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I just finished my heater core replacment and have to give a big thanks to the original poster for the pictures and instructions.

Saved myself HUNDREDS of dollars (quoted $900 to get this done) and it only took me a day + buying the core myself ($100). Thanks!
 

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Looking at you pics, i feel you were looking over my shoulder in my driveway.
I'm right with you until its time to separate the heater box from the firewall.
Its loose but the a/c lines have stopped the show.
How do I disconnect the two a/c lines just forward of the firewall?
 

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I got a 99 Durango so not sure if its the same, but struggled with this one when I did mine. First of all make sure the AC is discharged........if you havent discharged it google that and decide on "how" you would like to do it usually recommended to take to a shop but there are other ways. I went out and snapped a few pics real quick.

First follow the smaller line to the front of the engine compartment to here and unbolt it. Even when discharged it will still release a bit of pressure so dont be startled or have your eye right over it like I did. This will allow the room/give to pull the lines back from the wall without breaking/bending them.



Next just unscrew that center bolt between both lines on the plate there and remove it. After that I believe there are 2 bolts, maybe torx bolts holding the lines on there. Simply remove those and your good to go. Watch out for the o-rings on the lines dont loose those! Edit, I could be wrong here maybe it is only the center nut to come off but idk it was a while ago and I have had a few now but I am sure you get the picture.



Cheers and good luck.
 

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I miss my heater SO much (I bypassed it), but that just gives me a stomach ache looking at it.
That's awesome you took pics and posted them though. If I ever work up the nerve to R&R the core, I know I'll be using these pics as a guide.
I swear, Alan, i am saying the SAME thing!
 

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Well HELL. I got two Dakotas. A 97 & 2000 model. Got that 97 mid 05 and got the 2000 model just 4 weeks ago. And guess what? Yep your right. Heat core is out in both of them. Been driving the old one for 3 years now with no heat. Hell that was one of the main reasons I got a newer truck. The old one is starting to lay down on me. Anyway. Got to work today, looked over and seen fluid on the floor mat. Going to brake down and tackle the heater core this weekend. I have looked over this entire thread and feel that it's not going to be so bad.
:worky:
Wish me luck.
 

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just rockin'
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My Mess

Well HELL. I got two Dakotas. A 97 & 2000 model. Got that 97 mid 05 and got the 2000 model just 4 weeks ago. And guess what? Yep your right. Heat core is out in both of them. Been driving the old one for 3 years now with no heat. Hell that was one of the main reasons I got a newer truck. The old one is starting to lay down on me. Anyway. Got to work today, looked over and seen fluid on the floor mat. Going to brake down and tackle the heater core this weekend. I have looked over this entire thread and feel that it's not going to be so bad.
:worky:
Wish me luck.
Here's a pic of my mess. I can not get the housing assembly out. Something is holding it in along the bottom. I've been under the truck and can't find anything. :huh:
 

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Mine is a 99' Durango so not sure what would be different on your 01' quad cab but on mine there are 4 screws on the firewall holding the heaterbox in. The 4th one and hard to miss is behind the transmission dipstick and a bitch to get off. I used an open ended wrench with like 1/4 turns at a time with my finger tips......Thats all I can think of right now.

Hopefully you figure it out, I pulled my dash 3 times so I feel your pain.
 

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just rockin'
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Mine is a 99' Durango so not sure what would be different on your 01' quad cab but on mine there are 4 screws on the firewall holding the heaterbox in. The 4th one and hard to miss is behind the transmission dipstick and a bitch to get off. I used an open ended wrench with like 1/4 turns at a time with my finger tips......Thats all I can think of right now.

Hopefully you figure it out, I pulled my dash 3 times so I feel your pain.
I know I read that in this thread before and you're right that nut was right there hiding from me. I got it done, it was a pain, but compared to shelling out a grand for someone else to do it, I would do it again. :woot: Thanks to the OP for the pics and thanks to everyone else who contributed.
 

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If it kind of smells like a tiny, not so bad, bit of faintly burning coolant... (Sweeter, not so much like smoke or strong) Does that sound like a heater core leaking or something else?
I don't want to play it up too much, its very faint, and sweet, but if its an early sign of the core leaking I'd be curious to know. (It puts out good heat still. (Also, it does not fog up the windows when I turn on heat or defrost.))
 

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These are awesome pics..thanks for posting. I do have a question--I tried this and got stuck removing the bolt from behind the trans dipstick tube--how did you remove that bolt and is there anything else that would hold that up(as well as removing the dash from the drivers side)
 

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Just finished mine (2000 Dakota SLT) a couple hours ago, and the pics and discussion here was a great help.

Had been plugged (weak heat) and slight coolant smell since I bought it a couple years ago. Lost about a quart of coolant every couple months. Bypassed it when the leaking got too bad and was steaming windows and pissing coolant all over the carpet back in the spring. Didn't want no heat for the winter, so bit the bullet and did the job. Ordered all the parts from RockAuto, Ran me about $180 in parts for heater core, evap core, blower motor and blower motor resistor. I really don't want to have to do this job again, so replaced all 4. Ordered the A/C disconnect tools from Amazon (Lisle brand).

Job went smoother than it had a right to. :)

Started by myself about 2 PM yesterday afternoon. Make sure steering is set straight ahead. Disconnect battery.

A/C system was already down to air due to minor leak that I put off fixing knowing that I would be doing the heater core soon. :)

Pull air intake box and receiver/dryer with bracket. Disconnect the A/C lines (taped up ends). Heater hoses already disconnected when I bypassed it. Disconnected the small vacuum hose that comes out under the heater core nipples.

Inside, I pretty much gutted the instrument panel. Pulled radio, HVAC controls, cluster, to prevent damage.

Stripped a load of interior trim. Removed A pillar covers, grab handles, door sills, cowl panels, access plates under steering column and lighter/airbag switch panel, pulled glove box. Removed upper and lower steering column shrouds. Removed center console for easier access to instrument panel center support and airbag module connector.

Removed instrument panel center support to floor. This was actually the biggest PITA of this whole job. 5 fairly large bolts, which were tight due to corrosion. The carpet blocked access pretty well until a few slits with a utility knife were applied. Unplugged airbag module electrical connector and ground wire.

Under the steering column:

Remove the bottom brace and hood release lever (leave connected and lower to floor). Disconnect parking brake release rod. Unplug all the steering column wires at column end. Unbolt and unplug the huge wiring harness connector, and the 2 smaller ones to the left of it. Unplug the stop light switch.

Disconnect the 2 ground wires located near the mounting hinges. Unplug the radio antenna cable at the glovebox, as well as the blower motor wire.

End of Day 1. About 3 hours work by myself to this point.

About 10:30 this morning start with a helper. Could probably have done it myself, but a helper makes things a lot easier.

Remove steering column completely. Not as hard as I thought it might be. Cross drilled bolt at the steering shaft out, followed by 4 column mounting nuts. Lower column to floor, and disconnect shifter cable. Removed column, making sure that it was locked to prevent rotation.

Loosen the 2 mounting hinge bolts, and pull the 5 screws up top. Hinge the instrument panel down. Had helper support panel while I disconnected the the vacuum hose harness, demister hose, the blower motor resistor harness, and 3 wiring harnesses from the back of the fusebox. Pull entire instrument panel out of vehicle.

Take out the 4 nuts/studs from the firewall side. One had been removed earlier, as it also held the receiver/dryer bracket. 2 of mine were pretty rusty, and actually unscrewed themselves from the plastic heater box. They cleaned up and screwed back into the plastic just fine. The one behind the trans dipstick tube was one of them, which might have been a blessing in a way. Location really sucks. The one hidden under the heater hose clamp took some careful looking to find it. Removed the HVAC box to the workbench....

Remove the vacuum hoses, door linkages, etc, and pop the top off the box. Marvel at what years of coolant leak residue looks like. :) Remove the blower cover.

Pull the heater core, evap core, and blower motor, then hose out the box.

New parts went right in, after trimming the plastic tabs around the heater core. Had to transfer rubber insulators, dust filter, and line clips from old evap to new. New blower motor had to be spliced to old harness, so wanted really reliable splices, as they are sealed inside the box with the motor. Twisted, soldered, and double layer of heatshrink. No crimps here. If you replace your blower motor, double check the polarity and direction of rotation. Motor needs to rotate clockwise (viewed from shaft end) when green harness wire is positive.

Reassembled the box, using RTV in a few spots where old gaskets were damaged/deteriorated. Checked that all the doors/flaps moved properly and reinstalled the mounting studs which backed out on removal. With helper, rehang box on firewall. Used RTV around the studs and the condensate drain port.

From here on it was just reverse the steps and reconnect the heater, A/C and vacuum hoses under the hood, and reinstall the instrument panel, steering column, cluster/controls, and all the trim. I had about an extra hour dealing with some aftermarket stereo/overhead console/sunroof wiring, which I found easiest to cut and then resplice as needed. Total job time 8-1/2 hours including cleanup and a test drive (I have heat, and no smell!).:banana2:

Will fix A/C leak tomorrow (leaking at charging port schrader valve), and pull a vacuum on it. May charge it if 134 is on sale somewhere cheap now that A/C season is over. Otherwise will wait till spring.
 

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Please help.
First, I want to thank the OP for posting all those great picks and making this much easier.

Ok, here's the scoop. I had mice move into my heater fan compartment while I was away for an extended period of time. They built a nest blocking the fan resulting in the center spinning loos and the plastic getting honed out to beyond repair.
I was relieved to discover that you can access the fan without pulling the whole box out because my mechanical skills are dismal at best.
Having replaced the fan I partially reassembled the dash for a test and was disappointed to hear that the fan was rubbing against the case.
So, I pulled that dash again partly so that I could listen closely to see if it was just part of the gasket of if I needed to adjust the fan. Unfortunately, when I attempted to turn on the fan, the motor fail to spin. I did hear a weak electrical whining noise however, so I figured that the truck had some sort of a safety mechanism to prevent it from spinning while the dash is not in place.
To my great disappointment, after replacing the dash to the point at which it was working before, it still failed to spin and maintained the weak whine.
I'm not sure where to even begin to figure out what the issue is.

Also, this is the access panel I used to reach the fan. If I had known about this I would have been far less anxious about this project. Perhaps the OP could add it to his post and to help people out who just need to access the fan (I've searched high and low and have found no other pics of this panel).

When Mice Attack!!!



Thanks!
~fidof650
 

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It could be a bad fan. I would take the fan out and hook it to a 12volt source and see if it spins. If yes than I would get a volt meter ans check the switch. Keep us posted. Jim
 

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Fixed it!
It was a bad 40AMP fuse. When I inspected it, it looked intact but today I switched it with the 40AMP trailer fuse just in case and sure enough, it came right on.
The timing couldn't be better either given it was below freezing today! I haven't had heat in two years and it gets cold up here in the North East so, this is a real treat.
Thanks for getting back to me.
~fidof650
 

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Discussion Starter #218
Hello guys. Haven't been on here in awhile. I sold my 2000 Dakota about a year ago (the one I did this thread on) and bought a new/ used 2006 Dakota quad cab 4x4. It has the 4.7 in it like my old dak. I know this isnt the most popular body style, I never really liked them either but while out searching for a new truck I just couldnt come across anything that I felt worked for me and not cost new car prices in a used truck like toyotas. So glad this thread has helped so many.
 

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I am really enjoying having heat in my truck again, without feeling like I'm going to pass out from the ethylene glycol fumes. I have a 2WD '97 Dakota SLT with the 5.2 engine. I replaced the heater core, evaporator and accumulator (receiver/dryer).

I did a lot of research before starting, and this thread was by far the most helpful resource I found. I'd like to add my thanks to Snewman for posting it, and to everyone else who has contributed.

I think most everything has been covered, but here are a few thoughts on my experience, in no particular order:

Overall it wasn't really that bad; just kind of tedious. I am not normally a very organized person, but in this case I think organization was essential. I put colored tape on everything I disconnected (bought a package of 5 different colored rolls of electrical tape for this purpose), and I bagged and labeled all the fasteners as I removed them. On each bag, I wrote where the screws came from, and what size driver was needed. This made reassembly go much faster. I ended up with no leftover parts or screws, and everything is working as it should.

Completely removing the windshield washer reservoir (not just pushing it out of the way) made getting to the bolts and a/c lines much easier. I also removed the passenger side wheel well liner. In retrospect I could probably have left the liner in, but taking it out wasn't a big deal, and it did make it easier to get to the nuts on the firewall from underneath the truck (a ratcheting wrench was a godsend for that, BTW). I replaced the plastic rivets that held the wheel well liner on with screw-in type rivets from Autozone.

After reassembling everything, I initially didn't have any control over the vents (all the air was blowing out through the defrost vents, no matter what I set the control to). I knew 100% that I had reattached the vacuum line under the hood (the black one that comes out from underneath the heater hoses), so after a cursory glance I kind of ignored that line and spent a bunch of time contorted under the dashboard trying to find a pinched line and praying that I wouldn't have to pull the dash again. When I finally went back out and looked more closely at the vacuum line under the hood, I found that it had been cracked during reinstallation, right where it comes out of the firewall. I bought some tubing and ran a new line and now everything works as it should. So be careful with that line when you put the heater box back in. And if you run into this issue, check and double check that vacuum line. Then check it again. Also, you may want to check that everything works before you completely reassemble the dash. I got in a hurry when it started going back together and I could see the finish line.

I probably had the most trouble with the a/c lines. I had to spray some penetrating oil into them, and even then I had to use some channel lock pliers to press the disconnect tool into place. I used the plastic Lisle quick disconnect tools. When attempting to reconnect the lines, they wouldn't go all the way together and it started to feel like I was going to break something pushing on them. I placed a vise grip around the evaporator tube coming out of the firewall, right behind where it flares up to a larger size. So the vise grip was snug (not tight) around the smaller part of the tube, between the firewall and where the tube flares out to a larger diameter. This way, the flare in the tube pushed against he vise grip, which stopped against the firewall, giving me enough resistance to push the connector back together.

On the hard a/c line that goes from the lower tube on the evaporator to the condenser, I ended up disconnecting the line from the condenser end as well to give me more leeway when reconnecting the line to the evaporator. Reattaching the other end to the condenser is relatively easy since it's right up there at the front of the truck and easy to get to.

A set of trim/body tools ($5 or so from Harbor Freight) made removing the inside panels much easier and reduced the risk of breaking clips, etc.

Disconnecting the bulkhead wiring harness (a white box with a bolt through it and a whole lot of wires going into it, behind the dashboard on the driver's side) allowed the driver's side of the dashboard to come out enough to get the heater box out. You just undo the bolt, then the front half of the box unplugs from the back half.

I bought all my parts from Napa, and they dropped in pretty easily. I did not have to modify the heater box to get the heater core or evaporator in. The accumulator was a bit shorter than the original, but still fit the mounting bracket. Note that you need to reuse the plug from your original accumulator; the new one does not come with one.

Evaporator: http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/CatalogItemDetail.aspx/A-C-Evaporator-Core/_/R-TEM282999_0366570800
Heater Core: http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/CatalogItemDetail.aspx/Heater-Core/_/R-NHS6603339_0390764857
Accumulator: http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/CatalogItemDetail.aspx/A-C-Accumulator/_/R-TEM408511_0140441640

Overall I'm glad I did this. Driving my truck is much more pleasant now, and for a fraction of the cost of having a shop just replace the heater core, I replaced it, the evaporator and the accumulator. Not the most fun job, but definitely worth it for the savings. Thanks again for all the helpful info.
 

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I did this job as well and the snowman and the other guys that posted pictures was very helpful. I actually had...still have the same issue with everything coming out of the defroster vents.

Actually I think as the RPM's go up it does divert to the a/c vents..... prob a leak in that line causing me to loose vac.

My truck isn't a daily driver so it didn't matter much but I will take a look at that line when I get her out for summer.

Thanks for posting.

Coop
 
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