heat in a '88 2.3

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by dagenham, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. I barely have any heat in my '88 2.3n/a. I have replaced everything except the radiator. The car runs very cool all year round no matter how hot it gets even in the summer.
    Did these cars have a restrictor in the incoming heater hose????
    Which side is the small coolant hose from the intake to the heater hose tee go to, the incoming or the outgoing side??? I'm pretty sure that I have all the hoses going the right direction but I would like a second opinion.

    There has to be something wrong because I had a '79 2.3 and I have a '84 SVO and both of them made more than enough heat even on really cold days.
  2. are you talking about heat comin out of the air vents or just plain temp of the water?

    my 88 and 93 run right at 160 all day long - unless i'm stopped at a light and haven't kicked on the cooling fan (i use the lincoln mark viii fan).

    I have a mechancal gauge on both - as the factory one isn't all that accurate. I suspect your heater core might be plugged up. not sure of the hose routing - i'll look at it tonight when i get home on mine.
  3. My car was like that for a long time too...I'd suspect a partially blocked or clogged heater core.
  4. Had the same problem on my 85 2.3, I could never get warm heat in the winter.

    Flush the heater core. Remove both heater hoses from the engine side and hold a garden hose tightly up on one end. Flush in one direction till it flows clear and then reverse and flush till the other heater hose runs clear. Go back again and flush the first hose and you will note even more rust comes out. Keep going back and fourth till both sides are flowing clear water.

    If that does not work, put a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator to help the 2.3 heat up in freezing conditions. Just remember to remove it in late March or you will overheat.
  5. As I said I replaced everything in the cooling system except the radiator. And yes I am talking about warm air coming out of the vents. The only reason I didnt replace the rad is because it looked pretty decent and I was kinda shooting in the dark anyhow when i was trying to get better heat out of it.
  6. You should have pretty good heat in the vents then - especially if you replaced the core.

    posible thought is that the air door for the heat may not be opening, or not opening enough to allow the air to flow over the core.
  7. Sorry dagenham, removing the heater core is a big job on a Fox with A/C. I'm just covering all the basics first before we look at more complicated issues.

    You do have factory A/C right?

    What temperature thermostat are you using?

    Is there a computer sensor attached to one of your heater hoses?

    Try a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator. Don't use a big piece but one that just covers about 2/3rds the surface. If that solves the problem, your radiator is too big for the engine.

    If it does not solve your problem, AND you have a sensor mounted inline with your heater hose, I think the sensor is not working or is dirty and is not sending the correct voltage to the climate control. Dirty temp sensors are as bad a broken/unplugged sensors. They form a layer of insulating rusty sludge on them and then cant draw a accurate temp reading.
  8. it is possible that the radiator in there is one for the 5.0 - i know i replaced mine with the 5.0 one - and it really keeps things cool. But i live in South Florida where we barely get below 60, so the extra cooling is what i went for. coupled with the 160 thermo - that might be what is in this car - and up north it may be "too much" in the winter. i would try blocking off 2/3 of radiator with cardboard snd see if that helps - can't hurt
  9. I cant remember what temp themostat I put in but if i remember right it was the highest one I could get. Iirc it was at least a 195.

    I didnt think the 5.0 rads would fit the 2.3 because of the hose outlet locations. The rad I think was replaced by the PO and I have no idea what it was. I have owned this car for about 8 years and the last couple this problem has really been a pain in the butt to me.

  10. The 5.0 Rad fits perfectly - the outlets for the hoses are in the same position - upper on the passenger side and lower on the drivers side - actually did a search online for the parts number at Advance and they show the heavy duty radiator for both the 5.0 and 2.3 as the sam part number. Most likely for inventory purposes they supply the big one only - so chances are with the P.O. they replaced the original and they gave him the one that'll handle the 5.0.

    I know that since i have this in my car - it definitely stays cool - a few things to check, make sure your cooling fan isn't stuck "on" all the time - sometimes the sensor fails or the module under the dash that controls it does and that might be part of the problem - also put a thermometer in the radiator to see how hot the water is after you get it running. I bypssed the original temp guage and run a sunpro mechanical guage to monitor the engine temp - it's much more accurate and measures water temp at the back of the block.

  11. I went back and looked - i have the 180 thermostat in my car and the thing stays rock solid 99% of the time on 160. The parts stores offer 180 ad 195 only - so chances are you have the 195.

    We had a cold snap (well for South Florida) of 50 degrees the other night and it took my engine about 15 mins to reach 160 - usually takes about 3 minutes.

    but I still get good heat out of the vents.

    Assuming you have the 195 thermo and the same radiator as mine, you still shoud get decent heat out of the vents - i think the air door might not be functioning enough to let the air flow over the heater core to get the heat you are lookin for.

    I'd block off part of the radiator 1st and see what happens.
  12. FYI the 2.3 and 5.0 used the exact same radiator.

    I always had problems with my car running cool, unless I got stuck in traffic, then it would overheat in about 15 minutes. Never understood that.

    In fact in my Thunderbird I had a 3-core '93 Cobra radiator and dual 12" electric fans and it would STILL go well over 220 degrees in stop & go traffic. But, driving down the road with a 180 degree thermostat it would stay right at 160 on my temp gauge.

    2.3's seem to be odd creatures....slow to warm up, quick to overheat.

  13. Temps are consistant with mine - except I don't overheat now. Ditch any fan except ones found in the 90's Lincoln Mark VIII or the Taurus. It's a super huge fan and pulls way more CFM than any aftermarket fan. It'll draw 40 amp start up and pulls 30 amps on run...but well worth it, especially if you have the 3G upgrade - the alt will handle it all day long.

    Get this fan and you will never have cooling issues. I'll sit in traffic and let the temp rise as soon as it hits 200 (and your are right, doesn't take long) I'll pop that fan on and within 2 mins it's back to 160.
  14. OK good so you have the higher thermostat in there.

    OK lets check a few things.

    - 1. After running the car for a while, are both heater hoses warm, is only one hose warm, or neither?

    - 2. If one or both hoses are good and warm, please check and see if you have a sensor on one of your heater hoses.
    If you do, the corrosion formed around this heater hose sensor can cause a flow restriction. Unscrew it and clean the brass part of the sensor and the insides of the steel mount with a wire-brush, steel wool, or Scotchbright. Screw it back in with some Teflon (tape or paste).

    - 3. As Delray Dude suggested (he is a smart guy) check the temperature control cable attacked to your warm/cool knob on your climate control panel. The cable runs up behind the glove box and behind the directional flasher. Carefully open and empty your glove box, release the two rubber stops and let the glove box hang down. You will see the cable on the left right behind the flasher. Make sure the cable is extending and retracting when you rotate your warm/cool knob on your climate control panel. Also make sure the cable is attached to the rod to the bypass flap.
  15. good suggestions too!

    Now that I think about it....i have encountered a few cars where the heat selector gear on the HVAC control breaks because the cable was stuck. end result is that the knob turns and cable doesn't move. Like FV suggests - look behind the box to see if the cable is attached and moving. if it isn't the problem lies between the cable and selector knob.
  16. Yes the cables and the doors are all working.
    I will try to hook up a mechanical temp gauge and see what it reads.
    Oh, by the way, both the in going and the out going hoses from the heater core get hot enough that I am not going to hold on to them for more than a few seconds. I should check the temp of the hoses at the firewall the next time I drive it to work with a hand held thermometer.
    I dont know about any sensors of any kind and I have never even seen the fan on the rad run. I dont know if it even works at all.
  17. OK I guess the older setup does not have an inline temp sensor located on the heater hose.

    Again I apologize for asking stupid questions, but I have have been burned by cars that did not start but were simply out of gas because other mechanics who were on site earlier didn't check the basics. :nonono:

    I had a problem with a mouse who got into the fan inlet and the little pest made a nest in my duct-work on my 81 Granada which has a very similar climate control system as the Mustang. OK so how well does the fan blow air? Is the air moving well at the vents and blowing relatively strong at all fan speeds?
  18. I was thinking about what you said dagenham...

    If you have a code reader, the fan should come on when you are in diagnostic mode and pulling the computer's trouble codes. If the fan comes on in diagnostic mode, the fan circuit is OK.

    However, If your radiator fan is never coming on, especially in winter, then your car is never even reaching operational temperatures. If that is the case, your radiator is way too big and you need to block off some of it with cardboard in the winter.
  19. I have often thought that the car is never reaching optimum temperature. I drove the car to work today and forgot to check it. I will try and remember tomorrow.
  20. I pulled the car up to the door and checked the temps under the hood last week one day at the upper rad hose and the heater hoses at the firewall.
    The upper hose was only 175 degrees, but the heater hoses were both 190+.
    I should have checked the temp of the air coming out of the vent but I forgot to. I may do that next week one day if I remember.