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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 32566
Experience:  Automotive Repair Shop Manager, Technician
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99 Ford Explorer W/ AC Heater core replacement Instructions

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99 Ford Explorer W/ AC Heater core replacement Instructions

ok, this is an 8hr job at a shop. It absolutely requires the removal of the instrument panel.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2. Disconnect the instrument panel wiring connectors in the engine compartment.
  3. Remove the 2 screws retaining the lower steering column cover and remove the cover.
  4. Remove the ashtray and retainer.
  5. Remove the upper and lower steering column shrouds.
  6. Remove the instrument cluster finish panel. Remove the radio assembly and equalizer, if equipped.
  7. Remove the screws retaining the instrument cluster. Remove the cluster, making sure to disconnect the electrical leads.
  8. Remove the screw that attaches the instrument panel to the brake and clutch pedal support.
  9. Disconnect the wiring from the switches on the steering column.
  10. Remove the front inside pillar mouldings.
  11. Remove the right side cowl trim cover.
  12. Remove the lower right insulator from under the instrument panel.
  13. Remove the 2 bolts retaining the instrument panel to the lower right side of the cowl.
  14. Remove the 2 screw retaining the instrument panel to the parking brake bracket, on the drivers side.
  15. Remove the 4 screw retaining the top of the instrument panel.
  16. Reach through the openings in the instrument panel and disconnect any remaining electrical connectors. Disconnect the heater/air conditioning controls.

Removing the instrument panel will be much easier with the help of an assistant, as it is extremely bulky and difficult to maneuver.

  1. Carefully tilt the instrument panel forward and remove it from the vehicle. Work the instrument panel around the steering wheel.

To install:
  1. If the instrument panel is being replaced, transfer all mounting brackets and switches to the new panel.
  2. Position the instrument panel inside the vehicle and install the 4 screw that retain it along the top.
  3. Install the retaining screws on the left and right sides. Make sure the instrument panel is properly mounted.

Making sure the instrument panel is positioned correctly at this point, will avoid problems with fit and rattles, after its installed. Also check for pinched or cut wires.

  1. Install the mouldings and the trim panels.
  2. Connect the heater/air conditioning controls and all of the instrument panel switches.
  3. Connect the wiring to the steering column switches.
  4. Install the instrument cluster, radio and ashtray assemblies.
  5. Install the instrument cluster finish panel.
  6. Install the steering column shrouds.
  7. Reconnect all wiring connectors in the engine compartment.
  8. Connect the negative battery cable.
  9. Check the operation of ALL accessories.

Fig. Fig. 8: Exploded view of the blower motor housing and the heater air plenum assemblies

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Allow the engine to cool down. Drain the cooling system to a level below the heater core fittings on the firewall.

CAUTION When draining the coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted by the ethylene glycol antifreeze, and are quite likely to drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantity. Always drain the coolant into a sealable container. Coolant should be reused unless it is contaminated or several years old.
  1. Disconnect the heater hoses from the heater core tubes and plug hoses.
  2. Remove the five nuts that secure the blower motor housing to the firewall.
  3. Pull the housing away from the firewall. Disconnect any wire harness plugs which inhibit the housing.
  4. Remove the remaining nuts which secure the heater air plenum (inside the passenger compartment) to the firewall.
  5. In the passenger compartment, remove the instrument panel.
  6. Pull the heater air plenum rearward from the firewall and remove it from the vehicle.
  7. Remove the heater core from the heater air plenum.
  8. Inspect all air seals on the components and firewall and replace any that are damaged.

To install:
  1. Install the heater core into the air plenum chamber.
  2. Position the heater air plenum against the firewall from the passenger compartment.
  3. Under the hood, install the plenum retaining nuts.
  4. Install the blower motor housing to the firewall and install the attaching nuts.
  5. Connect the heater hoses to the heater core tubes at the dash panel in the engine compartment. Do not over-tighten the hose clamps.
  6. Install the instrument panel.
  7. Check the coolant level and add coolant as required. Connect the negative battery cable.
  8. Start the engine and check the system for coolant leaks.
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