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Air Pocket in Heater Core

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  • Air Pocket in Heater Core

    Hey guys, maybe you can help me with this one. I believe my Avanti has an air pocket in the heater core. When I first start the car and for a short time after I hear a gurgling noise in the area of the heater--after a short time it disappears. This is not a car I drive in the winter months and hence I don't know whether the heater puts out much in the way of heat. At the present time I have the coolant drained from the radiator (and as much of the block as will drain without removing the block plugs) in order to repair a couple of minor leaks (one at the durn expansion tank [V]). Does anyone have any advice on refilling the coolant AND keeping an air lock from forming at the heater core in the process? Or conversely bleeding the air from the system once the coolant fill is completed? At some time in the past I believe I've heard to loosen a heater hose to bleed the system but I object to that method because of the mess and the damage to the paint on the engine. We're going to be moving to a new house (new to us) soon and so the Avanti will need to be driven in the upper midwest winter to its new home and I'd really like to have heat as it is a three hour trip. It is only early December and already we are having temperatures below zero--so I may really need the heater on this trip. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
    wagone and Avanti I

  • #2
    You make me remember driving a 1963 Avanti for about 300 miles in the middle of the Winter without a heater. I was picking up the car for a friend.

    Your air problem may be related to your leaks. If your system is tight and the air has once worked its way out, you shouldn't get much air back in - particularly large air pockets that you can hear.

    Not that this will help you in the Winter, but I will explain what I do with collector cars that are only driven in mild weather. Remove the nipples for the heater hoses at the engine and replace the nipples with pipe plugs. Clamp the hoses to the pipe plugs. It still looks stock, but you have no worry of heater/defroster leaks or unwanted heat in the car.

    You don't want to hear it, but bleeding at the high hose will remove the air.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer


    • #3
      You may be able to find a shop that has a vacuum coolant refill system.
      Your coolant is drained into a reservoir, the radiator cap is replaced with a vacuum/refill cap. The refill valve in the cap has a hose that goes to the reservoir of coolant. Your cooling system is pulled into vacuum, which will also detect leaks. If good vacuum is established (heater hoses will collapse flat) the refill valve is switched to draw coolant from the reservoir. It takes about ten seconds to fill the cooling system; no leaks, no air.

      Be sure your heater valve is open.
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"