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Lotta work - need to remove dashboard to get to heater core - and before disconnecting heater core hoses you have to remove all coolant from car by draining radiator and opening heater valve to full heat. Remove core, replace with new one and reverse other operations. Make sure to properly refill radiator so there are no air pockets that will restrict coolant flow.
The reason in why you must evacuate the a/c system with an a/c machine before you can remove the heater core is because the evaporator is located inside of the heater core box assembly. So before the heater core box assembly can be removed the a/c system must be evacuated then you can disconnect the a/c lines that go through the firewall to the evaporator.
then remove hoses to heater core
then remove wires going to heater core circuit board
then remove heater core
replace it and put everything back together without messing anything under your dashboard.
Mechanics charge between $700 to $1000 to replace one.
If the core is not leaking (wet passenger side floor) you may want to try a reverse flush before touching anything, remove the 2 hoses in the engine compartment at the firewall leading to the heater core and with a garden hose flood the heater core connector until it the water is clear then do the other connector.
If that don't work and your not sure you can do the replacement correctly don't do it.
Detach the heater core hoses at the firewall. The two black hoses attach near the firewall on the passenger's side of the engine compartment. Squeeze the hose clamps on the end of the hoses with pliers and slide the hoses from the heater core tubes.
4Remove the lower passenger's-side and driver's-side dashboard panels. The two panels are held in with push-pins. Raise the center of the push-pins with a small, standard screwdriver and pull the pins from the panels. Pull the panels away from the dashboard to separate them from the dashboard.
5Remove the center console. Separate the gear select trim piece from the center console, using a small standard screwdriver to pry the trim piece from the center console. Lift it over the shift knob and rotate it to clear the knob. Remove the retaining screws holding the center console in place with a Phillips screwdriver. Lift the console up over the shift knob and remove it from the interior.
6Remove the glove box. Open the door to the glove box. Squeeze the two retaining tabs on the ends of the glove box and pull the glove box away from the dashboard. Remove it from the interior.
7Detach the drain tube from the heater core cover, which is located behind the glove box. The tube can be pulled from the heater core cover by hand. Detach the air intake duct from the bottom of the heater core cover. The air intake duct runs from the bottom of the cover to the center of the dashboard. Remove the duct by hand.
8Remove the retaining screws on the black heater core cover with a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the cover from the heater core and remove it from the interior. Remove the heater core clamp screw with a Phillips screwdriver, pull the clamp away from the heater core, then pull the heater core from the housing.
9Place the replacement heater core against the housing. Place the clamp over the heater core and install the clamp retaining screw with a Phillips screwdriver. Position the heater core cover over the heater core and install the retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.
10Attach the drain tube and the air intake duct to the heater core cover.
11Install the glove box. Squeeze the retaining tabs on the sides of the glove box and push it into position against the dashboard. Release the tabs when the glove box is in position.
12Install the center console. Guide the console over the shift knob and install the retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver. Slip the shift selector trim piece over the shift knob and push it into the center console.
13Place the lower passenger's-side and driver's-side dashboard panel in position. Install the push-pins into the retaining holes, pushing the in center of the pin to engage the pins.
14Fill the radiator with coolant. Most climates require a 50/50 mix of DEXCOOL coolant and water. 2.2L engines require 8.6 qts., 2.4L
Drain the cooling system. Draining the cooling system will prevent toxic engine coolant from leaking into the passenger cabin of the vehicle during removal of the heater core. To drain the cooling system, simply disconnect the lower radiator hose from the radiator by loosening the hose clamp and pulling the hose off. Be sure to drain the fluid into a sealable container and dispose of the coolant at an appropriate disposal site.
2Pull the dashboard six inches rearward. In order to do this, you must remove the following parts; the center dash bolt (located under the defroster vent cover), the bolts under the driver and passenger kick boards, the bolt connecting the dashboard to the radio mount, and the the bolt connecting the dashboard to the rear of the glove box. The locations of these bolts are immediately apparent upon looking under the dash. Once you have removed these bolts, you can pull the dashboard rearward and secure it.
3Remove the heater core box. The heater core box is a black plastic box that surrounds the heater core. This part should be visible when looking down into the dashboard from the passenger side seat. Remove the two bolts on top holding it to the firewall and another on the bottom near the foot well. After removal of these bolts, the heater core and box are attached to the vehicle only by the coolant lines, which you can now disconnect by reaching into the box and pulling them off of the heater core (you may have to loosen the clamps first).
4Install the new heater core. This is accomplished by applying steps 1 through 3 in reverse order; re-connect heater core coolant line, re-install heater core box (be sure to apply silicon sealant to the edges of the box, hermetically sealing it), replace the dashboard and install bolts, and re-fill the cooling system.
need to remove dashboard, all things on it must be remove to have the full access to the heater core. partly it is made of aluminum. and find holder to be remove so the entire heater core can be remove.
Only partial disassembly of the dash is required, however the the entire heater case must be removed to get the heater core out. This means that you also have to discharge the A/C and disconnect the A/C lines because the A/C Evaporator is in the same housing.