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The Most Neglected Heater Hose on a Starquest


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#1 ucw458

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:21 PM

Our cars aren't getting any younger.  We all should know the benefits of changine the coolant hoses by now.  And yet there is one hose that almost never gets changed.  Few even know about it.  Fewer still go through the effort of changing it.  But our cars are old enough that those origional heater hoses are wearing out and ready to become potential disasters.




"I've changed all the hoses on my car" you might say.  Well here's one you may have missed.

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That's right, a completely hidden heater hose under the dash.  What an awsome location for a heater hose.  These hoses are 21+ years old and starting to wear out.  Chances are yours is already leaking.  But I warn you it's not easy to get to.  The dash has to come off to get to it.


Here's a shot with my dash off.  Can you spot the hose?

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No?  Well how about now?

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There it is.  Completely buried and often overlooked or unnoticed.

Center supports have to come out.  More wires to disconect.  And save yourself some trouble by unbolting the vac solenoids from the center support and only removing the vac feed line.  Leave the others attached to the heater box.  Now would be a good time to change those vac lines if they are hard or brittle.

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Now the hose is becoming visable
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This is out of my 87 conquest.  It has 188k on the odometer and this hose is the origional 23 year old unit.  See how it has been leaking?  When driving the car there was no smell or any evidence that it was leaking.  The hose is bulging and soft.  On day it was just gonna burst on me and leave me stranded.  Chances are every one of you who haven't changed this hose are going to see evidence of leaking similar to this.

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Use the best quality hose you can find. You do not want to have to do this again anytime soon.  I used cloth braided hydrolic line that cost me $5 a foot.  I wrapped it with electrical tape to keep the cloth braid from fraying.  The size is 5/8 and the hose is only 1.5 inches long.  Be carefull, brass heater core tubes bend VERY easily and will kink.  Heater valve and tube must be removed to replace hose, there is no other way.  

All fixed up and ready to install.
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This job will take most of a day to complete.  I can get it done in about 5-6 hours if I feel like doing it fast.  Chances are this will be a weekend project for most.  But it is a cheap project only requiring $5 at most and alot of labor.  If you're thinking of changing the heater core at the same time don't bother unless it's leaking.  A new heater core is $314 from mitsu.  That is if they are still available.

To do this job the dash has to come out.  Here are a few hints about dash removal.

Bolts holding it on,

2 on each side under the plastic cover plate
1 behind the small windshield vent on each side
1 underneath the instrament cluster (yes the cluster and hood has to come off)
2 underneath the radio (often missed and usually leads to yanking the dash and wondering why it wont come off)
screws on either side of the radio holding the bottom dash supports to the center support

Things that need to come off to get the dash off,

center console and radio bezel
radio
pass and driver dash kick panels
glovebox
HVAC controls and computer
bottom drivers side support (so you can lift the dash over the steering column)
fusebox
ashtray and metal support
hood release (you must detach the cable from the hood release)
electrical connections



This is a time consuming and PITA job but well worth it considering these 21+ year old hoses are probably gonna start failing soon.
My 87
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#2 ucw458

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 10:26 PM

Do yourself a favor when you install the new hose and lube the inside of the hose as well as the pipe it slides onto.  This will minimize bending and kinking of the heater core tubes.
My 87
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#3 Shelby

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 01:41 AM

it'l give you the chance to replace those 20 or 30 screws you left out last time  :)
Shelby trance's StarQuest i-x.net
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#4 Tim_C.

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 12:48 AM

If you don't have AC, you can use the evaporator core for a heater core. Just remove the restrictor line and route your hoses over there. You will need to put a hose on one of the core ports so it will stick out the fire wall. You can put an old fashioned ball valve on the 'in' line so you can cut the flow in the summer.

It will heat about twice as well as before.
'87TSi .510Roller Cam, JE Forged, TS Rings & plateau honed walls, lightened rods, race prepped crank, mains line honed, balanced, 17C, 3"EX, 2"HardPipes, AlFly, rrfpr, 88trans, 3.90's w/posi plate mods, polyBushings, STSprings, KYBStruts, Camber Plates, CustomAlternator
Traded for new set of tires for my wife's Buick: '87 TSI Gold that needs just about all steering and suspension parts replaced, injectors, a new transmission, clutch, and various electrical gremlins. New owner is a mechanic who is already driving it. I couldn't stand letting it sit any more!
'86 ESiR - OEM Roller Cam, Wiseco Forged 8:1 Pistons, Chad's equal length header, TEP T3/T4 turbo, ACT HD clutch, Fidanza Fly, custom 3" exhaust, 3 core oversized radiator, O-ringed block, AJUSA metal shim head gasket, Dawes Device boost controller
'85 Plymouth Conquest Auto , Wiseco 8:1, super light pins, shaved rods, hi-torque cam, 2.5 Exhaust
'84 Dodge Conquest Parts car
'83 Starion - Gutted stock exhaust with '87 TSi muffler, New engine with: BS Elim,forged Wisecos,balanced,Schneider274H,marnal w/oversized stainless valves
'83 Cannonball Run II Jackie Chan car, Basic ring and bearing job w/less than 6K original miles on body, steering, suspension, & rear end, Lightened stock fly, BS Elim, Walbro 255LPH FP, NEW Clearwater head with all new parts, intercooled, 14G turbo, 2750 car weight
'96 Mitsu Mirage w/rebuilt head. Gets 35+MPG.
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