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ptbarnum Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:23 pm

84 vanagon

So I had to drop off the vanagon to have a coolant leak fixed. I thought that it was the blower motor that needed replacing but the mechanic just called and said it is the heater core that needs replacing. I was hoping to do the job myself when the weather warmed up... but some plans have changed and I may need to take a trip before I'd be able to fix it myself.
Anyway the mechanic said that on the labor end it would probably take about 10 hours to repair. Does this seem right?

Rhinoculips Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:38 pm

Which heater core? Rear core can be done in an hour. The front heater core, longer but no longer than a few hours. 10 hours is very high in my opinion.

ptbarnum Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:39 pm

it's the front heater core.

msinabottle Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:51 pm

Use the search, on subjects such as 'Dash Removal.' It can be done, it's a major project, and you're wise when you start it to replace, also, your front heater blower and your wiper motor.

Big project, but, once it's done, it's done.

Best!

OilNBolts Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:50 pm

Be sure that you can get a replacement front heater core before you take it apart. That part recently went NLA.

McVanagon Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:22 pm

Some light reading.
http://picasaweb.google.com/Oodacmekim/HeaterMotor#
http://picasaweb.google.com/Madsen.Ken/HeaterBlowerReplacement#
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=265457

Wildthings Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:33 pm

You are going to want to do both the fan and heater core while you are in there. Plus you may want to reseal the flappers in the heater box. This is a job best done yourself as paying someone to do it will drain your wallet. Pulling and reinstalling everything is a pain, probably takes 4-5 hours. Splitting the box and dealing with the seals can easily take that long as well.

One idea that would speed up the job, would be to find a second heater box, rebuilt it and then do a swap. Less down time that way. If you go that route beware that there are at least two different heater box configurations. The hookups for the side vents on the dash changed around '89.

dobryan Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:12 pm

If you are mechanically inclined this is a weekend DIY job. You'll pay the mechanic a fortune for hours spent on grunt work that you could do yourself. There is nothing special about this job other than that there is a lot of stuff to remove and reinstall, but no real special tools or tricks involved. I'd vote for trying it yourself. :D

Terry Kay Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:41 pm

No, There's nothing special abit tearing the dash outa the Van--soe emeory work is required, or at least tagging a bunch of wires & cables.

Then it's yanking the heater box itself & rebuilding it.

Your looking at an easy 10 hour job--plus to do the job right.

If it's the first attempt--double that time.

The front heater cores are no longer available form anywhere---

I talked to Peter at the Van Cafe the other day and he sez that he's got some aftermarket cores coming--maybe in a month or two from Deutschland.

I'm trying to have some made, at an old school custom radiator shop.

If the shop that quoted you the 10 hours has a new front core, I'd fly on his lane---he's gotsomething that nobody else has---and 10 hours flat time is a bargain.

Be sure to get a new heater motor installed as long as the box is out and open.
Two birds with one stone.

Terry Kay Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:42 pm

No, There's nothing special about tearing the dash outa the Van--some memory work is required, or at least tagging a bunch of wires & cables.

Then it's yanking the heater box itself & rebuilding it.

Your looking at an easy 10 hour job--plus to do the job right.

If it's the first attempt--double that time.

The front heater cores are no longer available form anywhere---

I talked to Peter at the Van Cafe the other day and he sez that he's got some aftermarket cores coming--maybe in a month or two from Deutschland.

I'm trying to have some made, at an old school custom radiator shop.

If the shop that quoted you the 10 hours has a new front core, I'd fly on his lane---he's gotsomething that nobody else has---and 10 hours flat time is a bargain.

Be sure to get a new heater motor installed as long as the box is out and open.
Two birds with one stone.

insyncro Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:23 am

Ken at VanAgain is having new front, all metal heater cores made up.
They are NLA new form VW.
Give him a ring if you need one.

dylan

insyncro Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:05 am

Jeff @ Vanagon Parts has a container coming from Europe with brand new heater cores.
Vendors will be resupplied within 2 months.

dylan

Vanagon Nut Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:21 pm

Wildthings wrote: You are going to want to do both the fan and heater core while you are in there. Plus you may want to reseal the flappers in the heater box. This is a job best done yourself as paying someone to do it will drain your wallet. Pulling and reinstalling everything is a pain, probably takes 4-5 hours. Splitting the box and dealing with the seals can easily take that long as well.

One idea that would speed up the job, would be to find a second heater box, rebuilt it and then do a swap. Less down time that way. If you go that route beware that there are at least two different heater box configurations. The hookups for the side vents on the dash changed around '89.

And from another angle.....


If the rear heater works, and if a leaky front core is the issue, it might be possible to shunt in a connector for the heater hoses to bypass the core to buy some time.

If it were me, I'd clamp off the long heater hoses at area above spare tire, disconnect hoses at heat control valve and VW shunt piece, drain core, shunt in the piece. I'm pretty sure one could even use the VW piece. This might be liveable until you have time to rebuild the box.

On the note of splitting the box

As a newb, I found that the *crap* used by the PO to seal the box (pretty sure this wasn't "factory") made it a PITA to pull apart. Couple this with time spent cleaning the stuff, and it adds up. (for a newb) Wrong or right, I resealed on the outside of the seam with silicone. I'm sure it will make splitting the box easier for the next guy/gal. In comparison, the '85 box I pulled apart last night (to send heater core measurements to Ken W) had no sealant and took mere "seconds" to pull apart.

Just my .02. Cheers, Neil.

My '81 box:


pioneer1 Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:10 pm

I just finished installing all the dash components today so let me add my 2 cents. I replaced the heater/defroster fan. Like the previous posts it will/would be a lot faster a second time but remember that before you drop the steering column mark the location of the bolts. When I tried to re-install the plastic shroud around the steering column it wouldn't fit untill I adjusted the positioning of the steering column.

vwsyncroguy Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:41 pm

Here's a great step-by-step guide to heater core removal and replacment.......excellent photos even have arrows to guide you.

http://benplace.com/dash.htm

Props to Ben for this excellent "how to" resource....lots of other great ones on his homepage.

http://benplace.com/vw2.htm

Warren C

WestyBob Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:24 pm

Many thanks to Neil and Ben for the pics, Warren and others for pointers and links. Two of my rigs need to have this done and while I'm familiar with steering/instrument cluster removal, the rest will be a new experience. Nothing like pics to show what things look like and where they're located. Now let's hope some aftermarket heater cores can be rustled when the time comes .... likely this spring.

As it stands now, both rigs still emit adequate heat to get through this winter but the fans are squeeky at times.

Thanks again.

Vanagon Nut Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:38 pm

WestyBob wrote: Many thanks to Neil and Ben for the pics, Warren and others for pointers and links. Two of my rigs need to have this done and while I'm familiar with steering/instrument cluster removal, the rest will be a new experience. Nothing like pics to show what things look like and where they're located. ......




You're welcome.

An FYI....

I doubt it makes any difference, as the reason for showing my pic relates to sealant used on the box, but my pic shows a box half from an air cooled '81.

SQUiGGLLii Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:48 pm

this is an easy job. it took me 4 hours to remove the whole entire AC unit. reinstalling the radiator seemed to be the hardest job to do but it still took less time in total than removing the rear heater core

Terry Kay Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:45 pm

<<the radiator seemed to be the hardest job to do but it still took less time in total than removing the rear heater core>>

There's something wrong with this picture--

You R&R'ed the radiator faster than the rear heater core?

The rear core is a 1/2 hour job, without working up a sweat--maybe--

SQUiGGLLii Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:59 pm

it took so long because there where lots of finish screws and upholstery i had to take down then the unit itself had a dozen or so more inside..... plastic fused together. AC lines to pull electrical...



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