The worst happened the other night. Driving to HEB, turned on the heat,
and POP! Antifreese mist all over the windshield. Crap. I do NOT like
having parts of my truck disabled, tied off, or otherwise. Especially
when they explode.
The core was $60 at my favorite Ford dealer. They couldn't locate that
little foam oval that goes around the pipes at the passthru. I just
flipped the old one over.
Needed tools: preferably a screwgun or small impact and an air ratchet
for all of the screws. You can do without, but you will not be happy.
Air blow gun or hair dryer. Garden hose (with water). Big torx bit, I
believe T45, but I might be wrong. Two-jaw puller. Plastic trim clip
remover prybar thingy. Pointy object, like an o-ring pick. Flat and
phillips screwdrivers. Flashlight. Buddy. Perhaps a copy of the Bible or
Zen and Motorcycle Maint.
The procedure is basically what's in the manual, but with some changes
to avoid opening the AC system. I also removed extra stuff for more
handholds and less confusion.
Unhook battery, remove air bag modules, ignition cylinder, glove box
door. Lay the air bags dangerous-side-up; resist the urge to stack other
parts on top of them.
Remove trim along bottom edges of doors, and trim from the floor to the
leading edges of the door frames. The left side took scary prying of a
plastic "nail" below the parking brake. Pry out the piece of
trim across the top of the dash, near the windshield.
Pull steering wheel off, remove trim around column, top piece is a pain.
Remove the park release and hood release handles, trim below the
steering column, and the kneecap catcher shield behind it. Pull center
console with the radio still in it, remove trim around cluster, remove
cluster. Good time to change those lightbulbs if you need to.
In the engine compartment, the fuse box is held in place with two
plastic tabs. Pull it loose and lay aside. You see three plugs with
bolts in 'em on the firewall below. Unscrew all three. Pull the heater
hoses and plug with bolts if you still have water in the system. Pull
off the air intake pipe. Unplug the ECM. Unplug the sensor in the
accumulator, take loose the washer hose running over the blower box.
There are three studs on the firewall side and one stud back inside the
cab you need to remove the nuts from. Look below the glovebox hole and
you'll see it on the wall. Once the box is loose, roll it away from the
firewall over the top of the engine and hold it back with a bungie cord.
Mind kinked hoses.
Back inside, unplug everything you see. You don't need to, but
unplugging everything is faster that figuring out what's what. There
will be a ground lead on the passenger side, near the door frame. Here's
the worst part of all. Those three plugs you unscrewed on the firewall,
they plugged into a big honkin' plug monster on the cab side. It has six
hellish little plastic clips. Good luck. I pulled back on the plug
gently and pried each tab with a pick one-by-one in the dark by feel at
a funny angle while more or less applying a sleeper hold to myself.
While you're there, unplug the pedal switches and steering column.
Remove the column, it has a pinch bolt at the u-joint. Try not to rotate
the shaft after removing.
I took out the AC controls, but it seemed like I didn't need to.
There are two little screws towards the middle of the dash, against the
windshield. Remove. There is a brace left of center at the bottom near
the ashtray. Remove. Get a buddy. Take out the big bolts you see along
the windshield and door frames. Pull the dash back a bit. There's a big
plug on the left, screwed together with a 10mm head. Have a ratchet
ready and unhook it. You could reach it through the cluster hole before
puling the dash, but it kinda sucks.
There are random wires with those stupid plastic clips/nails holding
them to the dash. You'll need to pry a couple loose. Be careful with the
antenna wire one as it's more sensitive to abuse. I've got one on order.
Put dash somewhere clean, not like I did. I blame the brainular blood
starvation brought on by that plug monster.
Heater box has four studs going through the firewall. Three near the
blower box, one near the center of the wall. Remove the heater box, take
off the cover of the heater core, pull off the oval foam piece, and just
cut little slits in the other foam piece, slide out the core. Now go
hose out all the damned antifreeze, barsleak, bugs, M&Ms, and
whatever else has accumulated in that box. Get it clean as you can and
make sure to blow all the water out of the foam. Hair dryer for those
without compressed air handy.
Doesn't the truck look weird without the dash in it? Yeah, I thought so.
This is a good time to change your registration sticker. You can get ALL
of the glue off.
Now, put everything back together. It's pretty self-explanatory at this
point. The only trick is leftover screws. I had three. One was kinda
big. Hmm. Don't forget that screw-together plug on the left before you
hang the dash back up, and the center brace at the bottom of the dash.
Each time you're about to cover up a hole, take a good long look inside
for screwless holes and bachelor plugs.
Plugmonster is much nicer on reassembly. I snapped off four of the tabs
for the sake of my future self.
Torque guidelines: little screws, studs, and bolts-snug. Plug
screws-snug. Other ones-tight.
Top off or fill the coolant, check all of your fuses and lights, wipe
off the 800 handprints on the dash, and the two footprints on the
ceiling. Turn up the heat full blast and run the truck up to temp, top
off the surge tank.
I made close to a dollar on recovered change!
...match up, test, attach
some padding and drop that new baby in.
Thank god its over!!!