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Stuck on Heater Core Replacement - Need Help [RESOLVED]

mooserage

Staff member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
1,293
Location
Seattle, WA
So, I've got a leak in the heater core and started the process to replace it, but I've hit a roadblock. Hoping some of you who are experienced here can help me with the next steps since a lot of the writeups (and the FSM) don't really describe it well. I searched quite a bit and use a few posts for the process, but none really explain this part.

So far I have pulled the dash, though I just pulled the center console back rather than fully removing it (this may be part of the issue?). I've removed the bolts/nuts for the A/C evap, blower, and the heater unit.The engine bay side hoses are removed from the heater core. I am stuck on how to get the heater unit out, specifically, based on the FSM I am understanding that the evap needs to come out first, then supposedly I can get the heater core out? I'm not seeing how that is possible with the hard A/C lines running to the evap, unless I drain the system and disconnect the lines. I added a link to an image below of the current situation if it helps.

Pic of the situation

My guess is that I need to actually fully remove the center console and the parts between the heater unit and the console, and then I am hoping its all way easier than I think after that. I may be wrong though, which is why I am posting here before I proceed.

Thanks for the help!
 
Last edited:

thomcasey

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
907
Location
Indianapolis, IN
The evap is bolted partially over the center unit. You will have to be real careful to remove it without removing the evap. Might be best to have it evacuated and recharge it after. Otherwise you risk cracking your lines or evap core and snapping off the tabs that locate the center unit on the studs.
 

mooserage

Staff member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
1,293
Location
Seattle, WA
Thanks for the reply! Just to clarify, your suggestion would be to remove the A/C hard lines and pull the EVAP out into the cabin. The A/C hasn't worked for 10 years, the compressor bearing toasted and I never cared to fix it,so it wouldn't be a huge loss to empty the lines.

After that, am I just pulling the heater towards the cabin, or does it move toward the EVAPs old location and then out? Just trying to picture this before I do it.

Also, any suggestions for emptying a/c lines? Not sure if anything will be left in there after 10 years without use, but if there is I'm not sure I could capture it properly .

Thanks.
 

thomcasey

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
907
Location
Indianapolis, IN
My son just did this on his Galant. You will pull the EVAP towards the cabin, then the center core pulls toward the cabin also. Took 4 hours, start to finish, to pull the entire dash and everything to replace the core and put it back together. It looks more ominous than it really is. My galant came with the dash removed (along with all the intricate vent work behind it) and I had to put the puzzle back together. That had me wishing I didn't want the car...
 

mooserage

Staff member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
1,293
Location
Seattle, WA
Thanks for the detail, just wondering when your son did it, did he pull the whole center console/arm-rest too? I'm wondering if I need more room to get it out and should pull it, it's not too far from being ready to pull anyway.

It has been a rough adventure on this job, but if anything it has given me insight into the dash/interior and the condition of parts. If that's worth anything /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

mooserage

Staff member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
1,293
Location
Seattle, WA
Been meaning to update this with how I got through it and hopefully it helps someone else searching later.

So, this: Quote:
Yes, entire armrest and center brackets were pulled

was absolutely correct. After pulling the entire dash cover without taking out the center console, I got stuck, because I should have pulled the center console and the center support as well. Here it is before and after pulling those:


Before (No way that the heater unit would rotate or was going to come out):

IMG_20161219_230449.jpg



After (was able to rotate the assembly and get it out):

IMG_20161223_185804.jpg


Also note, you have to remove the lower vent splitter (sorry not sure on the name, but its attached to the the bottom of the heater core) to get the heater unit out, its on the driver floor in the second image.

From there I had to loosen the A/C Evap unit and was able to then pull the heater inward and rotate the top toward me until the heater core was facing upward as seen here:

(Still in the dash area):
IMG_20161223_190249.jpg


From here it is a lot of wiggling to get the heater unit assembly out of the dash, so... I didnt, I removed the core with the heater unit still in the dash area, just rotated.
 

mooserage

Staff member
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
1,293
Location
Seattle, WA
If you are like me, you bought an aftermarket heater core (mine from O'Rielly's) and found yourself in an interesting predicament when you put them side by side:

IMG_20161223_192234.jpg


The stock unit is a perfect fit and if you have the cash and foresight you should get one. It is a perfect fit and comes with the foam already attached. Honestly, if I had realized how much work it'd be to get to this point, I would've gotten one from JNZ because I never want to do this again.

But, if you are cheap, or like me, here is what I did:

First, you will need a foam to seal the unit in it's space, otherwise the air will go around the core and not heat properly. After some searching I found people recommended either camper/canopy seal or pipe insulation, both are adhesive backed. I decided to go with the pipe insulation:

IMG_20161223_203459.jpg


Next, try fitting the new heater core, note where the new core is different than the old one because you can't copy the foam exactly due to varying shapes of aftermarket cores. I found that the end tanks were fatter and almost sealed on their own, and that the sides were quite a bit skinnier than the stock so I added some extra foam. Next, add foam and test the fit and re-do it until you are satisfied.

Here is what I ended up with:

IMG_20161226_162918.jpg


IMG_20161226_162926.jpg


IMG_20161226_162932.jpg


IMG_20161226_162941.jpg


It's not the prettiest, but it did seal well. You can probably see where I added some in an attempt to mirror stock and removed it after I found mirroring the stock foam wouldn't work.

One thing to note, with this new core it did not sit as deep in the heater unit as the stock one, it took me fitting the final plates that hold the core in to realize that it would work. The aftermarket one just stuck out further than the original. So its ok if you feel it is sticking way out of the heater unit, try fitting the plates before you give up.

I also added some foam to the plate that goes through the firewall since mine literally crumbled off from being worn down by a coolant leak. Here is a shot of it being added and the last few steps:

IMG_20161226_160152.jpg


IMG_20161226_160355.jpg


Plates Installed:

IMG_20161226_164041.jpg



From there I flipped the unit back into the original position, which was very difficult and took a lot of patience and started on reassembly.

I took a lot more time than the manual would call for, but thanks to good labelled and pictures during disassembly everything worked after re-install. And the heater is HOT.
 
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