Taurus low heat problem

Hi, My 98 Taurus is giving me a problem with putting out heat. The heat comes on but it seems to take much longer than it used to and it takes forever to
get the car really hot, even at high. The heat coming out of the dash feels only lukewarm. My 2002 Taurus is like a blast furnace compared to the 98. I have a certain point on my morning commute where I used to be able to turn the heat on and start getting heat but I need to drive several miles more now to get any heat out. The higher I put the blower speed the cooler the air comes out (warm, but not hot)
The temp gauge climbs normally to the center of the range and stays there after several miles of driving so I suspect the thermostat is okay? I checked the coolant level and that seems to be at the correct level. I do not have any smell of coolant when I turn the fan on so I don't think I have a leak in the heater core. Any ideas? Given the cold days we have been having this is really getting to be a problem.
Thanks,
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Thremostat is stuck open

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Rick Heckbert wrote:

Probably need to flush the system, paying special attention to the heater core. It could also be that the temperature blend door is on the way out.
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Thanks for you input everyone.
I forgot to add that I can hear the blend door slam shut when move the temp control back and forth from cold to hot and viceversa.
Also, I may be imagining it but the electric cooling fan (radiator fan) seems to run a good amount.
Wouldn't a stuck open thermostat tend to keep the temp low? ie the temerature gauge would tend to always be on the low side especially in the cold weather? Also, the gauage is rock steady at midpoint and wouldn't a stuck thermostat tend to keep it fluctuating depending on speed?
Thanks!
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yes, it would.... your thermostat is fine.
And some caint read too good, neether!
Scroll back through the posts here.. you are one of many.
A FULL cooling system FLUSH might take care of it... maybe, sometimes
what it really probably is is the result of Ford's new improved not- green-colored antifreeze
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
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"Rick Heckbert" wrote

Maybe, but it's probably not your thermostat anyway. Besides the fact that thermostats rarely stick open, doing so wouldn't keep the engine from getting warm enough to operate the heater. I'd guess you've either got sediment blockage in the heater core, or more likely your water pump is bad. And before you say it can't be the water pump, let me tell you that I recently replaced one on a 97 Sable that ran fine except for the heater not working. Take a look here: http://blizzard.zmm.com/waterpump/ Despite the fact that the impellor on that pump was deteriorated into something resembling a small, thin circular saw blade, the engine did not overheat. The temp gauge was rock solid in the normal range. The only symptom produced by that pump was no heater output.
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