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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me preface this by saying I have watched several videos of people replacing the heater core on P2s and have read various threads, but I still have some questions.

Is there anyone on here that has done a heater core on a P2?
My questions center around the hard lines, I pulled one in the junkyard for practice, same year as mine, and I could not get the lines out of the way except to bend them and obviously that is not want I want to do to my car.
There just doesn't seem to be any wiggle room to get them out of the way.
Also, I removed the brake switch for clearance, but it still doesn't seem to have room to slide the core out without having to rock it down, and this bends the fins on the bottom. Now when removing the old one, who cares. But how do you get the new one in without damaging it?
 

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I have done this on my ‘01. It is tough and a tight working space, but you should be able to spread the pipes out of the way of the heater core.

I did damage the bottom of the fins putting my new core in, but the most important thing to the overall functionality of the core is to protect the pipes underneath the fins that carry coolant through it. Cracking or bending those will cause a leak.

Good luck.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Are you saying spread the two pipes apart and slide the core between them? Or are you saying push the two pipes in the same direction?

This is still easier than a E28 BMW.
 

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For me, the upper pipe moved up and to the left and the lower pipe down and to the right. My pipes bent slightly at the upper bend into the top of the console area, but I forced water through it before reconnecting and it wasn’t leaking. 3000 miles later it’s okay. Heat works and no coolant puddle.

Maybe you can find a way to do it without bending the pipe.


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Well in truth there’s another secret.

Dave, I don’t know if you have any women in your life, but someone small with small hands will have much more luck in that heater core space. When it came to resealing and reinstalling the pipes, I held the pipe in place sitting in the passenger seat and girlfriend installed the squeeze-clip that compresses the o-ring and seals the heater core. It was too much to do alone since it needed so much pressure to clear the clip slot.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm thinking that the driver's seat will need to come out to provide enough room. I'm getting too old to be turning myself in to a pretzel under the dash in a foot well.
 

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You may have done this but be sure to take the metal plate and rubber gasket off the engine side of the bulkhead pipe fittings, this will let the pipes move more.
Push the lower\longer pipe up until it comes out of the plastic retainer bracket on top of climate them it will swing back more.
Take the airbag, contact reel and switches off then take the steering column loose and push it to the left as far as it will go in the dash opening.
I also pull the brake master pushrod off so the pedal rests on the floor.
You still have to juggle with the pipes pushing them back and holding one way then another as you remove and install the heat exchanger.
Takes all ten fingers 😉
Just take your time and go at it little by little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You may have done this but be sure to take the metal plate and rubber gasket off the engine side of the bulkhead pipe fittings, this will let the pipes move more.
Push the lower\longer pipe up until it comes out of the plastic retainer bracket on top of climate them it will swing back more.
Take the airbag, contact reel and switches off then take the steering column loose and push it to the left as far as it will go in the dash opening.
I also pull the brake master pushrod off so the pedal rests on the floor.
You still have to juggle with the pipes pushing them back and holding one way then another as you remove and install the heat exchanger.
Takes all ten fingers 😉
Just take your time and go at it little by little.
Are you saying to remove the steering wheel? I was already thinking about seeing if I could do something at the firewall to let the tubes move more.
 

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Yes.
Remove airbag, steering wheel, column covers, wiring harness and u-joint.
This gives you enough room to angle the core down and out without too much bending of fins.
 

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Check out the instructions from VIDA for Heat Exchanger removal:

On page 2 it shows TIE STRAPS holding the two pipes together. This may be what's keeping you from moving the coolant pipes out of the way. The most difficult part of the project could be re-seating these pipes back into the heater core with NEW o-rings. I haven't done it myself but it can be tricky/may require a lot of force.
 

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I'm thinking that the driver's seat will need to come out to provide enough room. I'm getting too old to be turning myself in to a pretzel under the dash in a foot well.
When replacing the heater core O-rings, the pain of working under the dash with my back across the door sill "inspired" me to use some scrap wood and build a back platform. Removing the driver's seat sounds like a good idea too.

Furniture Wood Table Flooring Floor
 

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When replacing the heater core O-rings, the pain of working under the dash with my back across the door sill "inspired" me to use some scrap wood and build a back platform. Removing the driver's seat sounds like a good idea too.

View attachment 136440

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I don't recall my heater core giving me that much trouble. I did disconnect the steering column shaft to give a bit more room under the dash. The tubing wasn't that problematic. I did grind off the lower lip of the HVAC case opening so the core would slide in without bending too many fins. Now, putting the tubing clips back on was a royal pain.

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