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Discussion Starter #1
How hard is it to change a heater core in a 70 XR7? My local mustang mechanic wants $500-600!! The core is only about $40, but he estimates at least 8 hours labor to take out the dash and re-install. It sounds like too much of a headache to do myself(I live in an apt with no garage), but is it really that difficult? Would anyone else in the Sacramento area do it for less? This will be my second winter with no heater if I don't get it fixed, last winter really sucked. The cold is bearable, but the foggy windshield gets downright hazardous (especially with 3 passengers at night).
 

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Yeah, its a pain in the ass. Bring it to Indiana and I'll do it for you this weekend for $400. Really its a afternoon job but its not 8 hrs worth. By the way thats $400 plus parts and beer. mm
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:rolleyes: How much would it cost for gas from CA to IN with a Cleveland and a lead foot?
But really, I guess I'll just pay to have it done right rather than messing it up myself. My mechanic said it's harder to take the dash out of a 70 than a 67-68. That's where the estimated extra hours come in. I'd hate to mess my nice interior up anymore. I just ruined my headliner last weekend. Guess I shouldn't have been doing 120 with the windows down.:eek:
 

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70 Heater

That's one of the big drawbacks to early cars. You have to take the entire dash out to access the heater box. It really is a lot of work. First class PITA (pain in the a...).

Last year I had the dubious pleasure (?) of taking the dash out of my wife's 70 Mach 1. I would imagine that a 70 Cougar would be the same hassle. On her car the gas gauge quit. I really had no way to test the sending unit without dropping the full gas tank, so I did a continuity check of the wiring. Good. I wanted to check the gauge itself so I had to get the instrument cluster out. That meant taking the dash completely out. It took me a couple of hours to go through the necessary contortions to get at all those stinking screws! The gauge checked out OK. Damn! :eek: Now I had to drop a full gas tank. Take out the sending unit. Check it. It worked too. :confused: Now what. It turns out that the retaining ring that holds the sending unit to the tank had rusted enough that there was insufficient grounding for the gas tank, so the electric circut was incomplete and the gauge wouldn't work. A cleanup of the pickup and a new retaining ring and I was good to go. All that work for a lousy rusted retaining ring! :mad: I did install the new pickup and sending unit anyway since I had gon this far, but used the original brass float instead of the cheap hollow plastic piece the new sending unit came with.

Now that I think about it, I probably should have replaced the heater core and hoses also on GPs just because I was that far with taking the dash apart. Her Mach is a 21k mile original car, but you have to remember that it is also thirty plus years old!
 

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Many moons ago I replaced the heater core in my 69 XR7. I did not remove the dash, but I was much younger and more flexible (thinner) back then.
Recently I had to take the dash out of my latest 69 and decided to rebuild the heater box and replace the seals while it was out.
It is much easier to do with the dash out, but not impossible to do with the dash in. As I recall it took me about 4 hours one evening. It's not a hard job, just hard to get to. Those box clips will drive you NUTS! :D
 

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I just rembered that when I had mine out last winter that you want to make sure you get a heater box reseal kit and replace all the 30 year old disenegrating foam seals while your doing that miserable job.Rktmn is right the dash dosent have to come out but it is still a pain. I had a 82 Town Car once that would show you what a real pain in the ass it is to change a heater core.mm
 

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You can do it without taking the dash out if you do not have air conditioning. I can do one in about 2 hours.If the car has air, it is an 8 hour job.
 

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heater core

you see, when they decided to build the cougar, they started with a heater core and built a car around it. It does take a little bit of time however I don't think the dash is hard at all. Once the dash is off you have to extract the heater box that contains the heater core and the air conditioning core( this is the part that sucks) .Once the box is out you have to split it open,replace the core and then put it all back together again. $800 sounds a bit steep. get a few other quotes. When I was a young punk going to college, the auto shop would work on anyones car for the cost of parts only. Actually it was against the law to charge labor since it was a school facility. the students had cars to work on and learn from and you got your car repaired under a teachers supervision for a great price. check it out. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Heater core AC Hell

Of course mine has to have air to make it difficult. The air doesn't work to keep me cool, but it's there to make the job difficult. The estimate was 500-600, pretty steep, but not 800.
I didn't know it was possible to do the job without taking the dash out. I'm sort of stocky (5'9"-180) so I don't know if I would fit in there.
 

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I am a mechanic and I own a 1969 Cougar with a 390 and a 4 speed. honest to god if you know how to turn a wrench and you have patients you can do it yourself, it is to easy to pay that much for it. If were you I would make sure that the heater hoses are relaced no matter who does it. Whatever you do good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am considering doing the heater job myself. I talked to the truck mechanic at my work, and he's willing to help me out for some side money, which would only be a fraction as much as the mustang mechanic.
 
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