View Full Version : heater core in a 97'
12-04-2006, 08:18 AM
The Heater core in my 97' just went out. How big of a pain am I looking at to replace it? If I'm not mistaken, it looks as if it's under the dash directly in the center, instead of on the passenger side which looks like a whole lotta work. Any more info would be greatly appreciated.
12-07-2006, 10:38 AM
I just did this on my 96. Not too hard, but took some time. The hardest part is wiggling the pieces out under the dashboard as there's not a lot of room down there. There's basically 2 big pieces that go around the heater core - forming one big plastic module - maybe a foot by a foot. Plus, another piece in front that connects to the vents.
One big hint - I disassembled the module piece by piece, removing each one individually, making it easier to slide them out. I then assembled the thing seperately and put it back in as one big piece - making it easier to guide the heater core nozzles into the holes. That was a *tight* fit though, and I had to pry the lower brackets below the temp controls back to get a little room.
Also, be aware of the drain on the passenger side of the module - it goes through the firewall - about six inches from the core nozzles. And the hoses connecting to the core nozzles can be difficult to remove - but if your core is already shot it's not a huge deal if they snap.
Took maybe half a day, but I went slow. Not fun, but doable. Good luck.
12-07-2006, 03:56 PM
thanks for the info jonnymac. I'm prolly gonna tear into it this weekend, hopefully I can get it fixed in a day.
12-08-2006, 04:44 PM
yeah heater cores suck to do. Just a pain to get at everything. It can be done by anyone, but it does take time. If its your first its not fun. You'll probly call your car every name in the book, but it will get done.
12-11-2006, 07:28 PM
Hey guys, I took a look under the dash but didn't get real far. The black plastic pieces that are under the dash directly behind the stereo and thermostat controls is what I have to take off correct? Do I need to take the center console out to have more room to work? Any more info you guys could share would be very appreciated.
12-12-2006, 12:22 PM
Yes - those black pieces need to come off - the core is in there. I removed the front face off the dash (screws above gage displays and in the empty space below the temp controls) to get a little more room. Note the light controls on the left of the steering wheel - disconnect those to get the whole piece off - you really gotta wiggle it out.
To get to the core - First layer connects to the vent hoses at the top of that piece. Slide those off, remove the screws and that will come off. That piece is hinged in the middle, and connects in a wierd way to the floor - best way to describe it is that there's 2 "footers" that slide in. Push those back at the base and use the hinge to get room to get that out. You'll see - just remember there's a lot of twisting and turning to get these things out - not too much room.
There's a 2 piece black module with the core in the middle - they're just screwed together. I removed the bottom part first and slid it out. Be careful with the drain nozzle on the back. Also note the carpet and insulation back there - you'll have to pull some back and work that a bit to get it free.
Then I pulled the top part off with the heater core still attached - work the heater core nozzles through the firewall.
To reassemble I put the whole thing together and put it in as one (after several frustrated attempts to assemble it individually under the dash).
Just remember there's lots of twisting and turning to get these pieces out and there's barely enough room. Just be very patient, take lots of deep breaths and if you're stuck it helps to get up and walk away for a few minutes. Don't frustrate yourself and break a piece. It can be done, but just takes time - especially if you've never done it before.
Of course remember to drain all your antifreeze first - and there will be some spillage. Put a clean rag in the hoses when you disconnect them. That helps, but it will be messy.
12-13-2006, 07:53 PM
thanks for the info Jonnymac; that is very helpful. I def. don't have to worry about draining the coolant........It all got dumped as I was trying to get off the road when the damn thing broke to start with hahaha. I'm really hating the location of the heater core in these cars, huge pain in the ass. I've got it halfway disassembled; just haven't had much time to even mess with it. Thanks again for the reply, the info will def. come in handy. --Brad--
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