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TOPIC: 2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core

2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4460

Ok, so I think I know the answer to this...but I wanted to get the collective's input.

This morning it was pretty darn cold here in Dallas (about 38 degrees). I fire up the Dakota and head off to run some errunds. After about 15 minutes of driving, I cut on the heat...to get the faint sweet, all to familiar, smell of anti-freeze.

We all know that means the heater core has decided to leak. I have been lucky in all my years, that each car I have owned never had an issue with the AC condensor or heater core, but it seems my luck has run out with this Dakota.
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4461

  • bälon
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I think you should make sure it is the core and not just the heater hoses that clamp on to the fire wall. When the leak is at the clamps, the coolant saturates the foam insulation and it'll seep into the cab just enough to smell
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4462

  • TejasNW
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My thoughts are this. There is a whole lot of electrical under that dashboard. It tends to not like moisture or being soaked if the flood gates open. You may make it through the winter (hey, it is Texas); but since you are going to end up doing it anyway, why take the risk of creating more problems? An ounce of prevention > pound of cure approach.

Good comment on confirming connections and hoses. All under the dash work is a PIA. I feel for you on that one. I have zero experience with Dodge, but hope it sits low on the firewall for ya'.
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4463

  • EricTheCarGuy
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As much as it pains me to say it this may be a job for stop leak. Be sure to follow the instructions to the letter however to ensure a good seal if you decide to go that rout.
Stay dirty
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4464

Quoted From bälon:

I think you should make sure it is the core and not just the heater hoses that clamp on to the fire wall. When the leak is at the clamps, the coolant saturates the foam insulation and it'll seep into the cab just enough to smell

Good info, thank you. After sitting in the garage for a couple of minutes, thinking what would Chuck Norris do...I decided what the hell, might as well see if anything is leaking outside of the HVAC system.

So I fire it up, let it get to operating temps and cut the temp control over to hot...and start to feel my way around under the dash to check for moisture. As I come out of my cab, my wife is standing there wondering what I am doing, and I calmly say "I am about to risk a 3rd degree burn filling around the heater hoses for leaks." Here comes the genius...my wife looks me straight in the face and says, "why? Just get some baby powder out of the bathroom and sprinkle it on there and see if it clumps."

I have to say...that was a brilliant idea. It saved me some headache, and to my surprise, the in/outlets for the heater core are bone dry.

So I took it one step further, I decided to test for moisture in the HVAC dash unit, but taking a small "puff" of baby powder and watching the vents. Small enough not to risk clogging anything up, but nothing came out of the vents, I am starting to think it is leaking inside the HVAC dash portion.

In any case, I drove around for a bit, as I like to do on saturday's, it's cool to see the neighbors and find out what the neighborhood is up to, and I notice even with the A/C on I started to smell the anti-freeze... :-(

I think I might just drop the dash and go all out...go big or stay home, right?
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4465

Quoted From TejasNW:

My thoughts are this. There is a whole lot of electrical under that dashboard. It tends to not like moisture or being soaked if the flood gates open. You may make it through the winter (hey, it is Texas); but since you are going to end up doing it anyway, why take the risk of creating more problems? An ounce of prevention > pound of cure approach.

Good comment on confirming connections and hoses. All under the dash work is a PIA. I feel for you on that one. I have zero experience with Dodge, but hope it sits low on the firewall for ya'.

Agreed, an ounce of prevention is dead on, thanks for the confirmation. I agree on the electrical, while I was in there, I noticed that if that thing decides to bust open, it's gonna play hell on the electrical system...I might ended up parting that truck out :-)
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4466

Quoted From EricTheCarGuy:

As much as it pains me to say it this may be a job for stop leak. Be sure to follow the instructions to the letter however to ensure a good seal if you decide to go that rout.
Thanks man, but I am with you on this one, liquid additives give me pause and a bit of a shutter. If I was the only one driving it, I would probably go that route, but with the wife's car sitting in the garage waiting for repairs, she has been toting the kids all over the place, and I would hate to get a call one day saying that the truck is down, or worse, its 30 degrees and the kids are starting to turn blue :-)

I will keep everyone posted as I work on this monster :-)
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4467

  • Beefy
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I'd like to point out that burnt antifreeze is one of the most toxic gases your car can produce, so if your kids are in this car, do it up quick man.
Signs point to 'maybe'
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4468

Quoted From Beefy:

I'd like to point out that burnt antifreeze is one of the most toxic gases your car can produce, so if your kids are in this car, do it up quick man.
Thank you for this, I was wondering this myself. In fact, I am writing down a pros/cons list to witch vehicle I repair first, the Dodge or the Volvo and finding out which one is going to be less expensive. Very good point about the burnt antifreeze, thanks again!
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2001 Dodge Dakota Sport 4.7L Automatic Quad Cab Heater Core 2 years 11 months ago #4469

  • dreamer2355
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Did you try to pressurize test the cooling system to see if you can spot leaks easier?
Original and First ETCG Moderator :)
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