How to Remove the Heater Core on a 1988 Jeep Wrangler

The 1988 Jeep Wrangler came equipped from the factory with a small metal radiator mounted inside the firewall on the passenger side of the vehicle. This allows the heating system to take advantage of the tremendous amount of heat generated by the engine, and use it to heat the passenger compartment. If this small radiator, known as a heater core, begins to leak you will notice puddles of engine coolant collecting on the floorboards on the passenger side of the vehicle. Removing the heater core on your 1988 Jeep Wrangler can be accomplished with only a few simple tools and doing it yourself can save you money.

Tools Used: Socket set, Phillips screwdriver, Waste-fluid collection pan

Remove Heater Core

Draining the Cooling System

Separate the negative battery cable from the ground terminal on the battery. Loosen the retaining bolt using a socket. Then pull the clamp off the socket.

Unscrew the radiator cap, by rotating it counterclockwise with your hand.

Locate the connection between the lower radiator hose and the fitting on the bottom of the radiator.

Loosen the hose clamp that secures the lower radiator hose to the radiator, using a Phillips screwdriver.

Place a large waste-fluid collection pan underneath the radiator.

Pull the lower radiator hose off the radiator and allow all of the engine coolant to drain from the radiator.

Removing the Heater Housing Assembly

Loosen the hose clamps that secure the heater hoses to the heater core, using a Phillips screwdriver. These hose clamps will be located in the engine bay along the firewall on the passenger side of the vehicle.

Pull the heater hoses off the inlet and outlet ports on the heater core, using your hands.

Pull the heater-control cables off the actuating levers on the side of the heater-housing assembly, using your hands.

Pull the blower-motor wiring harness off the blower motor, using your hand. The harness and blower motor will be located in the engine bay, along the firewall on the extreme left.

Unscrew the nuts on the perimeter of the heater-housing assembly that secure the assembly to the firewall, using a socket. These nuts will be on the engine side of the firewall.

Slide the heater-housing assembly back and downward away from the firewall.

Split the heater housing and heater-housing cover apart with your hands and pull the heater core out from inside.

Tips & Warnings

If the engine coolant has been replaced recently you can reuse it when you install a new heater core.

The scent of antifreeze is highly attractive to household pets. It is also highly toxic. Keep small children and pets away from antifreeze.

Dumping waste antifreeze can cause sever ecological damage. Always dispose of automotive fluids in a responsible manner.

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