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Heating & Cooling 2nd Gen Dodge Ram Heating & Cooling Problems and Questions.


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  #1  
Old 01-25-2014, 04:47 PM
Jon89 Jon89 is offline
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Default 1999 Ram 5.9 V8 Heater / Defroster Issue....

I have a 1999 Ram 1500 shortbed with the 5.9 V8 and 66,800 miles. Purchased it in December 2000 at 14,000 miles and have always done the routine maintenance myself. Hadn't used the truck for a couple of weeks until today. Went for a ten-mile trip in 38-degree weather and noticed that the coolant temperature gauge never rose above about 160 to 170 degrees. It always sits straight up at 210 degrees after the engine warms up, winter or summer. I also noticed that when I turned on the defroster, the interior windows fogged up just a little bit.

Coolant level is normal, no leaks anywhere that I can see inside or outside the truck. I have drained, flushed, and refilled the coolant myself a couple of times during my ownership, the last time maybe three years ago. Still has its factory thermostat as far as I know.

What are the primary suspects? Thermostat? Heater core? Radiator? Something else? This truck is now more than 15 years old (the build date was 9/98) and while it has certainly been a good one, I don't want to dump a ton of money into it to fix this problem. I believe that all cooling system hoses are still the original ones.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and offer advice....
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:11 AM
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slimpartywagon slimpartywagon is offline
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fogging windows from the defroster leads to the heater core 9 times out of 10... I would pressure test the cooling system.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:44 AM
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Thanks for your input.

Playing around with the HVAC system yesterday while I had the engine idling and the hood up led to a couple more discoveries:

- In defrost mode, the compressor cycles on and off every 10 to 15 seconds.

- In A/C mode, the compressor again cycles on and off every 10 to 15 seconds.

- In heat mode, the compressor stays off.


Could a clogged heater core cause this strange compressor behavior or is something else going on here?
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:41 PM
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Good news. Compressor is normal. The defrost system on newer cars use it as a de-humidifier to clear the windshield faster. Moisture causes the fog, remove the humidity, and less time for the heat to clear the windshield.
Bad news. Yeah, sounds like a heater core. Agree with Slim on the pressure test. There is also a very good thread in this section about how to change a heater core.
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Old 01-29-2014, 10:03 AM
Jon89 Jon89 is offline
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Thanks for your input. Sounds like a pressure test should be my next action in attempting to resolve this issue.

Do you guys think that my heater core is simply clogged and could be blown out with an air compressor to clear the debris, or do you think my heater core is leaking and will need to be replaced? If it is leaking, it cannot be much of a leak because the coolant level in my expansion tank remains normal.

Also, I searched for the thread on how to change a heater core and came up empty. Anyone know the title of that thread or when it was posted?

Last edited by Jon89; 01-29-2014 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:00 PM
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Before I can answer your question on the heater core, I need to know the results of the pressure test.. if the pressure is high... then you could have a plugged heater core, or a stuck T-stat. If the pressure is low, then look for the leak, if you can't see any coolant leaking out of the hoses, overflow bottle, or any other visual spot, then its a leak in the heater core, or engine.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:31 PM
Jon89 Jon89 is offline
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Thanks for your input. Once I get a pressure test done, I'll report back here....
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:40 PM
Jon89 Jon89 is offline
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Update....

A pressure test today revealed no coolant leaks anywhere.

My problem appears to be two-fold:
1. Failed thermostat (it is the original factory unit).
2. 134a refrigerant is about a pound low.

So we'll flush the coolant system, install a new Mopar thermostat and gasket, then evacuate and recharge the compressor (the A/C system has never been serviced since the truck was new).

Hopefully these actions will resolve my issues. We'll see.
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Old 02-06-2014, 10:18 PM
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hopefully, at least you are on the right track
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