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    Thread: MKIII Heater core DIY:

    1. Member smi2710's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 11:11 AM #1
      all right here goes my write up on the heatercore replacement theres a few out there but another cant hurt my car is a 97 gti VR6. I also used the VEMEO replacement from MJM for 34.99

      (also thanks to xxxxx who did a write up i didnt want to type everything back out so i used yours sorta )

      we will start with the outside first heres go
      1. gotta start with liquid to get you through this horrible job

      2. Disconnect both rain ducts(covering ecu, and window wiper blade). Each side has about 3 plastic screws.Also take the wipers off
      3. Unbolt 2 bolts, one next to the ecu, 10mm nut; and the other right behind the window wiper blade motor, 10mm nut. They aren’t connected to anything,


      4. unbolt all little bolts that are behind the flaps on the firewall cover, also there are 2 bolts that are holding the a/c service controls to the firewall, remove those as well. Unbolt 3 13mm bolts from the firewall behind the firewall cover, the one on the left is almost behind the shock tower, kinda hard to get too.



      Thats pretty much it for the outside of the car bolts no onto the dreaded inside

      Heres a picture take out every screw marked in pink

      1.pull off every plastic cover on the dash, as well as take all vents out, also open glove box and remove the 3 screws inside.
      2. Unbolt steering wheel nut with 24mm bolt, take off steering wheel, unbolt all sensors attached to steering wheel/airbag.
      4. unbolt steering wheel top and bottom plastic cover, 2 bolts from underneath.
      5. Then lean the cluster forward and disconnect both harnesses from behind, then take out.
      6. Unbolt passenger kick panel( 5 screws from underneath), then pry off slowly(3 clips on top).
      7. Take out bolts for airbag cover, 3 or 4 underneath, the slide to the right and pull out.
      8. disconnect passenger airbag sensor from behind; take off 4 allen bolts from airbag assembly, 2 on each side. Pull out airbag. )Optional i did not remove my airbag as you can see)
      9. remove the center console including unbolting the e-brake. two hidden screws by the rear ash tray/cup holder. Disconnect electronic hatch switch. Then pull up and unscrew handbrake, 2 bolts. Then move out of the way.
      10. take off shift knob and boot, unbolt 2 plastic nuts. And then unbolt another plastic nut at the end towards the e-brake.

      11. pull out cupholder/console assembly.
      12. take out metal cover behind cupholder, around 7-8 holts, 10mm

      13. Take off driver kickpanel, 5 bolts underneath, then pull off.
      14. unbolt all bolts that hold dash to the rebar, should be around 8-10.
      15. unhook all wires that are hooked up to the dash wire clips.
      16. Take out dash slowly, and move out of place.
      17. unbolt vent right behind rebar, 2 10mm plastic nuts, then unclip from the bottom, and pull up.
      18. unbolt vent on top of heatercore housing, 1 screw
      19. unbolt footwell vent from the bottom, 1 screw right behind rebar.
      20. unbolt 6 clips that hold the heatercore/evap housing together, 2 behind, 2 front, 1 top, 1 bottom, rears are hard to get too, need small screwdriver to unclip those from the back.
      21. pull apart heatercore housing from evap housing
      22. unbolt the rightside and leftside dash rebar, 2 torx bolts from the outside doorwell

      23.Now break out the drill and some bits your gonna have to drill out 2 shear blots that hold the steeering colum to the rebar. once those are drilled out right behind the ingnition swith are 2 -10mm nuts on a bracket holding rebar to firewall take those off. Now you can move reabar out of the way for easy removal of heatercore with no fighting
      ----replace shear bolts with #8 bolts at 1.25 pitch cost aboust 1.50 at the most

      24. pull off the vacuum hose that’s on the heatercore
      25. unscrew the heatercore if yours have screws, mine only had 1 holding it up.
      26. unbolt a harness that plugs into the heatercore housing, its almost next to the gas pedal , just sits a bit higher to the right.
      27. pull back heatercore as far as possible, you will have to use a lot of force to get the heatercore out, just play with it, and make sure you don’t brake anything. .
      28. Pull out heatercore by sliding upward, should come out easy.
      29. Disconnect the plugs from the heater box and remove from car i did this so i could wash the box out and clean it up.

      30. Now replace your foam in the box since its probably gone or soaked.I went to Michaels and bought a .99 peice of foam to recover the blend doors ( i choose green to match my car ) i cleaned off all the old foam and used spray adhesive to attach new foam to the front and back of the blend doors and a little bit of silicone around the edges to make sure it was good and permenant.

      This is where i stopped and let the foam sit over nite. At this point i have about 5 hours into the job but i stopped for dinner and to play with my 10 month old so really maybe 3 hours (first time doing the job, but i have replaced dashboards before if that helps)

      Evening number 2
      is spent puting everything back together just follow the instruction as you took it apart, All the electrical plugs only plug into one thing so you cant screw it up

      1st thing i did was put new heater core in ,now my heater core replacement came with plastic cover on the bottom and Foam around the outside. the new one did not fit with the plastic cover on it and the foam got ripped while sliding the new one in so i just ripped it off.

      and thats it for replacing it if you got this far awesome not you get to put it all back just take your time and have a beer.

      Oh and i spent maybe 4 hours the 2nd night but at leaset an hour of that was trying to figure out where a plug went ( white one that attaches to the ac/heat controls ) and while looking at it pounding quite a few beers so progress slowed down


      Modified by smi2710 at 11:14 AM 12-11-2009


      Modified by smi2710 at 11:15 AM 12-11-2009


      Modified by smi2710 at 11:18 AM 12-11-2009

      well this is going to take some getting used too........

    2. Member mikeone718's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 11:13 AM #2
      nice write up man, the pics are very helpful

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      12-11-2009 11:25 AM #3
      e wish this DIY was available when I did my A/C evapourator replace last year. It took me forever to remove the knee bar - didn't know about the two hidden bolts behind the ignition switch holding the bar to the steering column bracket.

      This job has to be possibly the biggest PITA on a VW.

      Modified VR6 TBs - email me

      73 and still tunin'

    4. Member dankvwguy's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 11:33 AM #4
      tiny bit off topic but the hell do you get the screws back in that go behind the air vent grilles. ive had mine unbolted for almost 2 years not and would like to finally get my dash all screwed down. havnt looked into pulling the grilles out so maybe u have my answer

      great writeup by the way. i know my time is coming soon

      THE CBOX KREW
      There's always time for a GI Joe orgy

    5. Member wilsfox's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 11:50 AM #5
      Quote, originally posted by dankvwguy »
      tiny bit off topic but the hell do you get the screws back in that go behind the air vent grilles. ive had mine unbolted for almost 2 years not and would like to finally get my dash all screwed down. havnt looked into pulling the grilles out so maybe u have my answer

      great writeup by the way. i know my time is coming soon

      magnetic screwdriver.


    6. Member redskinsboy326's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 12:02 PM #6
      I get to do mine in the spring, yay.

      nice write up.


    7. Member Dutchsider's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 12:02 PM #7
      Awesome.

      I was just contemplating this today as my heat does not feel as hot as it should be

      "Builds a sh*tty/ugly car, gets made fun of, calls everyone a hater" - Dubbers
      If you wish to get a hold of me, EMAIL IS THE BEST WAY Dutchsider2@yahoo.com

    8. 12-11-2009 12:45 PM #8
      Quote, originally posted by Dutchsider »
      Awesome.

      I was just contemplating this today as my heat does not feel as hot as it should be

      Disconnect the bottom ends of hoses leading to the heater core on the inside of the engine bay. Connect a water hose to the intake inlet. Then connect a drain hose to the other side. So that you don't flush everything in your heater core on to your engine and all over your engine bay.

      Directly flush your heater core for a minute or two. Starting with low pressure then turning up the water pressure.

      You might have some blockage that you could flush out instead of installing a new core and going through this process.

      Definitely a must for anyone who's heat does not feel as hot as it should. Who have been thinking that it might be the heater core.

      Good luck, Matt.


    9. Member smi2710's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 02:09 PM #9
      Quote, originally posted by IloveMyCar32 »

      Disconnect the bottom ends of hoses leading to the heater core on the inside of the engine bay. Connect a water hose to the intake inlet. Then connect a drain hose to the other side. So that you don't flush everything in your heater core on to your engine and all over your engine bay.

      Directly flush your heater core for a minute or two. Starting with low pressure then turning up the water pressure.

      You might have some blockage that you could flush out instead of installing a new core and going through this process.

      Definitely a must for anyone who's heat does not feel as hot as it should. Who have been thinking that it might be the heater core.

      Good luck, Matt.

      i will say that my heat is not as hot as it was before replacment of new core but i havent flushed the system yet, all i did was add more fluid and im sure i have a air bubble or ten but low heat is way better then steamy windows but i want the burn my fingers heat.

      well this is going to take some getting used too........

    10. Member Dutchsider's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 03:01 PM #10
      Quote, originally posted by IloveMyCar32 »

      Disconnect the bottom ends of hoses leading to the heater core on the inside of the engine bay. Connect a water hose to the intake inlet. Then connect a drain hose to the other side. So that you don't flush everything in your heater core on to your engine and all over your engine bay.

      Directly flush your heater core for a minute or two. Starting with low pressure then turning up the water pressure.

      You might have some blockage that you could flush out instead of installing a new core and going through this process.

      Definitely a must for anyone who's heat does not feel as hot as it should. Who have been thinking that it might be the heater core.

      Good luck, Matt.

      "Builds a sh*tty/ugly car, gets made fun of, calls everyone a hater" - Dubbers
      If you wish to get a hold of me, EMAIL IS THE BEST WAY Dutchsider2@yahoo.com

    11. Member 91GolfGL's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 04:10 PM #11
      I hate doing heater cores. Nice write up man.
      Quote Originally Posted by VW_Jake View Post
      Can anyone tell me what's up with the MKIII and the ABS light (air bag system).. This is the second one I've had recently that the light comes on and stays.


    12. Member super_chief's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 04:57 PM #12
      yes! another diy to reference to.

      this last week sucked without my heater :[


    13. Member jrbscooch56's Avatar
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      12-11-2009 05:22 PM #13
      This is a very good and shot DIY... Good job!


      I did mine about 5 weeks ago.. Wasn't that bad.


    14. 12-11-2009 06:15 PM #14
      i cant be ****ed with this so got me some nice leather drivin gloves n keep an old warm jacket in the back seat for the coldest of times n days!

      good write up tho!


    15. 12-12-2009 01:33 AM #15
      good job and thanks for sharing
      Chillin'

    16. Member doodah22's Avatar
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      12-12-2009 03:37 AM #16
      nice.
      very helpful thanks
      I'm still trying to find a DIY for the double-rear-door-handle mod.

    17. 12-13-2009 09:27 PM #17
      Thanks for the write-up. It's just in time; I'm due to replace my heater core over the next couple of weeks (it's bypassed for now).

      -Antun


    18. Member Unit01's Avatar
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      12-17-2009 09:08 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by smi2710 »

      23.Now break out the drill and some bits your gonna have to drill out 2 shear blots that hold the steeering colum to the rebar. once those are drilled out right behind the ingnition swith are 2 -10mm nuts on a bracket holding rebar to firewall take those off. Now you can move reabar out of the way for easy removal of heatercore with no fighting
      ----replace shear bolts with #8 bolts at 1.25 pitch cost aboust 1.50 at the most

      Wouldn't it be easier to just remove the steering column from the u-joint?


      And thank you for pointing out where every screw and bolt is, I hate forgetting one and wasting time looking for it.


      Modified by Unit01 at 6:09 PM 12-17-2009


    19. Member Pineapplegti !'s Avatar
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      12-17-2009 09:12 PM #19
      Trying too hard.. U dont need to take your heaterbox off of the a/c box to change the core.
      autocrats...

    20. Member smi2710's Avatar
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      12-18-2009 10:31 AM #20
      you dont if disconnect the AC lines but i chose not to so i didnt have to refill the freon
      well this is going to take some getting used too........

    21. 12-18-2009 12:18 PM #21
      great diy...but i'm still selling my car before i do this.

    22. Member Pineapplegti !'s Avatar
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      12-18-2009 12:29 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by smi2710 »
      you dont if disconnect the AC lines but i chose not to so i didnt have to refill the freon

      You don't have to take the a/c lines off either lol. Pull the dash rebar out and use a pry bar to pull the assembly back just far enough for the core to clear the dash bulkhead.Works like a charm everytime.
      autocrats...

    23. 02-16-2010 10:44 PM #23
      i gotta say, this thread saved my life....cold, cold winter this year, and no heater really started to get old... the walkthrough is very accurate, though the pics get less and less near the end.

      I wanted to throw some extra tidbits that I came across while doing this that may help the next guy;

      the whole shear bolt thing kinda bugged me, and for me, i was afraid of getting to the point of no return, and not having the correct bolts for it, so, i worked around the problem....if you unbolt the dash support as if you are taking it out, but leave the shear bolts in place, you can pull the support out and swing it kinda clock-wise in the car...since the steering column is on a universal joint, it will swing with the dash support. i unbolted the bolts from around where the a/c comes through the firewall allowing the a/c tubes to kinda come through. this let me pull the whole heater box back far enough to get the core out/in. oh..and my core didn't have the little vaccum fitting in it, you have to pull it out of the old one...do this before you put the dash back together...lol...trust me hope that helps


    24. 02-17-2010 02:09 PM #24

      i did mine as well, a few months back.
      it sucked.

      those bolts you mentioned here? hold the dashboard. those are definitely attached!


    25. Member 98vr6t's Avatar
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      02-17-2010 07:16 PM #25
      Awesome write-up !
      Never thought I'd need heat in Florida but the past two mornings have been 34*.. It helps to be able to defrost the windows !

    26. Member HAPPYnotEMO's Avatar
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      04-15-2010 02:40 PM #26
      Ill be using this soon, but not until I replace it with a 3.5 Cabby dash

    27. 04-15-2010 04:44 PM #27
      Keep your images hosted this will be helpful in the future, I can smell mine going out

    28. Member
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      04-15-2010 04:51 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by Masked Halibut »
      great diy...but i'm still selling my car before i do this.

      It really isn't as bad as it seems. It just takes a long time.


    29. Member
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      11-06-2010 06:07 PM #29
      so i started doing this awesome job today and let me tell u it blows. Im at the point of getting the heater core out but the rebar is in the way. I drilled out the steering cloumn bolts and took out the torx on each side, am I missing something? (rebar only moved a hair with those bolts out) Do I need to remove the large black box to the right of the heater core box?

    30. Member
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      11-07-2010 09:26 AM #30
      anyone? i really need to get this finished upp today please help me out

    31. Member effdbmx1's Avatar
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      11-12-2010 08:38 PM #31
      I'm doing this right now. Heater core is almost out. What exactly is the foam for? Can I just not put it in?

    32. Semi-n00b BumbleBeeMK3's Avatar
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      11-12-2010 10:00 PM #32
      Thanks sooo much for this thread!!

      My dad and I spent many "bonding" hours together trying to get my heater core done. Not a fun job at all.
      Girl Dubber

    33. Member OddJobb's Avatar
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      11-13-2010 11:16 PM #33
      I'm in the process of doing this, and the 13mm bolts going into the firewall (pics 5 & 6) don't need to be removed. These connect the inner and outer firewalls to each other. And there's like 5 of them, not 3.

    34. Member
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      11-14-2010 12:26 PM #34
      im pretty sure the 13mm ones hes refering to you do need to take out bc they are bolted to the back of the dash

    35. Member OddJobb's Avatar
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      11-14-2010 10:52 PM #35
      Quote Originally Posted by 9golfgl0 View Post
      im pretty sure the 13mm ones hes refering to you do need to take out bc they are bolted to the back of the dash
      Have you taken out your dash? No they are not. All the bolts required to remove the dash are 10mm nuts. I didn't unbolt a single 13mm bolt pictured above, and I have the dash completely out of the car.

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