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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Intermittent cabin heating

Hi all, my daughters car has an intemittent fault of not blowing hot air when the engine warms up. Most of the time it just blows cold air but sometimes she can get it to work.

With cold mornings now the norm and freezing temperatures, it's getting harder for her to keep the windscreen clear besides being chilly.

Any possible steps to identify the problem, possible fixes and also how to go about fixing them? If it's too complicated I can get my mechanic to do it although I would have a go at small jobs.

Edit: 2005 1.1 basic version.


Thanks for any replies.
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Last edited by MarkWithTheStilo; 1 Week Ago at 21:09. Reason: added edit
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

The obvious first step is to ensure the car has sufficient coolant, as this is one of the classic warning signs of this condition.

If the coolant is low, investigate the source of the leak and get it properly fixed. On the 1.1/1,2 Pandas, running the engine without sufficient coolant is practically guaranteed to cause head gasket failure.
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Can't check anything until Sunday but the problem has happened about a year ago and my mechanic cleaned things and got it working again. Thought I would ask on here as it could maybe be something my mechanic didn't try.

I didn't even consider coolant as I didn't think it was part of the system but the level dropping probably makes sense (shows how clued up I am lol.) I'll check and get back


Thanks for the help.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

I'd strongly recommend the car not be driven again until the coolant has been checked. If it is dangerously low and the car is driven, there is a serious risk of wrecking the engine.
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Plus one to support JRK's comment. Don't use the car. The common places for leaks are radiator and the steel pipe at front of the engine hidden under the exhaust manifold.


Is it a standard heater (rotary knobs) or does it have climate control.
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Quote Originally Posted by jrkitching View Post
I'd strongly recommend the car not be driven again until the coolant has been checked. If it is dangerously low and the car is driven, there is a serious risk of wrecking the engine.
I don't have a choice as it's not my car and the problem has been intermittent for a few weeks.

Wouldn't there be a coolant warning come on if it were too low?
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
Plus one to support JRK's comment. Don't use the car. The common places for leaks are radiator and the steel pipe at front of the engine hidden under the exhaust manifold.


Is it a standard heater (rotary knobs) or does it have climate control.
Standard knobs. Sometimes we can get it working by turning the knobs really hard to each extreme but that could be just a false positive ie. we think it's working because of turning it to extremes but it could be just that we're moving the knob and something is biting or not.

I'm not sure how this whole system works. If it's accessed from the dash or if it's behind the bulkhead.

As I say it can't be checked until Sunday although it's not being driven much, just a few miles commute.
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Quote Originally Posted by MarkWithTheStilo View Post
Wouldn't there be a coolant warning come on if it were too low?
There's no coolant level warning.

There is a coolant overtemperature light, but by the time the sensor registers the overheat and puts on the light, the head gasket has often already failed.

Obviously it's her choice, but a lot of engines have been needlessly wrecked by owners driving with insufficient coolant.

If it's absolutely necessary to drive with a suspected leak, at least lift the bonnet and check the coolant level before every journey.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Sorry, but if your daughter is really so technophobic, why can't she not go to Halfords for a coolant check (and they can show her how to do it)? It has to be cheap insurance against a blown head gasket.

She drives an old car so really should understand the basics or running it.There is a temperature gauge on the dash but it will almost certainly be too late and she will be walking.


By the way, this is not a Fiat design fault. All of today's engines are low coolant content and would behave the same way.
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Re: Intermittent cabin heating

Topped the radiator up by 500ml, if there is a leak it's a very slow one. The cabin is heating up but i've told her to keep an eye on things and tell me if it stops working again.


Thanks for the help.
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