I got 2 estimates to replace the evaporator on my 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 3.0.

Is the process to remove the dash complicated as far as disconnecting and reconnecting the wiring?

I’ve never done dash surgery on a Focus, but I’ve had a few dashboards apart and they’re always a PITA.

Have you looked in a repair manual for guidance?

You must know how to correctly release the locking feature of the connector(this is not bad). Modern wiring techniques make it virtually impossible to plug the connectors in wrong (they are keyed and only fit their cooresponding receptacle)

Access can be difficult, and correct routing and securing harnesses must be maintained.

For me making sure the air distribution tubes stayed connected always gave me concern. Does the steering column need to be lowered to get the dash out on your car? Many cars don’t require complete removal of the dash just a “roll back”.

When you do get the evaporator free pay attention that you don’t allow any oil that is in it to spill on the carpet or upholestery,espically if there is dye in the sysrem,this is a disaster when it happens.

I had this done on my Ford granada, not one of Ford’s better ideas. My mechanic politely to go elsewhere the next time this would occur. There was at least 5 hours of labor involved, and the whole thing cost over $500 11 years ago!

On many cars, the dash is built up around the heater and AC core, so a complete disassembly is necessary. On an older Mitsubishi Montero? the labor is 10 hours!
Most of the Focus was designed by Ford of England, a country that specializes in hard to do maintenance.

I teach courses in Maintainability, or ease of mainteance. Apparently Ford could use some help in this area. One reason the Maytag repairman was so lonely was the quality of the machine and the EXTREME EASE of repairing the unit.

I have not looked in a repair manual. I don’t intend to do the work myself. One estimate was $700 - $200 for parts and $500 for labor @$70/hr. The other estimate was $1000 for labor (at the dealer)I was investigating the potential hazards of NOT getting it replaced at the dealer. One of those hazards would be the wiring being done wrong. Then I would have a real mess on my hands.

I do not know if the steering column needs to be lowered to get the dash out of the car. I plan to have it done at a garage or the dealer. I was wondering how much of a better job the dealer might do because they are charging $500 more. The people who gave me the low estimate say their specialty is ford. My major concern was that the wiring would get messed up in the process. If reconnecting the wiring is simple, I may not have anything major to worry about if I have the garage do it that quoted me $700. The dealer quoted me $1200!