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 Antifreeze in Cabin

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ddonohue
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Name : 95RivInPA
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PostSubject: Antifreeze in Cabin   Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:12 am

Awesome. Went to leave for work today and found a half-inch pond of antifreeze pooling in the front of my 95 Riv. Both passenger and driver side floors. It can't be AC-related, as the AC doesn't work so I never use it. Heater core? I saw the write-up for that, which was pretty scary. Is it possible it could be a bad hose or a clamp or something? Are there pictures somewhere that would help me visualize the system so I know where to look? What should I be looking for, besides a strong rope and solid beam to hang myself?
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Abaddon
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PostSubject: Re: Antifreeze in Cabin   Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:41 am

Heater core.........
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Antifreeze in Cabin   Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:05 am

Cooling systems that aren't maintained (and some that are) have a "galvanic" problem that causes the aluminum to erode away, thus springing leaks. Grounding issues, interestingly enough, can lead to this. A telltale is black/dark gray spots on the radiator in weird places. Difficulty with the diagnosis is the gray spots (which are primarily aluminum oxide) look an awful lot like ordinary random dirt.

Replacing the heater core is a pain but at least you know what's up. When you do that if it has not been done yet do you think you might consider replacing the radiator and heater soft lines while you are at it? Also remember to put "Bars Leaks" or the GM sealant tabs (it's bar's leaks in tablet form) in the lower coolant hose before you refill the system. There's detail on this in the service manual (which you will want to have for this job check eBay if you don't have one).

Albertj
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ddonohue
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PostSubject: Re: Antifreeze in Cabin   Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:33 am

Don't have the service manuals, I'd have to get them, and that might help answer my next question (by the way, are the manuals gold or blue? eBay has both).

Is the procedure and the diagrams in the manual, along with the info here, really good enough for me to tackle this myself? I'm really reluctant to take this to the shop because I'm still digesting the bill for an electrical problem not too long ago. At this point, I have a lot more time than I have money, and the core itself seems pretty cheap as far as parts go. But if the procedure kind of skips over stuff that it assumes I should know, it might not be something I should try.

Any opinions? And while it's torn apart, anything else I should replace (such as the above, and I assume you mean "replacing the radiator soft lines" and not "replacing the radiator")?
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Antifreeze in Cabin   Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:18 pm

ddonohue wrote:
Don't have the service manuals, I'd have to get them, and that might help answer my next question (by the way, are the manuals gold or blue? eBay has both).

Is the procedure and the diagrams in the manual, along with the info here, really good enough for me to tackle this myself? I'm really reluctant to take this to the shop because I'm still digesting the bill for an electrical problem not too long ago. At this point, I have a lot more time than I have money, and the core itself seems pretty cheap as far as parts go. But if the procedure kind of skips over stuff that it assumes I should know, it might not be something I should try.

Any opinions? And while it's torn apart, anything else I should replace (such as the above, and I assume you mean "replacing the radiator soft lines" and not "replacing the radiator")?

I mean replace the radiator hoses and the heater hoses. You might want to get the heater hoses from Rockauto.com unless you are in a major metro (they don't sell well, it took me ~ a week to get a pair last month). Best local bet would be a NAPA. You will likely have to cut the heater hoses off the nipples on the core. That is why you will need to replace.

You will also want to refill with fresh coolant. This is kind of a hassle. One way around the hassle is to reuse the old coolant but within a week or 2 go to a shop (a local mechanic, a goodyear, a sears, or what have you ) that has a coolant recycling machine. Recycled coolant is pretty good (nowadays, did not used to be).

Also, you want to make sure all your grounds are clean so you get rid of the galvanic corrosion problem that probably caused the heater core to leak in the first place.

As for the service manual just be sure you get the one for your year and model of car. Alldata subscription is not a bad substitute. You may want to check with local library to see if they have a subscription to Alldata (or Chiltons') already. Problem with Chiltons is it's not very complete. There are no instructions for R&R the radiator on my '98 Riv on the Chiltons' manual that I can access through my regional library on-line, for instance. Gotta use Alldata or the factory manual. I used the factory manual.

The factory manuals are pretty good, the only issue I've ever had is when I have to get special tools that I don't have already. What you *might* want to do is get a buddy who has some (SUCCESSFUL) experience repairing cars to hang out with you at the time you are doing the work, and lend a hand.

As discussed on the Radiator thread on this site you should also consider getting a cable clamp tool. They are some bucks but worth *every* cent. You may prefer the $40 Sears Craftsman one to the $30 AutoZone one.

I have to run

Albertj
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