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As some of you know, I've been stalling on changing my heater core. It didn't produce much heat, and lately it was leaking at the connections. So I finally gave it two whole days, and got it done! Some observations:
1. It is a LONG job, not real hard, but lots of stuff to remove. You have to remove the entire dashboard, and the entire heater box. (picture attached)
2. I'm glad I bought a new heater motor ($27) and changed that while I was in the heater box. I wouldn't want to have to pull that one again!
3. Removing the entire dash, including connections to engine compartment allowed me to find some corroded connectors and clean them up.
4. Leaky connectors were my fault. Over-tightened the hoses earlier, they started to flatten out. New core is aluminum, not copper, so I was REAL careful when tightening the hoses this time!
5. Runs fine now. Will finish trim tomorrow. Too cold and dark now!

Picture shows how empty a cab can be without a dash or HVAC box!
 

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damn yeah that looks like a big headache of a job. ive been lucky enough not to have to do that yet. (know on wood). hope it all goes back together for you well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Niebs! I did get it all back and working today. All circuits work, with the one exception of a nagging "air bag" warning light. Probably have to re-check some connections. The heat is great, both on floor and defrost. Piecing the air vents together was a challenge, but everything works. Now I just have to reinstall some trim. Truthfully, it's been a while since I took so much apart, and put it all back together from memory! Still don't know where all the screws go, but I've been pretty liberal with the tie wraps going back together! LOL
:)
 

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i had the same airbag light on after i took my dash apart. it ended up being a connection popped off when a clip the unit back into my dash. and tie wraps are our friends haha.
 

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Whew, Marty, what a job! My '93 Dakota also has the no heat issue, but my core is good mechanic said, so I'll just do a back flush on it when weather warms a bit! I get barely warm enough, but I just had new water pump, thermostat, timing gasket installed, and man told me heater fire was good. I've researched, and guys who flushed the core said it gives heat again. If the core is still good.

Glad you got that done!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gene, good luck with yours. I tried the flush last year and only got a small increase in heat. Lots of corrosion in the core I suppose. But what pushed my decision to open it up was a nagging leak of coolant down both sides of the firewall, i.e. inside and out. As it turned out, it was me, who, last time (during a hose change) tightened the clamps too much, thus squeezing the tubes out of round. This time, especially with aluminum, I was very careful. I had the freon recharged yesterday, and now the HVAC puts out both very hot and very cold!
 

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did mine in my 93 last Fall id been putting it off when a small drip became a waterfall... I was POd because the AC worked so well with its original charge of R12 that I didn't want to lose but I had no choice I was gonna try and separate the heater box while bolted to the firewall good thing I didn't as there were 2 heater box screws id have never found and Id have wound up breaking the heater box....
but the heat in this truck is still underwhelming.... hoses hot T stat verified good all hoses a year old or less and the water pump is a whole month older than the heater core aftermarket (Modine) 3 row copper/brass radiator that's been to the rad shop twice to check for obstruction (I got it used from th JY but it still looked brand spankin new) heat gauge rides "just" over center when fully hot just barely takes the chill off not that good with as much below 0 weather as we have had this winter
 

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Still too rainy and cold here for me to do the core back flush. I love me Dakota, but they are notorious for no heat.
 
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