Coming Soon To An Old Chevy Truck Near Me

The minute I got home I sat down and hit Youtube to see what I could find about heater issues with Chevy trucks of the same vintage as the one I just bought. Very surprisingly, there aren’t that many that are specifically for the year and model I have.

There are scads of videos that say they cover several years worth of Chevy trucks but mine has that damn electronic heater control bullshit with electric actuators.

I did manage to find a couple and the actual heater core placement does turn out to be the same as some other models.

I also found ONE, that shows how to change the little Blend Door Actuator.

The good news?


This should be easy and the actual heater core is quite a bit cheaper than the last several I have had to do on the old Fords I have had.

Under $40.

I’m going to replace the hoses too, just because.

Do it right and be done with it.

Just how easy is this heater core to get at?

Ridiculously easy compared to a damn Ford.

I already know it’s not the blend door, I tested the functionality of that in the street after I got home.

It goes from cold to warm just fine.

Maybe after I stick a new heater core in it the damn thing might actually go from cold to hot.

That would be very nice.

If this old heater core looks anything like the thermostat I took out of this thing it will be no wonder if it’s half plugged up.

Funny, I thought those things were supposed to be kinda shiny…

34 thoughts on “Coming Soon To An Old Chevy Truck Near Me

  1. always replace the damn hoses ! i listen to my brother once and it cost me-a lot
    damn upper hose went on the turnpike doing 75. lots of work after that show.
    plus the 100 buck tow home. so yes, always replace the hoses !

    Liked by 2 people

    • Replace the hoses, belts and fluids. It’s sort of like pissing in the four corners of your new property to mark you territory. (Note: This is sometimes difficult to explain to your new neighbors and/or the PO-leece.


  2. Phil- the thermostat on mine was changed 4 or 5 times. Replaced the heater core once. It had chickenshit plastic sleeves for connectors that actually split. I know you a,wrench, but have you used silicone spray on inside and out of new hoses when replaced? Seem to live longer. I also had a bolt on a lower bracket shear off. It made the belt run crooked and started a fray. The frayed cord whipped a damned hole in the upper radiator hose. I kept a piece of a bleach bottle tie wrapped to it from then on. Still a good truck til sold.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Also replace the belt and tensioner. If it starts squealing look at the alternator bearing.

    I had one as a work truck. It was a good work truck for 200k miles.It was bare bones and all functional.I still prefer Ford.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Once upon a time when I cared about such things as appearances (Thank God I got over that! – learned the hard way that vanity is for fools) I had a 1986 signature Series Lincoln Town Car that the heater core went out on. I like to do a lot of my own work but I didn’t have much time back in those days and I couldn’t even figure where to begin to get it out so I took it to a reliable shop. They had to disassemble the car to change it out and it never ran right again after that. I ended up just getting rid of it. That was one of the steps toward my abandonment of Ford which was painful as my family is from Detroit. Nowadays I drive a 17 year old Toyota 4WD truck with 250,000 miles on it that has had 3 unscheduled maintenance actions – a starter change, and 2 blown high tension spark plug wires (I now carry extras). I laugh and laugh at pretentious vehicles knowing most owners are “upside down” or their vehicle is really just leased. I take the money I save and put it in the bank.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to do those Town Car heater cores all the time.
      You gotta drop the steering column and pull the dashboard back and set it on the front seats to get at the damn thing.
      I got to where I could have the dash on the seats in about forty minutes and could do that whole job in about three hours.
      The Flat Rate book said it’s an 8 hour job.
      I think it was a tie between two rigs as to which was the biggest bastard of a job to change a heater core in around 1996 or so. One was the Front Wheel Drive Lincoln Continental and the other one is going to surprise you, it was a tiny little Korean built Ford Fiesta. You had to strip the dash COMPLETELY and THEN, you had to PULL the dash COMPLETELY. The heater core was at the absolute bottom of the dash in the exact middle in it’s own little air box assembly and you had to remove EVERYTHING around it before you could get at it to take it out and take it apart.
      The fastest one I ever saw was an early 90’s Tempo/ Topaz.
      Flip the glove box all the way down, There was a small cover over the end of the heater core directly behind it. 4 screws, cut the hoses and pull it out.
      15 minutes flat to get it out. They should ALL be that way!


      • Mercury Grand Marquis were also a real nut breaking bitch too to change out the heater core. And they had 120V AC under the dash too, real fun looking for an electrical problem with the car running… wrong wire, your ass was electrified…

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Grand Marquis and the Town Car were built on the same frame, had the same power train, brakes and suspension and pretty much had the same sheet metal too except the grills and tails were different. The interior materials and the options are also what made them different.


      • 98 mark 8. pull the seats, pull the console, pull the air bags, pull the column, pull the glove box, disassemble the instrument cluster and remove, remove the entire dash board. pray the heater blend door axle is not broken off the blend flaps(upper and lower doors)and only the blend door actuator coupling is broken, if not the actuator motor/sensor itself. the variable resistor inside the blend door actuator gets dirty and the HVAC computer loses positioning data and overdrives the doors causing the weak link to fail-the coupling or shaft of the blend door actuator. that’s why the motorcraft brand actuator includes the little shaft adaptor coupling with it. don’t bother with buying the chinesium parts. they fail in six months; ask me how I know that.
        If the heater core is bad, just pull the glove box and access the core behind a panel. easy peasy. the hoses are a different horse.
        fix it and drive it to failure. fix it again. rinse repeat.


  5. The dash had to be pulled to replace the heater core in my ’02 Durango. I’ve done a lot of stuff to cars in my long and under-performing life but pulling dashes isn’t one of them. I had the dealer do it since I didn’t think my favorite garage could handle it. They said they could have and cheaper. Maybe next time. At least the blend door is working ok. That’s a big problem on these things.


  6. 2000 to 2003 chevy trucks have a large filter next to the blower you can get to with one 8mm bolt. that was my problem and it fixed everything.


  7. Several years ago, I bought a 99 Taurus at auction to flip it. No way I was gonna keep that bug-eyed jellybean. Drove fine, just had no heat and the radiator fans ran way too much. When I checked the coolant tank, it was full of lumpy, slimy chunks. Some idiot had mixed different coolants in it. I drained the coolant, pulled the bottom hose and flushed it out with a hose. Then I blasted out the heater core using alternating water and (low pressure) compressed air. Blew all kinds of brown crusties and lumpy coolant out of it. Then I ran one cycle of water/radiator flush, and one cycle of water/lime-a-way through it. I know, all that is just as likely to make it leak as it is to un-clog it, but it was WAY easier than pulling the dash and swapping the radiator. Anyway, I got lucky: no leaks, radiator fans returned to normal intervals, and the heat worked amazing. Car drove nice and ran great till I sold it


  8. If the heater core is aluminum I would back flush it vigorously. I suspect that it is not clogged inside the tubes but that there is a herd of particulate big enough to restrict the flow enough to make it a lousy heat exchanger. You might use some baking soda or vinegar solutions and soak the tank to break up the rust scum and get it out.

    Then again, if it is copper, change it.

    I forgot one other thing that the aluminum cores have a problem with. The plastic that comprises the tanks gets very brittle with age and at some point that problem will cause it to fail most likely where the hose clamps on the tube will break off. Ask me how I know.


  9. Lotsa good war stories here. I’ll add one: changing the blend door actuator on a Ford Expedition. Also involves dismantling most of the dash to get at it. The actuator is a little box about the size of a pack of cigs, and when I opened it up, its mechanism is full of little tiny PLASTIC gears with a few teeth broken off. Absolute piece of shit junk.


    • looking at the installation of the actuator, they could have remote mounted the actuator under the glove box and just used a longer rod to move the blend doors. usually ford used an upper and lower flap to cover the heater core so as to pass cooled air around it. it’s all just packaging and juggling of ideas. think of the warranty costs they could have saved by eliminating that 8 man hour job to change the dinky little actuator.


  10. Actually just replaced … Belay that.

    Friend of mine – Army: Viet Nam ’67-’68 – replaced a heater … well more precisely, when I bought a ’01 Silverado last December the guy I bought it from, also a vet, straight up an informed me, “It ain’t got a heater in it” but the price was good so I bought it anyway.

    Back to the friend. Being as I’m no car guy I asked my friend if he’d put me one in. Under the hood we (he) found no hoses and tells me, “I don’t know how much this is gonna cost but just leave it with me and we’ll even up when you get back this way.”

    (I’ve got an extra pickup – had ‘Her Ladyship’ follow me over there thinking there was the distinct possibility something like leaving it was a given.) I asked my friend, “Got an estimate?” He says “No like I just said, leave it and we’ll get evened up later” but I’d planned for that too and just handed over the five hundred in US Grants I’d thought to bring with me in case he said something like he did say.

    Couple weeks later he calls me up and says “Your truck’s done. Had to replace the thermostat and some other stuff, just drop by next time you’re in the neighborhood and you can take’er home.”

    I’m just a Viet Nam era vet myself. Navy and never stepped foot in that Godforsaken place myself but I had, later on spent some time in ‘the Greater Sandbox’ but before the time of GW. Should probably add my friend’s about a decade older’n me.

    Anyway before leaving his place he say’s “hold on” and hands me back four US Grants to which I ask “That’s all it cost?” He says “Close enough.”

    On the way home I notice what appears to be a different radio and so I ‘fiddle’ with it – and it comes on. Tuned to country of course but it works. “Damn” says I to myself.

    I get home and later in the evening I call him up and ask how much the radio was and why he thought to do that. “Your inside lights weren’t working, had to fix the radio to get those to work.” So I goes back to the truck (dark by then) and by God if all the inside lights don’t work too – and further by God if a whole lot of other stuff I never considered ‘needed fixing’ but I could do without was fixed too.

    Couple days later I show up at his place (explaining, “Well as I had to go to Walmart anyway I figured, to look online to see if the closer one had [those] in stock and since it didn’t I came to the one over here) and I asks “Now Butch – that’s not his given name but it is actually the name everybody calls him – Now Butch, I know you had to spend a helluva lot more than the three hundred you kept so let’s get square.”

    “Look at all the junkers around here JK, you think I had to go to hell and all over to get you fixed up? Besides as you can see I am retired you know.” Which I do. But looking around I fail to see any of the junkers having those little lights that’re now shining on my front bumper [below the headlights] and I mention that. We hem and haw a little longer but the fact remains in his favor the last thing him saying as I’m heading to the blacktop is, “Now dammit JK if you even think about leaving something in my mailbox I’ll drive my ass to where your ass is and I’ll leave your ass righteously kicked.”

    One of these times hopefully soon, he’ll need something I have ‘laying around’ but until then this:

    Hope you notice Phil new comments coming up on old posts.

    One last thing. While I appreciate the sentiment (and Butch figures this way too incidentally) when somebody tells me “[You know what]” my thinking generally tends toward the ‘I was just doing that because … (well just because).’

    What I’d prefer saying is, “Do unto/for others [but not ‘just anybody’] as you can.” Unasked preferably.


  11. sheeeechs. think you are the only one with problems? got a 98 Mark 8 with the four valve engine. the intake manifold tuning valves use a pneumatic actuator to open the valves at 3200rpm. pneumatic. spelled “fail” for short. but of course if I had a mustang cobra of the same vintage, I’d have an electric actuator. But, NOOOOOO! vacuum/pneumatic powered computer controlled. best of all worlds. crap.


    • My condolences.
      Those things were damn near a Supercar when they first came out, I worked on them when they were still new. I had one up to 135 mph coming down the Columbia gorge one time and it still had plenty of GO left but it started raining so I had to back out of it.


      • the thing saving me much grief is the NGS/Hickok tester I bought after finding this car. if it has a computer in it, you got to have the correct test gear to do the job right. NGS can test everything in the car the computers touch on including the air suspension which is nice to have.


        • Very nice. The problem I kept running into on those and the other Ford rigs with the air ride was the damn air drier leaking where the air lines push in. A little soapy water will show you right away. The rigs would fall down after sitting overnight but would pump right back up when you started the car.


    • the really fun part of the IMRC actuators R&R is that they are crammed behind the cylinder heads and intake manifold against the firewall. I swear i am going to cut the manifold up so I can pull it without draining all the damn coolant first.
      on the other hand, I just might send this to the salvage yard if I could only find something as comfortable and quick and quiet and not GM to replace it with.


  12. Best heater core setup I’ve seen is the first gen Ford Ranger.
    Remove the hoses at the top of the firewall, engine side.
    Using a drill/driver,with an 8mm socket, remove 5 screws from the cover that is behind and below the glove box. (if it’s been done before, there may only be 2 or 3 screws replaced)
    Pull the core out and down. Since the hose pipes are at the very top, it wont leak. The cover is actually a drain pan, with a spout at the bottom that protrudes through the firewall to drain any coolant that came from any leaks.
    Maybe as long as 5 minutes to have it in hand.

    Unfortunately, at some point in the 90’s, Ford decided to emulate the Japanese in their heater core access. Standard Japanese car design is to mount the heater core first, and build everything around it. They are required to toss their cars at about 40k miles, so they don’t have to worry about dealing with a leaking core. I suspect that Ford decided to do this because it hastens the time a vehicle gets scrapped, due to the high cost of having a shop do this job.


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