I read a few posts(this site and others) that claimed they were able to replace the heater core without completely removeing the dash. They did not go into detail on how they did it though. Anybody ever hear this as well or am I looking at doing this the PITA way.
I also have a 2000 Wrangler Sport and yes you can replace the heater core without completely removing the dash, although there is still a fair amount of work to do. I know because I just did mine a couple of weeks ago. You will definitely need another person to help you. This was my second time taking the heater core out and I think it took us just under three hours, much faster than the first time. Basically you start by removing your glove box which is easy. Look through the hole where the glove box was with a flashlight and you should see two big studs with with nuts, remove those nuts, I had to use a sparkplug socket because I did not have a deepwell metric that big. Then you pop the piece off the top of the dash that that runs across the windshield, where the defroster blows through. Once you do that you can remove the plastic piece under your steering wheel and the metal kick plate behind it. Then you must remove the black trim around your gauge cluster and then the cluster itself. You also have to unbolt your center console and slide it back as far as you can to allow room for the dash to tilt back towards the drivers seat. There are four studs across the windshield that the dash hangs on, remove the nuts from those studs, mine only had two nuts for some reason, not sure if that's normal. Then remove the 6 torx bolts, 3 on each side of the dash that are seen when you open your doors. Once you do that the dash is free, just the studs across up near the windshield are holding it up. Then you have someone sit in the drivers seat and lift the dash off the studs and pull it towards them, now the other person will have just enough room to pull the HVAC box down and out of the Jeep through the passenger side door.
I think that's everything in a nutshell on how to get the dash free, atleast you don't have to pull the steering column if you do it this way. Make sure to disconnect the battery before you start since you will be around the airbag. There might be a pesky screw or two somewhere holding you back that I forgot about. There are also a bunch of wiring harnesses you have to unplug but you can reach all of them through the opening of the glove box. If you have any other questions just ask. Sorry for the long reply.
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Haveing pretty much of the dash apart, except the steering column, I was looking and thought I might have enough space to just slide the dash back. Thanks JBWrangler for your advice. I am going to give it a try on Sunday, so I may hit you with a message if I hit a snag. I've been working on it for the past 4 hrs and now I am thirsty for some beverages. Cheers
I'll let everyone know how I make out with some pics. If this does work, it would save others quite a bit of time.
When you pull the hvac box out, you have the opportunity to run a new wire/power lead from under the hood to this side of the dash. I added a painless fusebox when I replaced my heater core, and ran the hot lead through the same path the vacuum line takes through the firewall, right by the A/C lines. This is a much nicer place to work with from the engine compartment side. Unlike the grommet by the gas pedal where the wires come out in a hot and hard to reach spot behind the engine, this way the wires come out up high and close the the passenger side and, conveniently, near the battery and power center.
You may not need it now, but this is your chance...
I decided to finally take on this job with my jeep and finished it last night. It took me two evenings....in all close to 10 hours. I think it would go quicker the next time....God forbid there is a next time
Now it's time to take it to get the system charged.....crossing my fingers!
I will have to post some pics of the evaporator....it was covered in leaves, looked like dog hair...etc and the dye we had put in it was all over the styrafoam...I think I found the leaking cuprit!
Hi there my name is Mark,
Read your post on Jeep forums and was wondering if you succeded on replacing your heater core. I have a 2000 Jeep wrangler and mine needs to be replace also. You mentioned you would post some pics. Any chance you took any pics on replacing your heater core? Or would you know of where I can find detail instructions on how to do this. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
To the OP, well I am sure that this might be possible without yanking the dash, I would just say this, having just done this job 1 month ago-there is a lot of value to doing it the 'long way'.....I fixed/tidied a number of things behind the dash that I foung once I opened it up. Also, now that I know how to do it, I can have that job done in a couple hours. With some of the projects that I have in mind coming up, that is good knowledge.
Also, I don't understand how having the dash hanging and working under it to get to the heater core is any way better than just yanking it (the dash, that is)