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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone, new to the forums here and new to Dodge trucks. I recently bought my 1999 Dakota from a friend and everything was fine for a little while but now I am having issues with the heating and cooling. When he sold it to me he said when it got really cold sometimes the blower wouldn't turn on and he thought there was an issue with the resistor in the instrument panel, but he didn't know for sure. Sure enough once or twice during the winter it wouldn't start blowing (heat would come out the vents just no blower). I only drive it about 6 miles a day (3 to work and 3 home) so no big deal just slightly annoying. But now it almost never seems to turn on. I keep it set to off 99% of the time but if I am making longer trips I will turn it on and sometimes after about 20 minutes it will kick on and work fine, until I turn off the truck, then it is a crap shoot if it will come back on when I restart the truck. The AC is the same you can feel the cold air coming out as you drive (when I assume it is getting forced through the system by the intake of air) but the blower may or may not come on.

The alarming thing now is even though I drive around with it off most of the time, if I sit in traffic I will start to have smoke wafting up through the center vents that smells of coolant.

Any insight would be appreciated
 

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You have two issues. The first is the blower motor. I know, I just replaced my motor this week for the second time! The whole circuit, i.e. the motor, and the path to ground, that is, through the switch to various points on the firewall-mounted resistor, is prone to fail. Check all the wiring on the blower motor resistor, located on the engine side of the firewall, on the passenger side. The heavier gauge wires carry the higher speeds, and thus higher current, and are more prone to corrosion.
As to antifreeze smell in the defroster, that can only be one thing, a leaking heater core. Part isn't very expensive, but you have to remove the WHOLE dashboard to remove the heater box. Will probably lose Freon in the process, and have that recharged after replacement. It took me three days! A shop could probably get the whole thing done with about 6 hrs labor (I'm guessing).
If you do take on the project yourself, you'll be able to clean up a lot of wiring issues, and just go ahead and change the blower motor while you're in there. A lot easier while it's out. One more thing I forgot: My fan speed switch on the Heat/AC panel burned out, and I replaced it with a series of toggle switches.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick reply. This sounds like it will be a fun experience, I have another vehicle to get to work so I can take my time to do it. i was looking around to see if there were any videos of someone disassembling the dash and only found one of someone that looks like the took a Sawzall to half of it and they were going to "Gorilla Glue it back together". Any resources for the disassemble that you could offer?
 

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Joe, click on my name, and then go to the statistics tab. Then go to the threads started by me, MartyG. There is a thread I started called, "I changed the heater core - observations" or words to that effect. Yes, I saw that sawzall video when IEv was gathering info! LOL! I uploaded some photos to the board, still have some if you can't find them. Even the shop manual isn't that much help. Here's the drill in a nutshell: 1. Remove everything you can on the dash, the instrument panel, radio, etc. Also the "lower dash" which is mostly the glove compartment. 2. Remove all the trim around the steering column. 3. Remove the screws along the inside edge of the windshield. 4. The dash will now tilt forward, remove the screws on each side that it is pivoting on. 5. From then on, it's rough. Just start unplugging connectors, removing brackets, etc, until the whole thing comes out. 6. Now you can attack the heater core box. It's held onto the firewall with 4 screws, plus usual hoses. Be careful of the vacuum line. Of course, it helps to take notes and pictures as you go along, you might need them when you put it all back together! Good luck!
 

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Afterthought. Don't bother looking through my posts, there are too many. Just do a search on the word "observations" Since that's in the title, it'll show right up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I found it. I appreciate it. When I do it (I plan on doing it more towards the fall) I'll make a post with my progress.
 

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An Update

It has been a minute since I posted here but I wanted to give an update to the work that was done. I held off on tearing into the dash until i had time and the weather was a bit better. Then I walked out of work to a huge puddle of coolant under my truck, I carry a jug of coolant in the truck so I poured some in to see where the issue was and the water pump was just dibbling coolant out. I only work 3 miles from my house so I topped up the coolant and drove home no issues. I got home and pulled out the radiator and my friend came over and we replaced the water pump. I have been driving it for like 3 month now and I no longer have the coolant smoke coming through the vents. If the heater core is cracked the failing water pump must have been adding to the smoke. The bower is still dodgy and will sometimes work but mostly not. I guess I will tear apart the dash after all to fix the wiring and blower resistor.
 
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