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Old 12-05-2010, 02:50 PM
BenGone BenGone is offline
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Default 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

First, take a thousand mile road trip in the winter time, while it’s raining. This will be your motivation to get that thing out no matter what. Taking out the dash can be intimidating and bypassing the heater core can lead one to put this job off until the very last minute. You can get a new heater core for around $50. Don’t forget the anti-freeze.

Second, you’ll need some tools: Haynes and Chilton aren’t much help, but they do help a little and they work better if you have both; electric drill, Phillips screwdriver, tiny flat head screwdriver (like one out of a glasses-repair-kit), 2-jaw puller (not all standard steering wheel pullers will work; must be 2 jaw; I rented one from Advance), normal sized ratchet, the smallest ratchet you can find, the biggest ratchet you can find (breaker bar), extendable magnet for dropped screws and nuts, a torque-wrench, a Torx T-50 socket bit, standard and metric sockets, deep sockets, wrenches, and a friend (or any sucker willing to help) with equal or greater mechanical knowledge than yourself. Torx screwdrivers are optional, but make a couple parts a little easier. Take notes as you go, and keep your screws organized. Here’s how I do mine:



First, make sure your tires are facing as straight-forward as possible, with your steering wheel as square as possible. Pull the battery completely out of the truck. Trust me. Out.

Take out the radio and the black plastic bezel around it. Two black 9/32 screws are between the radio and a/c controls. Take out the glove-box. Squeeze the sides and pull it out of the dash, then take out the three screws at the bottom inside the hinge. Look up inside the hole and you’ll see 2 metallic 5/16 screws holding the airbag in place. Once the screws are removed, the airbag slides right out. Disconnect the wiring (pay close attention to the metal clip). Treat the airbag like a loaded gun. Keep it pointed away from your face and body, and keep it somewhere out of the way…way out of the way.



On each side of the steering wheel are 2 plugs. Use your tiny flat head to pry them out. Behind each of those plugs is a 5/16” screw that has to come out. The horn/airbag is now free. Disconnect the wiring and put it with the other airbag (See pictures on Haynes 10-17). Under the steering column are 3 silver Phillips screws that have to come out. Now the black plastic shroud around the steering column is free…with a little prying. Use the tiny flat head. The black key guide can be removed easily too, for a little extra room.

Disconnect the e-brake and hood latch. Be careful not to release your e-brake while trying to remove the latch. Two metallic 9/32” screws hold each in place. Take off the gray panel below the steering column. Two black 9/32” screws hold it in place. The steel plate behind it is held in place by 5 metallic 5/16” screws. Take it off. Take out the two 9/32” screws that hold the gray plastic around the instrument cluster. Take out the three black 9/32” screws above the glass on the instrument cluster. Pull out the gray piece, and rotate it to the left over the steering column and turn it over. This will make it easier to disconnect the headlight switch and cab light switch.
Out:
Rotate:

Pull out the instrument bezel. Take out the four 9/32” screws that hold the cluster in place. Slide it forward and turn it face-up. This makes it easier to disconnect the wires.



Loosen the steering wheel bolt (I took mine out). Get a new bolt; don’t use the old one. It’s a T-50. Use the 2-jaw puller to remove the steering wheel. Take out the steering column bolt (13/32”; see Chilton 8-35 figure 65). It’s way under there; this is where you’ll need the smallest ratchet you can find. I used a tiny cheap one out of one of those gift kits you get at parts stores. Four nuts hold the steering column to the dash. I believe they’re ”, and you’ll need a deep socket no matter what size it is. They turn forever. Don’t take them all the way off until you’re ready to pull the steering column. Disconnect all the wiring harnesses (one has a screw that has to be loosened), then while holding the steering column, take the 4 nuts off and carefully carefully carefully pull the steering column straight out, making sure the intermediate shaft doesn’t turn. Once out, this is what it looks like:


Hang in there, you’re nowhere near done.

Take out the black panel where your defroster blows. There are 6 felt covered metal clips holding it in place. Use a flat-head to pry the clips off. Hold one hand under each clip while removing so you don’t lose them. Hang on to those little guys. When re-installing, put the metal clips back on first, then put the black piece back in. Don’t try to put it in then get the metal pieces back on.

The next step is to remove the dash screws, but this is where you need to go under the hood. We’ll come back to the dash later.

You’ve got to disconnect the blower and a/c box from the firewall to get to the nuts that hold the heater plenum chamber in the cab. This is where you can drain the cooling system. At least have a couple plugs or a bypass of some kind handy. I used a hose connecter out of a $5 Prestone radiator flush kit to by-pass the heater core. In other words, disconnect the heater hoses from the core and either plug them, or connect them somehow. There are 3 nuts and a screw (I think) that hold the blower shroud, and one nut one the firewall above the tranny. Remove. Now disconnect the washer fluid tube and run it back into the reservoir. You can let the fluid leak out onto the ground if you want. Your call. Disconnect the 3 or 4 wire connections and carefully pull the unit back and use something to leverage it out of your way, or have your buddy hold it back. It takes some finagling, but you can do it. Now you can see the nuts that have to come off to get the plenum chamber off back in the cab. I think there are 3, but I’m not sure. There may be 4. Either way, get them off.

Now go back to the cab. On the passenger side, you’ll see a nut at the lower right of the plenum chamber (black arrow). Take it off. Disconnect the vacuum connection to the heater box (red arrow).


Now you’re ready for the dash.

There are 6 bolts and 2 screws that hold the dash in place. There are 2 bolts on the left side, by the fuse panel. There is 1 on the lower right side next to the passenger door (see photo below). There is one under the windshield on the passenger side and 2 on the driver’s side. That’s 6. The 2 screws are under the windshield near the middle where the defrost blows out. Take out the side bolts and the screws first. To get to the bolts on the sides, you’ll need to first take out the black floor trim, then take out the gray plastic panels on the side walls. On the driver side, you can just gently pry the gray plastic out of the way. Disconnect all the wires you can. Don’t remove the 3 top bolts until you’re ready to take the dash out.

There are 6 of these.


When ready, remove the last 3 bolts, and lift the dash and pull it back. If you have an automatic, it should lay down if all the right wiring harnesses are disconnected. If you have a standard like mine, you’ll just have to wing it. If you want the heater chamber completely out of the vehicle, you’re on your own from here. I pulled the dash back, then reached under and pulled the heater chamber loose. I removed the 5 screws from the core cover, swapped out the core, and started putting it back together.




Installation is the reverse of the removal steps.

Precautions:
When working with airbags, disconnect the battery (remove it from vehicle) and wait a few minutes before working on or around airbags or airbag sensors to avoid accidental deployment which can cause injury, death, decapitation, and/or hilarious and embarrassing video on Youtube.

Use a new steering wheel bolt when you put the steering wheel back on. I don’t know why. Just do it.

If you use anything other than distilled water in your cooling system, you void your warranty on the new heater core.

Don’t try this if you’re not experienced. This isn’t for beginners. It was a pita for me, and I’ve been working on this specific truck for 10 years now.

Set aside a whole day.
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Last edited by BenGone; 12-09-2010 at 05:45 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2011, 08:59 AM
zebpalmer zebpalmer is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Good writeup. Not much different on the 2000 except that you don't *have* to totally pull the stearing wheel. a few bolts/screws and it'll lay down on the drivers seat, leaving plenty of room to pull the dash as a whole.

The book also wants you to discharge the AC to be able to remove it from a bolt it shares with the heater core on the engine side of the firewall. With a little willpower you can finesse it and save a lot of time and headache. I did a 2000 about 4-5 years ago, sadly, I have to do it again tomorrow. ugh. it really is a PITA.
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2011, 06:58 PM
BigNick969 BigNick969 is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Do you have to use the puller when you put the steering wheel back in? Is there a certain torque you have to put it at?
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2011, 07:06 PM
BenGone BenGone is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

The stirrin' wheel probably doesn't have to come out, but it made it easier to get under the dash. The puller doesn't have to be used to put it back on...you probably should get some help with this project.

The torque specs are in both Haynes and Chilton but I don't have them handy.
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2011, 06:18 AM
oldcarfart oldcarfart is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

...you probably should get some help with this project.


Very PC and nicely put.



The torque specs are in both Haynes and Chilton but I don't have them handy


2 grunts and a groan (grin)

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  #6  
Old 08-18-2011, 10:05 PM
cacher cacher is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Yep, replacing HC's is a joy, lol
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2011, 08:14 PM
rickhunter rickhunter is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Now that you have enlightned me I will order my heater core and allow 2 days to do this job. I like an MGD periodically during this type of fun so 2 days is reasonable. I do have some competent help so should be able to do this. Any idea on why my heat gauge flucuates. It never goes past normal and the truck has never been over heated. I have recently put a 300 mile trip on it with no problem, just a flucuating heat gauge.
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  #8  
Old 11-17-2013, 06:23 PM
Texas! Texas! is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Replaced the heater core in my 2001 Edge with 4.0 SOHC and AT yesterday. Followed these instructions but I want to add the following:
I did not remove the steering wheel. I removed 4 nuts and let the steering wheel rest in the driver's seat.
There were only 6 bolts holding the dash to the truck- 2 by the fuse box, 2 at the windshield on the driver's side, 1 at the windshield on the passenger side and 1 down low by the passenger's kick panel.
There are 7 nuts with attached washers that hold the heater plenum chamber to the firewall. 1 of them is inside the cab and it is shown in the pictorial above. 3 of them attach the AC evaporator plenum to the firewall under the hood. 2 of them are at the top and are easy to reach. The 3rd one is at the bottom of the plenum next to the engine. I had to remove the right front plastic wheel well inner liner to gain access. Once those 3 nuts are removed the AC plenum will slide away from the firewall an inch or two without disconnecting the freon lines. There are 2 more nuts that were hidden under the AC plenum but are now visible. The upper one can be removed easily. I crawled under the truck and removed the lower one from there. The 7th nut is behind the engine in the transmission tunnel. You can't see it (at least not with the 4.0) you have to feel around the insulation pad until you find a hole in it and the nut is inside the hole in the pad. I used a 3/8" ratchet and a 7/16" deep socket to get it off and on. You have to do it strictly by "feel" because you can't see it.
It was an all day job but it went back together quicker than it came apart.
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2014, 05:07 PM
titileger titileger is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Thank You very much. With your post its only take me 3-4 hours today to change mine.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2014, 12:52 PM
thefraze_1020 thefraze_1020 is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

How much different is this procedure to remove and replace the heater blend door?

Mine is a '97, I don't think it's any different, right?
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  #11  
Old 12-04-2014, 10:54 AM
Tabbasco Tabbasco is offline
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Default Re: 1998 (and associated year models) Heater Core Replacement

Thanks for the rightup...on my to-do list!
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