2004 Freestar heater core removal
The following is how I replaced the heater core on our 2004 Freestar. This may or may not be the best way, but it’s how I did it. If you have suggestions, feel free to send me a note.
Why are we doing this? The heater core is leaking. The heater core is a small radiator that air blows across and heats the cabin. With age and bad coolant change practices, the heater core can corrode and leak coolant into the cabin. On this Freestar, there is a tray underneath the heater core and it directs coolant into the engine compartment. There is a tube that you can see that will show signs of coolant dripping from it, but the most common indication is a coolant smell in the cabin and/or the cold windshield fogging up when you turn on the defroster. Here is a picture of the tube in the engine compartment.
This is just about dead center of the firewall between the engine and cabin. This picture was taken after the windshield cowling was removed, otherwise you would have to look from below.
So, now that you know that you need to remove the heater core, what do you do? Well, do it yourself, of course. There are just a few tools that may not be in a common tool kit, but they are readily available.
Here is a picture of almost everything I used:
7mm, 8mm, 11 mm and 13mm sockets
T45 Torx bit (ST #3) with extension
15mm wrench, 10mm wrench
2ea 8X1.25 mm bolts as long as you can find. 3 inches minimum
Extensions, ratchets, screwdrivers, etc.
I was surprised at how few tools it took.
Lets get started, shall we?
Start by doing what all the instructions say and that is disconnect the negative battery cable. Since there will be a bunch of wire connectors disconnected, it’s best to play it safe. This will also depower the Supplemental Restraint System. Next insert the key in the ignition and turn it to unlock the steering wheel. You will want to be able to turn it on reassembly.
Remove the windshield cowling and wiper tray:
Lift the nut covers from the windshield wipers and remove the nuts with your 15mm wrench.
Drivers side shown:
With the hood open, lift the drivers side wiper up at the hinge and wiggle it back and forth and it will come loose. Close the hood and do the same for the passenger side.
Now remove the four plastic screws and pull the center part of the fasteners out. Sometimes the centers want to turn, or the screws don’t want to thread out. You will just have to get creative if things don’t go easily.
Now find and disconnect the windshield washer hose located above the the power steering reservoir. It just pulls apart:
Remove the cover for the cabin air filter and push the tube up along with the grommet:
Grab the cowl where it meets the windshield and pop it out of the clips. Wiggle it this way and that and it will come out.
Now, there are 8 screws to remove. 2 short ones on the ends of the wiper tray. Passenger side:
Then remove the four long bolts around the air intakes:
Continued in the next post.