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Anyone had their heater core replaced out of warranty? Wondering what the cost is. Windows are fogging and there is a slight coolant smell as well..

Oh, an my "service airbag light" keeps comig on.. Looks to be related to passenger seat.
 

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The heater core is in the front of the center console......I am told it can be exchanged in about an hour.

If it is leaking the carpets get damp around the console sides.........there have only been a handful of failures (meaning this is not a weak point) so be certain of your diagnosis.

The Cruze is VERY prone to window fogging if it is operated with the recirculate button pushed and there have been cases (reported on this forum) of the recirculate door stuck or incorrectly indexed, causing it to operate in recirculate even if not called for.

So, a long winded way of saying look carefully before needless part exchange.

Rob
 

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And depending on the year of your car, GM used a glycol-based grease. It will have that "coolant" smell when hot. So that could be where the smell is coming from.

I think there's a bulletin out for replacement.
 

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First indication is coolant loss, has to be checked at the same exact temperature from day to day, when the engine is cold.

Price from rockauto.com plus some shipping, is 43 bucks for the Delco unit that includes all the weather stripping and hardware. Not a very difficult job on the Cruze, accessible from the lower part of the glove compartment.


Already posted the replacement procedure, can remove a couple of panels to see if it leaking without even removing the core. Ha, don't ask me where I posted it, already forgot.

Those fumes are nothing to fool with, can kill your kidneys. Unlike others, I would not guess, I would look.
 

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That's amazing btw. Did the heater core in my old duramax and it took us like 8 hours, had the dash tore out to the firewall.

On my Mustang it called for 6 hours but we did it in 1. About time 1 hour became the book time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies guys. It is a 2012. I set up an appointment at a local dealer for Monday. They already replaced my water pump a few weeks ago.
 

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That's amazing btw. Did the heater core in my old duramax and it took us like 8 hours, had the dash tore out to the firewall.

On my Mustang it called for 6 hours but we did it in 1. About time 1 hour became the book time.
An old joke is that the first thing on the assembly line is the heater core and the rest of the car is built around it.

I thought it was just a cute joke - until I saw a program on some popular sports car. The first thing on the assembly lines was the frame. Second was the rear axle. Third, the entire dashboard assembly - which contained - you guessed it - the heater core.

The heater core was installed on the dashboard assembly line - while the dashboard was upside down.
 

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On some older Jaguars, had to remove the windshield first. Quoted factor labor times for replacing the heater core in the Cruze is 0.7 hours under warranty, 1.0 hours out of warranty. So I gather if covered under warranty, if you are the mechanic have to work 30% faster.
 

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When I used to shop around for a winter beater I always made sure the heater core was good. Having to change it in the middle of winter always sucked.
 

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They replaced my water pump like a month ago.. I swear the coolant level is lower than it was. There is a smell inside the cabin and it smells outaid as well. Very easy to smell when car is running or was just turned off.also can be smelled the next day by just getting close to grill.

Ughhh.

Most common odor source is the surge tank cap......the heater pulls the odor inside the car because the inlet is just to the rear of it and the hood seal is so so.
And of course, outside the car because the major amount of venting stays down there.

There is barely any perceptable coolant loss over time.

In your case, a recent water pump replacement, a drop in coolant level would be noted as all the tiny air bubbles get purged out, replaced with coolant from the surge tank.

Rob
 

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There have been several successful repairs.
Some just required a cap.
Some required an oversized 'O' ring in place of the original on the cap (details on other threads related to odor.)
Some required a replacement surge tank because the area where the 'O' ring sits was not perfectly smooth.


Steps I would take in this order

First make certain the tank throat is perfectly smooth to your fingertip.....no scratches, high or low spots.
If it seems OK.....replace the cap and operate the car for a week or so......if all is well, you're done.
If the odor persists, I'd get ahold of the slightly larger 'O' ring mentioned in other posts and exchange it....another week of operation.
Odds are very favorable that will be the end of it but some owners have ended up replacing the surge tank because the throat may have been deformed or warped.

Note that this is specific to cars that have the odor inside AND outside the car.

If you succeed in getting rid of the odor outside the car, but still have a odor inside the car you may have to replace the hvac boxes......some had excessive glycol based grease applied to the door pivots during assembly......again, there is a looooooooooong thread on this so get some coffee and read up

Rob
 

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An easy way to see if your surge cap isn't holding pressure, take the cap off and see if there is coolant between the two O-rings. If so, the lower o-ring isn't holding pressure.
 

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If you look at intelligent designs for good seals, look at a Mason jar, lid has a rubber gasket embedded onto it, that lid does not turn when you screw on the ring, but compresses it firmly to the jar. Even older radiator caps were designed this way. The cap rotates but the sealing gasket does not.

So what happened to intelligence with the Cruze recovery tank cap design using an O'ring on the threads, not only binds and twist when you screw it down, but stretches when you are rotating it causes low spots that causes leaks. Then this thing is under 25 psi of pressure.

Spotted this on day one with my Cruze, so I removed the O'ring and gave it a thick coat of silicone grease to help retard that binding and twisting effect. O'ring was bone dry and subject to binding. Really haven't lost a drop in the last four years. But a lid made like a Mason jar, with a ring on it, would not have this problem.

Another new problem that was never a problem before.

Here's another one, what do you do with that aluminum pop can after you drank the contents? Pitch it, right? Well I can tell you the quality of that aluminum is far superior than what you will find in your heater core, radiator, condenser, or evaporator. It has to be, are everyone would die of food poisoning. Crap they use is highly subject to corrosion, yet but another throwaway part.
 

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ChefBorOzzy, the reason I don't think you have a heater core leak is that all documented heater core leaks in the Cruze have also involved serious amounts of coolant soaking the driver and front passenger footwells. I do believe that you either still have a leak in the engine bay or possibly an HVAC duct box grease issue. The fact that your opening post said coolant levels are dropping after the water pump replacement leads me to believe this is in the engine bay.
 

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Always will get a coolant drop in the recovery tank if the coolant is drained for any reason. System inherently does get rid of those air bubbles or pockets, but have to drive it for a bit to work those out. Other vehicles used air bleed to prevent this, Cruze does not have these.

Capacity of the coolant system is 6.6 quarts (6.2 liters), bit over a gallon and a half. Coolant after a drain, should be filled to the full mark and the engine started, will have to add more. After a day or two, recovery tank checked cold will drop about an inch or so, and for all practical purposes, normal, no concern about engine overheating, still fluid in the reservoir and should be topped off for more reserve.

But can be reason for concern if you don't know this.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dealers said no leaks.. So, I'm either thinking of trading the car in or trying a new cap and running a vent tube away from engine bay from the reservoir tank. Don't have much faith..
 
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