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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice. The heater on my Sprint has started to leak but I don't know where from, dripping out of the lower vent. A new valve was fitted recently by a respected Alfa garage and it the heater is getting warm. I am suspecting the core? BUT the thing is so inaccessible! So can I take the whole heater out and get it on the bench? Is this easily done? Is it worth it as I could just shunt out the heater. It sure looks a complicated thing. Any advice welcome. BTW my Sprint is looking great and looking good. Drives so nicely (apart from squirting hot water on my foot). Thanks in advance. Steve V
 

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Your notion that the heater core may be the problem (either due to corrosion, or because soldered seals may be broken) could be true, but I would not yet rule out the new valve or how it is installed. So, the first thing I would do is have a very close look at the valve and its surrounding area, e.g. with a USB endoscope/borescope like this one -- I found the 2m version with "hard" cable to be quite useful.

With respect to fixing the problem:

The heater has 2 hoses attached, one goes to the valve, the other directly to the heater core. See if the clamps are tightened sufficiently. There is also a donut-shaped rubber seal between the heater valve and the heater core shown in the picture below that may be leaking. Moss Motors sells it here but their web page does not have a picture.

For the short term, bypassing the heater by changing and/or re-routing heater hoses (either inside the car or in the engine compartment) may indeed be an option that allows you to drive your car. However, I like to have the heater working -- not for warming up the interior, but as a safety measure in case the engine overheats: turning on the heater adds cooling capacity to the radiator.

If the leak is from the heater core, removing the whole heater box will be necessary, which should not be all that difficult (and should not require removal of the dashboard) but I agree it's a major PITA. I'm not sure (yet) whether the heater core that Moss Motors offers (see here) fits and/or can be adapted for our cars (it might be). It may also be interesting to contact Clayton Vehicle Systems in the UK who possibly made the original Smiths heater cores.

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Many thanks indeed Tutbut, your reply is very helpful. I have now got a little endoscope camera and I will try it tomorrow. We are in lockdown here but working in my garage is OK. I think you are correct, the leak appeared after the repair shop replaced the stuck valve so maybe a missing seal or lose clamp? Or disturbing the heater damaged the now 55 year old matrix. Will report back. Thanks again. Steve
 

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Hi Tutbut. The little camera worked well --- and showed the matrix leaking all over the place! My guess is the old heater valve was seized shut and when the workshop put the new one on the water flowed into the matrix. It is OK when cold, but once up to pressure the leaks begin. So I guess the workshop didn't test it enough. My car was laid up in a barn for 26 years with water in it. Must have been a few cold British nights in that time which froze and cracked the matrix. The main radiator survived...maybe a bit thicker metal? Anyway, I have clamped off the feed to the heater and the car is driveable. I will go on the hunt for a new matrix or someone to re-core the old one. Maybe E Bay will have something? Thanks again for the tips. The lovely 2600 thinks of a new puzzle every week! Steve
 

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Good to hear you found the source of the problem -- but sorry that truly fixing it will take some considerable effort.
 
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