Heater Core Issues (long)
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This is a discussion on Heater Core Issues (long) within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi All, I've been around this forum for a long time, but I mostly just lurk these days. I guess ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Rocky WRX's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Heater Core Issues (long)

    Hi All,
    I've been around this forum for a long time, but I mostly just lurk these days. I guess I just don't have that much to say, but I try to keep up with what's going on. My 2002 WRX wagon is currently currently at John Elway Subaru West, having its heater core replaced, for the second time in 5 months.

    The first time was last March on a morning commute. There was a strong smell of antifreeze and the windows fogged up. I took it to John Elway Subaru West that evening, and they diagnosed a leaking heater core. The car was out of warranty (~43k miles), and the total charge was $1200. Replacing the heater core requires removing the entire dashboard, and they charged extra for dealing with the wiring for my SBC-iD EBC, gauges and radar detector.

    The second failure was monday morning, and I drove it to John Elway after work. By the end of that drive, there was a major puddle of antifreeze in the drivers footwell. They said it would probably be Friday before the car would be ready. I pointed out that this was the second time the heater core has failed, and they said they'd never heard of problems with heater cores failing like this. The cost of the repairs would be covered under a 12 month warranty on the first repair.

    They called this morning to say that the new heater core had arrived. The rep mentioned all the extra wiring issues that they have to deal with, and said that there would be a $175 charge for extra labor that will not be covered under their parts warranty. He also tried to blame the heater core failure on my EBC. I have a real problem with that theory. Running excessive boost can lead to a lot of problems, but I don't see how a heater core failure could be one of them. For the record, here is my list of performance mods, and it's been well over a year since I've done anything new. I'm planning to keep the car for a long time, so I honestly don't thrash on it.

    - Exhaust - MRT TBE, with PDE up pipe. One cat remains.
    - Lightweight/undersized crank pulley
    - Forced Performance-modified OEM turbo. These deliver a little more power over stock, but not much, and it looks completely stock.
    - SBC-iD EBC. I run boost at 15psi, even though the turbo is supposed to be good up to 17.5psi.
    - TurboXS UTEC with off-the-shelf stage 3 map & STi injectors. I've never gotten around to tuning the thing for maximum performance, but it's plenty of fun for me in daily driving. With the EBC, I run the UTEC in open-loop boost mode. I know I could run closed-loop and lose the EBC, but then I'd have to spend time tuning it.

    So has anyone else ever had heater core issues? I did a search and came up empty. Any idea why a heater core would fail twice within 5 months? This is getting old.

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  3. #2
    Registered User djrez4's Avatar
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    The heater core on my 96 Outback went out at around 60k miles. The mentioned that it was not normal at all. Luckily, I had the extended warranty and only had to pay the $100 deductible. It's certainly not supposed to happen twice in 5 months. Make it break again and get a new one under the lemon law.
    Deliberating enclaves of like-minded people are often a breeding ground for extreme movements - Cass Sunstein

  4. #3
    Registered User blah's Avatar
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    Yikes! Sooner or later I am going to need to get my clutch replaced, I hope they don't charge me extra for having an aftermarket stereo.

  5. #4
    Registered User Rocky WRX's Avatar
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    Well, I picked up my car this afternoon after work. There were no charges after all, not even for the extra dashboard wiring issues. I didn't even have to argue with them about it. They did not mention any suspicions about the EBC. They did ask if I'd had any service done to the cooling system, and I mentioned the time I'd had the cooling system flushed and filled a while back, at a local Big O tire store. Flushing the cooling system means having to remove the heater hoses from the heater core pipes that poke through the firewall. They said that it was possible that the mechanic had applied too much physical force to get the heater hoses off. That seems plausible to me, although by itself, does not explain why I had 2 heater cores leak, instead of just one.

    They showed me the old heater core. It's basically a little radiator with a couple of metal pipes attached to it. One of the pipes had broken off at the attachment joint. It looked like it had taken some physical abuse to do that.

    I'm happy to have my car back, and to not being charged anything for this episode. They even steam cleaned the coolant out of the carpet for free. I couldn't have asked for any better outcome, after all was said and done.

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    oops, I read this backwards.

  7. #6
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    heater core issue

    i'm new to the post and posted a thread on what i am being told by people could be a heater core but i'm not sure. my car is running perfect but the heat is cool but the heater core is not leaking coolant on to the carpet or anywhere atleast that I can see. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this, my mechanic blew it out thinking it was blocked up and it got hot for like a week then cool again so he tried the other hose but it only stayed hot for a day...any insight on this problem?

  8. #7
    Registered User neddy8823's Avatar
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    Heater

    I'm in the exact same situation with it only staying warm for like a week later after my mechanic blew it out. Have you found out anything new since then?

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