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replacing heater core Q's


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24 replies to this topic

#1 heartless

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 11:16 AM

I think my heater core may be leaking and want to know how involved it is to replace it. I dont have 'foggy' windows or moisture on the floorboards - yet - but there is a definite sweetish odor and the coolant level goes down a little over time. Still getting good heat, but the smell is getting to me. :eh:

so here goes with the q's:
1. Can i get a replacement at any parts store easily?

2. Any ideas on cost of said replacement - ballpark figure ok

3. is there anything else i should be replacing in the process?

4. How involved is this project? ie what do I have to dismantle to get to it?

5. about how long should this take once i have all the needed parts? not a certified mechanic, but know my way around a socket set, and I do have a garage to do this out of the weather (with a portable heater)

Car is an 89 GL wagon, 2wd, 5 spd.

I did do a search for this but it didnt come back with much...

thanks in advance guys

#2 Skip

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 12:00 PM

JoAnne, sorry to be the barer of bad tidings at this time of year, but you have a major undertaking on your hands.
I did a search for "heater core" here is one post that sums it up
http://usmb.ultimate...ght=heater core
You might email Moosens directly to see if he did the nasty.

I have a thought on doing a trick with stop leak, it is out lined in my post "Don't ya hate that smell"
Please read some on using stop leak products in our entire coolant system.
It is not recommended as the coolant passages in our rads is so small they tend to get plugged causing more headaches.
Wish I could be of more help, McBrat's trick of cut and replace is for the EA81 series.


#3 thealleyboy

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 12:22 PM

HL:

Make sure you look at both sides of the hoses at the core. Clamps do fail occasionally, especially if they are the originals. But don't get your hopes up...

Replacing the core is about the worst job I can think of on these cars. And to ice it, you can count on lots of new rattles and squeaks when you put all back together. You'll never get things as tight as it comes from the factory.

There was some discussion a while back about setting up a remote blower (in the spare tire area) and feeding the heated air it thru the existing duct system. Not sure if this was ever tried, but it sounds possible.

good luck, John

#4 Sweet82

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 02:07 PM

All the above.

Sell the car and buy another with a better heater!

I removed mine and installed it in the buggy. Boy am I glad I don't have to put that back together:(

I think Subaru starts the assembly line with the heater and builds the car around it........:rolleyes:

Glenn,
82 Summer, just about wired....and heated.......
01 Forester, bent but not broken........

Does it matter if the (heater) hoses are connected backwards?

#5 heartless

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 04:44 PM

:eek: you guys are scaring me on this one!! now I am kinda bummed...knew it wasnt gonna be easy, but geez....

I did find a new core at our new Advance auto parts, will be in by friday....even if I dont use it right away, will be nice to have on hand for future. Wasnt all that expensive either - $72 and change...was quoted $211 at Car Quest, and the closest he could find was in northguy's country!!

I will definitely be checking the hoses and clamps carefully before I go any further on this one....maybe I will get lucky! (and yes it does have mostly original clamps, save the couple I have replaced up front. But would leaking under the hood still cause that darn smell?

the rattles and squeaks wouldnt bother me that much, just turn up the stereo!!! :D
Say what you want about Ford motor company, but my last car was a 77 Lincoln Mark V, and the heater core was super easy to change on it - there was an access panel under the hood, about 8 small bolts and it was free! Sometimes I really miss that old beast - died of cancer, but became an organ donor for another project!

anyway, thanks for the input guys

ps: sweet - I cant afford to sell my Subie!!! Not that I would even if I could afford to! no job is making things tuff all around.

#6 snowstormer

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 05:48 PM

keep us posted if you end up having to do this job.

i am sure i will have to tackle it sooner or later, i am curious as to just how bad it is.

good luck from a fellow northlander...

#7 ldj1002

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 08:54 PM

I thought you could cut a hole in the left side plastic heater housing on all the Brats and get that core out. I think you have to move some of the linkage. Get the core changed and glue or silicone the piece that you cut out back. If that heater core you ordered is not the right one, go to a radiator shop. Most have generic cores they can use and put your ends on it. Useally cheaper than one from auto store.
That isn't too bad if you can do it that way. otherwise is a !#*? :eek: :mad:
L.D.

#8 heartless

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 09:51 PM

Idj - not working on a brat, altho from what I understand the method you described would be easier....

Snowstormer, thanks for the good wishes, I may be in need of them!! :(

Will be taking a thourough look at her in the next day or two - everybody keep your fingers crossed for me that it is just a bad hose or failed clamp!

#9 thealleyboy

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 09:55 AM

HL:

The job CAN be done, but it will be frustrating. It will try your patience if you have a type "A" personality like many of us.

Another option would be an electric heater. These used to be a popular addition on the old VW Beetles. JC Whitney, or ther VW aftermarket part dealers may still carry them.

I was kinda hoping you (or someone else) would want to give the remote-blower-in-the spare-tire-area a shot. It would be relatively easy compared to tearing your dash apart.

good luck, John

#10 moosens

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 10:32 AM

Heartless-never mind the nay sayers.....we WILL triumph!!!!!!

I've parted out way too many of these to let these guys scare me.Take my hand and we'll walk through the fire together.I'll be sure to assist you as best as I can.Keep the PM's coming as needed,or email.

The connectors are all special fit to each other.You don't have to worry so much about that.Lable them if you're really not convinced of this.

There's only one cable for the thermo(hot cold slider),and a vacuum hose for the selector(pushbuttons).Remove seats and center console for ease.One 10mm bolt on each end underside of dash.I think you need to take the fuse box down but I don't think you need to disconnect it,just let that hang.Some relays,etc may be Philips screwed to the side....not thinking clear this early in the New Year's day one.

THere's no way I'm letting my sweet touring wagon go just because it needs a core swap.Sorry guys,I don't give up that easy on something that has otherwise been very good to me.

#11 clantieri

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 01:26 PM

I don't know about ea-82's, but my ea-81 has two rubber hoses INSIDE the car where the heater control valve (the part that sticks through the firewall) connects to the heater core. These rubber hoses may have clamps on them. Those may be the clamps that thealleyboy is talking about. Maybe you'll get lucky and those clamps are loose...good luck.

Chris

#12 heartless

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 10:02 PM

hey moosens, I am not gonna give up that easy either...I managed to do the timing belts ok - first real work I did on my lil subie! My biggest problem is this is my daily driver, so cant afford to have it down for too long - especially since I am still looking for work!! Most I can afford to have it down is two days - one to take apart and one to put back together. :-p
I have had the dash partially apart a couple of times working on dashlights, and putting in a new stereo, so am somewhat familiar with parts of it anyway...have even had the glovebox out, forget what for...
My only other running vehicle is my 1967 F-250, nearly perfect, and I refuse to get it out in the winter - it has never seen salt and not going to let it see it now!
My Sube, too, has been very good to me, and is still a great running car considering I only paid $150 for it two years ago. May not be the prettiest thing on the road, but has been very dependable and versatile.

got a look at the hoses going into the heater core this afternoon and could not see any moisture anywhere around them, no drips underneath either, and this was after it was warmed up and heat going full blast. it does have the original clamps on it as far as i can tell.
Soooo....moosens, keep the info coming!! :) and a pic or two might be helpful if you have a digital camera... ;) (if not, dont worry about it!)

#13 toybuilder

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 08:15 PM

I just changed the heater core in my wifes '90 Loyale turbo last night. It took about six hours, start to finish. I cleaned up some "shade tree" wiring while I was in there, too. Intimidating at first, but actually very straightforward.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Those are the only pics I took. Feel free to email or PM me with questions, or my phone # if you need some help. Don't let them scare you, it's really not that hard.

Good luck!

#14 heartless

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 09:46 PM

ok, i go pick up my heater core saturday morning, they called me tonight and said it was in.

Toybuilder - you said 6 hours start to finish? Hmmm, probably at least eight for me!!! LOL

Does one really need to remove the steering wheel to do this?? Or can i get the dash out with out taking it off?
I can see why removing the seats would be helpful - more room to work.
just had a thought, maybe I should see about getting the bushings for the shifter and take care of that while I have it down! :D

Anyway, want to thank everybody for the info and encouragement. maybe i should take pics as I go for a repair write up - what do ya'll think? I have a little digital camera, would be easy enough to snap a few as I go, if anyone thinks this would be useful.

Also sounds like we have a failed thermostat on my guy's car - no heat inside and engine is overheating. If it isnt one thing, it's another! :rolleyes:

#15 Soobadooba

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 10:28 PM

Originally posted by heartless
Also sounds like we have a failed thermostat on my guy's car - no heat inside and engine is overheating. If it isnt one thing, it's another! :rolleyes:


Hmm. Those two symptoms combined don't really sound like a thermostat problem to me:(
-Louis-
'91 Loyale 4wd 5spd Wagon

#16 moosens

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Posted 02 January 2004 - 11:44 PM

I didn't think you had to strip the steering wheel.I'm going to drop it down and rest it on the floor.Need be I'll disconnect it from the u-joint and pull it whole before taking all the plastic off.

Personal opinion.

But hey,you did it,I haven't,so YOU da man!
I've had too may of these cars stipped down like your picture to not practically "feel" my way around this job.

We WILL WIN !!!!!!!

Heat by February!!!!!!!

#17 toybuilder

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 01:02 AM

The instrument panel would not fit between the steering wheel and the windshield, hence the removal. Try for yourself you might have better luck. The FSM suggests the removal of both the steering wheel and the steering column. I found it easier to remove the plastic and the wheel rather than the entire column, like you mentioned moosens. My personal opinion.

I have stripped down several of these cars myself, and I'll have to admit I was a little nervous, stripping the interior of a daily driver down that far. Usually it's much easier to take apart than put back together, fortunately things went together very easily this time.

#18 heartless

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 09:41 AM

I have had the instrument panel out a couple times without removing the steering wheel - trying to get dash lights. it takes a little wiggling, but it does come out relatively easily. Just have to drop the wheel all the way down.

Moosens - when did you plan on doing yours???? It is supposed to get pretty darn cold here for the next week or so :( possibly longer (single digits and below)

#19 rkmastiff

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Posted 03 January 2004 - 03:46 PM

Go to subaru repair manual section. It will have pics on how to install the heater core. I did this and it does work great. Heater core cost was $79 from Napa auto , and heater control valve had to be ordered from subaru $120. If you follow these directions it is not bad. I did not put the end piece back on and my heater works great.

#20 heartless

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Posted 07 January 2004 - 07:31 PM

well, my heater core replacement has been put on hold for the time being...

Turns out the other half failed to mention to me the waterpump on his car has been failing for some time, not a thermostat problem after all. :mad:

soooo, it has become more important to get his backup car up and running to take the place of the poor old worn out taurus.
His backup is an 88 GL wagon dual range 4whl drive. ( I am sooooo jealous! :-p ) The biggest problem with this one is the power windows and door locks do not work...have started trying to find the problem - got the passenger seat out to gain access to the relays and all - just havent managed to find the problem just yet.

Plan on doing the timing belts and oil seals right away...what else should I be looking at in that area??? I know to check the tensioners carefully, but anything else???

huh, high jacking my own post!!! gotta love that!! :D

#21 Petersubaru

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Posted 30 September 2004 - 10:59 AM

just make sure the core is the correct one...the one they got me was not the correct one...I ended up not changing it, but rather re-routed the heater pipes to the aluminum "rad" looking thing on the passenger side under the dash (I can't remember the name of it, but it is used for the air cond unit)..my A/C didn't work...A little fabrication and all is well

#22 VaporTrail

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 07:59 AM

so how was the heat after running it through the AC core?

#23 Sweet82

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 04:05 PM

I just changed the heater core in my wifes '90 Loyale turbo last night. It took about six hours, start to finish. I cleaned up some "shade tree" wiring while I was in there, too. Intimidating at first, but actually very straightforward.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Those are the only pics I took. Feel free to email or PM me with questions, or my phone # if you need some help. Don't let them scare you, it's really not that hard.

Good luck!


Which heater core hose is supply and which is return?

Would it matter if you hooked them up backwards
:confused:

Wondering if I hooked mine back up correctly :rolleyes:

Thanks,
Glenn
82 SubaruHummer--with heater!
01 Forester--Overheater! :mad:

#24 Petersubaru

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 10:12 AM

your windows sounded like the same problem I had with them...try cleaning internally the switches on each door by removing the panels..should take just a few minutes to get at the problem for cleaning...the subaru switches rearly ever ware-out from use and in almost all cases become grimmy at the contacts...(the dirt on the contacts are only about the size of two well placed "periods" at the end of a sentence)...lightly sand the contacts with some very fine paper...also check the regultor (i believe that is what they call it) inside the drivers door...if there is power to each window and the motors are working, all should be fine then

#25 Petersubaru

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 10:18 AM

heat coming from the AC core works OK or so I think..but I will know better when the real cold weather comes about soon....the core had to be removed and cleaned and rubber pipes fastened in a way that they don't slide off the aluminum pipe when under pressure

so how was the heat after running it through the AC core?






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