removed to access it, but it does not take that long.

Heater cores generally leak where the endtanks are attached to the tubes (whic run the length of the core). The endtanks are either plastic, and the crimps become weak over time or aluminum and the braze wears. Heater cores go bad over time and require replacement, just like many other parts on your car.
__________________
Hofstadter's Law
"It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."

Kariertes Hemd und Samenstau, ich studier' Maschienenbau.
pspringe is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks & Social Networks
-->
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:07 AM.


Copyright 2002-2014 FocusFanatics.com. All Rights Reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy : Advertise Information

Focus Fanatics Ford Focus Forum offers many fun ways for you to engage with other Ford Focus Owners from across the world. Whether it be about the aftermarket performance modifications, technical how-to's, European tuned suspension or awesome fuel economy similar to the Acura TLX or Fiesta ST. You can find all Ford Focus and Focus ST related information here. Join our Ford Focus discussion forums and chat with local Focus enthusiasts in your area.