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ase_master327, Shop Owner
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 5288
Experience:  +15 years experience with Chevrolet. Bumper to bumper diagnosis & repair.
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How to tell if your heater core is bad.

Customer Question

How to tell if your heater core is bad. I was on my way home from work and noticed a smell of radiator fluid. I pulled into my driveway and noticed radiator fluid dumping from my car. I popped my hood and noticed on my 93 chevy corsica that there is what looks like a dump stem behind my engine on the passenger side close to the middle of the car dumping gallons of radiator fluid out. I also noticed after shutting the car of a mist like smoke coming from my air vents. Is this my heater core? If so how do I fix it, somewhere online show pictures and explain how to? Also can I bypass it for the time being, if so what hoses do I disconnect/connect where are those located?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
There will be water on the passenger floor, and the coolant level will be low, if the heater core is bad. If the engine keeps overheating, then you might have another problem, so..

If you need anything just let me know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Nothing on the passenger floor. I have what looks like a dump stem behind my engine that is gushing radiator fluid, next to where I recharge my freon in my 93 corsica. Is that the dump for the heater core when it goes bad? How would I bypass this I've heard you can but I dont know where the hoses are and what I would need, or need to do. I also had what looked like a musty smoke come from my air vents when I turned my car off. Yes I had my ac running on my hour drive home.
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
Has the hose fell off it?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I dont ever remember there being a hose there. I've had some water dropping from there before but nothing more then a few drips. And nothing like radiator fluid. I dont see any free hanging hoses either.
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
IT does sound likely to be the heater core.. what you are talking about is coolant gushing out of the AC drain? If so, then yes, the heater core is definately leaking.

Do you need instructions on changing it? It really isn't that bad. Here.. take a look.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok I dont have anything to open a pdf file and thats an acrobat file. So gonna download it and open it up. If I cannot replace the heator core is there anyway you can give me steps on how to locate the hoses and how to "loop" them to bypass it for the time being? I have work monday and definatly can't afford to miss it. And yes the AC drain does sound correct for what I'm talking about I remember someone telling me thats what the drain stem the radiator fluid was coming out of. Give me some time to try and get acrobat and I'll reply back or gladly pay as soon as I can figure this out. Thanks...for now or completely thanks.
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
You will have to get to the hoses at the firewall. Then you can just cut them off the firewall, and put them together with a piece of pipe, if you in a hurry.

Or you can go to auto parts store and get a heater shutoff valve. It will be a 'universal shutoff valve then you can put in the hoses, to join them together.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
ok, going to look at it tomorrow. dark here and thanks again for all the help. I should be able to pay for this help tomorrow I am assuming. Thanks again...
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
All is good.
Oh, don't forget to get a couple hose clamps!!

If you need anything else, just let me know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok I can't find anything that shows me where the hoses are. I think its for the best giving my lack of car knowledge that I find the hoses and loop them together with the part from autozone until I can get somewhere a mechanic is or can guide me through the changing the heater core. Is there any pictures anywhere you might know of that can show me what the hoses look like and where they would be located? I can't drive the car cause it dumps the vast majority of my radiator fluid in like 10 minutes.
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 8 years ago.
You can't find any pictures because there aren't any.

The hoses are just above the drain where all of the water is coming out. When you look back there, you will see it. They are 2 bigger hoses... about 1 inch wide and they go to the firewall, just above where the water is coming out of the drain. You may have to pull the car up on ramps, and get under it to see them.