CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2002 ford taurus heater

I have a 2002 ford taurus. It has the 3.0 ohv engine. The heater has quit working. I recently flushed the coolant system as well as the heater core and replaced the thermostat with no change in the heat situation. It will blow warm air for about 30 to 45 seconds then turns cool . Any suggestions?

Unfortunately, your heater core is probably clogged badly enough that it will never work again. It’s pretty common on these cars. If you plan to do it yourself, here’s a little trick to turn this six hour job into a <2 hour job: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsZoFoiJsdw

You might want to check if the blend door actuator is malfunctioning. Common problem on Taurus’s

Here’s a video on the subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK7rP49gfio

Tester

Doing a SEARCH for this same issue turned up this answer. http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2288032/2002-ford-taurus-no-heat

When you did your flush of the system, did you do the heater core separately as described? I’ve had it work on probably eight out of ten Tauri I did it on.

I did flush the heater core separately and also checked the blend door actuator. The actuator is in good working order.

If you feel the coolant lines going into and out of the heater core at the firewall, do they seem to be at about the same temperature? Are they warm? Is your temperature gage showing a normal warm temp? If all these are answered yes, you’re probably going to have to take the plunge and replace the heater core.

And if you’re a Wildcat, do you know Jayhawkroy?

Drive your car for 20 minutes or so, then leave it running and open the hood. Touch the two heater hoses down low on the firewall that go to the core. They should both be too hot to hold on to. If one is hot and the other is appreciably cooler, the heater core is plugged.

MG McAnick:
I’m curious and intrigued with the link to your post on using a mixture of CLR cleaner to remove the crud and sediment buildup in a heater core. Can you comment on how well you believe it works? Thanks.

You can’t use CLR to clean out a heater core. Look on the bottle and it states: DO NOT USE CLR ON natural stone, marble, terazzo, colored grout, painted or glazed surfaces, plastic, laminates, formica, ALUMINUM, copper, brass, steam irons.

Guess what heater cores are made of?

Tester

Good catch Tester. I hadn’t noticed that.
Though, when you look through the list of materials CLR is not recommended on, it begs the question if the concern is because CLR will cause cosmetic damage, discoloring or pitting, which isn’t a concern with heater cores.

It sounded like MG McAnick had used it successfully quite a few times, so I’m curious of his experience.

However, I noticed CLR has a “Proline” line of products, and one of them is designed to use on metal, including aluminum.
http://www.jelmar.com/proline/Metal_Cleaner.htm

It’s not clear if it’s as strong as the common CLR product. It definitely isn’t cheap.

@JoeMario As stated above, I have done this several times. So far, no one has come back with a leaking heater core. Since heater core replacement is what we’re trying to avoid by using the 50-50 CLR, it really would not be a problem if CLR did cause one to leak. If the treatment failed, the core was going to have to be replaced anyway.