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Actually, it is pretty easy to do. remove the glove box assembly. the case cover is right there. remove the 2 heater hoses under the hood. remove the inside cover screws and the core unbolts and comes right out. It only pays 1.2 hours in a shop. And you don't have to mess with the A/C system.
The heater core is located in the heater box, under the passenger side of the dash. Most FORD heater boxes are snap-clipped together, and if you remove the rear panel from the heater box, you will see the heater core...it looks like a smaller radiator...twist the heater hose off of the heater core (x2) from the engine side and gently remove the heater core from under the dash. When replacing the new heater core, be very careful re-installing new hoses to the core...it is a fragile thin metal that can leak almost instantly if tweaked too roughly...replace all parts in reverse order of removal.
Not an easy job. Drop the steering column and remove the dash first. Then remove the plenum. Core is between the plenum and fire wall. Get a manual. Your saving hundreds doing it your self. 30 dollars for a manual is worth it.
Heater core is under the dash in the same enclosure as the interior fan motor. as to remove/replace, I recommend getting a chilton's manual for your vehicle, they have step by step instructions and specifications. Its a great investment if you want to do things yourself, and if it's too complicated it should give you an idea as to what to expect from a mechanic
I have not seen this particular truck, but on all the Fords I've seen, the plenum is on the passenger side, under or near the glove box. Usually the blower motor is to the right, and the plenum toward the center of the cab. I hope this steers you in the right direction. Doesn't Haynes give you a picture? I find many after market manuals tell you everything you already know, but not what you need to know.
Disconnect heater hoses. Remove glove box. Remove cover fro heater core (8mm screws) . Remove parts in way of cover. Replace heater core. reassemble. I would recommend flushing system first. Top off coolant.
From Haynes Repair Manual #36071, Ford Ranger Pickups 1993 - 2005: (1)Disarm the airbag system; (2)allow the cooling system to completely cool down; (3)using a thick cloth for protection, turn the radiator filler cap to the first stop; (4)step back and let the pressure release; (5)once the pressure has been released, completely drain the cooling system; (6) working within the engine compartment, loosen the ****,ps on the heater hoses at the engine compartment side of the firewall, twist the hoses and carefully sepseparate them from the heater core tubes; (7)plug or cap the heater core tubes to prevent coolant from spilling into the passenger compartment when the heater core is removed; (8)place a plastic sheet on the floor of the vehicle to prevent stains if the coolant spills; (9)remove the instrument panel; (10)remove the PCM heat sink and ground strap; (11)remove the heater plenum chamber; (12)separate the heater core from the heater plenum chamber; (13)installation is the reverse of the removal with the following additions; (a)fill the cooling system; (b)run the engine, check for leaks and test the heater.