Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Harrisonville, MO
2004 Freestar troubleshooting help
My wife and daughter recently came running into the house telling me that the van was "on fire". By the time I got to the garage to look, there was no evidence or even smell of anything burning.
I asked them what was going on and they both told me that there was "smoke" coming into the cab on the passenger's side. My wife told me that the "smoke" was coming into the cab from "under the glove box" and that it smelled like anti-freeze. So, I immediately drew the conclusion that the "smoke" was actually steam and the culprit was the heater core. I should have known better but rather than driving the vehicle myself, I began the tedious process of pulling the dash to replace the heater core.
Much to my chagrin and embarrassment, when I finally got to the heater core, it looked almost brand-new. No holes, no corrosion, nothing that I could see appears to be wrong with it. There was dust in the heater box beneath the core and no signs of any liquid having dripped into the box. I blew air into one of the pipes and it flowed freely. I then plugged the other pipe with my thumb and blew again and was not able to force much air into the core.
So, here are my questions:
1. Is there a way to "pressure test" a heater core? I'm thinking that perhaps there is a pinhole leak or small crack that I can't see?
2. Is there something else I should be looking for while I have the dashboard out? I don't think there is any other point where a leak in the cooling system could send steam into the cab but I readily admit, I'm no mechanic.
I would appreciate any thoughts or ideas of what I should look for before putting this thing back together. Fortunately, the job wasn't a total loss as one of the blend gate actuators recently failed so I would have had to do much of this work anyway to replace that part.
Thanks in advance!
2004 Freestar, 2005 Five-Hundred, 2005 F-150