Rube Goldberg is proud-Ford Mustang heater core R&R

Seriously, this heater core replacement is the easiest one I’ve ever done! It took all of Seven minutes to replace the leaking heater core in my '87 Mustang. GETTING to the heater core took 6 hours! As my 17 year old son stated, “Rube Goldberg would be proud”. Was Ford hiring dropouts from Duke and Drexel? Or is this fairly common these days?

Most heater cores are a royal pain the neck to change. It’s not just Ford that is like this. Heater cores are one of the few repairs I absolutely despise doing since it usually boils down to a 25 dollar core and a full day to change it, if things go well.

It would be very simple to place a removeable door on the firewall which could allow the core to be easily removed but engineering, stamping a door out, and the cost of 2 screws to hold it on would tick off the budget analysts upstairs.

A door on the firewall would make it really easy to get to the core, but I suspect the reason that isn’t done is because it would no longer be a firewall if there was a door in it.

In the bad old days during the sixties it used to be necessary to take out the glove box and half the underside of the dashboard to get the heater core out. If the car had a center console that came out too. Six hours is not unheard of, especially for the DIYer.

You should try replacing one on a 60’s - 70’s Camaro/Firebird. You had to cut a hole in the firewall.

Servicing any vehicle is a secondary concern to all the automotive manufacturers. Their number one concern is the assembly line. Many,many sub-assemblies are produced away from the vehicle with only one objective…so that a robot machine can “pop” it in effortlessly on the assembly line. Those huge labor unions virtually guarantee that us service personnel will contintinue to be tormanted by this illogical engineering. And the abslute worst part of it all ? The price of labor to the customer.

Yup, cars are designed primarily to be inexpensive to produce. Service is secondary. I think someone here said it, cars are assembled by first suspending a heater core and then assembling the rest of the car around it.

Not all heater core replacements are difficult. In my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass, the heater core is in a box along with the air conditioning evaporator under the hood. I think it took me less than an hour to change it out. I don’t know about newer cars. I do know that many cars of the 1940’s and even into the 1950’s had a box under the dashboard that contained the heater core and the fan. It was a simple matter to remove the whole heater and make repairs. In fact, the heater was an option, so Sears, Montgomery Ward, Western Auto, etc. sold universal fit car heaters.

Perhaps you could Rube Goldberg a universal fit heater and save the pain of taking the dashboard apart. You might even buy a heater core, a defroster fan, and rig up a sheet metal box to house the core and fan and you have a true Rube Goldberg heater.