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i assume the shop was talking about heater core being bad and even if heater core is bad they should be able to test for a head gasket being bad actually you can totally bypass the heater core so there no reason to fix that before you check for a head gasket being bad and if you have run for three months without coolant you will be extremely lucky if the head gasket not blown or head or block cracked i would do nothing about the heater until car is checked for blown head gasket honestly i would take the car some where else because they are either trying to screw u or have no idea of what there doing
it is under the dash in the center of the dash.remove the heater hoses from underneath the vehicle,remove the sound insulaters from under the dash,remove the air duct,and remove heater core access panel screws, remove heater core straps,remove heater core.
You should get a Haynes manual. You have to go on the inside of the vehicle and remove the panels, to get to the heater core. Then you have to jack the vehicle up to remove the heater core from the hoses. This is a tedious job and takes time. But not to difficult. I'm not a mechanic, and it took me about 4 hours.
check heater hoses,they go from back of motor to heater connections on firewall.if you replace them,split old hose[s] with a razor knife & cut away.pulling or twisting on heater core connections may damage them.
You will need to pull the dash assembly away from the firewall slightly and remove duct work from heater case on right (passenger)side then the heater core cover,the 2 bands that secure heater core,drain cooling system,remove the 2hoses,and swop out old heater core.
Aside from disconnecting your heater hoses, the only fix is to replace the "heater core". The "heat" function of your climate control system relies on heated engine coolant to work. The small elbow that you describe, is most likely the condensate drain. The "heater core" and the "evaporator core(for the a/c)", are located beneath the dash assembly in an enclosed housing. The "heater core" should be serviceable without removing the complete housing as with some vehicles. I hope this helps