How to Replace a Heater Core for a Ford Rangerby Jeffrey Caldwell
The heater core on a Ford Ranger pickup works in conjunction with the engine’s cooling system to provide heated air for the passenger cabin. The heater core is a small radiator mounted in the passenger side of the dash. Heated engine coolant travels from the engine through a heater hose to the core. Air is blown across the core by the heater fan. This heated air is then directed to either the floor, dash or defroster vents.
Draining the Cooling System
Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal. Loosen the retaining bolt using a wrench. Then pull the clamp off the terminal.
Locate the petcock valve on the lower right corner of the radiator and place a waste oil collection pan underneath it.
Open the petcock valve by turning it counterclockwise with needle nose pliers.
Close the petcock valve by turning it clockwise with the needle nose pliers after all the coolant has drained out.
Removing the Heater Core
Loosen the two hose clamps that secure the heater hoses to the heater core inlet and outlet tubes using a Phillips screwdriver. The inlet and outlet tubes will be located in the engine bay, at the firewall, on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Pull out the heater hoses of the heater core inlet and outlet tubes with your hands.
Remove the five screws that connect the heater core access panel to the heater duct using a socket. The access panel will be located underneath the dash on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Pull the access panel away from the heater duct.
Pull the heater core downward and towards the rear of the vehicle to remove it from the heater duct. Then remove it from the vehicle.
Installing the Heater Core
Slide the new heater core upward into the heater duct. Be sure to guide the inlet and outlet tubes through the holes in the firewall.
Place the heater core access panel into position over the heater duct.
Screw in the five screws that secure the access panel to the heater duct using a socket.
Slide the heater hoses onto the inlet and outlet tubes on the heater core.
Refilling the Cooling System
Tighten the hose clamps on the inlet and outlet tubes using a Phillips screwdriver.
Fill the radiator with a 50/50 mix of fresh antifreeze and water.
Run the engine and visually inspect for leaks.
- Regularly changing your engine coolant can help to fight corrosion and extend the life of your heater core and radiator.
- The scent of antifreeze is highly attractive to household pets. It is also highly toxic. Keep small children and pets away from antifreeze.
Items you will need
- Wrench set
- Waste oil collection pan
- Needle nose pliers
- Phillips screwdriver
- Socket set
- "Chilton Ford: Ranger/Explorer/Mountaineer 1991-99 Repair Manual;" Nichols/Chilton Editors; 2005
- "Chilton Ford Ranger/Bronco II/Explorer 1983-91 Repair Manual;" Chilton Book Company; 1991
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images