Heater Core Repair recommendations?

loc182

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Hi all!

I have been losing coolant only when using the heater and hearing odd burping noises from inside of the dash. I also occasionally smelled coolant, but never found any water in the car.

Since I had no symptoms of BHG and had passed a compression test I assumed this was the heater core.

I removed the old core this morning and much to my chagrin I could not find any evidence of a leak or a failure. The o-rings were dirty, but nice and rubbery, and the pipes looked nice.

I did note what might be a crack on the weld (or is it solder that was sweated?) on the core, but everything seemed to be good.

IMG_20200120_1033034.jpg

So I am wondering what is best? I am thinking of two things:

  • Soldering the crack on the old core and reinstalling with new pipes and o-rings.
    or
  • Taking the core, box, and pipes to a shop to have the crack repaired and the pipes brazed to the core, and then everything pressure tested.

Thank you for any advice. I wish I could just get a new core, though my old one doesn't really look bad.
 
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Piratetip

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Dang, that is a lot of work to get to that core to find the replacement part is not the right fitment.

I would thoroughly clean the entire heater core inside and out.
1st. Soap and water, flush it out really good
2nd. Flush it out with lots of water - dry thoroughly
3rd. Acetone will clean the area of everything and leave no reside behind

Get some good flux and some good 50/50 solder.
Mapp gas torch will make short work of that re-solder job.

If you aren't comfortable doing it any good radiator shop should be able to.

I don't see why you can't repair it.
The key is getting everything clean of contaminates before you start.
 
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Piratetip

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Before you start.

Did you see any dried coolant residue anywhere on or around the heater core?
That should tell you if it was actually leaking or not.

The photo you took there, the part looks very clean no sign of a leak imo..
Unless you already cleaned it.
 

loc182

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Nope, I couldn't find a drop of coolant anywhere.

Not on the core, not on the pipes going through the firewall, not at the unions between the core and the pipes where the o-rings live. Very confused, as I definitely got a whiff of coolant from time to time.

And yeah, that is how clean the part came off the car! I just wiped the pipe out with a paper towel after pouring the coolant out. 31 years old and it looks so much better than the new Spectra part :p
 

debrucer

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Nope, I couldn't find a drop of coolant anywhere.

Not on the core, not on the pipes going through the firewall, not at the unions between the core and the pipes where the o-rings live. Very confused, as I definitely got a whiff of coolant from time to time.

And yeah, that is how clean the part came off the car! I just wiped the pipe out with a paper towel after pouring the coolant out. 31 years old and it looks so much better than the new Spectra part :p
Sounds like the problem I was talking about in post #20 of this thread. I posted pictures somewhere, but can't find them or the originals. Same resolution for me, too. I took it to a trusted radiator repair shop, had it cleaned and pressure tested, and put it back on with new o-rings.
 

debrucer

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