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The last frontier of my 1990's cooling system: the heater core (Advice please!)


Guest reattadan
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Guest reattadan

For the past year I've been slowly going through my 1990 convertible's cooling system an replacing everything. The previous owner bypassed the heater core (I assume because of failure) rather than replace it. My goal is to replace it with a new unit but alas, this is a very difficult task. I've followed the GM service manual but I'm still stuck. I've done the following:

 

  • Disconnected battery cable and then drained the cooling system.
  • Removed the instrument panel cluster trim plate
  • Removed the headlamp switch assembly
  • Removed the climate control head, radio, and cd player
  • Removed the front and rear console storage compartments
  • Removed the right and left "sound insulators"
  • Removed the knee bolster, the steering column reinforcement plate, then the glove box.
  • Removed instrument panel upper trim pad. (this is an awful task)
  • Removed lower-left retaining bolt, retaining screws, then the hood release assembly.
  • Removed two retaining screws, then the center instrument panel brace.
  • Removed the instrument panel to dash connector.
  • Removed steering column (really GM?, just for the flipping heater core?)
  • Removed the lower-right retaining bolt, three upper retaining screws

It's been my experience that the car varies a little from the documentation (maybe this part was written for the Riviera? Who knows? Not me. I'm a novice). I've removed most everything but I can't for the life of me get the "Instrument Panel" (thats the entire assembly that spans the from the driver to passenger door) out.

 

It seems there's a screw, clip or something buried deep behind the driver's side of the center console. help!

 

Thanks in advance.

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Guest reattadan

The following is for an '89 model. It might be completely different but you might find some of it helpful. I've not replaced the heater core myself so I can't offer in first hand information.

 

Heater Core Replacement Instructions

Thanks Ronnie,

 

Yeah, I saw that one. I should write one for the 90/91 after this… because it's totally different. This task seems WAAAAY easier on the pre 90 models.

Edited by reattadan (see edit history)
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Guest reattadan

A writeup for the later models would be welcomed on ROJ if you decide to do it.

 

I'd be happy to do it! At this rate, it might be a little while.  :P

Edited by reattadan (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest reattadan

wow, what a job. Mind you I'm a novice but that job isn't a fun one. I've got the new heater core in and the cooling system seems good. Now I just have to get the darn thing to blow hot. Anyone have experience adjusting the programmer?  Do I need to take the whole dash down again?!?!? 

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