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as some of u know i am looking for a spider(prefering s4)and someone has contacted me about a s4 that doesnt have very good heat(one of its only flaws)and they seem to think that it might need a thermostat.

my question is is this probably the reason for the poor heat or maybe due to lack of cold weather use the heater core is clogged?

if it would be the heater core(worst case scenario)then how difficult is replacing the heater core?(i am holding off on getting a manual until i finally pull the trigger on a car as i may well end up with a s3).

thanks again

doug hunt
 

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Our Spider (1984 - S3) has quite a good heater. It has a 180F thermostat, the temp gauge reads about 180F and the heater will warm up the ****pit quite well.

I don't recall the shop manual's instructions off hand but when I had the heater out I did it when I also had the dashboard removed. Although that makes it sound daunting it really is not. Most of the time spent to do that involved removing the center console & numerous electrical connections.

The Alfa heater is also known for having its blower motor sieze. The motor sits at the very bottom of the heater unit thus any water/coolant that gets in there has a bad effect on the blower motor.
 

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If the thermostat is stuck open, you would see that the car is not reaching the normal operating temperature (needle straight up on the gauge or thereabouts in the 180 - 185 degree range as Eric mentioned). If the temperature is within spec, and the heater is still not working, I would suspect the heater and budget for the worst. Parts and labor by a professional Alfa shop will not be cheap. I would budget $1k for this. Last, Alfa heaters are terrific, and work very well even in very frigid conditions.

Best regards,
 

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If the thermostat is stuck open, you would see that the car is not reaching the normal operating temperature (needle straight up on the gauge or thereabouts in the 180 - 185 degree range as Eric mentioned). If the temperature is within spec, and the heater is still not working, I would suspect the heater and budget for the worst. Parts and labor by a professional Alfa shop will not be cheap. I would budget $1k for this. Last, Alfa heaters are terrific, and work very well even in very frigid conditions.

Best regards,
Hi:
I am looking at repair of a heater. How would you figure $1,000? Worst case scenario, I would think, would be replacement of the Heater Core, $159.50 for the part from International Auto. The blower works fine, BTW.
Thanks.
 

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Parts are cheap, but getting to the heater on an S4 is an absolute b-tch. Mucho labor.

Now, it may just be an issue of the core being partially plugged. If that's the case, you may be able to flush it out in-situ using the heater hoses in the engine compartment. Use a pressurized water line to see if you can flush the gunk out. Or pump some cooling system flush through the core, let it sit a while, and then flush it out. Definitely an easier job than swapping the core.

Could also be a disconnected actuator to the heater valve or a stuck valve, BTW.
 

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Parts are cheap, but getting to the heater on an S4 is an absolute b-tch. Mucho labor.

Now, it may just be an issue of the core being partially plugged. If that's the case, you may be able to flush it out in-situ using the heater hoses in the engine compartment. Use a pressurized water line to see if you can flush the gunk out. Or pump some cooling system flush through the core, let it sit a while, and then flush it out. Definitely an easier job than swapping the core.

Could also be a disconnected actuator to the heater valve or a stuck valve, BTW.

OK, that got me to call my Alfa mechanic! :eek: He said he never had to change a heater core on an s4. Most likely a stuck valve (and I didn't even suggest that to him!). Also, may be a crimped hose or low coolant level...which I will check.
Thanks!
 

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Having done the heater core on my 86 Spider, s3?, it is a PIA. I did it myself and took maybe 20 hours. Had several A/C issues along way and had to discharge all freon. Now using Enviro-Safe as a freon substitute and it is OK.

If there is a film inside windshield and a sweet smell with the fan on, you will be doing this job.
 

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Having done the heater core on my 86 Spider, s3?, it is a PIA. ...
If there is a film inside windshield and a sweet smell with the fan on, you will be doing this job.
Negative on that! Sounds like I have an easy fix. :)
 

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Hi:
I am looking at repair of a heater. How would you figure $1,000? Worst case scenario, I would think, would be replacement of the Heater Core, $159.50 for the part from International Auto. The blower works fine, BTW.
Thanks.
OK, that got me to call my Alfa mechanic! :eek: He said he never had to change a heater core on an s4. Most likely a stuck valve (and I didn't even suggest that to him!). Also, may be a crimped hose or low coolant level...which I will check.
Thanks!
If you have a heater core issue the labor is indeed very intensive. Both Alfa shops that I use (one in NJ and the other in OH) would easily estimate a full day of labor, plus parts, which they may not supply based on IAP prices. (When there is a significant difference on parts, these shops will let me order them, or bring them, or they will order them, i.e. they work with me.) It's true that it is not common to have a heater issue, but it does happen. Now, if $$ are an issue (which I find is always the reason why owners won't keep their Spiders in good shape), this is one job that you one can really do at home. Yes, it does sound scary, and I doubt that an inexperienced person can finish it over a weekend :eek:, but with patience, perseverance, and common sense it really is just a lot of hours and a bit uncomfortable, but certainly attainable.

Best regards,
 

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If you have a heater core issue the labor is indeed very intensive. Both Alfa shops that I use (one in NJ and the other in OH) would easily estimate a full day of labor, plus parts, which they may not supply based on IAP prices. (When there is a significant difference on parts, these shops will let me order them, or bring them, or they will order them, i.e. they work with me.) It's true that it is not common to have a heater issue, but it does happen. Now, if $$ are an issue (which I find is always the reason why owners won't keep their Spiders in good shape), this is one job that you one can really do at home. Yes, it does sound scary, and I doubt that an inexperienced person can finish it over a weekend :eek:, but with patience, perseverance, and common sense it really is just a lot of hours and a bit uncomfortable, but certainly attainable.

Best regards,
Sounds right...Thanks.
 

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So what is the easy fix for a heater?

So was there an easy fix?? Even an S4 is over 15 years old now - which is like way beyond the useful life of a passenger car heater. The valves are easy to replace and should be replaced with the heater core since they cannot be expected to last this long either. Of course replace the hoses, and perhaps the blower motor and resistors while they are accessible. This starts to get closer to $400 for parts, which was about what I spent using my own labor. Now I have a real defroster and cold A/C too so I am happy.

It's not really any more expensive than an American sedan, my jeep Cherokee set me back about $1,400 all told to have a shop do it. In that case I did the Evaporator too, due to savings on overall labor.
 

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There is no easy fix that I know of. Nonetheless, I have found my Spider heaters to be very durable. The ones on the '74 and '84 are original, and the motor did fail on the '87 about 4 years ago... (The '87 is the one that I drive the least.)

Best regards,
 
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