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How To Change A Gen 3 And 4 Heater Core

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Gen 3 and 4 96-on Heater Core Replacement - without removing the dash

The 96-on Generation 3 and 4 Taurus models are the same for Heater Core R&R. Factory flat rate is about 3.5 hours and aftermarket flat rate is about 5.5 hours. I did my '02 in a little over an hour without completely removing the dash.

Here's how:

Disconnect the battery. This will disable the airbag system.

Drain the coolant.

Disconnect heater hoses from core in engine compartment.

Remove the glovebox, radio, and ashtray/bracket.

Remove the top dash defroster vent (held in place with clips) and remove the three 8mm bolts, #1. Remove the dash side covers and remove the two 13mm bolts on each side, #3. The dash is now somewhat free.


Remove the Blend door actuator harness and three screws. If you have Electronic Temp Control, there may be another actuator/module to remove. Mine doesn't so I don't have details.


Remove the secondary blend door shield, if present


With the shield removed, carefully remove the assist spring


Depress the tab, #1, to remove the plastic lever/pivot shaft from the secondary blend door


GENTLY remove the metal arm from the plastic lever. GENTLY remove the metal arm from the upper plastic pivot arm and rotate the upper plastic pivot arm up and out of the way. (You will notice I emphasized GENTLY. The plastic is fragile and if you break it, either a trip to the dealer for a special order or a crazy glue repair is in order. I speak from experience.)


Remove the 3 screws, #1, and pivot the plastic shaft, #2, upwards to remove the heater core cover, #3.


With an assistant on the drivers side and you on the passenger side, pull aft on the dash assembly and rotate the dash up. You will have just enough clearance to remove the heater core. The core, #2, will have to be rotated down while pulling aft to clear the dash structure. CAUTION: Make sure the plastic pivot arm, #1, is rotated upwards.


Replace insulation strip around heater core if necessary. It is a vibration damper and cushion. Installation is reverse of removal.

Fill system and bleed as necessary. Pat yourself on the back for saving $400 in labor for a couple of hours of your time. Enjoy a cold, frosty, malt beverage of your choice. :lol:

DISCLAIMER: These instructions worked for me. Your mileage may vary! :P

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