The worst happened the other night. Driving to HEB, turned on the
heat, and POP! Antifreeze 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.
If it's a stick shift, put it in reverse for clearance.
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!
Three hours total time from park to drive away.
B.B. --I am not a goat! thegoat4 at airmail dot net