Heater Core Replacement - 08/13/2011

Since I now live in the bay area, it gets cold in the winter and rains. I need heat to avoid making it be a completly miserable driving experience. The car DOES have a heater core in it... but since it still had the ribbed factory hoses, I bet it probably hasn't ever been changed and leaks...

The new heater core. Amazing how long that return tube is...

Easy enough to begin, just jack the car up and remove the tire.

The original hoses. You can't reach the bottom one as the inner fender is in the way (great design).

The old blower motor. Rather than risk it dying, I just decided to change it anyways since I AM here. Lots of former critter nests to clean out.

Even inside the blower housing there are critters!

New blower motor is installed, perfect fit & function.

Heater box is out. Don't let the size fool you... it was practically impossible to get out. Had to remove the console, ALL ductwork, AND raise the dash 6" to get it out. And yes, the old heater core had corrosion all over it and leaked like it was going out of style. Good thing I didn't try and hook it up to find out the hard way!

Unfortunately my defroster ducts broke. The upper parts that mount to the dash shattered to dust in my hands, the Arizona sun isn't forgiving. Time to find new ones.

Some genius in the past RIPPED 3 out of the 5 AC vacuum lines. This means that even if I do restore functionality to the heater, the doors and dashpots won't work. So a little 7/32 ID vacuum line will fix this...

New heater core is installed in the box and box is cleaned off. The bottom left stud is the only one that remains. The bottom right is bent at a funny angle and the top right is snapped off. I don't know how that happens...

The heater box is in! It took 1.5 hours to get back in. The vacuum repair is evident in the white hose.

New hoses are in!

And they don't leak after getting up to temperature! Yay!

One thing this Trans Am has going for it: all AC duct work is present, accounted for, and NOT cracked or broken. That's a rarity. And yes, new windshield wipers are important!

I've never liked doing heater cores. This project didn't win me over to the "I like doing heater cores" side. Total time spent: 8 hours. Total money spent: $9 for vacuum lines (heater core and blower motor were new from 2008 and have been sitting in the box for that long). Now I just need to find a decent condition defroster duct piece before I can put the rest of the ducts back in. Dash vent functionality has been restored though!

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Last updated August 15th, 2011