Moisture in the air filter housing: PCV problem, or do I need a "heat stove"?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1996

Dear Tom & Ray:

I recently purchased a 1981 Monte Carlo with 43,000 original miles on it.
The car was driven very little for short distances when driven at all (it
was a "grandma car"). Overall, it runs great. The problem is that moisture
accumulates in the air filter housing. I have to remove the breather
element every two to three days to drain the lime-green fluid that has

I figured a trip to a major national parts store's service department might
provide some solution. After I had spent $80 on an engine analysis and
coolant-system test, the mechanic told me my computer works fine, there are
no gasket leaks, and that I needed a "heat stove" installed. Is he right?
And what is this heat-stove thing? -- Jim

RAY: Gee, Jim, it sounds to me like your crankcase ventilation system isn't
working. If Grandma only used the car for short trips to the betting parlor
and the cigar store, the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system could
easily be all plugged up and caked with carbon.

TOM: That would leave the vapors in the crankcase with nowhere to go but up
to the air cleaner. If you get the PCV system taken apart and cleaned out,
I'll bet that green gunk disappears.

RAY: As for the heat stove, I believe that's something the FBI found in Ted
Kaczynski's cabin in Montana.

TOM: Actually, the heat stove is the pipe that conveys hot air from the
exhaust manifold to the air cleaner snorkel. It provides warm air to the
engine when conditions outside are cold and damp. That prevents carburetor
icing and helps the engine run better under those conditions.

RAY: And you may need a heat stove, Jim. But that's not going to solve your
lime-ade problem. You'll need a PCV cleaning for that.

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