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joeson 04-18-2011 04:30 PM

Coolant smell and smoke out of vents
I have a 97 1500 slt and everytime or most of the time i have my heater on i smell coolant and sometimes smoke comes out of my defrost vents...i ordered in my heater core already but i dont want to go through the whole replacement process unless necessary. Could this be a failed heater core or a clog somewhere. I dont get any leaks on the passenger floor so what are some tips to check for. Any ideas would help...

mattee 04-18-2011 05:40 PM

It sounds like the core. It is probably not smoke but water vapor. Does your windshield have an oily film on the inside?

joeson 04-18-2011 05:56 PM

Yep it does and it's a pain to get it off...prob have to get into it this weekend...thanks!!

RedRam10 04-18-2011 06:13 PM

Hi, Joe. A pinhole leak will pass steam and not leave big puddles. Sounds like the core you have will come in handy.

joeson 04-18-2011 10:58 PM


Originally Posted by RedRam10 (Post 504131)
Hi, Joe. A pinhole leak will pass steam and not leave big puddles. Sounds like the core you have will come in handy.

Thanks bud!!!!!!

scratz 05-02-2011 01:17 PM

I am extremely interested to know if the new core fixed the problem. I am having the exact same problem. On rainy or high humid days I have extreme thick fog coming out of my vents. There is water that pours out of the passenger side from under the dash, and this past winter, no matter how hot the water temp was, I never got any warm air.

I immediately thought clogged drain, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Need some serious help here as this is a major safety hazard that I need to fix soon.

Thanks for any help (pictures would be nice) anyone can give on how to locate the heater core and it's buddies in crime.

kenaustin9 05-17-2011 12:16 PM

I heard that changing out the heater core is a major pain on the 2001 dodge ram. Anybody out htere done it? Any tips to make it go easier. I have the same problem with fogging windows and smell, and am planning on changing the core.

scratz 05-17-2011 07:08 PM

I took my 02 into the dealership. Even though up in my last post I said I didn't believe it was a clogged drain, I was wrong. The dealership showed me all the leaves and foam and crud that fell out when they took off the panel. They said the box was full, but they didn't have time to take it apart ( I was in a time crunch).
However, from what I gather from my friend who works with ARI Fleet (google them), the box is supposed to be cleaned out when the heater core is changed. It's just one of those things that are supposed to be done with the job. So, it's apparent that the Dodge dealership didn't do a complete job when they replaced my heater core....

Now, for the funny stuff...
So, I have had to be adding water to my engine for several months now and knew, based on the symptoms described above, it was the heater core. I was going to take it in on Monday. On the Thursday previous, I had to once again add water to it, about 3 gallons as normal. Well, Friday rolled around and I didn't have to add water. I thought maybe someone else did. Then Saturday, no need to add water.... Sunday too....
Unless I'm waaaay wrong, there is no such thing as a leak that repairs itself. Dodge said they put it on a high pressure test and went up to twice the pressure to make it leak. They found no leaks... nothing.. and since last Thursday, I haven't had to add water.........
THAT'S CRAZY - but I'm witness to it....

To answer the above question, it wouldn't hurt to talk to the Dodge dealership and ask them if they can provide the manual for the job. Since to do the job fully will require cleaning out the ACbox, it will require a removal of the dashboard. That's something you dont' want to start w/out a good manual for reference.
Also, as a tip. Take a lot of pictures before you remove anything, as you remove it (video wouldn't hurt) and mark you connectors (bolts, screws, plastic pieces). Nothing worse than things getting jumbled and you forgetting where you are and not having pictures of the "before" look.
This is a very easy thing to do, esp with the proliferation of cell-phone cameras.
Good Luck!

GTyankee 05-17-2011 07:18 PM

check out the 3 videos on from 2002 dodge ram
the same videos are on youtube along with several others about dodge ram a/c & heaters
likely you will find one on heater core flush & core replacing

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