New Member Question - Long Read
Hello, new member here with a question I need advice on. I'll try to make this as short as I can but there are some things that you need to know to make an informed decision. Thanks for your indulgence.
My '02 Dodge truck heater core went bad. In December '10 I had it replaced, supposedly with a new one. In January 2012, it went bad again - truck overheating, no heat coming out of vents, fogged up windows, coolant/anti-freeze somehow leaked onto carpet on both driver and passenger side foot rests, etc. The local repair guy said Dodge wouldn't provide a new one since it was one month out of warranty. So I paid again for a new one (at least that's what the mechanic said) and had it installed. Once I got it back, the windows still fogged up and the smell of coolant/anti-freeze was very strong inside the truck. I called and the guy said that should evaporate within a few days but it didn't.
After it didn't I called back and the guy made a comment that, looking back, I'm afraid should have been a "tell" for me. He said there shouldn't be much moisture in the heater core because his guy "had vacuumed it out with a shop vac." My question is this: if he installed a new heater core how come it needed to be vacuumed out? Would there be coolant residue in a new one, enough that would fog up the windows and cause a strong smell in the cab?
I drove the truck for about a month and the smell eventually went away. But if I turned the defrost on it would still slightly fog up the window. The fogging up had a slimy feel to it. It wouldn't just wipe off easily. I had to clean it with window cleaner.
The truck is not my main vehicle so since February it's had very little use/mileage on it. I was driving it the other day and it started to overheat on me. I was about 30 miles from home so I turned on the heater and turned the fan on high. It helped keep the needle out of the red but it still was running hot. I took it back into the shop and the guy called this morning to tell me the coolant overflow reservoir, or the equivalent of it on this truck, was cracked and would take $150 to fix - $81 for a new tank and the rest labor. He said the truck was 6 quarts low on coolant and that's what caused the tank to crack. Is it possible that all the other problems caused this new one? His implication was that it was my fault for having low coolant. Part of the repair back in January was that they filled up the coolant - something that's itemized on the bill.
So is this truly my fault or could it be that all the other symptoms caused the overheating? If the heater core wasn't fixed right then I don't feel I should have to pay to have a new reservoir tank put on. To my thinking, the heater core issue is what caused it to overheat to the point of cracking the tank. Am I out in left field on this?
Thanks in advance for your time and input,