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Have to restrict air to lite heater

I have to hold my hand at the rear of heater to lite. Also I noticed it smells a little more since this issue.

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Rear vents blow out hot air when a/c is on


Keep this principle in mind: Heat, flows INTO cold... When you hold an ice cube in your hand, your hand gets cold because the heat from your hand is flowing INTO the clod ice cube, NOT because the cold is flowing into your hand.

On this particular vehicle (like many modern vehicles), hot water from the engine flows through the heater core at all times, even when you have the A/C on or when you have nothing (A/C, heat or vent) on. The system uses a door that closes down over the air opening to the heater core to keep you from feeling warm/hot air when it is not desired. The reason(s) you feel that the vent air is warm even when the outside temperature is somewhat cool is/could be caused by the following:

First, although as mentioned above, the heater core is restricted from receiving air when you are not commanding heat by the control panel, the heater core ultimately ends up as warm as the engine temperature. This is generally somewhere around 200 degrees F. Because all the air coming out of your vent(s) must pass over the door that restricts air over the heater core, and because the heater core gets so hot, some of that heat is picked up by air passing over the hot door even though it is closed.

Second, the door that restricts airflow from passing over the heater core has a seal around it. After a period of time this rubber (or usually felt) seal deteriorates, allowing some air to actually pass over the heater core. Since the core is hot all the time, some of the air gets heat loaded, producing warmed air.

Third, the door is operated by (in the case of your vehicle) an electric motor which responds gradually/proportionately to the setting you select on the temperature dial. If the motor gets out of calibration (can happen from time to time), if the control head has a 'glitch' and sends an incorrect signal (chronically, usually), or if the electric motor (called an actuator and contains its own little electronic 'brain') becomes faulty, the door may not be closing completely. This symptom can also be caused by a problem with the door itself, where the door gets stuck due to warping of the plastic case, a foreign object preventing it from closing (usually a pen or toy dropped into a vent or defrost opening), or a broken or cracked door hinge.

Last, the vent intake opening, where the 'fresh' air comes into the car on the 'vent' setting, is located just below the windshield on the passenger side. This opening receives its air directly off of the sun-baked, engine-heated hood and because of this the air is never as cool as outside air even on a cooler night.

I hope this answers your question. Many domestic vehicle manufacturers have begun installing heater control valves on their vehicles once again as they nearly all used to have. Note that the fix for most everything I have mentioned here requires removal of the dash of the vehicle or replacement of the control head and therefore is in many cases not worth the investment if it is not an extreme problem (for example, unless the system is stuck on full heat in the middle of summer. Additionally, remember that, if you so desire, manual shutoff valves can be placed in the heater hose lines (please consult a qualified mechanic as water from a vehicle can and will scald and burn you!), allowing you to manually shut off the flow of water into the heater core, thus reducing some of the heat (Readers note that certain foreign vehicles REQUIRE water flow through the heater core at all times for engine cooling and are not candidates for this procedure!).


Parts Of BMW.

May 30, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

I saw the igniter turns red and gas valve was energized for a few seconds but no flame and smell gas.


Sounds as though the combustion air is open too far. Try closing it a little, see if that makes a difference. Mark the spot it is at now before moving it. Good luck...Lee

Jun 10, 2010 | Teledyne Laars Laars Lite 2 Pool Heater...

1 Answer

Will not light. Don't know how to take thermostat off. Did take coupler off and clean it. Was hoping to get help on it. It sat for years before I bought it. Can I take it completely off and clean it out or...


Is this water heat a older model or pretty new?I should have read more first.OK ,this is what I think you should do.I am hoping this is gas water heater and you said it sat for a long time. I think you should take the burner and clean it.But don't take the gas valve apart.Then read the direction on the heater to light it. You should fine a bleige incolor knob on top of the gas valve.Turn it to pilot and push down and hold it until you get the pilot lite,once you get it lite hold down for another minute to heat the thermocoupen. Once the thermocouplen red take your hand off it.Make sure the heater is full of water and the water will run out of the hot water lines.If you got all of that then turn knob on the gas valve to the on and stop.there the heater should start burning now.PS.Forgot to tell you to bleed the line first to get all the air out.You can smell the gas when it comes out because it smells like a bad egg. Thanks for picking FIXYA.COM

Mar 17, 2009 | Water Heaters

2 Answers

Smell antifreeze, no leaks, gurgleing behind drivers side dash.


there is air in system causing gurgling/set heater to defrost and check for sweet smell. do while stopped if core is leaking windshield will fog up and be hard to clear.

Feb 28, 2009 | Dodge Dakota Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

Heavy smell


This is a fuel delivery problem. Look for:
  1. always start troubleshooting fuel problems on a Hot Surface Ignitor heater by checking the pump pressure!
  2. restricted fuel filter
  3. air leak
  4. restricted nozzle
Troubleshooting tips

Nov 17, 2008 | Reddy R60A Utility Heater

1 Answer

30'000 btu spark style will not lite


  1. clean the fuel filter
  2. clean the nozzle
  3. set the air pump pressure.
It should fire off, unless you have developed an air leak, worn nozzle, bad fan, or a motor that is not turning rpm's.

Nov 10, 2008 | Reddy Heater-70,000 BTU Kerosene w/T'stat

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