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Old 06-17-2009, 08:21 AM   #1
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Heater core

Does any one know how to replace a heater core on a 1991 Camaro the best way.
\Thanks
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: Heater core

the best way is to take a day your not busy and remove the entire dash, then there is a box in the middle and the heater core is inside of it. so i live without heat.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #3
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Re: Heater core

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Originally Posted by 1991Camaroz28 View Post
the best way is to take a day your not busy and remove the entire dash, then there is a box in the middle and the heater core is inside of it. so i live without heat.
Welcome to TGO. A search on TGO is always a good thing. The question is asked frequently, so you should find a ton of info.

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Old 06-17-2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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Re: Heater core

Welcome to the site.This is a pain in the butt part to replace. Not sure if you need a new heater core or not,but here's a link to them on our site.

Chevy Camaro Heater Core
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:49 PM   #5
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Re: Heater core

I was hopping for some tips
coolant is running all over my computer and on the floor
it is comming from the core box
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:12 PM   #6
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Re: Heater core

For ease and convenience, remove the passenger seat. Not required, but makes it a lot easier to access the heater core area and clean up the mess. Remove the dash pad. There are 4 screws in the upper windshield vents. remove the remaining screws at the leading edge of the dash pad bottom side. Once pad is removed, take out speaker and speaker frame on passenger side.

Under the dash, remove the screws that hold the heater core cover in place. You will be able to feel them along the sides and bottom, but the top one will be accessible thru the speaker opening. While looking down at the cover from the top, the screw is where the contour changes in the cover. Once the cover is off, you'll see the heater core connected to another piece with screws requiring an extension to access. Remove those screws, remove the hoses from the engine side of the firewall and pull out the heater core. Replacement is just the opposite.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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Re: Heater core

Did they change the heater box design when they redesigned the dashes? I was able to remove mine in the 89 without removing any of the dash; had to find all 5 of the screws by feel, but that was the hardest part. couple of extensions and maybe a pivot joint for the socket. I did have to buy new hoses since the only way to get the old ones off was by cutting them.


You can always temporarily bypass the core until you get a chance to fix it; no need to get everything soaked until then.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:58 PM   #8
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Re: Heater core

I've done a 90 & 90 Camaro, both without pulling the dash.

Just undo the lower dash pieces, each up & you can access everything that way (except the 2 hose clamps in the engine compartment.

Pulling the passenger side seat OUT, makes it a lot easier to lay on the floorboard & reach up there, instead of laying on your back over the door sill.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:35 PM   #9
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Re: Heater core

The removal of the dash pad, speaker and speaker frame are steps to access the one screw on the top of the cover. Is it accessible without removing these components, yes, but it's easier by doing so. I've seen so many posts about how to do things and the steps required and so many people try to take shortcuts. If the shortcut was really that beneficial, then GM wouldn't have added other steps. I'm thinking of the fuel pump replacement with this. So many people will fight and wrestle with the tank instead of just dropping the rear more. I followed the GM instructions to a T and it was cake. Now, why Chevy says to remove the stereo pod, stereo and whatever else to get at the heater core, I don't know, but the shortcuts I used just make it easier and quicker than fighting with that one screw.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:48 PM   #10
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Re: Heater core

You dont need to remove the dash. Its just one screw at the top thats hard to get. Get your 1/4 air ratchet,extension,7mm and position yourself until u get it.

Or you can do it the dumb way.....take out 4 screws, break the cover, go to your local junkyard and find a stripped camaro and take it out easy. Install all bolts except the top one. Crude, but effective! Did mine in 20 mins
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:36 AM   #11
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Re: Heater core

Here's my write-up:

http://www.thirdgen.org/techboard/te...e-82-86-a.html (Heater Core and 82-86 Vehicles)

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Old 09-29-2009, 09:57 AM   #12
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Re: Heater core

pretty sure I followed JamesC's guide when I did this to my 89 4-5 years ago. You honestly do not need to remove anything other than the hush panels if you have them (my RS didn't). Hardest part was getting the hoses off the core.

Now I can't say I was so lucky with my 87 Taurus (first car). Steering column had to come down, stereo came out, complete dash out of car. Hated that job.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:26 PM   #13
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Re: Heater core

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Originally Posted by 1A Dan View Post
pretty sure I followed JamesC's guide when I did this to my 89 4-5 years ago. You honestly do not need to remove anything other than the hush panels if you have them (my RS didn't). Hardest part was getting the hoses off the core.

Now I can't say I was so lucky with my 87 Taurus (first car). Steering column had to come down, stereo came out, complete dash out of car. Hated that job.
Razor blade, buy new ones
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:13 PM   #14
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Re: Heater core

I have my heater core bypassed in my 87 so I have no more leakage. It went pretty quick and has been handy all summer. However if it gets cold where you live it might be time to get it fixed.
I need to do that asap.

But good luck
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:14 PM   #15
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Re: Heater core

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If the shortcut was really that beneficial, then GM wouldn't have added other steps..
I would better guess that GM added the extra steps to support their dealers. Doesn't make any difference to GM at all how hard it is to replace anything - their job is done when the car rolls off the line. BUT - adding extra steps makes more billable time for the dealership, and thus increases dealer profitability in the service center (one place a dealership NEVER makes a profit), and therefore a false support of the dealer (whom GM corporate could really care less about anyway).

I've never taken the dash out, I've replaced 5 heater cores in various 3rd gens, and even with that one hidden screw, it's never taken more than 1 hour to do the job. Dealer mechanics never follow "the book" - they take all the shortvuts they can. They get paid a percentage of the bill (ie billable time by the book), and thus by car, not by the hour - and you damn sure know that if there's a shortcut they're gonna use it so they can be done and get the next job in line before another mechanic gets it.

You guys put too much faith in The General. He's not looking to help anyone - never was - he's looking to make a buck off of all us saps!
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #16
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Re: Heater core

Did mine yesterday, never done one before, 91 z28, remove dash pad so you can see, loosen dash on right side, "take the big screws out so you can pull it out to access the screw on the top, pull the dash out far enough to get a 2x4 in between it on the right side by the door to block it out 2 inches. now you can go over the top and get that top screw which you don't have to put back. I reached in with a 1/4 drive 7mm socket and 3 inch ex and ratchet, take the case off and there is the core, two screws on the flange and two up inside (long ex) and pull it out, take the hoses of of course, take the coil off for access to the spring clamps. USE A BRASS REPLACEMENT CORE, I got mine at O'Reilly they had it in stock, 27.99 + tax too far in to use the aluminum ones with the movable tubes, have a friend help you get it through the firewall, to help with the grommets, and your good to go....4 hours...cheers
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:58 AM   #17
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Re: Heater core

One other thing, the core cover is slotted, be sure to feel up on the top to get the cover lined up in the slot or you will not be able to get the screws in and it will be in a bind,,,,took me twice...lol
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:38 AM   #18
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Re: Heater core

I had to remove the heater core in my '86 Z as well. I took off the dash pad to get access to the top screw but found with a little wiggling I could get my hand up and around the top to gain access to the top screw. Once the plastic box was off, there were four screws holding the heater core/frame in place. It pulled right out after that.

Since I am replacing the carpets any way, having the front passenger seat out of the way helped with getting underneath the dash. Auto Zone has a Spectra core for less than $30.00 in stock. Also a good time to replace the heater hoses since the coolant is drained. With new carpet I'm looking to install a better sound dampener and some heat shield material. I'm looking at Second Skin or Fat Mat. Any one prefer one over another?
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:21 PM   #19
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Re: Heater core

i didnt take my dash pad off either. i used a 1/4 ratchet and just felt my way to that top screw. i agree with the removing the seat though, i had to contort some strange ways to get in there. with the seat out of the way it would have been cake.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:14 AM   #20
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Re: Heater core

Aside from the top screw on the heater core cover the biggest problem I am having is reaching the bottom of the 2nd heater core hose that connects to the metal line connecting back to the radiator. I am guessing I am going to have to put the ROC up in the air and attack from under the car...Any input on the hose removal?
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:19 AM   #21
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Re: Heater core

you dont need to pull that hose unless youre replacing it.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:27 AM   #22
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Re: Heater core

Yeah I have to replace both hoses as I had to cut them to get them off. 25 year old hoses are bascially melted on. There is so much stuff around that firewall it made it very hard getting them off to begin with but the bottom one I can't reach at all from the top side.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:32 AM   #23
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Re: Heater core

ah, yea. i actually made a tool to get hoses off easier. its just a small flat blade screw driver bent into the shape of a J. that metal hose is a PITA to get to with the engine there. you might be able to get at it from the bottom, but ive never tried. i got rid of that hose when i did my last engine swap since i also ditched the heater diverter valve.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:43 AM   #24
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Re: Heater core

I will let you know how it goes as the hoses are supposed to be in this afternoon. I have the core in place just need to get that darn 2nd hose off and then I should be good to go. I am really surprised no one bitched about getting the hoses off without cutting them off and then actually reaching them! Also, do you have any suggestions on getting the car up on ramps with it being so low to the ground?
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:12 AM   #25
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Re: Heater core

i dont use ramps on the car. i just use a jack right in the center of the k member.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:02 PM   #26
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Re: Heater core

It took me 4 hours last night to get the freakin small hose off....Couldn't get to it my the underside of the car....Doesn't look like you can get to much from the underside of the car!
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:37 PM   #27
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Re: Heater core

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottmoyer View Post
For ease and convenience, remove the passenger seat. Not required, but makes it a lot easier to access the heater core area and clean up the mess. Remove the dash pad. There are 4 screws in the upper windshield vents. remove the remaining screws at the leading edge of the dash pad bottom side. Once pad is removed, take out speaker and speaker frame on passenger side.

Under the dash, remove the screws that hold the heater core cover in place. You will be able to feel them along the sides and bottom, but the top one will be accessible thru the speaker opening. While looking down at the cover from the top, the screw is where the contour changes in the cover. Once the cover is off, you'll see the heater core connected to another piece with screws requiring an extension to access. Remove those screws, remove the hoses from the engine side of the firewall and pull out the heater core. Replacement is just the opposite.

Just replaced my Heater core, and wanted to send a Huge THANK YOU for this post (As well as a thank you to the "search" button), I hate the cold.
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:11 PM   #28
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Re: Heater core

I just did mine a month or 2 ago and it was waaaay easier than I thought it was gonna be. Everyone on here made it sound like it was gonna be a trial, and it probably would have been had I not broken that core cover. I forgot about that one last screw and I tugged on it just a little and it broke the plastic around that screw in a perfect circle! So I sat my core right in, put everything back together and aaaaah heat
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:23 AM   #29
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Re: Heater core

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I just did mine a month or 2 ago and it was waaaay easier than I thought it was gonna be. Everyone on here made it sound like it was gonna be a trial, and it probably would have been had I not broken that core cover. I forgot about that one last screw and I tugged on it just a little and it broke the plastic around that screw in a perfect circle! So I sat my core right in, put everything back together and aaaaah heat
yea some people here tend to make things seem very hard, understanding some may or may not have very much mechanical skills, this heater core is very easy...
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:41 AM   #30
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Re: Heater core

Yeah I have a little but not a whole lot. I was prepared for a complete nightmare, but in the end it was simpler than I had ever imagined it would be.
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Old 12-24-2011, 05:48 AM   #31
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Re: Heater core

I replaced mine yesterday, absolute piece of cake. The "difficult" top bolt just required a flex drive and a nut driver and it easily came out. I had help putting the lines through the firewall, but it can be done solo it would just take a little more time getting them lined up.

For anyone doing this:
Take off only the outside cover to the passenger side of the car.
Remove the 4 easily visible bolts, 2 on metal and 2 on plastic.
The last 2 bolts are inside the duct and require an extension.

When I put it back together I just lightly taped the inside bolts to the socket and installed.
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:28 PM   #32
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Re: Heater core

Most people might complain of difficulty due to them not following the correct procedure. I think a lot of people try to take shortcuts which makes things more difficult instead of easier. Fuel pump replacement and even power antenna repair all come to mind.

The factory says to unplug the antenna from the back of the radio for the antenna repair, but most people think it's easier to just cut the wires. If you unplug the antenna, you can fish out the entire harness through the fender. Most people cut the wires so they don't have to pull the radio.

With the fuel pump, you get access panels cut and people that don't want to remove everything that needs to be removed. If you follow instructions and don't take shortcuts, the repairs are not that hard at all.
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:40 PM   #33
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Re: Heater core

i understand what you're saying about short cuts on the antenna and fuel pump repairs, i for one choose not to hack up my cars.they treated me well and i return the favor.

but some times the factories are wrong in their procedures, as a factory certified ford tech i have seen many repairs procedures that require extra work thats just not needed, warranty doesn't pay good enough and short cuts are needed just to hope i break even. if you're a flat rate tech then yea short cuts and tricks are needed to make money, but on these cars that are already growing old and brittle with good parts getting harder to find just take your time and do it right, save your self money and headaches!
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:45 AM   #34
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Re: Heater core

Are A/C and non A/C heater cores the same?
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:08 PM   #35
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Re: Heater core

yes
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:26 PM   #36
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Re: Heater core

Where and what brand cores are you getting? I have been to three places today that had cores that had the lines soldered on wrong. One salvage yard that said they don't pull those they are too cheap new and a radiator repair shop that could not fix my brass core. So I am without and down right now.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:32 AM   #37
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Re: Heater core

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Originally Posted by FNFAL308 View Post
Where and what brand cores are you getting? I have been to three places today that had cores that had the lines soldered on wrong. One salvage yard that said they don't pull those they are too cheap new and a radiator repair shop that could not fix my brass core. So I am without and down right now.
I thought i had this issue too, but bear in mind a lot of the aftermarket replacements are not soldered, they're crimped. the tubes can actually be rotated to line up like they should. would never have known if I didn't run into the same issue myself
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:26 PM   #38
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Re: Heater core

I still have one I haven't brought back to NAPA and if I was able to turn it it would just move to a worse location. But it is clearly soldered.

When I first went there they had a brass one but it had been dropped. They ordered me another and it was aluminum. Didn't notice until I got home that they were at the wrong angle. The one from Advance Auto had the tubes much too close together. OReilly has one I have to go look at that shows brass in the picture but in the description it says Al construction.the radiator shop said if I can find a brass core with the wrong tubes he can switch the bowls out with mine, but I bet if I can find a brass core it'll be correct.

It is possible I just had a run of bad luck . One was made in Mexico and the other China.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:12 PM   #39
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Re: Heater core

I got mine from Auto zone and it fit perfectly. Sorry you're having such bad luck man.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:30 AM   #40
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Re: Heater core

Dear All,

I just bought a 91 z28 5.7 with A/C. The heater core is leaking so I followed everyones instructions on the board and pulled this sucker out. I bought an aluminum replacement and now my problem is not being able to fit this new core in correctly. The space inside the box is so tight and it made the situation super difficult. I'm always off by an inch and while jamming it in with all the force that I had, I ended up breaking the driver side hose. If anyone knows What I'm doing wrong please feel free to iterate. I've taken off all the covers except for the swing door adjacent to the core. Did i forget to take off another cover? I couldn't see anymore screws without taking off the center console or the entire dash itself. Please let me know. It's getting f#$%king cold and I would like some heat.
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Old 12-31-2011, 06:43 PM   #41
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Re: Heater core

No there isn't anything else you should have to take out. I would just go exchange that core for another one if it's really not fitting like that.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:34 PM   #42
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Re: Heater core

I was having a time with mine, too, until fI igured out that that door you were talking about has a metal actuator rod that was catching on the heater core frame box. I stuck a long screw driver up there and with just a little pressure to the left and, pop, it was in. If you are whacking it with a hammer to get it in, you are doing something wrong. Make sure the two tubes are lined up with the firewall holes, too, the grommets are there for a reason, to provide a tight and secure fit. If the tubes don't line up straight, one will catch on a grommet making it more difficult to it in.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:48 PM   #43
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Re: Heater core

I ended up using the one from NAPA and it fit better than what it looked like. I did have to elongate both holes thru the firewall because the tubes were too far apart but I didn't have to get into the metal of the firewall, just the plastic piece mounted to the inside.

The actuator rod also gave me trouble until I gave it a good cussin
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:32 AM   #44
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Re: Heater core

Okay thanks for all the help. So I went looking for a brass or copper core. So far from napa, oreilly, autozone, and pepboys all have aluminum. Apparently they started discontinuing the copper/brass. The aluminum tubes cannot be bent. Once you try it will break the soldering weld on the core. So I ordered a brass one off ebay and it will get here Tuesday. I'll be installing Wednesday. Lets see if it'll fit.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:49 AM   #45
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Re: Heater core

Even if the tubes are wrong, if the core (fin and tube section) is good, a radiator repair shop can take your bowls off your current core and solder them on the new one.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:57 PM   #46
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Re: Heater core

Dear all. I wanted to thank everyone for all this information on this heater core. There were two more screws on the left of the core lid that I did not remove. Once removed slipping it in was like butter. I actually have heat now thanks to you all.
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:11 PM   #47
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Re: Heater core

Hi. I just joined this website and have been reading all the postings. I live in Canada. My ride is a mint 85 IROC and I replaced the heater core last year. The GM dealership here was very helpful in getting me an aftermarket core which was a perfect fit. It came from Performance Radiator. Glad your fix is complete and you now have heat!
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Old 01-11-2012, 09:11 PM
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