When the heater core fails in a 1997-2003 F150 the truck will begin to bleed antifreeze quickly. This is because the core itself is compromised. Symptoms that indicate broken heater core: heater no longer works, cabin of vehicle smells like antifreeze, the windows fog when the heater is running, antifreeze leaks onto the ground or inside the cabin, and the engine overheats if it runs for too long. Luckily, there is a quick fix for this problem that does not require a mechanic or replacing the core. This solution is bypassing the heater core by connecting its inlet and outlet hoses together thereby removing the heater core from the system.
Things You'll Need
- Sharp knife or scissors
- 3/4 OD 90 degree barbed fitting (brass, galvanized or plastic)
- 2 pipe clamps
Open the hood of the truck and look on the passenger (left) side of the engine compartment. There will be two black hoses (about 1 1/4-inch OD) that run side by side into the firewall behind the engine. These are the inlet and outlet hoses to the heater core.
Use a knife or scissors to cut the hoses between 6 and 8 inches away from the firewall.
Take the two hoses that are no longer attached to the firewall and connect them together with the 90 degree barbed fitting.
Add the pipe clamps over the ends of the hoses and on the barbed fitting and tighten them.
If you start the engine and antifreeze doesn't spray everywhere you have successfully bypassed the heater core.
Tips & Warnings
- Take your truck to a mechanic if you want to guarantee it is the heater core that has failed.
- Do not run the engine before working on the vehicle.
- Your heater will still not work after bypassing the heater core, but at least your truck won't leak coolant anymore and should not overheat.
- Photo Credit truck speeding down the street image by Larry Roberg from Fotolia.com
How to Bypass a Heater Core
If the heater core goes out in your vehicle, it may be necessary to bypass it to keep the cooling system working...
How to Backflush the Heater Core in a Ford F150
The heater core in the Ford F150 is essentially a tiny radiator, located behind the glove box. However, while the purpose of...
How to Replace F150 Heater Hoses
Heater hoses on the Ford F150 carry engine coolant to and from the heater core for use in providing heat to the...
How to Run an Engine With No Heater Core
Running a car without a heater, or bypassing the heater core, is OK to do in hot climates if the heater is...
How to Replace a 1997 Ford F-150 Heater Core
The heater core in your 1997 Ford F-150 is a radiator-style unit used to heat the interior of your truck. Coolant flows...
How to Replace the Heater Core in a 1998 Ford F-150
Engine coolant runs through the 1998 Ford F-150´s heater core. Air passes through the core and then into the cabin of the...
How to Replace a Heater Core on a 2000 F150
Removal and replacement of the heater core in a 2001 Ford F-150 is a straightforward project that can be accomplished by any...
Quick Fix to Stop Leak in the Heater Core of Dodge Ram
A leaking heater core in a Dodge Ram--or any vehicle--can be a sizeable repair job, complete with a sizeable repair bill. Unfortunately,...