1988 Ford Thunderbird Heater Core Removal Instructions

Removing the heater core on a 1985-88 Ford Thunderbird is, despite its reputation, a very simple process. Many people are under the false assumption that the entire dashboard must be removed in order to remove the heater core; this is not true. Removing the heater core in a Ford Thunderbird requires no special tools and only a couple hours of your time.

Tools Used: 10mm socket, 5/8-inch deep well socket, Ratchet, Phillips screwdriver

Remove Heater Core

Remove the speaker covers from on top of the dashboard. There are two speaker covers and a center dash cover. The speaker covers unbolt easily via four screws around the edges. Remove the screw holding the center dash cover in place.

Remove the dash bolts on the driver and passenger sides of the car. To access the dash bolts, simply snap off the kick panels on either side and remove the large bolt underneath. It is the only visible bolt.

Remove the 10mm bolt from behind the glove box. This bolt is located near the back of the radio and is the only one painted blue. After removal of this bolt, shove the bar it was holding in place off of the stud it connects to.

Remove all four bolts holding the steering column in place. Use a 5/8 inch deep well socket to remove them. The steering column will simply drop to the seat, where it should be supported to prevent lateral movement.

Remove the last bolt holding the dash in place. It is located under the instrument cluster near the back of the dashboard. It is also painted blue. At this point the dash should be pulled a couple inches away from the firewall, towards the rear of the vehicle, to allow access to the heater core box.

Remove the four bolts on top of the heater core box and open the box to reveal the heater core. Disconnect the coolant lines from the heater core by loosening the clamps and pulling them off. The heater core has been successfully removed.

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