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2001 Chrysler Town & Country LXI: 3.8L heater..thermostat

Customer Question

My 2001 Chrysler Town & Country LXI, 3.8L heater is not as hot as it use to be. I changed the thermostat and that did not help. It also appears that the engine temp is lower than in the past. The temp gauge only goes up about a third of the way. I also flushed and filled the coolant. The air does get warm coming out, but the interior will not warm up much and I have the temp up at hi instead of say 75.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
Welcome to Just Answer Chrysler my name is Mark.

You're likely facing a situation where the heater core has started to plug up and this is reducing the heater output.

When the heater core starts to plug up you can try flushing them out but more often than not they simply need to be replaced.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is it possible that the heater control valve is sticking or not opening all the way. Also where is it located on my van? I see what looks like a check valve in the heater hose line by the firewall, but I did not see the control valve.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
Your van does not use a control valve for the coolant flow into the heater. Coolant is always allowed to flow freely into and out of the heater core.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oh, OK I did not know that. Then is it possible that a mixing door is not moving where is should. It has all digital controls on the dash and I am just trying to make sure I am going in the right direction.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
Sure that is always possible.

With the engine at operating temperature, grab each heater hose with your bare hand. Are they hot to the touch?

Are they equal temperature?

Is one a little cooler than the other?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I just ran it up to temp and both hoses are hot. They are very close to the same temp, however the top one is possibly slightly cooler than the bottom one, but not by much.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
Ok, they need to be equal temperature, so if there is a difference in temp, then the heater core is plugged up accordingly.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Should I try removing the heater hoses and blasting water strait in the heater core to try to flush it out? Would this work or would it be a waste of time?
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
You can certainly try that.........but experience has shown you might get minimal improvement, so that is why the core generally needs to be replaced.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok then, how difficult is the heater core to replace on this van? Does the dash have to come out? Should I leave it to an expert? I replace the heater core in my 1967 Mustang many moons ago and that wasn't too bad. I realize there is no comparison!
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
No, the dash doesn't need to come out, but it involves working under the dash on the driver's side.

  1. Remove the silencer boot fasteners located around the base of the lower steering shaft from the dash panel so that it may be pushed aside.
  2. Remove the brake lamp switch from its mounting bracket (Refer to 8 - ELECTRICAL/LAMPS/LIGHTING - EXTERIOR/BRAKE LAMP SWITCH - REMOVAL).
  3. Disconnect the power brake booster input rod (push rod) from the pin on the brake pedal arm (Refer to 5 - BRAKES - ABS/HYDRAULIC/MECHANICAL/POWER BRAKE BOOSTER - REMOVAL).
  4. If equipped with power adjustable pedals, remove the adjustable pedal assembly

    NOTE: Take the proper precautions to protect the carpeting below the heater core from spilled engine coolant and have absorbent toweling readily available to clean up any spills.

  5. Remove the heater core tubes
  6. Remove the two screws that secure the heater core mounting plate to the HVAC air distribution housing.
  7. If NOT equipped with power adjustable pedals, pull the accelerator pedal upward and push the brake pedal downward for clearance to remove the heater core from the air distribution housing.
  8. Remove the heater core by carefully pulling it straight out of the side of the air distribution housing.
Mopar Certified, Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 11273
Experience: 24 Year Factory Trained and Certified
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
OK, that doesn't sound too bad. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Mopar Certified replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome.

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