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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 23105
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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1999 Dodge stratus: heat doesnt work..I check the heater control valve

Customer Question

I have a 1999 Dodge stratus. The heat doesnt work. I want to know how can I check the heater control valve?
also I think my thermostat is stuck open, will this affect whether or not the heat will work? The air still blows, the AC Works, and the floor board on the drivers side is not completely dry so i dont think it is the heater core.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer!


Why do you think the thermostat is stuck open?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I think the thermostat is stuck because when I first start the car and it has been running for a little while, ( 10 minutes) it gets really hot, almost redlines, but then after that, the needle jumps around from the half way point down below the quarter point. It doesnt have temps on my gauge so I cant tell you the temps.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

Where did you check the coolant level?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I checked the radiator and the reservoir tank. I checked them in my driveway...
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.
You checked it with the engine cool, removed the radiator cap and there was solid coolant all the way to the top?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yes. i hadnt driven it today until a few minutes ago. I checked it before I turned the car on. Its warm right now if I need to check it warm...
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.
No, you won't need to check it with it warm now.

Which engine do you have?

Was any work done before this problem started?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Shoot.. I dont know the engine. 2.4L sound right?
Actually, I had to get my head gaskets replaced and the tensioner was also replaced. Some of the belts were replaced as well.

its an automatic.. I dont what other information I can give here.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

So the problems happened as a result of replacing the headgasket? It wasn't overheating or running cold, and had heat before the headgasket was replaced?


Your problems all sound like they are coming from air in the cooling system. I'm betting there is air in it and the system isn't full of coolant because it wasn't bled properly after the head was reinstalled.


This is best done with a coolant bleeding funnel which installs where the radiator cap goes, but can be done without it, only messier. With the radiator cap off start and run the engine until it's at full operating temperature. As it warms up you will see the coolant bubble, it will be unstable, and will spit some back out at you. When the thermostat opens the coolant level will drop, top it off and make sure the level stays consistent. once the level is consistent and no more bubbles are coming up then install the radiator cap and see if the problems are gone. You'll be in the area of hot coolant and steam throughout this, so be very careful.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm going to try this right now and I will let you know what happens.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
how will I know if it works? Do I shut the car off and place the cap back on then run my heater?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

You won't need to shut the engine off, and you don't want to shut the engine off until it's at full operating temperature and staying there, and no more bubbles are coming up.


At any time through this you can have the heat on to check and see if it's working. If it's not working with the engine hot then raise the RPM's a few times and this will help to force air out of the heater core and force coolant in.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
u were right about everything... everytime the thermostat opened(I guess it isnt stuck) the level went down, there was steam and it did spit back at me... I made sure to keep refilling the radiator, finally when the bubbling stopped and it didnt seem to be needing any more antifreeze i put the cap back on.. reved it up to get more rpms, but it nevere got hot. The temperature on the engine stayed steady for the most part.. but still no heat. :(
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like we're getting there though. If you look at the coolant temperature gauge it's staying steady now right, it's where it should be and not too hot, not too cold?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I havent accepted the answer because the heater still doesnt get hot. I tried what you said. but it didnt seem to work. I thought for a second that it was going to work, but it didnt. The temp gauge doesnt get to a hot point anymore... but, it still doesnt heat on the inside.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

I never heard back from you after my last reply. We've got the air out of the system and were ready to move on.

Where does the temperature gauge stay now? Is it staying in the normal area, or is it cold?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the temp gauge stays between the half way point and the quarter point. its not completely steady, but it only moves a little.
Sorry about not replying. I guess I just didnt refresh my page so i never seen a response. I thought u had given up on me.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

I hadn't given up on you! I responded 1 minute and 36 seconds after you did last.


Our next step is to feel the heater hoses at the firewall, or the closest you can get. With the engine hot see if both hoses are hot, and note the difference in temperature between them. See if they are very close to the same temperature, or if one is noticeably colder than the other.





Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I hate to do this, but I will have to do that tomorrow, because its dark right now and the car is cold and I wont be able to see. I dont mean to keep u hanging around..
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 6 years ago.

It's not a problem at all. Just let me know what you find and we'll go from there.