What your heater core looks like.
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  1. #1
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    What your heater core looks like.

    Ok, I have been ridiculed for my posts about replacing heater cores in these cars, so after replacing Greybeasts core I cut it in half to show you all. There are many small tubes with spiral brass restrictors in each tube. He didn't have heat, even at like 3000rpm there was only luke warm air. I replaced his core and now he enjoys 118 degree heat at idle and 155 at a steady 2000rpm cruise. His coolant was like new. I had the waterpump out when I did the TB, and it was the same color and stength as the new I put in. When the core was cut and the restrictors pulled out they were caked with brown goo, mostly at the top of the core. This is why flushing either just moves it around or lodges it tighter. You may see some heat, but it is usually short lived. I am not posting this to be a smart ass, I am only clueing people in on what they are dealing with. Now for the pics:





    Note the crud on the left side of the pic below, this is what is clinging to the brass restrictors.




    Some of the pics are not that good but you get the idea........enjoy.

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  3. #2
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    Fascinating, and very helpful. Are you doing this commercially, and if so, what do you charge? I'm just a jog away in Bucks county.

  4. #3
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    No, I do it out of my personal garage to great success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 98greendash View Post
    No, I do it out of my personal garage to great success.
    (Heh) Let me rephrase - are you interested in doing more of them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts13 View Post
    (Heh) Let me rephrase - are you interested in doing more of them?
    Yup, PM me.

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    ok, that's pretty cool! and hand it to VW to add those hydro-friction spirals! more resistance = more heat over the surface area!

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    Overdrive Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    Great pictures. Now if we could come up with something that would dissolve the goop without hurting the copper, we'd have the cure. I know people have used CLR, which is formulated to dissolve Calcium, Lime and Rust.

    Did this system ever see mixed coolant types?

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    Not that I am aware of, the bottle was clean and where the water pump and T-stat are was nice and clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sipes216 View Post
    ok, that's pretty cool! and hand it to VW to add those hydro-friction spirals! more resistance = more heat over the surface area!
    Yeah, it works well, but a restrictor at the output side would have done just as good with out the clog factor.

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    Overdrive Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    My guess is those spirals aren't there to make heat by causing friction in a moving liquid. No need to add heat to coolant that already has a plentiful source of heat. To create heat energy by restricting the liquid movement, something would need to be adding the same (or more) amount of energy to the system in the form of pressure/flow to overcome the resistance (friction). Our water pumps aren't up to that job. It's an "energy-in, energy-out" deal.

    I'd say they are there to increase heat transfer from the liquid to the core by keeping the liquid "stirred" as it passes through. Maximizing surface contact between the two and creating a more productive core for its size. The objective isn't to make heat energy, it's to move heat energy.

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    Yeah, I am sure the spirals are there to keep the coolant in the coorlonger for better heat transfere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in Chicago View Post
    Great pictures. Now if we could come up with something that would dissolve the goop without hurting the copper, we'd have the cure. I know people have used CLR, which is formulated to dissolve Calcium, Lime and Rust.

    Did this system ever see mixed coolant types?
    does muratic acid eat copper?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sipes216 View Post
    does muriatic acid eat copper?
    No clue, but HCl is used to remove iron oxide from steel in some manufacturing processes.

    I'm sure we have some people with chemistry backgrounds on this forum. It'd be interesting to see what they say.

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    I have a couple guinea pig cores for some one to play mad chemist with.

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    I'd guess the brass restrictors are there to slow the flow through the core so it heats up more quickly, and so it doesn't react with the coolant. it looks like the pipes through the core are made of brass, as well.

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    Just curious, 98greendash - are you using the OEM cores when you replace them, or using the Meyle cores from Blauparts or other aftermarket vendors?

    I only ask because there are notable differences in the original cores and the Meyle ones that I noticed this weekend when swapping a core in our '02 wagon. I used a Meyle, and if I have to do it again (on our other B5), I'm not sure I would. They have the same number of tubes (8), but the original has 31 fins per inch, and the Meyle only has 19 = possible lower heat output.

    Our car seems to heat well with the Meyle, but it's not real cold yet... of course I didn't take temperature rise measurements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VWAffe View Post
    Just curious, 98greendash - are you using the OEM cores when you replace them, or using the Meyle cores from Blauparts or other aftermarket vendors?

    I only ask because there are notable differences in the original cores and the Meyle ones that I noticed this weekend when swapping a core in our '02 wagon. I used a Meyle, and if I have to do it again (on our other B5), I'm not sure I would. They have the same number of tubes (8), but the original has 31 fins per inch, and the Meyle only has 19 = possible lower heat output.

    Our car seems to heat well with the Meyle, but it's not real cold yet... of course I didn't take temperature rise measurements.
    Behr.

  19. #18
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    The new cores I use have fewer tubes that are larger, but heat the cabin just as good as the original units.

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    If you do end up with a bunch of the old radiators, do not throw them out as they are worth good money as scrap!

    Call around to your local scrap metal yards and ask them their prices for aluminum copper radiators (ACR's). It's been a while, but current prices should be over a dollar per pound for that. If it has brass ends, it would be even more.

    If the ends are steel or are ferrous, cut them off to keep the price high!

  21. #20
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    Neat and informative

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    Quote Originally Posted by ACraig View Post
    Neat and informative
    Thank you.

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    Greendash, awesome post and pictures thanks for these!

    Greendash is right, flushing is only a band aid fix. I flushed mine the third week of September and in the last week have noticed a drastic reduction in heat. I'll be flushing again this weekend, hoping to get another two months out of it so I can save some $$ to replace it.

    Currently saving for my new axle...OMG...the clicking is getting louder and louder! I can drive without heat, can't drive with busted axle!

  24. #23
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    Hopefully the larger diameter tubes in the replacement cores will be less prone to clogging!

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    My heater will cook you out of the car after a CLR flush, almost a year ago.

    Just sayin'...

  26. #25
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    Just as an aside, the parts guy at my VW dealer told me they use CLR in their own shop, even though it wasn't the "approved" VW procedure.
    Last edited by scotts13; 12-04-2010 at 05:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts13 View Post
    Just as an aside, the parts guy at my VW dealer told me they use CLR in their own shop, even thought it wasn't the "approved" VW procedure.
    A reputable tech at a reputable dealership told me he flushes these cars' cooling systems with Simple Green, as he pointed down to three one gallon jugs of the stuff in his stall. He said you wouldn't believe how well it works. I haven't tried it yet, it seems to be pretty pricey.

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    Overdrive Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    Next time one of us runs across some of the "mixed coolant-types goop", we should experiment with it to see what dissolves it.

    Put a sample of goop in a shot glass with some Simple Green, some with CLR, and some with whatever it is you think may dissolve it but not hurt the heater core or cooling system.

    Whoever comes up with an effective "coolant-goop solvent" will be a hero to countless Passat owners suffering without heat.

    (If it was my idea, do I get a % of the profits?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 98greendash View Post
    Yeah, I am sure the spirals are there to keep the coolant in the coorlonger for better heat transfere.
    Those spirals are called static mixer elements.

    In heat transfer design, you do that to keep the working fluid stirred up. Otherwise, you will get a layer of coolant down the outside of the tube that gets cool, and the coolant in the middle stays warm.

    VW likely had to add these mixers to make up for the fact that their tubes have such a small amount of surface area. Especially relative to the surface area of an "old fashioned" brass waffly looking heater core.

    What I don't get is that the core I added to my wifes car is for a 1992 Cutlass wagon. Lots interior volume, lots more glass area. But it heated those cars up very well. Also, this old school, genetically inferior american core is actually smaller than the VW core, and substantially cheaper as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in Chicago View Post
    Next time one of us runs across some of the "mixed coolant-types goop", we should experiment with it to see what dissolves it.

    Put a sample of goop in a shot glass with some Simple Green, some with CLR, and some with whatever it is you think may dissolve it but not hurt the heater core or cooling system.

    Whoever comes up with an effective "coolant-goop solvent" will be a hero to countless Passat owners suffering without heat.

    (If it was my idea, do I get a % of the profits?)
    Steve, i wrote about this a year ago on this forum upon opening my bucket of waste antifreeze. Not specifically a G-12 blend, but there were "long life" and regular coolant, of whatever chemistry. It formed a low grade polymer - like wax. I suspect a good solvent would ultimately work best. What concerns me with solvents is the crimped and gasketed poly tanks on the end of the core. Probably why they use simple green. When I used CLR I didn't have results much better than using straight hot water right from the garden hose. The citric acid does have mild solvent action, but I'd bet simple green is the best.

    On second that, the hotter a polymer gets, the lower it's viscocity. I'll bet a steam cleaner could do well with this because it will be heating the goo up 30 or 40 degrees hotter than it otherwise sees.

    I suppose with that said, use hot water for the flush instead of cold as well.

    What concerns me now is that 98greendash said this car had only VW coolant in it that looked clean. If coolant had previously been mixed and flushed then what that means is that enough polymer hung out in the system to eventually accumulate in the cooling system filter - also known as the static mixer elements in the heater core.

    If coolant was never mixed, then that means G-12 will do this all by itself, which to me means it has a VERY deleterious side effect to it's otherwise "long life" type properties.

  30. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sipes216 View Post
    does muratic acid eat copper?
    Oh hell yes!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 50pascals View Post
    Steve, i wrote about this a year ago on this forum upon opening my bucket of waste antifreeze. Not specifically a G-12 blend, but there were "long life" and regular coolant, of whatever chemistry. It formed a low grade polymer - like wax. I suspect a good solvent would ultimately work best. What concerns me with solvents is the crimped and gasketed poly tanks on the end of the core. Probably why they use simple green. When I used CLR I didn't have results much better than using straight hot water right from the garden hose. The citric acid does have mild solvent action, but I'd bet simple green is the best.

    On second that, the hotter a polymer gets, the lower it's viscocity. I'll bet a steam cleaner could do well with this because it will be heating the goo up 30 or 40 degrees hotter than it otherwise sees.
    Good idea I may do a steam clean this weekend, I have a stream cleaner.... followed or preceded by a Simple Green cleaning.

    Thinking of this sequence.... steam to soften the crud, simple green, steam then hose rinse. See any flaws or ways to improve?
    Thanks.

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