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Old 07-21-2014
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Heater core

I have a 2000 Ford ranger with the 3.0 V6. This morning I saw a small puddle of antifreeze on the driveway. Further inspection revealed that the drip is coming from the A/C accumulator/heater fan housing. When I crawled under the passenger side, and peered through the passenger rearward wheel well housing, I can see the drips at the seams of the bottom side of this black housing.

My guess is that the heater core is leaking. Does the heater core "share" part of this housing inside the cabin? What I have done temporarily is to bypass the heater core by using a 90 degree elbow to connect the heater hose inlet/outlet together, and then cap off the heater core nipples at the fire wall. I ran the engine for a good 20 minutes at temperature, and could see no other leaks that antifreeze could be coming from. I shut off the engine, looked up at the area that I first discovered the dripping, and there are still a few drops that happen once every minute; my guess is that this accumulator housing still has some antifreeze in it (the truck is currently parked with its nose pointed up).

When I discoinnected the heater hoses from the heator core firewall connections/nipples, antifreeze did come out, so I'm thinking the leak in the core is small.

Is my diagnoses a correct thought? Is there anything else that could drain antifreeze into this black housing that the accumulator/heater fan housing?
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Old 07-21-2014
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yea sounds like the heater core
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Old 07-22-2014
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Yes, it reads like a core leak.

This is a "pull out the dash board" replacement, so very time consuming.

There are some videos on short cuts but these require cutting the duct work.
Google: replace heater core 2000 ranger

Just to confirm heater core leak I would put a heater hose on one core pipe and put you finger over the other and blow into the core, if it doesn't hold pressure then...confirmed.

Not that it will do you much good now, but in the future when you change coolant every 2 to 5 years on any vehicle, you should back flush the heater core at that time.

A heater core has an IN and an OUT hose, IN hose is the warmer one.
remove the IN hose at the engine end and point it down at the ground
Put a garden hose on the OUT pipe or hose, you don't have to clamp it on just hold it on.
Turn on the hose to Back Flush any debris that came in the IN hose and got stuck.
You don't need alot of water pressure.
I often blow out the core after flushing, just with my mouth on the hose, and fill core with warm water and CLR or mild vinegar solution, let it sit for 20 min. then flush again and see how flow thru the core is, repeat if flow is still limited.
In the summer coolant doesn't circulate thru the core in your model, so scaling can build up and debris can settle to the bottom, this prevents the anti-corrosion chemicals in the coolant from protecting the metal parts of the core that is coated with scale or debris.
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Old 07-22-2014
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Yep. I've done complete flushes on past vehicles I've owned, even going so far as to install the old prestone flush kits. Not sure they even sell those.

You may recall a few weeks ago my finding an issue with a loose fitting on the radiator (automatic transmission line) that was keeping the pressure in the radiator from building up to the 12 to 15 pounds. As RonD mentioned in his excellent response to that question, the pressure never got high enough in the radiator to push the anti-freeze into the overflow tank, and even while it was at the full mark, my radiator was always low, as it was leaking from this fitting, and instead of pulling anifreeze from the overflow tank, it was drawing air from the loose fitting. Now after three weeks of the radiator staying full and holding pressure, the heater core takes a hike.
Now that I think more about it, additional symptoms of the heater core leaking were that at the time (a few days ago) when the heater core was suspect as leaking, I've been using the A/C, and I heard what I thought was debris or leaves in the fan compartment; the sound resembled that of the days when I'd put a baseball card against the spokes of my bicycle rim. I'm thinking now that this was most likely antifreeze under pressure in the heater core leaking, spraying against the squirrel cage fan.
I too saw the youtube vids you mention RonD, one of which showed the mechanic cutting the air ducting behind the glovebox, cutting the top plastic bracket/cover of the heater core to remove it, and some other various shortcuts to keep from pulling the dash. If I do replace the heater core, I'll do it the right way, and pull the dash. However, I live in Central Florida, and right now we are having our "Africa Hot" summer. Heat is not an issue, so the heater core is going to stay bypassed for now.

Last edited by bucko; 07-22-2014 at 02:11 PM.
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