Chevy Impala SS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My Caprice, with a warmed over LT1, has always blown lukewarm air from the heater. My mechanic blamed the 160F thermostat, but my Mustang Cobra has a 160 stat too and has no problem blowing HOT air from the vents. But of course they're two totally different cars, so not apples to apples.

I've flushed the heater core a couple times in the 8 or so years I've owned the Caprice, and it seems like it maybe blows a little warmer air after I do so, but if there is a difference, it's not significant. The car has an F-body cluster in it and the temp gauge needle typically stays halfway between the first notch (160) and second notch (not denoted), although it sometimes goes above the second notch in the summer.

My gut feeling is that the heater core is partially clogged, but I figured I'd see what the consensus is before I commit to a heater core replacement project.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,210 Posts
It wouldn't be difficult to hose flush the core to eliminate that from the equation. My SS (with a 160) does not blow super-hot, but I've found cleaning the fan to do more for keeping things warm.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
The heater core is a coolant filter. so if you use drinking water and low coolant % the crude will grow and the heater core starts filtering .

distilled water and 60-65% antifreeze . about 4.25 Gallons total
block drain a must do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The heater core is a coolant filter. so if you use drinking water and low coolant % the crude will grow and the heater core starts filtering .

distilled water and 60-65% antifreeze . about 4.25 Gallons total
block drain a must do.
I typically use tap water and 50% antifreeze. (Sometimes if I am thinking ahead, I'll use filtered water from my fridge.) 60-65% seems high--why do you recommend so much?

What do you mean by "heater core starts filtering"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
It wouldn't be difficult to hose flush the core to eliminate that from the equation. My SS (with a 160) does not blow super-hot, but I've found cleaning the fan to do more for keeping things warm.
As mentioned, I have previously flushed the core and if it's made an improvement, it is barely noticeable.

What fan are you referring to cleaning? The blower fan seems to move a sufficient amount of air--it's just lukewarm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,210 Posts
The blower fan seems to move a sufficient amount of air--it's just lukewarm.

Understood, same here - but a bit better than lukewarm. At the slightest drop in hi-speed or any hint of hum or vibration I drop the blower and clean the mouse litter and debris. Goes with garage queen territory.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
I typically use tap water and 50% antifreeze. (Sometimes if I am thinking ahead, I'll use filtered water from my fridge.) 60-65% seems high--why do you recommend so much?

What do you mean by "heater core starts filtering"?
you use distilled water because its pure water no chemicals/metals etc.. filtered water just removes the duck sh*t..

no 60% is not high on anti freeze 75% and higher is too high.

on your impala the distilled water is 1.75 gallons and about 2.5 gallons anti freeze. cost of distilled water about two bucks ..

I am surprised your not aware that distilled water is required in all vehicle coolant systems .

anyway now I know why you have this problem and also why you had to install the 160 T stat,, a clean system no corrosion cools much more than a system with a corrosive film on all the metal.

the heater core filters the crap growing in your ride .. its a filter all the crap goes in there and your heater core gets plugged up.. also the radiator cooling the engine looses its cooling ability .. its a loose loose when you use dirty drinking water with corrosive chemicals and metals . drinking water is dirty ..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,725 Posts
My car has a 160 and has no problems with the heat. In fact, even in the below freezing temps we've been having here it gets uncomfortable if I keep the heat turned up more than 1/3 in to the red on the dial.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,027 Posts
FSM calls for 50/50 mix of "water" and Dexcool. (I switched my Impala SS's to green coolant). Even my 2001 Corvette called for "drinkable water" in the FSM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,505 Posts
Anyone knows to use distilled water in cooling systems. It's common sense even for those of you who may have been asleep in high school chemistry class. Steam irons and car batteries also get distilled water. I know, your father "used tap water for years and never had a problem," but this is the truth regardless. The amount of minerals in tap water varies greatly from place to place so some tap water may cause less mineral build up and also water softeners alter the chemical composition of the tap water.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
FSM calls for 50/50 mix of "water" and Dexcool. (I switched my Impala SS's to green coolant). Even my 2001 Corvette called for "drinkable water" in the FSM.
That drinking water use in the GM manual is ancient technology.

I changed all this back in the late 1980's .. in today's world clean water is not allowed in vehicles made today .. reason is corrosion . its all distilled; also why pay 12-14 bucks for 50% mix of coolant solution when the distilled water is 2 bucks a gallon ?

if you insist on using your cali drinking water to save 2 bucks then you will help some child in China making radiators/heater cores for your ride...

another GM screw up is Dexron III... I got rid of that back in 1999 ... used synthetic mobil transmission fluid GM approved.

took GM 7 years to figure it out [2006]why ALL these transmissions 4L60 trucks/sedans all failed under warranty LOL....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
897 Posts
Mine has never had good heat here in Chicago winters. I have the same output today as always and this past weekend had installed a new ac Delco water pump, 180 degree thermostat, and coolant flush. Fan doesn't kick on early and confirmed with a non contact thermometer. Heater core replaced 10k miles ago. It's been the same way for the 16 years I've owned it. At one point I blocked 90% of the radiator with cardboard and still made no difference on the highway when outside temp was below 35. The gauge doesn't zero out anymore, it starts out at almost half and only goes up a tad past half but before the red. I've gone threw a few temp sensors over the years too with no results.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
Mine has never had good heat here in Chicago winters. I have the same output today as always and this past weekend had installed a new ac Delco water pump, 180 degree thermostat, and coolant flush. Fan doesn't kick on early and confirmed with a non contact thermometer. Heater core replaced 10k miles ago. It's been the same way for the 16 years I've owned it. At one point I blocked 90% of the radiator with cardboard and still made no difference on the highway when outside temp was below 35. The gauge doesn't zero out anymore, it starts out at almost half and only goes up a tad past half but before the red. I've gone threw a few temp sensors over the years too with no results.
as I said many times before both heater core hoses must be hot. if not then the heater core is crapped up. if both hoses are hot then its the temp controller.

my 96 the temp is 145 deg f .. as some have stated too hot after running at max..

I had the same issue in my 2000 silverado low heat sure enough that heater core had crap in it . both vehicles 1 yr old GM used as they say clean drinking water ..THANKS GM .. no problems now .. need the high heat when you drive in Blizzards LOL....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I'll check both heater core hoses when I get home today. I have a non-contact thermometer gun around somewhere.

Point made--I'll go buy distilled water next time I do a coolant change.

My car has a 160F thermostat not because of overheating issues, but because it's got a bunch of boltons and is around 425hp at the crank. More power generates more heat.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
I'll check both heater core hoses when I get home today. I have a non-contact thermometer gun around somewhere.

Point made--I'll go buy distilled water next time I do a coolant change.

My car has a 160F thermostat not because of overheating issues, but because it's got a bunch of boltons and is around 425hp at the crank. More power generates more heat.
the higher HP does require the 160 with the stock radiator . you may notice in warm weather with the cleaned coolant system the engine temps will be lower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,114 Posts
I'm a big fan of a 50/50 mix using distilled water. The reason I don't go any higher is that antifreeze doesn't allow your car to cool as well as pure water. The more antifreeze you add the worse your radiator will be able to get rid of heat. If you drive your car in the summer that may be important. The only reason I could see to running more antifreeze is if you live in an arctic area. a 50/50 blend will not freeze until somewhere around -40 F. I've also had luck back flushing my heater core and then running a coolant system cleaner for a few hundred miles. If the lower passages of your heater core are blocked then no cleaner will help because if they're blocked then the water/cleaner mix won't flow through them. Backflushing with a water hose seems to work for me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,542 Posts
Just to chime in on the heat output with the 160' thermostat.

I've had my car in central Pennsylvania, and in Texas, and had decent heat in both winter climates. Obviously not as good as a 180 or 198, but it was decent, enough to make the ride comfortable in both areas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I checked the heater core hoses. The bottom hose was too hot to cold for more than a second or so; the top one was warm but I could hold it as long as I wanted. (I couldn't find my non-contact thermometer so I used the less-scientific method.) This was after I'd driven the car for about 20 minutes without using the heater--ambient was around 40F.

Does this sound like the heater core is probably partially restricted?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,437 Posts
I checked the heater core hoses. The bottom hose was too hot to cold for more than a second or so; the top one was warm but I could hold it as long as I wanted. (I couldn't find my non-contact thermometer so I used the less-scientific method.) This was after I'd driven the car for about 20 minutes without using the heater--ambient was around 40F.

Does this sound like the heater core is probably partially restricted?
both hoses hot the core is flowing properly . one hose hot the other not then the core is not flowing.

on the OEM set up the hot coolant flows thru that core even if its 100 deg F out and the ac is on max... so driving around for 20 min and one hose not hot means you must do like I said before .. clean drinking water is not clean .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
Problem with drinking water is what is put in it to make it "drinking" water. Don't even flush the engine with tap water. The only water that should touch it is distilled water.

Tap water from ground water is especially bad because it has iron, sometimes limestone and other minerals that will collect on the inside of your piping.

Tap water that is from another source generally has things such as chlorine which is corrosive and can destroy the protective chemicals in the coolant. It can also have things such as Fluoride for making teeth stronger or phosphates which sole purpose is to coat piping to prevent metals from leaching out of it. Guess what this does to your tubing in your coolant system...

Filtered water generally just takes the chlorine and some other chemicals out and may filter out some bacteria but anything dissolved in the water will stay in the water and pass right through the filter. Most minerals are dissolved in the water so you still MAY get the Fluoride and Phosphates.

A good example of Phosphates is Flints water system. We see what happened to their water because of corrosive water without phosphates added. If they would have been added they would have coated the pipes disallowing the lead from leaching out.

So if this doesn't scare you away from ever considering tap water from touching your car, be prepared to be replacing radiators, heater cores and engine blocks... May take 10 years for it to show up but it WILL show up eventually... I have had vehicles that have been affected by using tap water instead of distilled.

Note that I work in the field of water treatment so I have had water components beaten into my head for many years...

Rodney
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top