Well It’s Somewhat Better But…

I hate to tell on myself but I have basically been sitting on my ass for a week straight.

I dunno, WTF eh?

Maybe I’m dealing with a bit of depression. After I got to thinking about all the bullshit I have had to deal with since April I guess it wouldn’t really surprise me.

About Tuesday my lower back went out from sitting in this fucking recliner and that didn’t help any. I did manage to fuck around for an hour or so here and there but basically I have just been practicing my best impression of a bump on a log. To make matters worse, it’s been pouring rain for days on end.

That finally let up today and about One O:clock this afternoon I gave myself a serious kick in the ass.

I called up to Tony’s and got a heater core, some hoses and a jug of anti freeze set out and then started up the old Caballero that has been sitting for two weeks now so I could run up and get it. Whenever that thing sits for a day or two you gotta crank it over a few times to get fuel pressure back into the carb. Then you pump the gas pedal a few times and it roars to life. Ya gotta love that old bastard.

Up I went and back I came. It was enough to get the thing warmed up and the battery charged back up.

Then it was the usual vehicle rodeo moving shit around so I could get the Truck up into the driveway.

I commenced to tearing into the thing and while I did struggle a bit, I have run across much, much worse when it comes to getting a heater core out. I fought with the damn hose clamps for quite a while trying to get at them. They are down low right next to the A/C accumulator and that thing is right in the way. Then some Jackass had the clamps turned funky to boot.

The bigger hose wasn’t too bad, the other one was a little bitch but after I finally got the clamp loose I just cut the hose off.

I was quickly greeted by the remnants of Love Canal.


Let’s just call it Liquid Rust.

Somebody neglected the shit out of that cooling system.There was one screw holding the plastic cover on the heater core that was way up in the back, right next to the Firewall and I damn near had to take the vinyl floor mat out to get a socket on it. A complete Mechanics By Braille placement, of course.

I finally got the lid to come down with some prying but I heard it crack at one point and it’s like the lid was either pinched up against the firewall and the floor matting or there was a hidden screw back there that you weren’t getting to for love nor money.

But it came down just far enough that I could just barely get a socket onto the screw that holds a little metal clamp down that holds the heater core up in the heater box.

I got the old heater core out and very carefully took it in the garage to pour the contents out into a glass jar.

Umm, yeah.

You can’t see them in this picture but big chunks of shit came out of it that looked like long slender leaves that had been rolled up and slid into the tubes.

That old heater core was basically plugged solid.

The old one is in the back, with the damn tubes that have clips holding them into the core. Fuck that noise. The new one didn’t have that happy shit. Of course I forgot that new heater cores don’t come with new foam to cushion the edges so I had to very carefully tear it loose off the old one and put it back on the new one.

I stuffed it back in, put all the screws back in except that one dirty bastard in the back, I lost a Snap On 7 mm socket back up in there for a while trying to get that screw started and when I finally got my socket back I said fuck it.

Then it was back into the engine bay to replace the hoses. I think it actually took me longer fucking with those than replacing the heater core did.

Got it all back together, twisted the radiator cap off and put a big drain pan under the radiator.

More leavings from the Love Canal.

I actually had to wipe off the filler neck and put my mouth on the bastard so I could blow into the radiator and unplug the drain.

Sludge, rust and the same color shit that was in the jar finally came dribbling out.

The inside of the radiator is completely covered in rust.

I got it drained, filled it back up with new coolant and put the cap back on. Then I started it up and checked for leaks.

I let it run until I could feel the thermostat opening up by putting my hand around the upper radiator hose.

Then I checked inside and could definitely feel some heat coming out of the vent.

I topped it off and went for a spin. By then it was already dark and my fingers were hurting from being cold. I also started dripping snot from being cold.

I took about a four mile run with it and I definitely have heat now.

It ain’t run ya out of the cab kind of heat but it is enough to keep me from freezing my ass off the whole way back and forth to work.

It will be interesting to see just how far I have to drive it when it gets good and cold outside before I get any actual heat out of the thing. It’s seven miles one way to work and it was taking about four and a half to five before I got any heat at all. Hopefully this will improve on that, now that coolant can actually flow through the entire system.

If I can get through this Winter with it as is, then come Spring I will chemical flush the living dog shit out of it and then prepare to replace the radiator and the water pump.

Because we all know after I flush it like that it will only be a matter of time…

23 thoughts on “Well It’s Somewhat Better But…

  1. phil, the last engine i did, repaired and replaced every damn thing, even the rad. ,but, i listen to my brother on the god damn radiator hoses as they looked good. anyway, half way up the turnpike, the damn upper hose started leaking and running over the hood, before i could pull
    over and shut down, it blew.. rebuild and replace all the damn hoses and gaskets now. before
    it happens to you some cold dark morning- murphy lives the prick.


    • The guy I bought it from just had the upper and lower hoses replaced, the transmission rebuilt and a new serpentine belt and tensioner put on it.
      I guess he hadn’t gotten around to the cooling system yet. He actually took a loss on the rig. I saw the purchase price and have the receipt for the tranny overhaul and that was more than I paid for the truck.
      He also had the E brake fixed and at lest one rear brake cylinder replaced so he definitely took a loss. He only sold it because he found some Acura he had been lusting over and HIS Wifely Unit told him the truck had to go. I lucked out getting it at all because there was another guy wanting it but I beat him to the phone by five minutes.


      • That’s exactly how I got my Supra, Phil. I was the first to show up with a stack of Benjamins and a blank bill of sale. At least changing the heater core in your truck wasn’t too bad. I’ve got to pull the console, glovebox, and half the dash out of the Supra to even get at it.


        • Could be your right, I hadn’t put 2 and 2 together.
          Unless they just put water back in it which is what I suspect. If it just mixed in with what was left in the block then it would just dilute the sludge.
          Either way it needs flushing badly.


  2. I’m hoping that with the increased coolant flow it doesn’t dredge up any lurking globular chunks from the block and deposit them into your new core. I’ll cross my fingers for ya.


  3. I’d flush it NOW, Phil, there’s a big-assed gob of God knows what just waiting to gum up those small tubes in the radiator AND the heater core.

    And it’ll do it at the most inconvenient time and place.


  4. Years back I had an F150 that someone had put a thicker extra-wide radiator in. The radiator cutout in the front firewall (front engine bay panel?) was cut out about 4 inches wider to get more airflow through the wider radiator and it took an extra quart of antifreeze to fill it. I expected cooling problems, but it didn’t have any, But….every winter I had to block off 2/3 the radiator with cardboard to get any heat in the cab.


  5. +1 on the hunk of cardboard ahead of the radiator for some more heat . here in the land of cow shit & beer farts an old pizza box is about perfect for the job . Cut a hole about the size of a paper plate in the middle and warmer feet right away


  6. I have always admired your work ethic Phil!

    “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny.” -Lao Tzu


  7. I’m glad that you admitted to a wee bit of depression. I too suffer from that “old grey veil” that settles over the brain on occasion. BUT, you did what was needed; you got to work. Yes, medication sometimes helps; but with us red-necks work seems to be the antidote.


  8. I owe you one. I changed the belts and hoses on the 03 Tacoma about a year ago and changed out the coolant while I was at it. Reading this put the bug in my ear to go check the coolant level as the truck has been sitting around a lot while I worked from home. Lo and behold one of the upper radiator hose clamps was not as tight as one would want (and I get full blame here) and was leaking just a little and the coolant level was down. Thanks! Note to self – don’t forget to go retorque stuff after it’s been run for a while. I must be getting old.


    • Happens to the best of us pal. Long ago I quit using screw drivers to tighten the screw in hose clamps. It takes some getting used to but I try to use a 1.4 drive socket on a wobbly 1/4 drive ratchet to tighten them with. If I have to I use extensions and wobbly sockets. You can get them into tight spaces and they are freakin’ tight when you get done.


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