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Re: 96 dodge dakota low heat from heater
Well sound slike you have covered most the things . I would try and remove the hoses from the heater core and back flush then with a garden hose sounds like the heater core might be pluged. Does it heat up more if you bring up the rpm's ?
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You have an airpocket in the coolant system. This is very common after repairs and could be difficult to remove. Try filling the radiator while squeezing the upper and/or lower hoses. This will help purge air from the system. I like to force feed the radiator. Start the engine cold, remove rad. cap, have someone increase rpms to about 2k and hold steady while you fill radiator and replace cap. This may take a few tries but will eventually work. Keep at it and please rate me.
for some reason the Dodge Dakota heater core tends to plug up and will stop heating the car. the replacement job is big as a/c lines have to be removed etc. this happened to my daughters 1997 V6 Dakota and she was told she needed a new heater core for $700 when in Colorado last year. she had the system flushed and the antifreeze changed which helped a little. i checked it out and backflushed the heatercore itself going the opposite direction of normal flow and a small plug of junk came out and the problem is fixed. consider this is you or someone has the same problem. it is because there is a 90 degree angle in the inlet and outlet lines of the heater core just behind the firewall. good luck. hope you can save some money and stay warm with this tip.
I'd still check the thermostat. Or basically just replace it. Have you ever drained all the antifreeze and flushed the system? Good time to do both. If the hose's get real hot that doesn't really mean the thermostat open. Wouldn't they get hot even if the thermostat didnt open.? If the thermostat was stuck open you'd would have cold air and low temp gauge. Then maybe hit a pump or something and have the thermostat stick closed and have high temp. Maybe water pump. Check it when you have the belt off. Spin, pull & push the water pump pulley around. I'd replaced my water pump at about 110,000 on a '97 dodge Dakota. My 97 never had a very good heater. Always heated up more after driving. Idle never got it warmed up.
Sounds as if the engine is not building up temp due to cooling system working. If engine temp gage is reading low try covering 1/3 of radiator with a piece of cardboard "Bumper side" to reduce the cooling effect.. just watch temp and out side temps if warming up outside or heavy driving remove the blocking to allow full cooling
a bad heater core will just leak. it could leak alot. do you ever smell antifreeze? check the coolant level. it can get pretty low before it will overheat. the thermostat should be ok but there could be corrosion. when you had the water pump replaced was the cooling system flushed? 2001, its probably due for a flush. what coolant does it take? (green or orange)