I was teaching my girlfriend how to drive stick shift today and after we switched back, I drove home. We were at a stoplight and I saw smoke coming out of the two heater vents above the radio. I immediately shut off the engine and put on my flashers and checked my gauges. They were fine, no check engine, the temp was normal and oil pressure was fine. I am wondering what the hell the smoke came from and why??? While I was teaching her she had the parking brake on without me knowing for a couple runs going into first gear, but we switched and the incident occurred later on way after we had switched. Anyone know why it would be smoking??
__________________ 1997 Teal & Tan Wrangler TJ Sport - Mortimer Keep Calm and Jeep On!
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There should be only 2 ways that smoke can come from the heater vents. Either there is something inside the ducts causing the smoke (resistor or fan motor) or the smoke is entering the fresh air intake.
I would agree that it is probably the heater resistor. Shouldn't be the fan motor as that is outside the ducts.
The reason I asked about the a/c is this, I was driving my '01 last summer, no top or doors with the a/c switch in the off position and the blower not running. My passenger noticed white(ish) whispy(like cigarette) smoke coming from the vents(upper). The problem was that the a/c compressor clutch was engaged even though the switch was off. The evaporator was freezing up without the blower running, and high Texas humidity. I haven't noticed it ever happening since then but now I always leave the blower running no matter what.
I'm not sure if your Jeep has the same issue as mine did, but it was very unusual. What did the smoke smell like? If it's the heater core it will smell like antifreeze. The smoke coming from mine didn't have a noticeable smell.
Did the smoke smell like bruning leaves, fuel or oil products, or sweet smelling? The smell with much better narrow it down. Also it is a good idea to run the A/C or defrost once a month if you have a compresser just to move the lubricant inside it a bit.
If i had to put a label on the smell it would be slightly sweet
I know some antifreeze tastes sweet, but to me it just smells like antifreeze. Anyway, if you think the problem is the heater core, keep an eye on your coolant reservoir under the hood, if you are losing coolant you should notice the level dropping.
If it's the Core, (sounds like it to me) you may not notice a drop in coolant level in the overflow or Radiator. A slight seepage in the Core will give the symptoms your describing. Just enough to dampen the exterior of your Core is enough to cause the symptoms. Keep a close EYE on the Passenger Floor, under Glove Box, upper edge of Carpeting, for ANY Dampness. If it is the Core, it's a NIGHTMARE to replace. The Entire Dash has to be removed. Not a Job for the Squeamish or low end Novice.
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Your heater core has engine antifreeze run through it, and is what transfers heat into the vehicle via the HVAC system. It is enclosed in a plastic housing near the fan that blows air through it (heating it) and then it blows out the vents.
If you keep driving it, the worst case scenario would be that it starts leaking more and more, letting coolant into the vehicle. I've never heard any stories of REALLY bad heater cores, but eventually it could start leaking/running all over the place i suppose.
A temporary "hack job" fix would be to disconnect the lines running into and out of the heater core under the hood and bypassing the heater core all together. If this was done you would no longer have any interior heat, and it would probably be easier to fix once you wanted to fix it right. However, It would cost about 5 bucks and take maybe 20 minutes as opposed to many hundreds of dollars and many MANY hours.