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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an '03 3.4L base model. During the past few days, the heat wouldn't work. This was obviously after the car was on for a good half hour at least and definitely warmed up. I also noticed that when the heat wouldn't work the engine temperature would be abnormally high, almost as if the heat was being directed the wrong way (there was still air coming out the vents though and it was cold). And like I said, the heat would still work sometimes which was a little bizarre :confused2:

Please help me figure this out, Canadian winters are coooold and I need the heat in my car :crying
 

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I have an '03 3.4L base model. During the past few days, the heat wouldn't work. This was obviously after the car was on for a good half hour at least and definitely warmed up. I also noticed that when the heat wouldn't work the engine temperature would be abnormally high, almost as if the heat was being directed the wrong way (there was still air coming out the vents though and it was cold). And like I said, the heat would still work sometimes which was a little bizarre :confused2:

Please help me figure this out, Canadian winters are coooold and I need the heat in my car :crying
Sounds like you have low coolant. It may be caused by a leak, likely a slow one.

Assuming your car still has Dexcool (red) coolant, you can top off the radiator and the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water. On my bottle, it says 50/50 is good down to -34°F/-37°C.

You can buy premixed 50/50. If you mix your own, you're supposed to use distilled water. In a pinch, use tap water.

After getting this taken care of, I suggest getting the system pressure tested to find the leak, and getting it repaired.

FWIW, walking thru auto salvage yards, I get the impression half the cars there died from engine failure due to excess loss of coolant or oil.

HTH.

Doug

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the reply, I really should get that checked out now that I think about it. I remember in the summer the engine would get quite hot and that was the main issue with the car. Never got to the point of overheating but the engine temperature needle was a little too high for comfort when in traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Assuming your car still has Dexcool (red) coolant, you can top off the radiator and the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water. On my bottle, it says 50/50 is good down to -34°F/-37°C.

You can buy premixed 50/50. If you mix your own, you're supposed to use distilled water. In a pinch, use tap water.

After getting this taken care of, I suggest getting the system pressure tested to find the leak, and getting it repaired.
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Would this fix the heat not working too, or is that a separate problem?
 

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Would this fix the heat not working too, or is that a separate problem?
I'm thinking it should fix the heat...until the system leaks down too low again.

My take is that, when the level is low, the heater core doesn't get enough hot coolant circulating thru it resulting in cold air blowing on you.

And, with low coolant, the engine doesn't get enough coolant flowing to adequately cool the engine resulting in the elevated temp gauge.

There might could be other issues as well, such as a thermostat sticking. But I would expect the heater to work in that case, since the thermostat would be blocking the flow of coolant to the engine resulting in more flow into the heater core.

Another thought, for the engine getting hot, is that maybe the fans aren't coming on correctly (usually caused by a bad fan relay). But I would then expect to see the engine getting even hotter - ie, overheating.

Anyway, a bottle of 50/50 is about 14 bucks at Walmart in the states. That is, it's a cheap first attempt at rectifying the situation. So check the level in the radiator (when the engine isn't hot) and see if it's low. If so, fill it up (along with the reservoir) and then see if the heater starts working.

Also, note that, with it low, there will be some air pockets in the system, so, after filling the radiator and reservoir, plan on adding more coolant the next day to replace the volume of the air pockets. And, since we suspect a leak, keep checking it daily.

Doug

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