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Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

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Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Ryan McKee on 12/11/2011, 9:49 am

As the winter months arrive, temperatures drop throughout New England, I finally got off my butt and decided to move forward with the famed "heater core flush" as described by many people on the forum as an easy and potentially great solution for luke-warm air from the heating system. I can honestly say that I do remember a time, albeit a few years ago, when the heater would blow out burning hot air. Over the past few winters it has gotten much cooler, to the point of keeping gloves, earmuffs, and extra jackets in the Jeep. Before the cold really sets in, I executed this process.

One of the problems I had found was that I am a very visual learner, and nobody had posted a photo guide to this on the forum here. I watched a YouTube video with a guy that showed the process, and went from there. Here's my guide with photos.

Step 1: Locate the two hoses that travel from the radiator/engine to the firewall on the passenger side of the engine bay. These are the two that you will be passing water/air through to try and unclog and discharge any stray substance from. I have circled the appropriate hoses in the photos.










Step 2: Locate the ends of the hose (meaning: don't remove the hose from the firewall, use the opposite end) Remove the hose clamps from the end of the hose, and move them further back on the hose. I use a pair of large pliers, clamped the tabs, and wiggled the clamp further down the line to loosen the grip and allow me to slide the hoses off of their positions. Remember, they may be old/dried out, so carefully remove them to avoid problems. The lower hose of my Jeep took a little extra love to get off. Also, have a catch-bucket nearby to collect any of the fluid that may come out upon hose removal.








Step 3: Fasten your hose of water/air compressor into the Jeep hoses. It doesn't really matter which you start with, although I began with the upper hose. Situate the catch-pan/bottle at the end of the opposite hose, as that is where the water & debris will flow out of. I used a milk gallon at the flushing end, a funnel at the end of the hose, and ran the highest pressure water flow I could with my hose.





*For steps 3 and 4 - flush water through the system until it flows out the other end (into the catch bucket) in a clear form)*

Step 4: Reverse the process. Much alike fish scales, pieces of debris will not be freed by water moving in the direction it normally does. By reversing the process, water will be more likely to catch debris in the opposite direction and remove it from the hose. Don't forget to move the milk jug device to the other hose.





Step 5 (optional): The next step is one that some people say to do, and some people opt not to go through with. In an effort to make sure that all debris is removed, people use a vehicle appropriate cleaning product in the hoses. As noted below, please make sure that the substance you wash the lines out with is safe for aluminum (the material of the heater core) and all of the hoses themselves. Start by pouring the substance down the hose (matters not which) and letting it sit for 10 or so minutes. Then go ahead and flush it in either - or both - directions.

The most important part of this step is to make sure that all cleaning substances have been removed from the hoses, as it is not good for the radiator to receive any left-overs once the car is started again. Run water through after this step until you are absolutely sure that there is no substance left in the hoses.






Step 6: Re-attach hoses. Affix them to the appropriate tips on the engine, and replace the hose clamps to their original positions. Remember to spread the clamps as wide as possible so it can slide freely without scraping apart the hose.

Step 7: Replace any coolant fluid that may have been lost during this process. I picked up a gallon of Prestone 50/50 coolant at AutoZone for $13.99 before starting this process. If you don't have a visible loss of fluid, turn the vehicle on and depress the gas to about 2,000-2,500 RPMs for 30 seconds or so. At that point, re-check the fluid level and add appropriately.


--


That's it!!! Hope this helps some people get an idea as to how easy this kind of thing is to do, and give them an idea as to how to go about it! Feel free to post any thoughts, suggestions, or questions below. I'd be happy to add/change any parts of this if people have suggestions that have worked for them.

As always, PLEASE DISPOSE OF COOLANT AND ALL VEHICLE FLUIDS APPROPRIATELY. MOST AUTOZONE/ADVANCE AUTO PARTS STORES WILL DISPOSE OF YOUR FLUID IF YOU BRING IT TO THEM IN AN APPROPRIATE CONTAINER.

Happy Jeepin!
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  JaFra on 12/12/2011, 7:58 am

This helped out my heating situation greatly. Very nice write up, Ryan.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Ryan McKee on 12/13/2011, 5:07 am

JaFra wrote:This helped out my heating situation greatly. Very nice write up, Ryan.

Thanks! Glad it worked well for you... I was thrilled to have heat back in my TJ after too many winters of shivering and wearing 2-3 winter jackets while driving. Now it's an inferno - Twisted Evil (like geoff, I'm loving these new icons!)
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  CrawlingForward on 11/13/2013, 8:26 pm

I still need to do this on the JK.

Stupid Chrysler, leaving casting sand in the block. WTF.

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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Tonellin on 11/14/2013, 2:50 pm

CrawlingForward wrote:I still need to do this on the JK.

Stupid Chrysler, leaving casting sand in the block.  WTF.
??? Is that a common JK problem? holy crap!
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  CrawlingForward on 11/14/2013, 7:32 pm

Tonellin wrote:
CrawlingForward wrote:I still need to do this on the JK.

Stupid Chrysler, leaving casting sand in the block.  WTF.
??? Is that a common JK problem? holy crap!
Apparently not uncommon for my year. Replacing the core on a JK is a royal PITA, so I'm hoping a good thorough flushing will take care of it.

I'm going to try and find a drill-powered pump, hook it up to both sides and flush it back and forth thoroughly.

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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Mark on 11/15/2013, 7:31 am

Flushing it backwards really does a good job as it's easier to dislodge all of that sediment clogging the core tubes.
The drill method is a good idea.


Last edited by Mark on 11/23/2013, 6:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  lasemase72 on 11/16/2013, 10:10 am

welp.. add another thing to the list.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  lasemase72 on 11/23/2013, 9:39 am

So I did this and my heat is amazing. I backflush with water first until clear. Then let some CLR sit in there for 20 min as well. Flushed it again and twice as much junk flowed out.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Jake on 11/25/2013, 6:17 pm

How amazing would you say? I flushed my whole system this past summer and I get decent heat, certainly no inferno, but not much at all until its fully warmed up. Might try flushing just the heater core.. Got damn cold this weekend when I was up in vermont.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  lasemase72 on 11/25/2013, 6:45 pm

My heat is hot hot. I flushed it with only water first and plenty of crap came out. Then i let some CLR sit in the core for about 25 mine and flushed it again. 2-3 times more stuff came out. I think the CLR is key.

Good luck
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Jake on 11/27/2013, 7:24 pm

Did this today but I got all scared of CLR's potential non-compatibility with alum. The dudes at Britton's in Beverly sold me on this stuff, its supposed to be mixed with water and run through the whole cooling system with the engine on.



I only got a little crap out, my gallon jug was a nice green, only a bit of crud on the bottom. Ran the hose in both directions on full blast a few times both before and after letting the cleaner soak. Heat improvement was pretty minimal. Definitely not too hot to hold a hand in front of the vent. Wondering if maybe I should have just used CLR or if there's something else that could be interfering with maximum heat.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Ryan McKee on 11/27/2013, 9:48 pm

Man I think you just go with the advice of the people that have had good result haha.

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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Mark on 11/27/2013, 10:03 pm

I agree,,Go with the flow, that Gunk stuff doesn't do much of anything.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Jake on 11/28/2013, 8:27 am

Haha yeah apparently, at least it was cheap. Looking at the bottle again it only says "removes grease and scum" sounds weak. I'll try it again today or tomorrow with some CLR.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Mark on 11/28/2013, 8:43 am

The Gunk probably works good if you lost a head gasket and got oil in the cooling system.


Last edited by Mark on 11/30/2013, 2:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Rob Cote on 11/30/2013, 10:54 am

CLR worked like a boss for me. You only need about a half of one of the small jugs to fill the heater core. I flushed mine with water first then blew as much out of the lines as I could in order to fill it with CLR. Let sit, flush it out, hook it back up, enjoy hot heat.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Jake on 11/30/2013, 5:25 pm

Got some improvement today doing it with CLR. Still didn't flush out crazy amounts of nast or anything but heats definitely a bit hotter, I think. Shoulda measured it before and after with a temp gun, oh well.
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Re: Heater Core Flush (Cold Air Fix!)

Post  Rob Cote on 12/1/2013, 10:22 am

Has anyone installed an anode into their radiator? I ordered one with my new radiator recently, but the aftermarket radiator uses a different thread on the drain plug, so it's of no use to me. I was hoping it'd help abate the corrosion in the cooling system, but I'll never know. Until I break this radiator and put a new one. Razz
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