the heat in my car doesn't work and i have to drive 500 miles

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Rubycon

Madame President
Aug 10, 2005
17,768
485
126
You know, every time I try to add fluid via the radiator cap, it just dumps the fluid out of some unknown drain underneath the car.

I know its got plenty of fluid in there, but if its got air in it or if its low, I don't really know how to do anything about that.
There should be a hose just below the neck where the radiator cap screws down. Where is that running to?

If you pour water in the radiator it should not be running out somewhere else!
 

XZeroII

Lifer
Jun 30, 2001
12,572
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50/50 is good, 70/30 is better.

No, I never hear any gurgling sounds.
Too much coolant will eat away at your radiator. 50/50 is better than 70/30. Especially if it's only getting down to 17 degrees. If it were normally 17 degrees below zero, then you might have an argument for 70/30.
 

Sea Moose

Diamond Member
May 12, 2009
6,936
7
76
you could wear a snuggie while you drive? You will look life a poof but at least you will be a warm poof
 

bctbct

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2005
4,868
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You should have an overflow container, coolant shouldnt be hitting the ground.

Could be a tstat issue, if it remains open in cold temps the coolant may never get hot. Try letting the car idle for 30 min and see if the heater works then.
 

Shaftatplanetquake

Diamond Member
Aug 8, 2000
3,089
0
76
The hose runs to the overflow jug. Thats where I learned as a boy you could add coolant to the system.

I did in fact pour some water in there before I posted here on AT. But when I put fluid in there I have my doubts about whether it gets sucked in to the system or not.

Lets say it only sucks the fluid in through there if it needs it. That's how its supposed to work, right?

If it does, then I'd say its a good idea for me to crank up the car now and add fluid to that jug every 10 minutes for the next hour or so...

What about this mysterious expullsion of fluid that's occuring? Does anyone know about that? 2000 Buick Century BTW
 

bctbct

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2005
4,868
1
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If you are leaking fluid it could be a water pump(hear any squealing under hood?) or a bad heater core(smell coolant or floor board wet?)

Overflow container has a line for fluid level. Add to there and it will take the fluid to the radiator system as required.
 

Shaftatplanetquake

Diamond Member
Aug 8, 2000
3,089
0
76
If you are leaking fluid it could be a water pump(hear any squealing under hood?) or a bad heater core(smell coolant or floor board wet?)

Overflow container has a line for fluid level. Add to there and it will take the fluid to the radiator system as required.
I think I've smelled coolant occasionally but its not strong or often. I never noticed any wetness on the floorboard and I wear sandals 90% of the time.
 

chusteczka

Diamond Member
Apr 12, 2006
3,400
1
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An inverter with a heating pad would work, just as was mentioned earlier.

Also, get a couple blankets. One over your shoulders and one on your lap. That will keep you toasty warm, no problem.

My first car had a broken heater that did not work at all. I kept a few blankets in the car and was fine. This lasted for a few Chicago winters. There are times when we have to make do with less than normal.
 

iGas

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2009
6,240
1
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An inverter with a heating pad would work, just as was mentioned earlier.

Also, get a couple blankets. One over your shoulders and one on your lap. That will keep you toasty warm, no problem.

My first car had a broken heater that did not work at all. I kept a few blankets in the car and was fine. This lasted for a few Chicago winters. There are times when we have to make do with less than normal.
Heat pad is a good idea, but frost is another issue that have to be dealt with.

The heater in my old Westfalia was almost nonexistent and one of this served me well.
 

ussfletcher

Platinum Member
Apr 16, 2005
2,569
2
81
You could hook up a kerosene heater in the back seat or something. I'm pretty sure it could be safe.
 

CrackRabbit

Lifer
Mar 30, 2001
16,641
58
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What about this mysterious expullsion of fluid that's occuring? Does anyone know about that? 2000 Buick Century BTW
I think I know where you might be losing fluid at, the 3.1 and 3.8 used a plastic water pump bypass elbow. As they aged they have a tendency to crack and leak, happened on my GF's old Regal. Once it was replaced with a metal one no more coolant loss.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
3
0
Heated blanket is best bet so far. Your issue is textbook case of bad thermostat, but I've not read the rest of the thread; if your engine appears to be up to normal operating temps but just no heat then that isn't it, but if your temp needle just never gets all that high then thermostat is stuck open.

500 miles like that will just plain old suck, no way to make that sound any better.
 

x-alki

Golden Member
Jun 2, 2007
1,353
1
81
Check for an air bleeder around your thermostat housing. Could be your system is air locked.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
8,874
111
106
50/50 mix is best for antifreeze. And yes, an air bubble could certainly cause the issue. But I would first try a new thermostat and pressure cap. A thermostat that is stuck open will cause little or no heat.
 

desy

Diamond Member
Jan 13, 2000
5,402
184
106
I like all the 12 V heater options from space type to heated seat covers to blankets this will cheaply get you by for the one trip.
Stuck open thermistat or mould will build up on the AC/heater cores blocking heat is my first guess
I don't think you have adquately described what's happening under the hood regarding the coolant in terms of observations of what is happing what has been done in what order
 

skyking

Lifer
Nov 21, 2001
20,312
2,016
136
No gauge, just an idiot light? Do you have a cooking or other thermometer that gets to 200F?
When you get home open the hood and feel the top tank next to the cap. If it is relatively cool you can safely open the cap slowly. Measure the fluid temp.
If it is greater than 160F, you have airlock/heater control valve/heater core issues.
If it is way less than that you have thermostat/cooling fan issues.

Bad water pumps will lead to severe overheating. Idle it a while with the cap off. Watch for signs of circulation. See what the temperature does.
 
Last edited:
Sep 7, 2009
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Just fyi - in a case like this make SURE to bring blankets and crap with you. It would really suck to end up completely broken down with no heat, no blankets, no nothing.
 

exar333

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2004
8,518
8
91
Heater core dead? This happened to me in college, and I was too poor to get it fixed. Went three winters in MN with no heat...when I bought a new car, being warm felt like a luxury!! :)
 

darom

Senior member
Dec 3, 2002
402
0
0
I would bet on a stuck/closed heater control valve. It allows hot water into the heater core inside your car. The way to check it is when the car is warmed up, first, to check if the heater hose entering the control valve is hot and then the output hose going to your car cabin. If both hoses are hot, it is working. If not, it is stuck and you will need to spend $20-40 to replace it.

Here are some examples of what it looks like:
http://www.shopping.com/xDN-automotive_parts_and_accessories--heater_control_valve
 

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