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Old 12-01-2002, 11:01 PM   #1
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Aux Heater

Has anyone taken out the Aux Heater and cleaned it?

My 345 has an auxillary heater under the couch that takes engine coolant into an exchanger. At some point the exchanger must have broken because there is a strong anti-freeze smell when running the unit. The hoses and mechanicals look as if someone replaced some of it. The carpet is also discolored around the vent. I noticed the anti-freeze smell in the carpet when I bought it a year and a half ago and steam cleaned it as best I could.

I really want to use the Aux heater but the odor needs to go. I guess I can try to open it up and clean it out real good. My son said it put out as much heat as the furnace!
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Old 12-02-2002, 04:45 PM   #2
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Fred,
I do not have an aux heater like yours, but want to tell you to use caution.
The mechanics are pretty simple, you have a heater core (like a small radiator) with an in and an out line. Then there should be a blower motor.
You probably would have to drain your engine coolant to some degree to avoid spilling even more anti-freeze in your coach.
Removal should not be a big problem, but if you do so, have it pressure tested at a radiator shop.
Also do inspect your rubber hoses very carefullly, any sign of age or fatique would require replacement, if possible all the way to the engine.
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Old 12-03-2002, 09:11 PM   #3
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I agree with all the suggestions in the prior post.

We have a similar setup in our recently acquired '85 325 with a similar anti-freeze smell. When running our engine with this heater on I can see the steam rising from the hose connections and the hoses have the textbook "replace this hose" look in that they are all expanded at the ends and just in front of the hose clamps.

I'll be interested in what you find as I'm thinking I might just replace the heater core when I replace the hoses because after this many years it can't be much good (I've think I've replaced heater cores in every vehicle I've owned of this age --just replaced the core in my wifes '87 190D and while it has done 240K miles I beleive the problem is more one of time rather than distance). I'm also thinking of replacing the core in the main heater if I can find a core for that one too.

By the way, the heater really does produce a good deal of heat with the control pulled out and the fan on.
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Old 12-03-2002, 09:41 PM   #4
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Bronze D,
It may proof to be impossible to find a new heater core. Who are you going to call?
Chevy, Airstream? If I am not mistaken, the heating units where made by ACE, which is a company no longer in business.
Any good radiator shop will be able to recore your old one, using the original tanks.
I had the great pleasure to discover that my lack of heat was due to of a missing heater core.
I looked at hundreds of heater core styles, none of which would fit, only to have one custom made in the end.
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Old 12-04-2002, 11:34 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information on searching for a ready-to-go core only to go the re-coring route. When the time comes, I'll just go directly to the recore shop.
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Old 01-02-2003, 07:20 PM   #6
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As part of my repair day, I did take a look at the aux heater under the sofa.

I unscrewed the plastic cover. I could not remove it due to space issues. I wiped clean the plastic cover but the tin tray it sits in is all coroded from time/moisture/chemicals. The grating of the vent is also rusted and gross. I'm not sure what I can do with it. I guess I'll call the manufacturer (Elkart, IN - I should have written it down while I was in there) and see if they have replacement tin trays that it sits on. Heat in Florida is a minor issue. The A/C's are much higher on my priority list. It would be nice to have this working in the future.
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Old 01-03-2003, 06:18 PM   #7
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Auxiliary heaters at JC Whitney, might find one that will fit. If not try a radiator shop for an auxiliary heater or core close to the same size. I found one right for 3 muffin fans. Check Lowes, Home Depot for grilles.

John
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Old 01-04-2003, 09:26 AM   #8
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John,

I checked out your link to the JC Whitney Aux heaters. I think that is a great solution to heater core issues.

Good job!
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Old 01-04-2003, 08:26 PM   #9
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My aux heater is made by:

Truck and Coach Heater Mfg. Co.
Div. of D&W Inc.
941 Oak Street
Elkhart, IN 46514
(219) 264-9674

That's the sticker from 1985. I could not read the model and serial number from 3' away. Yahoo Yellow Pages lists them at the same address but with a new area code (574) 264-9674.
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Old 01-15-2003, 04:28 PM   #10
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After further review, my aux heater is toast. I did have anti-freeze on the carpet this trip. It is definetely leaking coolant when the HEAT button is pulled out. I did find out that the sofa lifts up for better access to the unit. With the heat button in, the heater is bypassed. I'll get a photo to post. Still, it's not a high priority for me.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:05 PM   #11
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Heater control pulled out?

Fred:

My '87 345 has what appears to be a push/pull cable control mounted under the couch just to the aft of couch centerline.

Is this the control you refered to?, or the control on the dash?

For some reason I remember the "aux heater" on the dash is an electrical switch for the fan.

It would make sense if the "under couch" push/pull would control the coolant flow through the heater core, but it is awfully inconvenient to get to.

If the undercouch control is not for the coolant flow, any ideas as to why it is there?
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:40 AM   #12
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You are correct. The push/pull under the couch is for the coolant flow. That's when mine starts to leak. The Aux Heater switch on the dash is for the fan. That is working fine. Normal operation would be to open the coolant flow prior to driving and then using the switch on the dash while traveling.

Maybe someday I'll spend the time to investigate where it is leaking (probably from the core/exchanger since the hoses look good). I did find out that I can lift up the sofa for a much better view/access to the unit. I've had this thing a year and a half now and keep finding new things out. It's the gift that keeps on giving!
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Old 02-07-2003, 11:32 AM   #13
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aux heater

My 1985 model 345 has the same setup with the heater control etc. I noticed steam coming from my water lines to the heater and removed the couch ( 4 bolts) for access. I found the steam coming from the heater control valve and replaced it. The control valve is normally the first to start leaking and is simple to replace when the couch is removed. One thing I did find is that a new valve that is opposite ( push in for heat and out for off) is less expensive than the correct one. I purchased it from a local automotive parts store. I chose the more expensive one because I wanted it to work as it came from the factory.
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