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Hello Everyone…

I took a day off work to replace my heater core on my 02 Sable, 3.0 Vulcan. The issues this engine has with the heater core are well documented and I certainly experienced the cold-hearted nature of this problem last winter. I researched this project and decided to perform the Fordtechmakuloco “Taurus No Heat” series on my own vehicle. I followed his YouTube videos and found them to be crucial for someone like me to complete this task. Serious, I would have never been able to do this job if not for his videos. This is a $800 job, with the extra parts, from a Ford dealer. My total $ amount came to $209 but I went “top shelf” for most of my parts. Yes I could have done this even cheaper but, hey, what’s the point? It’s a big job so why go cheap?

Overall my cooling system is not as rusted like we all have seen on other Vulcans. My coolant, however, has never been changed in its 140K mile lifetime. My heat last winter ranged from “none” to “some.” Not once last winter did I ever have to turn down my heat because I was too warm. I replaced the thermostat because I thought it would help…it didn’t. I checked all the linkages and flappers to determine they were working fine. In my best judgment the heater core was the problem. Turns out I was right.

Here are the items I purchased for this job. Two gallons of Motorcraft VC-7-B Gold Coolant, 1 quart of Motorcraft VC9 Iron-out flush, Motorcraft reservoir and cap, 1 heater core (Advanced Auto), 1 gallon of distilled water, and a new Gates drive belt (not shown.)



First I completed the “running flush.” I drained the old coolant out and refilled with water. I ran the engine until warm and began to flow water into the top of the reservoir to allow the old coolant to “froth” out. I used a dust pan to shield the drive belt because I was getting hit in the face with poison! The flush went quicker than I had expected. Once the discharge from the top of the bottle was clear water I removed the bottom plug.


With the engine running at operating temperature, I removed the plug from the bottom of the radiator and out drained hot, old coolant. I kept the garden hose running in the top of the reservoir until all the old was flushed out and only clear water was coming out.





My next step was to put the drain plug back in the radiator and pour in the VC9 Iron-out flush. I filled the system with water, put on the cap, and went for a drive. Fordtechmakuloco recommended to me to leave the VC9 in for at least 15 minutes before flushing the entire system again. He specified to make sure ALL of the VC9 is flushed from the system. From my observation, the VC9 water that flushed out was a rose-colored red, which indicated to me the VC9 did have an effect on any rust in my system. The only significant rust I saw for the remainder of the job was coming from the top return line to the reservoir. When I had this line disconnected there were some chunks of rust that shot out when I was running water into the lower hose. I did this after I removed the reservoir.

My next step was to remove the reservoir and shoot the garden hose pressure into the bottom hose. This produced the chunks of rust, as stated above, from my top return line. With the reservoir removed I then replaced the original drive belt with the new Gates belt from O’reillys.

Now the fun started! Let me say this now…and let me be clear. I am STUNNED at how easy removing the dashboard from this car was…STUNNED! People, if you pay $800 to have someone else replace your heater core in a 4th gen Taurus/Sable you should be deported to Sweden. Seriously, I haven’t had this much fun working on a car ever in my life.

You remove these three 8mm bolts from the top of your dash…

You loosen the two bolts on the driver side, remove these two bolts from the passenger side. Disconnect the four wire connectors from under the dash…remove the 10mm bolt from the steering shaft… and…voila… The A pillar trim pieces pull right off. The door sill trim piece just peels right off.


Out it came!


Here is a close-up of the heater core location. It is under the white box which is the flapper actuator.



The hardest part was removing the heater hoses. I found them to be more accessible if you remove the air intake snorkel and remove the transmission dip stick. The biggest problem I had to finish up was chasing a small leak from the outlet side because I couldn’t get the clamp to tighten enough given how far back inside the insulation it was recessed. Once I was able to crank down on it…no more leaks.



Once everything was put back to where it came from, I installed the new reservoir and filled things up with the VC 7 B Gold Coolant and distilled water. Let there be heat!

Here are some observations…

--Again, I cannot believe how easy replacing the heater core was. Dash removal is a snap.

--The heater hoses are the biggest pain of the job.

--The Motorcraft VC 7 B Gold Coolant is pretty interesting to me. It “feels” different…thinner…when you rub it between your fingers and it doesn’t smell like the traditional antifreeze we are all used to…it practically has no smell. I will trust Ford with their claims that this stuff is the best. We shall see!

--Make sure you change your clothes when working inside the car. Grease on the seats and Carpet are hard to remove.

So, the end result is I have heat…A LOT of heat. I am very pleased with this job and excited I can cross this off my list.

Thanks for reading…
 

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I'm curious, do you think the dash removal on a 99 Taurus would be similar? I too have the column shift Vulcan
 

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Maybe others can speak to the 99 Taurus. I am not sure. You can only hope it is! Dash removal is a cake walk.
 

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The '99 column shift dash is just as easy. I will be replacing the heater core in my newly acquired 2000 on Sunday. Thank you for the write up. It's a good time to clean you lower windshield to.
 

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Just an update...

We had a chilly morning and I thought I would give the new heater core a test run. Wow! Heat is a great thing. Keep in mind, last winter there were particular days when I had "zero" heat...I once had to take my credit card and scrape the ice from the INSIDE of the windows so I could see...

On this day I did something that I haven't done in a long time... I turned down my heat because I was getting too hot! Also I can report that I have no leaking from my heater hose. I will now replace the plastic shield and move on to my next project!
 

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It does work on a 99 Taurus with a vulcan 3.0. I just did the heater core to mine last week between snowstorms. Beautiful pictures on this post here, The video skipped a couple of steps, such as locating the petcock (the car's radiator drain). On mine I had to remove a fiberglass piece which protects the entire front, under-carriage and covers the radiator bottom.

The other goody was that I snapped off my hood release, which I suggest taking off - it's 2 7 mm bolts on that.

Also I changed over coolant as the video and this poster did. I used Zerex G-05 once I saw clean water coming out. Get a drain pan btw. And change that bottle/ overflow. And check what comes out when you drain it. If you see shavings or sludge or neither, you need to know that.
 

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I'm curious, do you think the dash removal on a 99 Taurus would be similar? I too have the column shift Vulcan
it is exactly the same. Lower the column, pull the bolts up top, pull the two on bottom, the 4 big ones at the edges, all the wire n hoses, then set the pass side of dash on seat. careful not to break the spring mechanism on the door. Hardest part is pulling the heater hoses off. Ive done these cores in 45 mins..no BS
 

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Don't bother trying to save the heater core hoses, just gently cut them with sharp Stanley knife, then peel them off like a banana.

I've r/r the cores on my 99 wagon and sable every five years.

Last year the only heat I had was when I had the control on 'VENT'.
 
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