Thanks for that interesting information. Sounds like you have had a bit of experience in changing them. I guess I have been lucky that none of my older GM cars have needed them replaced. I also have a 1985 Mercedes S-Class, with the original core, as is the one in my 89' Safari wagon. I bet the one in the Mercedes would be a pain to change.
Sounds like that Volvo would be a nightmare. My uncle had a 1985 Ford Thunderbird that the HC went out on in 1997. I remember that he had to remove the ENTIRE dash panel to change it.... and I remember him not being too happy during the process either. It had the V8 and the optional electronic instrument panel, so I am sure there were probably many more electrical wires to deal with.
I had a 91' Accord, but never had any HC problems.... come to think of it, I do not think I ever had any problems with that car.
You are right- I am sure the older Fords had no more problems than any other old car. I am probably just thinking of where I have heard so many problems about the later Crown Victorias, Town Cars and Grand Marquis having the problems with the HC's and the older 80s T-Birds. In fact, this was the first I had ever heard of a HC going out on a old Ford.
As mentioned, it may not even be the HC. A older man has it and he just said he thought the HC was bad because of the "steaming" windshield. He mentioned nothing of anti-freeze. If I can sell a car and make room, I may go ahead and buy it anyway. Hopefully if it is the HC, it will be able to be changed from the engine bay.
Originally Posted by Lambykin
You've lucked out if you can replace the heater core through the engine bay, and you're very lucky that you haven't had to replace heater cores in cars that old. I've had mixed luck when dealing with cars over 20 years of age. I had to replace the heater core in an old Volvo, and one other old car I use to own. However, the '85 Crown Vic I sold still had it's original heater core, and I still own an '85 Fiero which still has it's original heater core.
Unfortunately for me, every car I've ever replaced a heater core in (I've replaced a few in cars I've owned that were a lot "newer" than 20 years of age) required the removal of the dash.
Easiest experience? A 1993 Honda Accord. Following the manual, the checklist of parts to remove was long - including the removal of the steering column & airbag. However, in practice, it was very easy, as everything was a "unit". The steering column came out all on it's own, without being attached to wires. The dash also came out as a single unit, without being attached to wires. Once the mess of parts were removed, it was easy.
Worst experience: A 1974 Volvo 145. The dash didn't come out as a unit. It was removed in parts, as well as being attached to wires, etc. Beyond the dash was the metal framing for the dash, that really had to be worked around. It was a big pain. Thankfully, I've never had such a nightmare since that one.
As for the Fords being more prone to heater core failures - I don't think this is so.
I apologize for the rambling. Just reflecting on past heater core experiences. Generally speaking, the old full-sized Fords aren't too bad to work on for most things.