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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara is not blowing hot air, even when it has been running for 30 minutes with heat on full and while driving. Outside temp is 20 degrees F.
I cleaned the cabin air filter, and it blows fast but not hot.
I used a temperature gun to check the two pipes coming out of the heater core (accessed by removing the glove box). Both were at about 34 degrees F after a half hour of driving.

Does this mean my heater core is blocked? Or maybe a thermostat somewhere isn't working? Any other ideas or ways to find the cause would be appreciated.
 

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Blocked heater core would be my guess
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm, I could get it flushed for under $100, or buy a new one for about that price. Putting in the new one is tough, unless doing the cut-splice method.

Does flushing actually work on these sorts?
 

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Does flushing actually work on these sorts?
It can if done properly, you will need a pail, descaler and a pump, run both ways till clear..

Most garages just do a quick job with water and air..
 

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Test / run water from a garden hose thru it from the underhood hose connections. Bet your system is only air bound and not blocked. ;)

Have you opened the system at all or replenished lost coolant? If the latter...you have a leak or you overheated the cooling system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It can if done properly, you will need a pail, descaler and a pump, run both ways till clear..

Most garages just do a quick job with water and air..
With the subfreezing temps, I can't do it myself for a few months. I could ask a few shops if they use descaler.

Test / run water from a garden hose thru it from the underhood hose connections. Bet your system is only air bound and not blocked. ;)

Have you opened the system at all or replenished lost coolant? If the latter...you have a leak or you overheated the cooling system.
It is below freezing outside here, which makes this tricky. I can check the coolant level pretty easily - would that tell me if I'm "air bound"? I have not opened the system or done coolant since at least summer. I had an oil change and switched my O2 sensors and rusted exhaust back then, but didn't explicitly ask to flush it.
We do drive this car very short hops (5 or less miles), so it might be out of coolant but not noticed. Should that have triggered a Check Engine?

Related - does coolant have to flow through the heater block for a flush? Ie. if I ask a shop to flush the coolant, would that end up telling them if it is blocked?
 

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You can flush the entire coolant system or isolate the heater core portion only. If having the work accomplished, simply tell the shop the problem you are experiencing with regard to heater operation.

Again, I doubt you have complete heater blockage with such a relatively new vehicle.

And again, if low on coolant your system may be currently air bound. You need to check the radiator and overflow bottle levels. IF low, ID and correct the coolant loss cause as well. ;)

Also see...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can flush the entire coolant system or isolate the heater core portion only. If having the work accomplished, simply tell the shop the problem you are experiencing with regard to heater operation.

Again, I doubt you have complete heater blockage with such a relatively new vehicle.

And again, if low on coolant your system may be currently air bound. You need to check the radiator and overflow bottle levels. IF low, ID and correct the coolant loss cause as well. ;)

Also see...
Thank you for all of the useful info!
I took a look and the coolant is filled to exactly the full line marker.
So... I guess that means that I am not airbound?
 

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And does your radiator have an additional cap from which to observe the coolant level? If so, it should show completelely topped off.
 

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There's your problem! Low coolant level ='s an air bound heater.

1. Replace anew that cap on the radiator / engine housing. Seals are probably shot.
2. Ensure that the small hose to the overflow tank is fluid tight and leak free.
3. Remove any debris from cap seating surfaces. There are two, an upper and a lower contact area.

IF you are still losing coolant after that, pressure test the system as you have a yet to be find and correct the leak.

In the perfect coolant system operation the overflow tank will transfer coolant back and forth to the engine via the interconnecting (small) hose during fluid expansion / contraction. When compromised, the fluid level in the engine can be adversely impacted (lost) and the apparent OK level in the coolant tank provides a false overall quantity reading
 

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An earlier model GV, but the same test principle...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

An earlier model GV, but the same test principle...
It works! I added just under a quart of coolant/water before it overflowed - it surprised me.
The seals on the cap were smooth and pliable, so I just cleaned it and put it back on. Ran it for 15 minutes and it got very nice and toasty within 3 minutes.
I looked for leaks, but didn't see any at all. I'll keep an eye out in the future to see if it is getting low, and if so determine where it is leaking from.

With less than a quart gone, do you think it might just be slow non-leak loss?
In any event, thanks so much for helping me along the way.
 

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I have no idea how long the lost coolant issue has been going on, thus can't commit to the leak size nor location. You'll just have to keep a close eye on the levels, the areas of concern that I pointed out and hope for the best. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have no idea how long the lost coolant issue has been going on, thus can't commit to the leak size nor location. You'll just have to keep a close eye on the levels, the areas of concern that I pointed out and hope for the best. ;)
Will do, thanks! It's been cold for a few years now... I feel kind of dumb for not hunting it down earlier.

Hope you topped up with 50/50 coolant and not just water..
Yes, used 50/50 mix from the auto store.
 
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