So hopefully the removal went ok for you and you’ve sourced a replacement heater core and are ready to get the mess back together. We bought our replacement from EBay, the price was right and the quality seems to be right up there with anywhere else available. It also came with a new factory-looking bracket and foam for between the bracket and firewall, indicating it could be an original replacement part. You can check these out on EBay HERE.
Before we rush into fitting the new heater core there is what I believe to be a temp sensor that needs to be removed from the heater box before the core goes in. It is located on the drivers side of the heater box and has a type of spring clip holding it in place. With the core removed this spring clip pushes the sensor out at an angle stopping the new core from going all the way in. The top ducting piece on that side needs to be removed by pushing the centre out of the little plastic fastener. The clip securing the sensor can the be pulled out with a small screwdriver and then the sensor will come out. I removed it completely to photograph it but you should only have to remove the screw on the electrical connection to be able to get it all the way out. You will probably notice that it’s sealed in position also, I just used some hi-temp sealant to seal it up after refitting.
Remove the ducting pictured above and the bracket beside it if need be (10mm bolt)
With the sensor removed we can start to slide the new core into place, carefully! The blower motor housing and the wiring harness will need to be moved around as you go to get the most room. I waited until it was almost in to fit the foam to the pipes. The pipes can swivel where they join but be very careful moving them as the alloy is very thin and weak.
With the core pushed all the way in the metal and then the plastic bracket can be fitted.
Around the other side the temp sensor can be refitted by sliding it into place and while holding onto the wire slide the clip into position. Screw the wiring connector bracket in and connect the wiring and put some sealant around the hole and Bob’s your uncle. Refit the ducting by fitting the outside of the plastic fastener first and then pushing the center piece in. Refit the bracket if you removed it.
Now over to the passengers side and we can start bolting the blower motor housing back in place with the one 10mm bolt and two flat nuts (use vise grips/multi-grips). We can then fit the top section of the middle piece of the heater/air cond. box with one 10mm bolt and an 8mm/Phillips Head screw. The two brackets holding the a/c pipes to this section can then be fitted.
The top piece of ducting can now be fitted. I found coming in from the top and then rotating it once in rough position worked ok. We then have a few electrical underneath to refit (blower motor connection etc).
Next up fit the lower ducting piece in place.
And the lower middle piece can go back in with it’s four clips (the back ones are a bit of a mission) and it needs to go up and over the small metal bracket to the right first. Connect the fan speed resistor wiring, the 10mm bolt and 8mm/Phillips Head screw and slide the electrical box back onto it’s bracket.
Believe it or not the majority of the painful stuff is done now. All downhill from here, mostly!
The dash frame can now be bolted back in place. With a bit of manoeuvring you should be able to get it to line up again via the alignment pins on each side and the bolts that protrude through the firewall on the drivers side. Now the securing bolts can be started but don’t tighten any until they are all in place and everything is lined up again. One the passengers side there are two 12mm bolts at the outer edge and two 12mm bolts in the centre reinforcing. On the drivers side there is two 12mm bolts in the centre reinforcing and three 5mm allen head bolts in the door jamb and the two 12mm nuts in the engine bay.
With everything started we can now go around and tighten everything up, making sure that there is no wiring or anything caught anywhere. Once all tight the A/C lines can be reconnected.
Then the two glovebox brackets can be refitted (10mm bolts) and the ducting done each side of the console can be refitted.
Now the dashboard shell can be refitted. Once the three lugs at the front are lined up it should just push in and locate, keeping an eye out to make sure the instrument cluster wiring is through where it needs to be and the door seal on each side will have to be pulled back and moved out of the way for the dash to locate properly. Refitting the two 10mm bolts at each side will help to keep the dash in place.
Over on the passengers side the airbag wire needs to be routed behind the reinforcing bar and connected up again. Be sure to fold the green flap part of the connector back over and the two 10mm bolts can be refitted to the lower part of the airbag bracket.
In the centre of the dash we need to reconnect the wiring to the climate control sensor.
On the drivers side the instrument cluster connectors can be clipped into place if you haven’t already done so and there is a 10mm bolt that sits behind the cluster that needs to be refitted. The mirror and fog light switches also need to be connected back up. These can be a bit of a mission, I found coming in from the side the easiest way. There is one 10mm bolt that goes down the bottom corner of the dash on this side as well.
Next up the instrument cluster can go in with it’s 4 screws and the surround after that, it has clips down the bottom and 2 screws up the top and putting the bottom in first works best I find. The steering column can then be lifted up and bolted in with the four 12mm bolts. The brake pedal return spring usually falls off so make sure you refit that while you’re at it.
The steering column shroud can then be fitted. The front two screws will hold the bottom in place and the top will clip onto this and the remaining screw can be fitted. Now we can go to the center of the dash and fit the two 10mm bolts on each side. Don’t completely tighten these bolts yet as you will more than likely need a bit of movement to get the stereo back in correctly.
Now we can fit the RV Meter, 4 screws and an electrical connection for this. Next we can fit the stereo, ensuring that the antenna is connected and if you have a CD stacker, the lead is connected to the back of the stereo for this. Once you are sure the locating lugs on each side of the stereo towards the back are correctly located you can tighten the four 10mm bolts mentioned above. The heater controls can then be fitted, four screws, an electrical connection and temp sensing hose/pipe for that one.
The fascia can now be fitted, ensuring that you have plugged the hazard light switch in and the easiest way I found to fit it is top in first then clip the bottom in and refit the two top screws.
The glove boxes can be fitted next. The three 10mm bolts along the bottom of the dash should be fitted first, and then the lower glove box simply clips into place and lift it up and the stops can be fitted from the inside.
The top glove box can then be fitted in place and the five screws fitted, including the striker. The two tapered screws go in each outer edge.
For the sake of completeness I fitted the two trim panels on each side of dash and the pillar trims and handles at this point, made me feel like I was actually getting somewhere!
Up next is the bottom front part of the console, two screws at the back and one each side at the front with a clip over cover (and yes I did remove whatever-it-was that was all over the underneath of the console and the floor did get a thorough vacuuming before reassembly – fries and a coke anyone 🙂 )
Next the CD stacker can be fitted, one connection and four screws for this. The console fascia can be fitted now, ensuring that the main connector is in and the two screws are fitted in the front and the ashtray is refitted.
Fit the rear part of the console making sure to plug in the rear a/c controls and power source plug. There are two screws at the front and two inside for this.
Now fit the centre section ensuring that the power for the shifter lights is plugged in. The front clips in under the forward section and there are two screws at the rear of this.
Now we can refit the transfer lever by screwing it down tight but don’t over-tighten as it will never stay in the same place! The main shifter is a little tricky to get back on and will only slide right done into place when everything is lined up. Refit the two screws and lift the lower surround part up into place. Refit the cup holder and then we only have a bit of the drivers side dash to finish off.
Refit the panel beneath the steering column (it will clip into place until you can get the screws in) ensuring that the fuel door and bonnet latch cables are protruding through their respective holes.
Refit the top and bottom screws and then the levers can be attached to their cables and screwed into place, two screws per lever.
Time to fit the seats, making sure to plug the electrics in if you have them. In the engine bay the air intake can be refitted if you removed it to get to the nuts at the firewall and the battery negative terminal can be reconnected. The coolant level will also have to be checked and topped up and rechecked once the engine has been running and the heater confirmed as working and naturally the A/C will have to be regassed by your favourite A/C Technician.
Now if you have made it this far without going around the twist or ripping all of your hair out, which wouldn’t be much in my case, then you deserve a huge pat on the back. You have just saved yourself what I would imagine to be the best part of a thousand dollars (12 or so years ago we were paying around $600 for an auto elecy to do a heater core or a/c evaporator so I imagine it would be up around a grand these days) and you’ve completed a job that not even a lot of tradespeople will attempt. Well done! If you have any questions or queries I will be on holidays for at least a month after doing this job and writing it up…. just kidding, leave a comment below 🙂