How to Install a Heater Core in a Jeep Wrangler


If you begin to smell antifreeze, see oil droplets on the passenger floor, or notice difficulty defrosting, the heater core in your Jeep Wrangler may need to be replaced. When the heater fails, it will begin to leak. Estimates from a local repair shop can be hundreds of dollars. You can repair the heater core yourself and save money.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Torx-bit tips
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers

Removal of Dashboard

  • Remove the negative battery terminal with an open-end wrench.

  • Remove the kick panel of the dashboard by removing the two screws holding it place with a Phillips screwdriver. This is the piece directly underneath the steering column. Set the panel aside.

  • Remove the two plastic dash pieces on the top and bottom of the steering column by removing the two screws holding the panels in place. Set these panels aside.

  • Remove all four electrical connectors inside the panel. Each connector has a release clip that must be depressed to release the connectors.

  • Remove the pinch bolt with a socket. This is located on the steering shaft next to the dash. These are 13 mm bolts. Remove the four nuts securing the steering column to the firewall using a 13 mm socket.

  • Allow the steering wheel to droop down. Grasp the wheel and pull it towards the rear of the vehicle. It will slide out. Set the steering wheel aside.

  • Release the wiring harness from underneath the dash by depressing the release lever.

  • Remove the driver's-side heat duct that connects to the blower motor by twisting and pulling simultaneously.

  • Open the glove-box door and remove the nylon strap. The screws needing to be removed are now accessible. Remove these screws with a Phillips screwdriver.

  • Remove the three Torx-head screws on each end of the dash. These are located behind the doors. Remove the four nuts on the upper dash pad by the windshield.

  • Remove the entire dash assembly by carefully lifting it out of the vehicle.

Remove HVAC unit

  • Disconnect the two heater hoses in the firewall with pliers. The top hose is larger than the other. Take note as to how the hoses are installed.

  • Remove the vacuum supply-line connector with a wrench. This is located underneath the heater hoses previously removed. Remove the evaporator drain tube with a wrench.

  • Remove the five HVAC housing nuts using a wrench. These nuts must be removed from the engine compartment.

  • Remove the HVAC assembly from inside the cabin of your Jeep.

Replace Heater Core Inside Housing

  • Remove all 7/16-inch screws holding the HVAC housing together. Gently remove the top section of the housing. You may need to pry the cover open, depending on the age of the vehicle.

  • The heater core runs from left to right inside the HVAC housing when viewing inside the vehicle. Replace the heater core with a new unit.

  • Install the two sections of the HVAC unit using a screwdriver.

  • Repeat all steps in the reverse order.

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  • Photo Credit car heater vent image by robert mobley from
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