Heater Problem

I live in Augusta, GA where it's only COLD a few days a year. Even then, our idea of cold is warm compared to some of our friends farther north. Nevertheless, my teeth were chattering on the way home from
work with the heater running full-blast (about a 10 mile drive). The heater was not putting out air anything near warm.
In cars I've owned in the past this pointed to a bad heater core. However, I put in a 160deg thermostat this past spring, so I didn't know if the low heater temp might be a side-effect of the lower than stock termostat.
I also T-boned a lady that turned left in front of me a couple of weeks ago, so if there is a way this problem could have reasonably been caused by the accident I might be able to get the insurance company to fix it. (I did get the ram-air hood out of that wreck by paying the $200 difference!) I know it's unlikey the wreck had anything to do with it, but you guys never cease to amaze me with your insight...
Any thoughts on the most likely cause of the the low heater temp and possible solutions?
Thanks, SR-71 (Blackbird) '97 Firebird Formula
SLP Ram-Air Hood SLP Cold-Air induction SLP Flow-booster SLP 160deg Thermostat Hooker Aero-Chamber Muffler
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Every bad heater core I had leaked but would still put out heat. Sounds more like the block off valve (if used) is hosed, or metal or rubber tubing got crimped. It could also be something faulty in the damper system to direct air through the heater core. All of these conditions could have been caused by the impact. BTW, are you sure the heater ever worked since it rarely gets cold where you live?
Dave
PS - Do you ever run across a 71 white convertible GTO in Augusta?
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I agree with the above about the dampener door. Could be a cable has snapped causing the heated air not to enter the inside of the car. Work the controls and listen for the door to move. Also using the 160 degree thermostat will cause it not be as warm because the coolant will not stay in the block as long to heat it up. I did that to my '82 Z28 to battle some of the heating issues in the hot Texas weather but have to deal with just a luke warm heater output.
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"SR-71"

having a 160 thermostat will cause the car to run cold and take longer for it to get hot. here in canada if we just start the car and go your looking 15-20 miles on the highway before the heater kicks out warm air(in the winter) and thats with a 195 thermostat.
and an accident can cause lots of problems. it may have shifted your rad enough to cause troubles.ram air also cools the engine off. -- http://edmontonssin.no-ip.com http://gopherhunt.no-ip.com
--
i am the darkest creation of god



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Thanks, guys!
I'll check for the damper, but I'm pretty sure it's moving. I can hear the change in air flow, but I'll check that further.
I haven't checked for a heater core leak, where would that be? (Firewall under passenger dash inside?)
I'll also try driving a lot farther to see if it heats up more. The temp gauge shows maybe 180deg, so it may just be a side-effect of running the engine cold. I'm happy to endure the cold if that's the case ;-)
I do know my water pump is starting to fail. When I went into the shop to talk with the mechanics fixing my car from the wreck they showed me the backed-on antifreze coming from the weep-hole in the water pump. My shop manual says that's an early warning of a failing pump. Could that be a cause, or would it actually make the engine and heat hotter?
They had to put in a new radiator in the accident, although that's as far back as the damage went. The impact wasn't even bad enough to even snap my head forward. I rolled the car I hit because her driver's side tire caught the curb. It made for an impressive wreck, but the impact wasn't that bad. My shop's bill to her insurance was about $7,800, though.
Thanks!
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"SR-71"

if your water pump goes your engine will get hotter but you won't get heat from the heater inside the car.
-- http://edmontonssin.no-ip.com http://gopherhunt.no-ip.com
--
i am the darkest creation of god



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If, and thats IF your heater core was leaking, you would notice: Fogged windows, with a oily film worse than you have seen before, to the point driving would be impossible. Antifreeze loss Coolant in floorboard on passenger side.

Your 165F stat you put in will make a difference in weather that is colder. I have a new radiator, heater core and stat (195) in one of our service trucks, and I cant stand the heat output now..but then...the engines not running at 240F now either.

Thats a sign of a failed seal, and its time to replace it. Engine, will run hotter IF you are low on coolant, and that will also explain your lower heat output in the core, if you have an air pocket now in the block.

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Depending on the mileage .. and how well you took care of the cooling system, and whether you ever used a stop leak .. i would suspect the heater core. My heater core started to leak on my 93 Camaro Z28, but then it stopped leaking .. and then I lost heat in the car .. it got plugged!!! I just bought a new heater core from Autozone and took out the old one .. and I cant blow through it at all!! One way you can test it without removing it .. is pull off both hoses .. and put a hose on one of the nipples .. and blow into it .. if you cant blow through .. then your water is not circulating .. and that means no heat for your heater!!
good luck
Tom
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