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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought a very nice 2001 Taurus family car, it's a creampuff--it looks and drives like new--I thought everything worked perfectly but we just got our first cold snap and I turned on the heater--fan goes, but we get no heat/defrost inside the cabin. The coolant is perfect, looks new,--I was looking for the heater core valve to be sure it was opening/closing but I don't see it under the hood. Anyone know where it is and how to get to it? There is no evidence of sludge anywhere in this coolant system. Anyone know how to check this heater valve and its operation? Thermostat works well, temp comes up fast but needle stays in the center of the guage. Thanks in advance.
 

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I know next to nothing about this platform, but It's got to have a temperature blend door in the dash somewhere to control the mix of cold/hot air. I'd start with that - I don't think you'll find a coolant flow valve controlling flow to the heater core.
 

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I agree blend door is worth a shot. Dont know on your car, my 2010 Taurus had an issue and it was kinda up under the glove box.

Not sure where your heater core is.... When I dont know where something is I look the part up someplace like tasca parts. When I find it I click on it and normally they will have it labeled in a diagram of related parts. The diagram will give you an idea of where it is located.

Good luck!
 

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Those cars are notorious for the heater core clogging up. A quick test is to get the car warmed up and feel both of the heater hoses, and if one is hot and one is cold, then you know the heater core is clogged. As for how to fix it, if you disconnect one of the heater hoses and crimp off the other, then fill the heater core with drano, and let it sit for about an hour, then flush it out, and it should be good to go.
 

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x2 on the Clogged heater core. Most people back flush this with a garden hose for an easy fix - there is a bypass on the hoses going in/out of the heater core that can be pinched off / plugged up so it will only flow through the heater core.

Blend door is easy to get to, remove the climate control face / dash bezel, and you can watch the operation of the blend door actuator to verify it is moving like it should be.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I wondered about the heater core being clogged. I will try the hot/cold hose thing in the morning and see what its doing. I like the Drano tip also--thanks! Isn't Drano pretty caustic? I'll be careful with the overspray if any. Appreciate the help guys!
 

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Before doing anything with the heater core, I would look at the heater blend door actuator. They are notorious for breaking the plastic gears in them. My 01 Sable Wagon had that happen(and I think it's acting up again). Do you have auto or manual controls? The actuator is behind the radio. You can access it from underneith of you have small hands and remove the glove box as well.

First thing I would do is remove the blend door actuator, leave it plugged into the wire harness and turn the temp from hot to cold and see if it moves. If it does, use your fingers and put a little pressure on it to see if it works. If it does, move the blend door itself(they are also common for breaking in the heater box). If that works and still no heat, then it could be a clogged heater core. Follow that order.
 

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I have had tons of these come into my shop, it is almost always a plugged heater core. I give it a flush both directions with a water hose or flush gun and call it a day!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Here's the follow-up on my heater core. I checked the temperature of the lines going to the core and one was hot, the other barely warm--obviously water wasn't getting through. I removed the coolant hoses going to the core, not at the firewall, but at the block. The one on the driver's side came off easily, the the other one was buried down by the pulley drive area, and it was near impossible to touch, let alone remove. I loosened some bolts that holds a bracket, I was able to move it a bit to get pliers on the circular spring clamp, and finally it came off. That was the toughest part of the job right there.
I had a plastic adapter from a radiator-flush kit I have been carrying around for years--it joins a garden hose to a 5/8" hose--that's all I needed to hook up a hose to the coolant line. On the other side I made a nipple out of a piece of scrap copper tubing so I could add a long chunk of garden hose and fed it into a 5-gallon bucket.
I turned on the garden hose carefully and I got about a gallon of BLACK fluid out of the core--the water cleared up right away, and there was no resisitance so I knew the core was unclogged.
The blockage was this black gritty stuff that looked like someone took a piece of coal and crushed it into fine powder and put it in the heater core. It came flying out easily though, so I gave it a good rinse for about a minute, and buttoned everything back up as I found it. It went back together without a problem--I took it for a drive and the heater is working great!
Seems these Tauruses are notorious for having a plugged heater core. Several people have mentioned it and it's true. I was concerned it would be a nightmare to fix, but the worst part was removing that one hose--the rest was a piece of cake. Only one trick was needed--you must block the crossover hose so the garden hose will send water through the core, not the crossover. I used a needle-nose vise-grip plier to block the crossover hose. (SCTbird) No problem.
Thanks for the advice, guys!
 

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ill put money its the heater core. just did the t-stat, housing, heater lines and the core on my wifes. heat takes1 minute of driving for heat now.
 

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We did the stepson's wife's car (a 1999 Taurus) - it dribbled for about a minute, then "pooped" (stepson's word) some crud, and started running better. We kept pulsing the water in, and after several pulses ( and several cycles of clear/brown/clear/brown etc.) it finally ran for three minutes clear. With GREAT flow.

Buttoned it back up, topped it off with antifreeze, and it blew hot air.

He then (just last week) drained the radiator and ran water through IT like that. We think the last of the old water pump came out - the missing vanes (the water pump was a 7-vane design, we had 1/2 of 1 vane left ... )

RwP
 
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