Heater Core Replacement - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone;
I have a 97 Taurus GL 3.0 U engine. I found that i loose coolant and notice smell of antifreeze and also extreme fogging of the windshield after starting to drive without actually turning any Air on. I also see a wet and dripping water next to a hole at the firewall where the heater core is located. Can i safely assume that the heater core is leaking? Assuming so, i read on the Manual that the replacement of the heater core requires uninstalling the whole front dash cover, steering wheel, Radio/tape/AC control assembly, and even discharging the AC system from Freon. This seems extremely unnecessary as i could actually see the plastic cover of the heater core just at the passenger’s side leg space under the glove compartment.
Am I correct? Or is the process needed because there will not be enough clearance to pull the heater core out?
(Also, is aluminum better the copper/brass?)

As always,
Thanks much and God Bless
Paul.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 07:17 PM
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I ripped mine out of my 98. And to full get at it, YES you have to take everything apart.
It was a good learing expericne. You'll want to tag everything you take apart. Espically the electirc connectors that all to the steering wheel.

I don't know how to take aprt the black pastic container it all sits in. I know their are screws all around it on the half way mark. but their are others screws that go into the fire wall. But either way, since I was taking everything apart to lose some weight and for a good lesson on what goes on back their, I just ripped it apart with some pliers and a sawzal.

But let us know how it goes
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-29-2006, 03:18 AM
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I replaced my heater core a short time ago using a short newsletter article that soemone here pointed at as a guide.

No, you don't have to remove the whole dashboard, and you don't have to cut it up with a sawsall to change the heater core.

It does help it you have one or two buddies to help you. If you can find a couple of people to help you, it can probably be done in less than 1 hour.

Basically all you have to do is disconnect the battery, then disconnect the heater core inlet and outlet hoses. Go ahead and cut them off, because you are going to use new hoses. ALWAYS CAREFULLY SCORE AND PEAL AWAY THE HEATER CORE HOSES. OTHERWISE YOU CAN DAMAGE THE HEAT CORE INLET AND OUTLET TUBES AND YOU END UP DOING THIS PROCEDURE AGAIN. Now, remove the linkage that is in the way of the heater core access cover. Remove the heater core access cover. Remove the dashboard side trim panels with the doors open, remove the trim cover from the top of the dashboard. At this point, your two helpers will support the dashboard until you are reassembling the car. Loosen the two top dashboard bolts, and then remove the side dashboard bolts. Now remove the two dashboard top bolts.

Have your helpers lift the dashboard away from it's mounted position far enough for you to pull the heater core out. Swap the seals from the old heater core, and install the new heater core. Help your friends reposition the dashboard to where it belongs, and reinstall all of the dashboard bolts.

Howz's that?
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 09-30-2006, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everybody and thanks for your hints.
I did went a head and followed the short procedure, disconnected the dash screws, ash tray holder, still the dash was not completely loose to move. I guess the steering wheel was providing some counter support. After some effort, I managed to remove the old heater (ford aluminum) and installed the new one. The new heater was a copper based and was slightly longer. I discovered this on the assembly step; I could not put the seal and plastic cover to fit. So basically, I need to order the aluminum one and hope that it is mechanically same as the ford OEM part.
Did somebody have issues like this with the copper-brass model vs. the aluminum?
BTW: unfortunately I did not have helpers to support and lift the dash so I had done this myself. Just used one shoulder to lift the other to support, the hand to pull, and the mouth to scream what I think about the heater core placement designer....

But big A+++ for you guys (and gals) here that provide priceless help!
Thank you!
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-02-2006, 05:54 AM
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I got the copper/brass version from NAPA for about $55 myself. It looks a little different, but when it came right down to it, the fit was fine.

I suggest that you get yours from a Company Owned NAPA Store, the prices are usually slightly better than if you go to a Franchised NAPA store, and the counter guys are usually better trained.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-02-2006, 07:15 AM
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A little note, there is a Technical Service Bulletin for Reapeated Heater Core Failure, where you ground the inlet tube on the heater core to prevent electrolysis. Here's a snipet of the T.S.B.

"SOME VEHICLES MAY EXHIBIT (REPEAT) HEATER CORE LEAKS. THIS MAY BE CAUSED BY A CHEMICAL REACTION CALLED ELECTROLYSIS. ELECTROLYSIS INVOLVES AN ION EXCHANGE BETWEEN THE HEATER CORE AND THE ENGINE COOLANT WHICH CAN RESULT INA BREAKDOWN OF THE HEATER CORE MATERIAL. THIS IS SIMILAR TO THE OPERATION OF A BATTERY."


I myslef have had the heater core replaced THREE times in my 98 Taurus, (EVERY 4 MONTHS) until I had this T.S.B. issue implemented. I also added more engine grounds to help prevent future occurrences, and it's been well over a year and a half, and I've never had another issue with my heatercore!

RIP TCCA 1:00AM EST 06/09/2010

1998 Taurus SE



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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-02-2006, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
A little note, there is a Technical Service Bulletin for Reapeated Heater Core Failure, where you ground the inlet tube on the heater core to prevent electrolysis.
I'm wondering if they fixed this by the 2000 models. Might just ground mine anyway just in case they didn't.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 01:48 AM
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Taurus3254JA

How did you fix the heatercore issue? Do you have a procedure for this? Thanks
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-03-2006, 07:25 AM
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The T.S.B. says it affects 1986 - 2002 Taurus & Sables (also according to this T.S.B. it says it can also affect 1985 -2002 Ford, Lincoln and Mecury, this is the reason why you tend to see brown & sludgy coolant)

To solve the issue you need to use a 16ga copper wire and clamp one end to the inlet tube on the heater core, and the other to a solid ground in the engine bay, and also add more engine grounds if this doesn't solve the issue. You can try doing a goodle search on T.S.B. 01-15-6 for testing to se if you have the issue and the exact repair procudure.

I'll post some pics of how I have mine when i get home from work later today!

RIP TCCA 1:00AM EST 06/09/2010

1998 Taurus SE



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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 10-04-2006, 11:16 AM
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What do you suggest as a solid ground in the engine bay?
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