Heater Question on 87 x1/9 without air conditioning

Heater Question on 87 x1/9 without air conditioning

Art Machado
Art Machado

June 5th, 2008, 3:02 am #1

I was losing fluid and it turned out it was a loose connection on a hose. But while I was looking for the leak i pressure tested the system and when i got up to 10psi I ended up with fluid all over the floor on the driver and passenger sides. So I assume there is a leak in or around the core - has anyone had this happen before and what should I look for.

1. Do I have to take the dash off to get the core out.

2. Is it most likely a bad core or is there a typical place where a hose or whatever breaks under the dash that I can fix without taking everything apart.

3. If I have to take the dash out can somoen point me to a link or somewhere that shows me what order to take things out.
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Joined: December 21st, 2004, 3:04 am

June 5th, 2008, 6:38 am #2


1. Do I have to take the dash off to get the core out.

<EM>I believe so... I can't see any other way to gain access.</EM>

2. Is it most likely a bad core or is there a typical place where a hose or whatever breaks under the dash that I can fix without taking everything apart.

<EM>Really can't tell from your handwriting... Yur gonna haveta get under there and see.&nbsp; There are two hoses, the valve and the core.&nbsp; Get a good flashlight, some towels, pull the seat out, pad the floor and laydown upside down... then have someone crank up the pressure and see.&nbsp; Not fun... but if ya have kids... use them.</EM>

3. If I have to take the dash out can somoen point me to a link or somewhere that shows me what order to take things out.

<EM>Only generalities... Pull the insrument panel, the center console, the glovebox, and then the heater controls.&nbsp; Pull the steering wheel and then accesss the screws that hold the dash to the cowl.&nbsp; A lot of work... but I don't think you can access the core without going through all this.&nbsp; Again, if ya have kids, it makes for a great Father's Day project!</EM>

<EM>Sorry to hear of your difficulty... but if ya want... you can "BEND" the heater hose back unto itself and bypass the heater altogether to keep the car running until winter.&nbsp; Easily done standing up in the engine bay.</EM>


My best,



Tony
Black Tooth and me... since 1983!
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Eric Hamilton (Durham NC)
Eric Hamilton (Durham NC)

June 5th, 2008, 1:38 pm #3

I was losing fluid and it turned out it was a loose connection on a hose. But while I was looking for the leak i pressure tested the system and when i got up to 10psi I ended up with fluid all over the floor on the driver and passenger sides. So I assume there is a leak in or around the core - has anyone had this happen before and what should I look for.

1. Do I have to take the dash off to get the core out.

2. Is it most likely a bad core or is there a typical place where a hose or whatever breaks under the dash that I can fix without taking everything apart.

3. If I have to take the dash out can somoen point me to a link or somewhere that shows me what order to take things out.
(Disclaimer - I tried this on a '74 not an '87 - that's about as different as it can get and still be a US-spec X)

I was able to remove and replace my heater core without removing the dash, and it wasn't all that bad of a job... certainly better than I expected.

0) Remove the center console, unscrew the block holding the heater/air levers
1) Remove seats, toss a big towel on the floor (protects your back from the seat mounting hardware, sops up the coolant leakage).
2) Disconnect heater lines and fan wiring
3) Head in footwell, looking up under the dash... The heater is held in place by four nuts on studs projecting downwards from the steel shelf at the top. Unscrew these using a 10mm socket on a long extender, and the whole thing just comes out. If it is really just the core you might be able to just unsnap the four clips that hold the heater box together, and get the core out that way.

Putting it back is a two-person job. One persons lifts the assembly, positions it on the studs and holds it in place from the passenger side while the other starts the nuts on the driver's side.

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Joined: July 19th, 2007, 6:15 pm

June 5th, 2008, 2:39 pm #4

I was losing fluid and it turned out it was a loose connection on a hose. But while I was looking for the leak i pressure tested the system and when i got up to 10psi I ended up with fluid all over the floor on the driver and passenger sides. So I assume there is a leak in or around the core - has anyone had this happen before and what should I look for.

1. Do I have to take the dash off to get the core out.

2. Is it most likely a bad core or is there a typical place where a hose or whatever breaks under the dash that I can fix without taking everything apart.

3. If I have to take the dash out can somoen point me to a link or somewhere that shows me what order to take things out.
Hi Art,

Mine is all apart so if you can wait 'till tonite I can snap a bunch of snaphots and post 'em up.

Theoretically I think you could do it without taking out the center console, the seats, or the heater slider controls, although in my case heater maintenance was a byproduct of taking out all that stuff and the carpet too for other tasks.

The biggest factor is getting the fan box (the part that falls down when you undo the four clips) to move away and down enough to give enough room for the heater core to drop out. The secret there is the two small bolts that connect the fan box to the ductwork "snout" that ducts air from the fan box to the center dash vents under the heater controls. If you can remove those bolts the fan box is free to drop way down and gives you the room you need.

To get to those bolts, you have to remove that center vent. That's a very touchy process because you don't want to get in there with a KBar or big screwdriver and hack up the dash or the plastic vent face.

The trick is to disassemble your feeler gage and use the thin metal strips to release the six plastic clippy-deals that hold the louver assy into the dash. On my car it was such a tight fit that all six had to be released at once.

And I'd add one more thing....put plastic down FIRST (split a big trash bag), then put the towels down, so that your carpet is always protected for when that slimy antifreeze soaks thru the towels.
Last edited by FlyerFanDan on June 5th, 2008, 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 31st, 2006, 9:00 pm

June 5th, 2008, 3:08 pm #5

You might avoid some of the mess if you drain your radiator from the front of the car, otherwise a considerable amount of anti-freeze will siphon into your heater core when you loosen / pull the hose. You're going to have to refill / repurge the system anyway, regardless. Just another tip.

Also, I have many pictures and am going through the exact same thing now, so if you need anything specific (pictures, procedure, etc) let me know. Dan's description and tips are right on the mark and should be used.

-Bob Brown
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Joined: December 21st, 2004, 3:04 am

June 5th, 2008, 3:16 pm #6


Are you still saying you'd recommend NOT removing the dash to do this work?

It would seem to me, although I've never actually done this task, that removing the dash would be relatively simpler overall and give one a much better view of what they need to do with the heater core itself.

Whatdaya say?


My best,



Tony
Black Tooth and me... since 1983!
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Joined: December 31st, 2006, 9:00 pm

June 5th, 2008, 3:22 pm #7

It can be done without removing it.
The center console is a must, regardless.
I'm doing this, but I AM removing the dash completely.

Kind of a double-edge sword:
It's a bit more work to remove the dash but a bit less hassle
dealing with the heater components.

-Bob
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Joined: December 21st, 2004, 3:04 am

June 5th, 2008, 3:27 pm #8



My best,



Tony
Black Tooth and me... since 1983!
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<font face_"Times Bew Roman" size=1>Disclaimer: This message does not necessarily reflect the views of the sender, or, for that matter, any other carbon-based life form; Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is unintentional and coincidental; All models are 18 years of age or older; Dry clean only, do not use bleach, Tumble dry and remove immediately; Do not bend, fold, staple or mutilate; Anchovies, cheese or jalapenos may be added to orders upon request for an additional charge; Professional driver on a closed course, do not attempt to duplicate; Your actual mileage may vary; No substitutions are allowed; Available for a limited time only while supplies last; Offers are void where prohibited by law; Humor is provided "as is" without any warranties expressed or implied; The user assumes full liabilities and originator is not liable for damages due to use or misuse; We are an equal opportunity employer, with no regard to race, religion, sex, or sexual preference; No shoes, no shirt, no service; Read at your own risk; This post may contain material some may find to be objectionable; Parental advisory: Explicit lyrics; keep away from pets and small children; limit one-per-family please; No money down; No purchase necessary; Ask us about our guns-for-dope trade-in plan; You need not be present to win; Some assembly required; Batteries not included; Action figures sold separately; Contents were packed full at the factory, but may have settled during shipping; Peanuts and peanut products are produced in this establishment and also consumed by the author; Sanitized and sealed for your protection; Do not use if safety seal is broken; Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment; Safety goggles may be required during use; Use gloves when handling; Call before you dig; Use only with proper ventilation; For external use only, if a swelling, redness, rash, or irritation develops, discontinue use; Do not place near a flammable or magnetic source; Keep away from open flames; Avoid inhaling fumes or contact with mucous membranes; Contents under pressure, may explode if incinerated; Smoking may be hazardous to your health; No smoking allowed, except in designated areas; The best safeguard, second only to abstinence, is the use of a good laugh; Text is made from 100% recycled electrons and magnetic particles; No animals were harmed while writing this post; No salt, MSG, preservatives, artificial color or flavor added; If ingested, do not induce vomiting, If symptoms persist, consult a comedian; Ribbed for your pleasure, slippery when wet; Must be 18 to enter; No one under 21 allowed; We check IDs to age 40; Seniors Welcome; Ask for our Senior Menu; Present discount coupons to cashier before totaling; An 18% gratuity will be added to the total for parties of 8 or more; We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Return all carts to the store; No dogs allowed, except for the visually impaired; Penalties for early withdrawal, one size fits all; Offer is valid only at participating sites; Prices slightly higher west of the Rockies; Allow four to six weeks for delivery; If defects are found, do not attempt a repair, return to an authorized service center; Please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete stop; Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear; Fasten seat belts; In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from above, cover your face first, then assist those around you. Your seat cushion may be used as a floatation device. This disclaimer is invalid in the event of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, sonic booms, vibration, electromagnetic radiation from nuclear blasts or any other act of war, unauthorized repair, improper installation, misuse, typos, misspelled words, missing or altered signatures, and incidents owing to computer or disk failure, accidental file deletions, and Acts of God. Other restrictions may, or may not apply.</font>
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Joined: July 19th, 2007, 6:15 pm

June 6th, 2008, 3:19 am #9

Hi Art,

Mine is all apart so if you can wait 'till tonite I can snap a bunch of snaphots and post 'em up.

Theoretically I think you could do it without taking out the center console, the seats, or the heater slider controls, although in my case heater maintenance was a byproduct of taking out all that stuff and the carpet too for other tasks.

The biggest factor is getting the fan box (the part that falls down when you undo the four clips) to move away and down enough to give enough room for the heater core to drop out. The secret there is the two small bolts that connect the fan box to the ductwork "snout" that ducts air from the fan box to the center dash vents under the heater controls. If you can remove those bolts the fan box is free to drop way down and gives you the room you need.

To get to those bolts, you have to remove that center vent. That's a very touchy process because you don't want to get in there with a KBar or big screwdriver and hack up the dash or the plastic vent face.

The trick is to disassemble your feeler gage and use the thin metal strips to release the six plastic clippy-deals that hold the louver assy into the dash. On my car it was such a tight fit that all six had to be released at once.

And I'd add one more thing....put plastic down FIRST (split a big trash bag), then put the towels down, so that your carpet is always protected for when that slimy antifreeze soaks thru the towels.
So ya gotta get the center air vent out. It's got EIGHT tabs (I wrote six earlier, my mistake), four on the upper surface (circled in green) and four on the lower surface.


Here's the opening it's in, quite securely:


I disassembled my feeler gage and used the thin metals strips, sliding them between the frame of the opening and the tabs. The yellow represents the feeler gage:


Once it's out, you can remove the two bolts holding the duct snout to the fanbox. Here's the inside of the snout, and the bolts would be where the red arrows are:


Here's the corresponding captive nuts in the fanbox, also red arrows:


Now you can separate the fan box from the snout duct and can unclip the upper stationary half from the lower half. The fan wires are on the DS an on my car they were just spade connectors wrapped in electrical tape. In this pic see the green circles. The fan ground is a thin black wire that is secured using an eye terminal on one of the four studs that holds the upper half of the fan/heater box to the underside of the cowl (purple arrow). Needless to say, if you don't have enough slack to work with, it's better to just snip that wire halfway and use a butt splice when it's time to reassemble:


Here's a pic of the heater, heater valve, and two hoses taken from the PS footwell:
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Joined: July 19th, 2007, 6:15 pm

June 6th, 2008, 3:33 am #10

...was thatwhen running, there was a noise in the fan box that sounded like there was something brushing against the fan blades. Turns out there were lots of maple tree "whirlybirds" and other natural debris on the upper surface of the heater core, so I vacuumed 'em out.
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