CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Heater core replacement

Recently the heater core had to be replaced in my '02 Eddie Bauer Ford Expedition. When I picked it up after the repair, the automatic a/c cycled between hot and cold air no matter what temp setting. What could be the problem? The dealer doesn’t want to acknowledge there is a problem, but this never happened before the repair work was done. Last week with a setting of 76, it blew EXTREMELY hot for awhile, and then just as suddenly began blowing EXTREMELY cold. I turned it up to 82, and the air flow changed to the heater vents, but still was blowing freezing air. (The outdoor temp was around 78.) I finally had to turn the system off. What could be the problem?

They probably failed to hook up everything properly when they put the dash back together. Kick the complaint up the ladder at the dealership.

Take it back and keep taking it back until the put everything back the way it was. They messed something up when they replaced the core. They should fix it properly and not charge you any additional money.

I would also say that this is a good reason to find an independent mechanic and avoid the dealer. You don’t need a dealer for a 7 year old vehicle.

Do You Have An Engine Coolant Guage?

Are you familiar with what it showed prior to the repair? Does it start out “cold” and within a few minutes of driving move just toward the middle and stay there or does it go toward “hot” or fluctuate up and down while this is going on?

Replacing heater cores and A/C evaporators is one of the NIGHTMARE automotive repairs. It’s a MIRACLE if everything ever works correctly again. All of that stuff was installed in the car BEFORE the dashboard and windshield was installed. Everything is held together by plastic clips and hidden fasteners. Your Eddie Bauer Edition undoubtedly has every option known to man installed, putting under-the-dash repair work in the Mission: Impossible category. Good Luck.

Yup! Caddyman got it right.

The nature of the repair (having to remove the dashboard and disconnect a huge number of electrical and vacuum connectors), coupled with the multitude of options on this model, makes this a really difficult repair to get done correctly on the first shot.

When I had the heater core replaced on an '86 Taurus, it took 2 follow-up visits to have everything hooked up correctly, and that had nowhere near as many options, do-dads, and electronic gadgets that an '02 Eddie Bauer Expedition has.

Yes, I have a gauge, and it acts exactly as it did before the core replacement. After a few minutes of driving it moves about 1/4, and after a bit longer it goes to a point near the middle where it stays.

Correct and correct, I don’t wonder why they don’t want to acknowledge the problem. It is because it means that someone is going to have to pull the dash back again and spend a few hours. Before you let them have at it, check on a Ford Truck board and ask if there is anything else under there that should be replaced while they are in there. Some probably replace the blend door motor and door just because it is cheap compared to going back in in a couple of years.

Be sure to ask them why the heater core failed. They should examine it so they can be sure that it is not going to happen again immediately.