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Old 12-23-2009, 08:56 AM   #1
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


In previous winters my '06 impala would heat up nice and toasty inside fairly quickly, especially when I used the remote start. After 10 minutes at idle, the temp inside wouldn't be too bad, and once driving it got hot right away.

This winter is a different story. After the remote start, and driving for 15 minutes of my morning 30-minute commute, it gets to that temperature where I can finally take off my mitts and touque!

My engine is running at a proper temperature, and I just topped up my coolant. The only difference between this year and last is I replaced the original cabin air filter with a carbon filter. Air flow might have went down a 'slight' bit, but not really noticeable. Probably because there's no hole in the middle of the filter from that darn mouse anymore!

We're traveling this winter and although I don't mind it taking longer to warm up to temperature, I don't want to be stuck without heat at all somewhere along the road.

Any ideas on what I can try myself before I bring it to a mechanic?

Thanks!

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Old 12-23-2009, 09:13 AM   #2
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


Sounds like maybe your thermostat is stuck in the open position.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:34 AM   #3
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


Is it difficult to replace the thermostat?

Where is it located on an '06 impala? I've read two sites now that say it's in the lower rad hose, the other says the upper rad hose.

Drain rad, take off hose, remove thermostat, clean surfaces, replace thermostat, reattach hoses, refill? Or is the hassle worth taking it to a mechanic?
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:03 PM   #4
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


I agree with firehawkmph. Thermostats usually aren't difficult to replace and are inexpensive for the part. GM usually locates them in a thermostat housing which is located on the engine side of the upper radiator hose. i'm not sure about your specific vehicle, but i would bet 99% that is exactly where it is.

while your at it, it you still have that "orange" anti-freeze, I would drain, flush and refill the system. That dexcool antifreeze is serious garbage and causes corrosion in the engine. Google it and see how many people hate that crap. Go with the generic green stuff, Ford Gold, or Honda Blue.
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:40 PM   #5
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


Thermostat being the usual suspect in temp control would seem logical....but if the engine operates in a normal temp range it could very well be some blockage/corrosion in the heater core or heater hoses feeding the core. If you do decide to replace the thermostat yourself keep in mind that this system needs to have the air bled from it, an air-evac tool is available for this job but they are fairly expensive - in the150 - 200 dollar range for a good one, or refer to a chilton's repair book for manual procedures, if the air is not bled from the system air pockets can be trapped and cause it to have very erratic temp changes and possibly zero heat or heat then cold heat then cold....you get the point, this is a very important procedure that needs to be done otherwise the engine can overtemp and cause internal damage.....which is far more expensive than a trip to the garage. On the dex-cool coolant topic....the only real dex-cool difference is it is a high mileage formula designed to run 100k miles...but, unless you tear the engine down and clean it out you can never completely rid your engine of the dex-cool....just removing hoses and flushing it will not remove it all. If you mix dex-cool with regular old green antifreeze you will create a sludge of muddy looking water that will clog up everything inside the engine....then your into major money, best bet is to refill with dex-cool
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:07 PM   #6
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


thanks for keeping the thread alive. I took it to a garage a couple weeks back for them to replace the thermostat. When I came back, he said it didn't appear the thermostat was at fault and the car warmed up fine (it was also hovering around -3 degrees C, not the usual -20 average). I'm not sure how you tell if the thermostat is still 'working' or not, but I asked him to replace it and he didn't. Anyways... He said to take it to a dealer to have a look. He also noted that when the rad cap is off, you can see small bubbles periodically coming to the surface. He wondered if it was cavitation at the water pump.

I'm wondering now if there could be air pockets like you said.

The coolant reservoir was also quite low when I first started to experience this problem so I topped it off. (maybe the source of possible air?) I didn't use Dex-Cool though.. hopefully this isn't TOO big of a mistake on my part! . It wasn't green antifreeze, more of a yellowish antifreeze my father-in-law had extra of.

Would you suggest a coolant flush and swap out the thermostat? I'm at to 85,000km, service recommended for cooling system at 100,000km I believe. Should I just get it done now?
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:27 PM   #7
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


If another formula of antifreeze was added I would reccomend a coolant flush. The air bubbles can be a sign of many things......cavitation being one, also a possible leaking head gasket....it wouldnt be air but actual engine exhaust blowing by a bad head gasket and entering the coolant...if the vehicle operates normally and without drastic temp changes I dont see this being the problem....water naturaly releases a few air bubbles as it heats and cools and this can sometimes cause an air pocket to accumulate over time...I think the most likely cause is probably a trapped air pocket, any reputable shop should be able to bleed the system or "burp" it as it is commonly refered to.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:32 PM   #8
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


Thanks for the advice. The garage I brought it to said they did a head gasket test and it was fine. Looks like I'll be getting a coolant flush in the near future. I'll also have them check the thermostat, or just replace it regardless as they're not too costly.

I guess this defeats the purpose of DIY, but this is out of my league!
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:12 PM   #9
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


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Originally Posted by DIYguy2000 View Post
Thanks for the advice. The garage I brought it to said they did a head gasket test and it was fine. Looks like I'll be getting a coolant flush in the near future. I'll also have them check the thermostat, or just replace it regardless as they're not too costly.

I guess this defeats the purpose of DIY, but this is out of my league!
Nope, not at all, part of the reason for the site is to give enough information for a person to make an informed decision if they would be comfortable being able to perform the task.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:56 AM   #10
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


with regards to what DieselTech said. I too would flush the system as mixing coolants and DexCool isn't a good idea. That is yet another complaint I have about that crap. I disagree that Dexcool with the notion that DexCool is an acceptable coolant. A quick Google search will confirm that. If you just drain and refill, he is correct that you won't get it all out. However garages have machines that they hook up to your radiator hose that will get it all. You can also buy a low cost flush kit from auto zone that allows you hook a garden hose up to your heater hose and completely force flush the system. Just run the water with the engine running until it comes out crystal clear. Then drain and top off with a 50/50 mix of whatever coolant choose. (not DexCool) I recommend Ford Gold or Honda Blue for extended life antifreezes. However just the normal green stuff is fine also. Regardless of what the manufacturer claims, I would never drive 100,000 miles on any coolant product anyway.
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:23 AM   #11
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


thermostats are usually easy and cheap to replace but if you want to test it put it in a bowl of water on the stove , heat the water and the thermostat should open at the rated temperature.. quite a bit before boiling.

also is your cold air door open ?? maybe you used to have it closed recirculate mode. chevys are notorious for door motors going bad.
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:33 AM   #12
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


I usually keep it set to the defrost mode which doesn't allow you to select the re-circulate option, only air from the outside. Is this a design feature? Any reason for it?

This morning I set it to the regular forward facing vents (no defrost) and selected the re-circulate option. It heated up much faster. (door motor ok). But, it didn't take long before I had to switch back to defrost so I could see the road ahead of me.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:08 PM   #13
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


I cant speak for canada but around here were having a mormal winter for a change - 0 degree weather i think were used to the 30s the last few years.. both my vehicles have lost quite a bit of heating efficiency i know on my truck the vent door is ajar bad motor . and my jeep im not sure ... might have to check stat on that one.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:08 PM   #14
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by zackinma View Post
I agree with firehawkmph. Thermostats usually aren't difficult to replace and are inexpensive for the part. GM usually locates them in a thermostat housing which is located on the engine side of the upper radiator hose. i'm not sure about your specific vehicle, but i would bet 99% that is exactly where it is.

while your at it, it you still have that "orange" anti-freeze, I would drain, flush and refill the system. That dexcool antifreeze is serious garbage and causes corrosion in the engine. Google it and see how many people hate that crap. Go with the generic green stuff, Ford Gold, or Honda Blue.
Dexcool is not the only orange anti-freeze, so just because it's orange doesn't mean it's bad. However, if you have the factory fill it's Dexcool. It would be good to get it out of there. Another good option is a G05 coolant such as Xerex G05, available at Napa, it's an HOAT coolant with silicates in it, which is more suited to your engine. G05 meets the Ford Gold specs.

The Japanese use coolant with no silicates and high phosphorus which supposedly protects aluminum. Don't know if that's true but it does cost an arm and a leg for either the Honda or Toyota coolants.

Last edited by brons2; 02-01-2010 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:13 PM   #15
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2006 Chevy Impala - Slooooow to heat up.


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I usually keep it set to the defrost mode which doesn't allow you to select the re-circulate option, only air from the outside. Is this a design feature? Any reason for it?
Yes because if you recirculate the air it will build condensation and fog up your windows, as you noticed. The defroster also has a defog mode which runs the AC to help defog your windshield in temps above 10F.

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