Heater Control Valve - Theory of Operation
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Heater Control Valve - Theory of Operation

We’ve got our 64 Dodge 880’s heater core out to take to our radiator guy, becuase it appears to have a small leak.
We’re trying to solve the problem of not enough hot air in the cabin. The main radiator has been checked, cleaned, and flows well. The engine comes up to 180 degrees nicely, per the thermostat.
And all the vacuum-powered duct actuators and doors are working properly. (That took some doing a few months back.)

We were wondering whether the heater control valve might have a blockage, so we took it out to check.
Can someone explain the theory of operation of the control valve? It’s not just a simple valve. The factory manual is sorely lacking in heater system information.

There is some sort of thermostat function as part of the control valve assembly. A copper coil inside the heater duct leads to a little piston that appears to bias how much the main valve opens.
There is an adjusting screw which can be adjusted to remove slack. The question, of course, is what position should it be adjusted to at ambient temperature (say, standard temp of 59F). Or perhaps there is supposed to be slack before the control arm starts opening the main valve (?).

Looking forward to learning more about this heater functionality.

Dan Davids

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