How to Remove a Heater Core on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles came equipped from the factory with a small metal radiator mounted inside the firewall on the passenger side of the Vehicles. This allows the heating system to take advantage of the tremendous amount of heat generated by the engine, and use it to heat the passenger compartment. If this small radiator, known as a heater core, begins to leak you will notice puddles of engine coolant collecting on the floorboards on the passenger side of the Vehicles. Removing the heater core on your Vehicles can be accomplished with only a few simple tools and doing it yourself can save you money.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove a Heater Core on a 69 Camaro

Allow the engine to cool for at least 4 hours prior to servicing the heater core. Place the drain pan underneath the radiator. Open the petcock on the bottom of the radiator with your hands and drain the coolant into the pan.

Unscrew the hose clamps on the hoses connected to the heater core located on the passenger side of the firewall. Pull off the hoses with your hands.

Unbolt the bolts securing the air distributor duct studs to the firewall using the 3/8-inch ratchet, extension and sockets. Pull the defroster duct off the core support with your hands.

Pull the heater core off the firewall with both hands.

Items you will need

  • Drain pan

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • 3/8-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

 How to Remove the Heater Core From a Chevy S-10

Allow the engine to cool for three to five hours before you work on the coolant system. Pop the hood. Put a drain pan underneath the heater core. Remove the hose clamps to the lines running to the heater core with the pliers or a flat-head screwdriver, depending on the types of clamps that secure the hoses.

Unbolt the rear retaining screws from the heater core, using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Then unbolt the heater core retaining straps from the heater core with the ratchet.

Pull the heater core assembly out of the heater core panel and set it to the side.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Drain pan

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

 How to Remove a Heater Core in a 1997 Dodge Caravan

Remove the Heater Core

Raise the car with the floor jack and lower it onto the jack stands.

Drain the coolant from the radiator by removing the drain plug and allowing the coolant to drain into a pan. Replace the drain plug.

The heater hoses in a Dodge Caravan lead from the engine compartment through the firewall. Remove them by undoing the spring clamps with the pliers and moving them back along the hose.

The heater core is located on the passenger side. Remove the panels and the dashboard. These parts can be pulled out, however, some Caravans have a single screw in the dashboard.

Protect the carpets from coolant spillage by laying down towels.

You'll find the heater core assembly behind the glove box. Remove the heater core cover by unscrewing the four screws that hold it in place.

Undo the strap around the heater core and remove it. Check the gaskets, o-rings and seals. If they are damaged, replace them. Install the replacement heater core.

Replace the heater core cover, the dashboard and the panels. Reconnect the hoses inside the engine compartment. Lower the vehicle.

Replace the coolant.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

  • Pliers

  • Wrench

  • Bucket

  • Coolant

  • Air compressor

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Heater core kit

 How to Remove a Heater Core From a 2000 Jimmy

Allow the Jimmy to cool for at least three hours before working on the heater core. Open the hood. Locate the heater core, which is inside a large black box on the passenger side of the engine compartment at the firewall. Put the drain pan underneath the heater core and remove the hose clamps holding the radiator lines to the heater core using the pliers or the flat-head screwdriver, depending on the type of hose clamps.

Unbolt the heater core casing and HVAC module casing--the component located directly to the right of the heater core housing that has the aluminum air-conditioning lines running into it--using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Do this until you can see the heater core on the inside of the casing.

Pull the heater core out of the casing with both of your hands, making sure not to spill coolant on yourself in the process.

Items you will need

  • Pliers

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Drain pan

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

 How to Remove the Heater Core on My 1988 Jeep Wrangler

Draining the Cooling System

Separate the negative battery cable from the ground terminal on the battery. Loosen the retaining bolt using a socket. Then pull the clamp off the socket.

Unscrew the radiator cap, by rotating it counterclockwise with your hand.

Locate the connection between the lower radiator hose and the fitting on the bottom of the radiator.

Loosen the hose clamp that secures the lower radiator hose to the radiator, using a Phillips screwdriver.

Place a large waste-fluid collection pan underneath the radiator.

Pull the lower radiator hose off the radiator and allow all of the engine coolant to drain from the radiator.

Removing the Heater Housing Assembly

Loosen the hose clamps that secure the heater hoses to the heater core, using a Phillips screwdriver. These hose clamps will be located in the engine bay along the firewall on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Pull the heater hoses off the inlet and outlet ports on the heater core, using your hands.

Pull the heater-control cables off the actuating levers on the side of the heater-housing assembly, using your hands.

Pull the blower-motor wiring harness off the blower motor, using your hand. The harness and blower motor will be located in the engine bay, along the firewall on the extreme left.

Unscrew the nuts on the perimeter of the heater-housing assembly that secure the assembly to the firewall, using a socket. These nuts will be on the engine side of the firewall.

Slide the heater-housing assembly back and downward away from the firewall.

Split the heater housing and heater-housing cover apart with your hands and pull the heater core out from inside.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Waste-fluid collection pan

 How to Remove a Heater Core on a 1996 Chevy Corsica

Precautions

Disconnect the car's negative battery cable with the front wheels pointing straight ahead.

Remove the air bag's fuse from the fuse block--it should be the number three fuse.

Unscrew and remove filler panel under the steering column and both the left and right sound insulators with a wrench.

Disconnect the retaining clip on the air bag/SIR connector and then disconnect the connector.

Open the radiator cap to relieve pressure in the cooling system--the car must be cool. Place a catch pan or other container under the radiator at its drain valve and remove the valve to drain the coolant. Drain the remaining coolant at the engine block plugs.

Removal

Raise the car's rear end and secure it on jack stands.

Disconnect the drain tube from the heater case and the heater hoses from the core, loosening their clamps with pliers where needed.

Lower the car off the jack stands.

Remove the floor air outlet duct to access the heater core case.

Unscrew and remove the heater core cover. Unfasten the mounting clamps for the core and remove the core from the casing.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Large container

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Pliers

  • Screwdriver

 How to Remove the Heater Core in the Chevrolet Venture

Drain the Engine Cooling System

Deactivate the audio system Theftlock feature by entering the vehicle's code into the stereo. Loosen and remove the negative battery cable from the battery with a box or socket wrench.

Let the engine cool before attempting to drain coolant from the radiator. Apply the parking brake and block the wheels. Put the plastic container under the radiator drain plug.

Remove the radiator cap. Open the radiator drain on the bottom side of the radiator with your fingers or pliers and let the coolant empty into the plastic container.

Open the cooling system bleed screw on the thermostat housing and the bleed screw on the bypass pump with a wrench. The thermostat bleed screw is located on the front left hand side of the plenum as you are facing the engine compartment. The bypass pump bleed screw is to the right of the plenum, where the main coolant hose meets the engine. Tighten the bleed screws after the coolant has drained.

Remove the Heater Core

Unclip and remove the air filter and air intake duct. Loosen and remove the oil filler tube with your hand.

Remove the console support brace by loosening and removing its bolts with a wrench. Remove the floor air duct from under the dash.

Loosen and remove the heater core cover retaining screws with a screwdriver and remove the cover. Remove the screw that holds the heater core pipe clamp to the brace on the firewall with a screwdriver.

Loosen and remove the heater core clamp screw and clamp with a screwdriver. Remove the heater core by carefully sliding it out from under the dash.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Screwdriver set

  • Plastic container

  • Pliers

  • Wheel blocks

 How to Remove the Heater Core From a Honda Passport

Open the Passport's hood and disconnect the negative battery terminal with a socket wrench.

Place a drain pan underneath the radiator drain plug. Loosen the drain plug with a socket wrench. Let all of the coolant flow out into the drain pan and re-tighten the plug.

Disconnect the air conditioning evaporator lines at the rear of the engine compartment.

Use a Phillips screwdriver to disconnect the heater-control valve, and rotate the valve so that it is completely open.

Pull out the two heater hoses at the rear of the engine compartment to disconnect them from the heater core.

Uninstall the mounting nut located on the heater control valve bracket, using a socket wrench.

Open the driver's side door and remove the five screws securing the instrument panel into the vehicle -- there are three screws holding the instrument panel into the vehicle and two screws holding the dash panel over the instrument panel. Remove the two upper screws first, and then pull off the dash panel.

Disconnect the electrical connector from the instrument panel and remove it from the Passport.

Disconnect the blower motor's electrical connector and remove the two bolts securing the blower motor. Pull the blower motor out of the Passport.

Unplug the heater-controlling cable from the A/C unit and pry off the expansion valve cover with a flat-head screwdriver.

Remove the four screws securing the heater core into the vehicle. Disconnect the electrical connector from the heater core and pull it out of the vehicle. Installation is the reverse of removal. Do not forget to add the liquid from the drain pan back into the radiator or to reconnect the battery.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • Drain pan

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Flat-head screwdriver