Mercury Marquis Heater Core R/R

My 1996 Mercury Marquis developed a loss of coolant into the passenger cabin this morning. My mechanic's snap opinion (he hasn't looked yet) is that the heater
core is shot, followed by major moaning about how tough it is to pull and replace the heater core and how much it will cost because the whole dash has to be removed and replaced.
Question: how is the heater core removed for this car and how much "standard" time should it take?
Question: is there a "trick" way of pulling the heater box without removing the entire dash assembly and if so, what is it?
Any Ford/Mercury experts out there? All information appreciated.
Marv
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Marv Soloff wrote:

I managed to do my 1989 by pulling the dash back a lot, without having to remove it entirely or remove the steering parts. If the 1996 isn't easier than the '89, and I suspect it isn't, that's the best news I have for you.
If there were any answers to my questions about it, I didn't see them. I suspect most people who might have encountered one decided not to tackle it.
--
One meter, to within 0.0125% accuracy (off by just under .005 inches):
Three feet
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I've seen it take over a day for some experienced Ford techs. The heater core replacement is one of my pet peeves with the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis. If you tackle this, take your time and, if you can, get a factory repair manual to do it.
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My 87 Lincoln Town car needed a new heater core. The symptoms are a loss of coolant and the steamy smell of antifreeze when you run the heater. Stop leak worked for a few months, but one day on the way to work it started blowing thick steamy air. You could see the thick steam that chocked you to breath it.
I decided not to replace the core myself because: 1. Its a two man job. 2. It takes a professional mechanic 1.5 days to do it. 3. If its not done right you will have to do it over including removing the dash again. 4. The AC gas has to be drained and refilled according to specs.
I got 4 estimates ranging from $750 to $1100. Two independent shops, a Ford dealer and a Lincoln dealer.
I chose not to use the two independents because their warranty is only for 90 days. I was not impressed with their good old boy "we can probably figure it out and it might cost more" attitude.
The Ford dealer wanted $1100.
I got the best deal ($790) from the Lincoln dealer because: They have done so many Lincolns they know how to do it right the first time. They gave me a new Lincoln Towncar loaner for 2 days for free. Their warranty is for 12 months, and is honored by other Lincoln dealers across the country. While they were doing it they found a defective cabin heat sensor that was faulty and replaced it for free. Their employees were professional and polite.
In this case, the dealer by far the best option.
Since the full size Mercury, Lincoln, Ford are virtually the same, I would suggest getting 4 estimates from them. Also ask about getting a loaner car for free or at lowest cost.
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Bailey B wrote:

Good advice. Many thanks to all who answered.
Marv
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Bailey B wrote:

I did not have to drain or refill the A/C. I don't remember the procedure well enough to describe how we accomplished that, but I used the A/C all last spring, summer and fall after doing the heater core.
--
One meter, to within 0.0125% accuracy (off by just under .005 inches):
Three feet
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Ditto for my 88 mustang. Pulling the dash out but not removing it or the steering wheel and some other shortcuts let me RR the core without evac of the AC system. Took two days.
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loosen off the rad cap for a few days until you can get the heater core replaced. that should minimize the amount of steam that smells like antifreeze coming at you. a lower pressure cap may be an option also.
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were are you located? Marv Soloff wrote:

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mr.som ting wong wrote:

Northern New Jersey
M
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