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Hello!

I'm planning on replacing my heater Core in my 2003 Dodge Dakota 3.9 2WD this weekend but was surprised when a friend of mine was sure that I had to recapture the AC coolant and remove the AC hoses.

Since I'm not planning on doing any work on the AC, can't I just remove the dash and leave the HVAC housing mounted and remove just the cover, drain the radiator, and remove the core?

Spent the last day on YouTube and no one has my specific truck or issues on this. They all just remove everything but they are also mostly doing AC work as well so they take out the whole HVAC housing and they don't talk or show any of that.

Section 24 of the shop manual seems to suggest that the HVAC doesn't have to be dissembled to replace the core, which I assumed meant it can stay mounted in the truck. Am I incorrect about this?

Thanks!
 

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97 Dakota 3.9 pre-pre runner build
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From all my research (cause I need to do it as well, tan some stop leak in the heater core only, then flushed that) you do have to disassemble the dash, but dodge put the blower motor, evaporator, and heater core in a plastic box that was then plastic welded shut. In order to access the heater core, this box must be removed, and then cut open. Removing this box ends up disconnecting some lines to the receiver-dryer, after the evaporator in the A/C circuit. This is probably the most undesireable part of the job, as most don’t really care about taking that dash out, but not everyone has an HVAC machine at their house.
 

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I did mine on a 2002 Dakota 3.9 2WD last summer. Your in for a treat !!!! Retired at this time, but have friends at the dealership.
They used a recycle machine to evacuate the A.C. system. The job was not fun by any means. After I got the unit out, I
replaced every thing in the box. Servos, doors, actuators, evap core and heater core. That is my recommendation to you.
Do the job once and it should be good for another 20 years. I also replaced accumulator and hoses. Did the evacuation,
leak test and recharge myself. This winters project is to install 5.7 hemi and 5 speed auto.

Good Luck, Daddyododge1
 
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