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Heater Core Replacement - The Missing Steps

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by ttbit, January 16, 2012.

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    1. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      I am just wrapping up a heater core install in my 2001 Sport Trac and thought I would share some gotchas I ran into. There is an online "howto" with videos by a certified mechanic that can be found using a Google search, but there are some very important steps missing.

      When removing the blower fan/evap assy, there is another stud inside the passenger compartment. Also there is a vaccum connection you need to undo:

      [​IMG]

      There are connectors you will want to remove before unbolting the dash assy:

      [​IMG]

      There is a bolt by the accelerator pedal that will allow the dash to move down a little more to give clearance.

      [​IMG]

      There is a 4th stud in the engine compartment holding the heater box in place. It was very hard to get to, in my case. This is not shown in the video or the Ford manual that I own. It states there are 4 studs, but only points to 3. Here is the 4th one:

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Once you have all the proper bolts removed, you can easily remove the top cover to the heater box assy to pull the core, unlike in the video where it is not nearly far back enough to remove. For me, it was still very tight getting the core out and in, but doable. That interior computer the mechanic is talking about in the video is actually the engine PCM. It can easily be removed from the engine compartment if you want to pull the heat sink.

      I have the big console from a '96 Explorer, so I removed it to make room. I did not have to remove the seats, but it might make it a little easier if you do.

      Hope this helps someone out.

      Don
       
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    3. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      Good info, thanks for sharing!
       
    4. Tekreck

      Tekreck New Member

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      It looks like you have to remove the engine to get to that 4th stud.
       
    5. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      That's what I thought. The marks on my hands are starting to go away finally. :)
       
    6. Turdle

      Turdle Check it out Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Because this repair is often a killer for the truck, I have stuck this thread. Thanks!!!
       
    7. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Great! I hope it helps someone.
       
    8. neepawa

      neepawa New Member

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      Wow, I wish you had posted this a few week earlier. I just finished doing mine, and the few missing details that you showed were a real challenge. I also watched the videos, and other than being out of sequence and missing information, they were very helpful.

      The one thing you didn't touch on (and the videos skipped) was getting the center console out. There are two bolts behind the trip computer (at the front) and two under the cup holders. But to get it out, I had to remove the rear cup holders and attach a come-along to the steel frame (at the bottom). I hooked the other end of the come along to the tie-downs in the back of the explorer. The console has to move back about 2" to unhook from the fingers that are under the armrest area. I read other posts that said you can pull it by hand, or beat it with a hammer on the bracket under the Kleenex holder. That may work for some, but I needed the come-along.

      Putting it back together was actually easier than I thought. Good luck
       
    9. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      Oh yeah. I swapped a 96 Ex full console into my 2001 ST some years ago, so my console is custom mounted. It was a pain to get that thing out the first time.
       
    10. lizardflats

      lizardflats New Member

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      Great post!

      I ran into all those problems doing my heater core a year ago or so. I posted some of the problems to another thread, but this is a great summary with the pictures.

      I even got a PM from someone having problems and it was the 4th nut holding the heater box on that is behind the center of the engine. I had to lay across the intake manifold in order to reach down to that one.
       
    11. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      hahaha...That was me. I gave you credit in another thread too! :)

      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2884895#post2884895

      It was frustrating enough for me to do a write-up. :)
       
    12. lizardflats

      lizardflats New Member

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      @ttbit: thanks!
      It's all of us helping each other that make this place so cool.
      That mechanic in the video looked and sounded SO convincing, but he obviously took some shortcuts (or maybe he was TRYING to mess with our minds as we struggled after watching his "how to").

      Your post is a great documentation of the pitfalls.
       
    13. lizardflats

      lizardflats New Member

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      @ttbit: thanks!
       
      Last edited: February 28, 2012
    14. SoNic67

      SoNic67 Well-Known Member

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      Dude, I wish you posted that in the section about changing the O2 sensors!!!
      I am in the same situation, my center console won't move at all! Your ideea is great, I might try it again like that... once I can borrow a comealong.
       
    15. crunchie_frog

      crunchie_frog Active Member

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      Thanks ttbit for the tips! Not sure I would have been successful doing this job without them. How long did it take for the cuts to heal on your hands for the 4th bolt? I was hoping I could manage to squeeze out the heater core without removing the 4th bolt, but I could not. For those who are going to do this, I used a regular 11 mm socket with stubby ratchet and once I broke it loose, I used a thumbwheel and socket to back it off. I went in from the top and it helps to have your hand and forearm greasy and sweaty to slide between the parts to get to the bolt.

      Also, for the center console I removed the rear vent system so I could see the connection fittings between the console and the floor. Mine was stuck / slightly rusted, and used PB blaster and tapped it with a hammer forward to break it loose and I was then able to pull it back and off.
       
    16. ttbit

      ttbit Elite Explorer

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      I can tell you that the metal cuts are better than the plastic ones. :)

      Glad you got it worked out!
       
    17. bigcrunch

      bigcrunch Active Member

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      I finished replacing the heater core in my 2000 mounty, I have these 3 screws left over from the front dash. Anyone have any idea where these zinc coated screws are installed?


      [​IMG]
       
    18. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      Glove box hinge?
       
    19. bigcrunch

      bigcrunch Active Member

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      No have that covered, but thanks..
       
    20. dr224

      dr224 New Member

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      Thanks.

      most of mine went to the metal panel under the steering wheel/column area. 1 was in the center by the accelerator pedal holding the dash panel shown in the picture.

      This post helped me save a bunch of time. That 4th screw though was a sneaky lil sucker. I got it with a 11mm socket and a swivel joint socket adaptor and my socket wrench. I didn't release my a/c freon, just pulled the blower and evaporator. It's been a pain. Next time I'll cough up the money to do it(if I can). Well now I have some extra cash to buy some Valentine's day gifts for my wife.
       
    21. Mike65

      Mike65 Elite Explorer

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      In our 99 Explorer Sport I had to remove the full length console to replace the carpet. I removed both front seats & after removing the 2 screws at the dash, & the 2 screws that go into the bracket on the floor I still could not get the console to move. There are 2 screws (one on each side of the console) that attach the console retainer bracket to the console body I removed both of them making the bracket loose. When I got behind the console & gave a couple tugs it came right out. Hope this helps out someone else trying to remove their console.
       
    22. lorraine1

      lorraine1 Member

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      mine was a little different except for the wire hook ups or plug ins,they tell me each one is a little different from the other.
       
    23. skydude

      skydude New Member

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      Heater core issue?

      Hi guys.
      Question from a Norwegian here; I've had the pin-in-actuator (for the blend door) fix on my 98 Explorer (4L SOHC, 4x4) for a few years now but as it started getting cold last year, I couldn't get any heat from my ventilation system. I just assumed that the temporary fix had seen the end of its days so I moved along in the forum and found and did the blend door (Rock Auto) replacement through the bottom of the plenum. Before I sealed off the bottom I made sure that the new door worked, being able to see through the cracks.
      However I am not getting any heat! I still seems like the door turns around its pivotpoint when I adjust the temperature (sound/tactile indications), there is no leak from underneath the plenum and the entire plenum is not getting warm at all... Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Chris
       
    24. koda2000

      koda2000 Well-Known Member

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      Are both heater hoses in the engine compartment getting hot? If not it may be that your heater control valve is not working, or that your heater core is clogged. Have you verified that your engine is getting up to full operating temp (around 195 degrees F)? If not you may need to replace your thermostat. Are your HVAC directional controls working (VENT, FLOOR, DEFROST)? If not you may have a vacuum leak which is preventing the heater control valve (which is vacuum actuated) from opening. When you loose vacuum the air will only come out of the defroster vents.
       
    25. skydude

      skydude New Member

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      Wow, that was quick, thanks! I am getting air from the different vents as I turn the direction knob so that's one issue eliminated. Tempereture gage is showing normal operating temperatures, but whether these are true or not, don't know...I'll get the truck out one of these days and check the remaining potential culprits. Thanks again !
       
    26. skydude

      skydude New Member

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      Feeling a bit stupid

      It's only 15-20 degrees F here now so I have been reluctant to do any troubleshooting. But after reading a bit I decided to top off on the coolant even though the fluid level in the expansion tank was steady. As I neared 4qts! I was beginning to see the fluid through the filler hole but unfortunately the fluid started seeping out through a crack at the radiator/body attachment point! So I guess as the fluid gets warmer it escapes through that crack and neither expansion tank nor heater core gets any fluid...- or the problem for the latter is all the air in the system?? The vent air in the cab is still cold even after all this and the hoses through the firewall are only marginally luke warm.
      ---------
      - 2 days later: of course, replacing the radiator did the trick! So now I have a new and improved blend door and a "new" radiator to carry me through the winter:)
       
      Last edited: January 8, 2016

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