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Basic
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Posted: 1/20/2011 2:29:25 PM EST
I got a 1999 S-10 that just won't warm up very well. It's getting damn cold here in MN and we're heading for -20 tonight.

I guess I really don't want to cover the whole radiator. I would rather put it in the front of the grille area.

Would it help much?
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:31:36 PM EST
89 F150 302; when it hits about 20 below zero, I cover the grill with card board. Helps a bit.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:32:42 PM EST
I used to do it on my 87 Suzuki Samurai on cold nights. It works, just keep and eagle on your temp guage.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:41:21 PM EST
I used to do it with my '94 Taurus, I havent yet with the '00.

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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:42:07 PM EST
I've done it before, but only because of a bad thermostat which was stuck open.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:43:27 PM EST
Use duct tape strips directly on the rad. We did this in racing and in clold weather on our race team trailer. You can adjust the temp by adding or removing strips of tape.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:44:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
I've done it before, but only because of a bad thermostat which was stuck open.


Was going to mention this.

Working thermostat should be preventing coolant from going through the radiator when it's cold. Stopping some airflow over the block with the cardboard may help, but it probably won't help by much. You sure something else isn't wrong with the thing? Bad plug in one of the cylinders? How's your gas mileage?
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:49:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By allenNH:
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
I've done it before, but only because of a bad thermostat which was stuck open.


Was going to mention this.

Working thermostat should be preventing coolant from going through the radiator when it's cold. Stopping some airflow over the block with the cardboard may help, but it probably won't help by much. You sure something else isn't wrong with the thing? Bad plug in one of the cylinders? How's your gas mileage?


Everything is firing fine and gas mileage is ok until below 20 degrees.

It takes a LONG time to get heat and my temp gauge never gets very high. I suspect that a thermostat might be stuck open. I really don't have a clue as I replaced the thermostat last year at this time for the same issue.
I didn't say that...
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:55:11 PM EST

Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
I've done it before, but only because of a bad thermostat which was stuck open.

LOL

Reminds me of the time my thermostat stuck open during a blizzard. I couldn't defrost the windows, etc. I was a real brilliant rocket surgeon and already had a new one and gasket. While bolting the aluminum water filler neck back down I somehow got it cocked and broke it. Now I couldn't drive to work at all.

I called up a friend and begged him to come rescue me with a trip to the auto parts store. He struggled through the blizzard, picked me up, and took me to a parts store. He waited in his running car in the apartment parking lot while I worked on the shit. I had to stop and get in to warm up several times before I got it done.

While sitting there we watched a whole flock of Canadian geese walking across the lot. They couldn't fly any more. For years afterward I heard all about me making him get out on a night so bad the damn geese were walking.


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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:55:34 PM EST
4.3L?
Change the thermostat
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:56:31 PM EST
Squeeze your hoses to/from the heater core, often on S10s they get an air bubble in them that restricts flow. Squeeze/pump as much of the hose as you can grasp, each line - while giving a bit of rpms. Might just reestablish flow to a starved heater. Did this a few weeks ago to my wife's truck and it worked like a charm. Might work for you, might not...
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 2:58:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2011 2:59:19 PM EST by allenNH]
Originally Posted By JimsZR2:
Originally Posted By allenNH:
Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
I've done it before, but only because of a bad thermostat which was stuck open.


Was going to mention this.

Working thermostat should be preventing coolant from going through the radiator when it's cold. Stopping some airflow over the block with the cardboard may help, but it probably won't help by much. You sure something else isn't wrong with the thing? Bad plug in one of the cylinders? How's your gas mileage?


Everything is firing fine and gas mileage is ok until below 20 degrees.

It takes a LONG time to get heat and my temp gauge never gets very high. I suspect that a thermostat might be stuck open. I really don't have a clue as I replaced the thermostat last year at this time for the same issue.


Everything is made in china these days, some parts fail for no reason after a short time. I'd just replace it again and see if that solves the issue.

I've done the same in the past year or two with a tie rod, a flex disk, and a driveshaft center bearing. A friend had a brand new control arm balljoint "fall" out of the arm as soon as he put a wrench to it.

ETA: As above poster said, bleeding wouldn't be a bad idea either, if it wasn't "done right" the first time or if there's a small leak. Jack up the front of the car or drive up onto ramps when you do it. People don't do this and it can trap air in the heater core which may have areas higher than the bleeder valve.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:10:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By Hedonist:
Squeeze your hoses to/from the heater core, often on S10s they get an air bubble in them that restricts flow. Squeeze/pump as much of the hose as you can grasp, each line - while giving a bit of rpms. Might just reestablish flow to a starved heater. Did this a few weeks ago to my wife's truck and it worked like a charm. Might work for you, might not...

Yeah, I usually replace the thermostat and snug everything back up. Both hoses feel warm after driving though....
Originally Posted By Tholo:
4.3L?
Change the thermostat


Yeah, It has a 4.3.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:22:36 PM EST
I've got a '99 ZR2. I had no heat. Found it to be a clogged heater core because of the Dexcool gunk. Flushed 3 times in one season and changed back to the green coolant. No trouble since.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:28:37 PM EST
Here is a picture of my temp gauge at 34 degrees.

It's now riding at the first BIG mark on the gauge and does not go above it.

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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:30:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2011 3:35:44 PM EST by copterdoctor]
If your temp gage is going up to at least 1/4, you should be getting heat. Heater cores sometimes get plugged with crud from the cooling system and need to be back flushed.
Disconnect one of the heater hoses in the engine compartment. Have a helper start the car for only a few seconds. This will tell you the normal direction of coolant flow through the heater. Disconnect the other hose. Rig a garden hose to run water *backwards* through the heater. This will flush out a bunch of crud that may be keeping hot coolant from circulating through the heater core. Reconnect the hoses in their original positions. Start the engine and check for leaks. Also, check your antifreeze strength as this flushing will add about a quart of plain water to your cooling system.

Edit: From the above photo, you should be getting good heat. Looks like you are at least at 150F.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:35:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2011 3:37:37 PM EST by 82nd_Sapper]
Originally Posted By JimsZR2:
Here is a picture of my temp gauge at 34 degrees.

It's now riding at the first BIG mark on the gauge and does not go above it.

http://i597.photobucket.com/albums/tt58/JimsZR2/IMG_0310.jpg


It looks like you have a 180 degree thermostat in there and as soon as it opens the engine stays at that temp. Maybe try switching to a 190 degree thermostat?

Duct tape on the radiator should help.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:42:36 PM EST
I have cardboard in front of the radiator right now. It is a Dodge Ram with gasoline engine. The thermostat is stuck open and it won't warm up. I haven't had time to get around to replacing it, so I broke down the cardboard that held a 24 pack of water together. I would say that 3/4's of the area is covered, and it has helped some, but not as much as you might think.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:44:00 PM EST
Another thing you can do it remove the radiator cap and run the engine for awhile letting any air bubbles work their way out of the block. Also, does it take a long time to get warm or does it get warm but get cold when idling?

This coming from someone who just added a gallon of coolant because of a leak I didn't know I had. Nice thing about MN winters, it's hard to overheat an engine
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:50:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2011 3:50:52 PM EST by Umbra]
what?
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:52:17 PM EST
Move to FL we dont have that problem here. Damn yankees.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 3:53:16 PM EST
Check your thermostat as mentioned above, but you could also check your fan clutch.

As another posted stated, from the pic of your temp guage, you should be getting heat. May not be your radiator.

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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 4:13:24 PM EST
Check the airflow thru your heater core, and make sure the doors are closing in the airbox.
Most American cars have full-time hot water flow thru the heater core, and just divert the hot air to outside when not needed.
Usually two doors, one for floor/defrost, and other for outside/recycle air need to be checked as well.

Its real easy for a door to not close fully, and also for the heater core fins to get plugged with dirt, dust, etc.
Finally, it may have a cabin air filter that might be plugged up.

And when its real cold, covering the radiator 75% sometimes makes a difference. Just watch your temp gauge, and listen for the fan to come on. Ideally, you want to be off the thermostat, as in full open, and before the fan comes on.............

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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 4:20:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By AR40oz:
I used to do it on my 87 Suzuki Samurai on cold nights. It works, just keep and eagle on your temp guage.


If it overheats, does the eagle give a warning cry?
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 5:07:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2011 5:14:24 PM EST by junkxp]
I've pulled my fan (engine driven) and covered before so i could get heat. Just watch your gauge and sitting sometimes but in a pinch it is fine. 180° when it called for 190 but damn it's only 10 degrees wouldn't think it would have that much of an impact .

EtA: You should be getting heat unless that is parked for a while. I can drop mine down to 100° on teh highway if i leave it open.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 5:29:39 PM EST
Medium sized pizza box works well. the narrow edges make it easy to hang from the top. If you cut it right you can use the creases to fold it to add/remove heat.

I would recommend a new thermostat. Make sure it is 195 degrees or check with the dealer for a cold weather version that runs a little hotter. Get it from the dealer. Aftermarkets are pretty much universal fit for diameter rather than temperture. Get new radiator cap too. I used to test new aftermarkets and they rarely held the pressure that was marked on them.

Like recommended by other responders make sure the heater core is flushed. I've had to remove both hoses in&out and flush with a garden hose. All kinds of brown sealer usually come out. Then do a good chemical flush. Forward and back flush to get all the crap out. Make sure your blend door(s) are working. If you have a heater control valve it should be replaced while you have the fluid out.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 5:33:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By dispatch55126:
Another thing you can do it remove the radiator cap and run the engine for awhile letting any air bubbles work their way out of the block. Also, does it take a long time to get warm or does it get warm but get cold when idling?

This coming from someone who just added a gallon of coolant because of a leak I didn't know I had. Nice thing about MN winters, it's hard to overheat an engine


It takes awhile to warm up. It does not get hot enough to melt ice very well. It stays warm when idling.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 5:34:45 PM EST
Common practice in AK, and loads of tractor trailers have those vinyl covers with snaps to permit variable airflow.

Go for it.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 5:40:43 PM EST
Another vote for the thermostat. Had exactly the same symptoms in 3 different cars and the $6 thermostat fixed it. I drove around a whole winter like that stubbornly, losing who knows how much in fuel economy. I finally replaced it in Feb and kicked myself for not doing it sooner.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 5:59:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By globe512:
Another vote for the thermostat. Had exactly the same symptoms in 3 different cars and the $6 thermostat fixed it. I drove around a whole winter like that stubbornly, losing who knows how much in fuel economy. I finally replaced it in Feb and kicked myself for not doing it sooner.


I covered about half my radiator on my Titan. Didn't ever try winter without doing that. The heat works decent I guess. On my Tacoma I had covered 3/4 of it and it made a hell of a difference.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 6:27:42 PM EST
replace the t-stat. its normal for an s10 blazer to run very close to 210. outside temp will not have much effect on the engine running tamp due to the t-stat. i also would suggest having the coolant system flushed.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 6:31:03 PM EST
Redneck winterfront.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 6:40:08 PM EST
Originally Posted By Dumpster_Baby:

Originally Posted By killingmachine123:
I've done it before, but only because of a bad thermostat which was stuck open.

LOL

Reminds me of the time my thermostat stuck open during a blizzard. I couldn't defrost the windows, etc. I was a real brilliant rocket surgeon and already had a new one and gasket. While bolting the aluminum water filler neck back down I somehow got it cocked and broke it. Now I couldn't drive to work at all.

I called up a friend and begged him to come rescue me with a trip to the auto parts store. He struggled through the blizzard, picked me up, and took me to a parts store. He waited in his running car in the apartment parking lot while I worked on the shit. I had to stop and get in to warm up several times before I got it done.

While sitting there we watched a whole flock of Canadian geese walking across the lot. They couldn't fly any more. For years afterward I heard all about me making him get out on a night so bad the damn geese were walking.




Reminds me whan I had to change a U joint out in a parking lot in subzero weather.
That fucking sucked, even with 3 layers of clothing!
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 7:10:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By BigBDaddy:
replace the t-stat. its normal for an s10 blazer to run very close to 210. outside temp will not have much effect on the engine running tamp due to the t-stat. i also would suggest having the coolant system flushed.


Could the temp sender be off at all?

Originally Posted By Barrelburner:
Redneck winterfront.

Yeah, I just put some cardboard over a part of the grille. Should be good for the 3 days of sub zero weather.

It's already -12F.
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Link Posted: 1/20/2011 7:36:09 PM EST
I cover my rad with cardboard. On an 8 mile drive to work the difference is the heater starts making heat at mile 3 instead of mile 5. So it healps a little.
that thing looks more flammable than a fucking meth lab.

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Link Posted: 1/21/2011 2:51:38 PM EST
Not much of a difference with the cardboard.

Decided to check around the hoses. Upper hose is hot to the touch and I do have pressure.
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Link Posted: 1/21/2011 2:52:38 PM EST
Yes, put cardboard there. It'll block the air passage to the radiator and you'll have a better chance of warming up.
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