Finally made some REAL progress last night.
I wish I would have taken more pictures but the workspace was cramped and all I had was my Iphone which was busy pumping out tunes from my Ke$ha Pandora station. Ke$ha and flip-flops while working on the Z. I felt like a real man yesterday.
I bought a cheap pneumatic jigsaw at HF on Saturday, and attempted to use it last night to cut through my heater core hoses. The hoses are tucked too far up there to get at with a dremel. Believe me, I tried. I hooked this thing up to my 8 gallon 2hp compressor (also from HF) and with a full tank it was enough to cut through each hose. I was pretty impressed. Although initially, it took about 10 seconds to get started, I was afraid I'd have to find another tool. It just took a little force and once it dug in it went right through.
I pulled the old heater core out which just barely fit. This might have been easier pulling the dash out and replacing it the right way (kidding...sort of).
This is what I was left with:
And this was my work area:
You all know how big the interior of a 2 seater Z is. Now imagine someone 6'4" crawled up under the dash. That's where I was. Not fun. For some reason Nissan left all the edges underneath the dash sharp so my forearms are all scratched up.
Old heater core vs new heater core:
The old one didn't even look that bad, although one of the plastic adapters for the water pipes looked a little green. I'm guessing (hoping) that's where it was leaking.
I ran across the street to Lowe's (I love being so close) and picked up 1 foot of 5/8" ID heater hose and a few hose clamps. It was 5/8" ID and 1" OD, this was THICK beefy hose. I was (and still am) worried it might not clamp tight enough or leak.
I used the saw to cut the new heater core in the same location as the old one. Unfortunately when I was cutting the old hoses I couldn't make cuts perpendicular to the hose so I had to leave the heater hose a little long to make sure I got a good clamp. But after I got the hoses cut and the new heater core wedged into place everything went pretty smoothly. There is NO room to work up there, I used the shortest screwdrivers I could find and had some good luck finding holes I couldn't see. It's easiest if you take the feed/return hoses off the new heater core before you put it in. I'm pretty sure you HAVE to take the bottom one off or you'll never get it up there.
New heater core in place with bottom hose removed:
I didn't leave the hoses as rough as they looked. I wormed some emery cloth up there and sanded down all the edges in hopes of preventing future leaks.
I got my hose clamps tightened up as good as I could and called it a night. My girlfriend got home just as I was tightening the last one and didn't feel like putting it all back together just yet. I think I want to run the car before I put all that back in to make sure I don't have any leaks. I gotta say....with the 90+ degree heat we've been having lately, I'm not nearly as excited to have working heat in my car as I was a few weeks ago. But I know come fall it'll be worth it.
Job completed! Mostly...
Now all I have to do is replace the O rings in the AC system and the dryer and the motor goes back in on Saturday! As long as the water pipe gets here in time...