Question about Cars & Trucks
How do i replace the heater core in a standard shift 2003 Ford Ranger
Mr. Weid must be from another planet. That was not even close. Mr. Shore is quite correct. I completed this job on 19-20 Jan 2013. I purchased a Chilton's Repair manual for this truck which was only slightly better than useless. It listed a sequence of steps: "remove this, disconnect that" but gave no clue as to where "this" & "that" were located.I have a fair amount of experience as a DIY auto mechanic doing most of the work on my autos since about 1971. I also have many tools. This was tedious (mostly because I'm no spring chicken) but definitely not rocket science. My Ranger is 2003 5-speed manual. Here's a description and some tips (I won't cover every detail - this should make the Chilton's version a little more accurate):1. Disconnect the battery! It is a must to disarm the air bags - don't forget!2. Remove both seats - it's easy, only 4 bolts on each and one electrical connector. Makes it much easier to get under the dash.3. Remove the two screws behind the plastic plugs on the cover for the steering column and remove the driver's air bag. There is one elec connector.4. Remove the steering wheel, use a puller, I bought a decent one for $15. It is worth it.5. There are 4 bolts (2 on either side of the steering column) that fix the steering column to the dashboard frame. Remove them and the steering assembly will be free of the dash. It will lay on the cross brace of the dash.5. Pull the radio and the glove box. oh, yes, disconnect the two hoses to the core tube sticking through the firewall. I siphoned some of the coolant out of the core so it wouldn't make a mess. Drain the system if you want - I just propped the hoses up so they wouldn't leak all over the place.6. The main connector for all electrical is under the fuse box in the engine compartment on the driver's side. I found it best to unbolt the two screws holding the fuse box to the inside of the fender and push it out of the way. Then there are two square connectors about half way down on the fire wall each with 1 bolt holding it together. Take out each bolt and jiggle the connector free. If you don't do this, you cannot get the dash back far enough to extract the heater core.7. Although I was able to complete the job without doing this, it would have been a little easier if you remove the stick shift.8. The Chilton's did a pretty good job of enumerating all the electrical connectors to be disconnected, except 1. More on this later. Oh yes, disconnect the hood latch and the parking break levers from the bottom of the dash under the steering wheel. Also remove the sheet metal knee bumper thingie. (OK, the Chilton's was maybe a little more helpfull than I give it credit for)9.There are 6 bolts that hold the dash to the body, two on the left side pillar, one on the right side pillar and 3 on the top under the windshield. Take the lower ones out first. Carefully pry up the defroster trim under the windshield. One bolt is about centered with the glove box, loosen this - don't remove yet. The other two are on the driver's side about centered on the steering wheel and 6 inches apart. Take one out and loosen the other. A 13mm socket on two 8" ratchet extenders gets to them pretty easy. Don't whack the windshield with the ratchet handle.10. I positioned two adjustable jack stands under the dash to support the weight. I used some rope to tie the dash to the two passenger assist handles in the upper door frame. I was then able to remove the remaining two screws and work the dash back supporting the weight on the stands and stabilizing it with the ropes - all by myself!11. That connector that Chilton's didn't mention is on the driver's side on the top inside of the dash - it was blue and not too big - came apart easy. But you cannot get to it until you've moved the dash out a bit.12. Now things are getting interesting - I assume you have some idea of exactly where the heater core is located - see picture. It's in the plenum that you can see behind the glove box. What is not obvious is what is holding the plenum to the firewall. There is one 5/16 bolt with big washer you can see under the glove box. There are 3 similar holding the plastic AC plenum to the firewall. (remove the thin aluminum shield inside the engine compartment). Take all of these out and wonder why the plenum will not come loose!...First, there is another screw about midway across the firewall and about half way down. It may be hidden by the insulation on the wall but there is a small hole there. But the real deceit comes from the two nuts that are on the same studs holding the AC plenum against the wall. Yes folks, there are tandem nuts!! One at the top, one at the bottom. (This is a good time to mention that I make a habit of holding a magnetic rod near the nut or bolt I'm taking off so as not to loose it when it falls - did I mention I've done this before?) Remove these (need 7/16 open end) and the heater plenum falls off the wall and bares its innards...12. Removing the old core is insultingly simple considering what it took to get here (see picture).Now, here's the real cliche - re-assembly is the reverse of disassembly (duh!). But true, and, in this case, easier that the disassembly since now I knew where everything was. Don't forget about the little blue connector to the upper left of the dash.The screws that mount the dash to the frame are tapered so they go back in pretty easy I use a little anti-seaze just to help things get started.
Posted on Jan 27, 2013
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
SOURCE: heater core replacement
It's one of the easiest cores to replace that I have encountered. Disconnect heater hoses at firewall. Probably doesn't matter about hose placement, but I always mark them just in case. To remove the fiber cover under dash, take a flat blade screwdriver and pry out the center pin of the expansion clips that hold it in place. There are four 5/16 head screws that hold the bottom/drain tray cover. Core will pull through the firewall and then down. You may have to silicone/glue or replace the foam seal strips on the new core. Before you install the core, check the distance between the inlet and outlet tubes to ensure they match the openings in the firewall. This saves time. It helps if you have someone on the outside to guide you when stabbing the tubes through the firewall. Replace bottom cover. You may have to hold one of the tubes when reinstalling the first hose to the core. Replace any lost coolant and check for leaks prior to reinstalling the fiber cover. If the cover seal is in good condition, any leak should drain through the firewall, otherwise it may leak inside cab. .
Posted on Sep 10, 2008
allow the system to cool down
take radiator cap loose to release pressure
once pressure is released tighten cap
loosen clamps on the heater hoses in the engine compartment on the pass. side of firewall.
plug or cap off the heater core tubes to prevent spillage when you pull it into the truck
place a trash bag on floorboard in case spillage occurs
remove the five screws holding the heatre core access cover, three on top and two on bottom
carefully pull heater core back and down and remove it from the dash
install is reverse
Hope this helps
Posted on Mar 29, 2009
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