Heater core replacement on '86 T-Bird. Insight requested.

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Karen Hall wrote:


Sadly, you have to pull the instrument panel. It looks pretty daunting, as you are removing a large chunk of your car, but it isn't all that hard. Some will tell you to loosen the inst. panel and move it slightly, but at this point you are 20 minutes away from getting it completely out of your way. The very first thing I recommend is getting the correct Ford shop manual. Chiltons or Haynes won't cut it for details. Here's the basics:
1. Have the refrigerant in the AC recovered. Drain the coolant. Disconnect the heater\AC hoses and plug the heater core tubes tubes. 2. If I'm working on my car (as opposed to flat rate) I usually pull the seat(s) to get it out of the way (about 5 minutes each). Remove the kick panel trim, A-pillar trim, and center console (if equipped). 3 Lower the steering column onto the seat (Or remove it completely)disconnet wiring from the right side of the panel, connectors are in the right kick panel. Do the same on the left side. Disconnect wiring and vacuum lines from the inst. panel to the heater box. 4Remove the inst panel mounting screws across the top (usually 4, near the defrost ducts). 5.Check for an inst. panel to firewall brace near the middle of the panel, disconnect it. 6.Remove the 2 bolts holding the bottom corners of the intrument panel. Remove the panel from the car. 7. Remove the heater\AC box, split the case,, and replace the core. 8. Reassemble.
Just follow the steps in the manual. It looks like a lot of steps, but many of them are one or two screws and take less than 30 seconds. I've done a lot of these and can do it in about 4 hours. Set aside a Saturday and a Sunday, get a friend to help and hand you tools, etc. Have a good supply of your favorite beverage handy and have fun.                 Tom
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as you are

tell you to

minutes away

recommend is

details.
the
seat(s) to

A-pillar
completely)disconnet wiring

Do the same

to the

defrost ducts).

disconnect it.

Remove the

many of them

Saturday and a

of your

Tom, you make it sound sooooo simple! ;-)
Actually with familiarity does come simplicity. Like you with this vehicle, give me a Mitsu and it would be a job...but not a chore. I can vision me now trying to locate all those hidden fasteners and choosing the correct metric equivalents. Still, this will be made easier now that you guys have given me more guidance and assurance as to what "must" come out to facilitate the R/R.
Thank again! Tj
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Karen Hall wrote:

Sounds like you gave some knowledge (at least which end of a screwdriver to hold;) ). Approach it with patience and care and it won't be an unpleasant experience. 15mm, 13mm, 8mm, 6mm, (and I'll bet one 5.5mm Let me know where you find it).Take the time to clean inside the case and flush the exterior of the evaporator with bleach water. Go to your local Home Depot, Lowes, etc and get a roll of that adhesive backed foam used as weatherstripping. Theres some foam seals that tend to deteriorate.             Tom
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it).Take the time

bleach water.

backed foam

Great! Should have all the foreseen bases covered. Appreciate all the advice Tom.
Best Regards, Tj
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Hey TJ, You mentioned having a resto going in the garage. What is it? Don't tease me like that and then leave me hanging.             Tom
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tease me like

From one car nut to another...
'71 LS-5 Corvette Stingray Convertible. It's 100% stock with matching numbers. As well as being stock it's basically original. Aside from new leather, carpeting and rag, it has the original 454/365, Turbo400, hardtop...and AM radio. ;-) I bought it back in '86 for $5000! Completed a frame-on restore shortly after purchase but considering it is a driver (almost daily) it's time for another. ;-)
Regards, Tj
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