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Posting this to see if it will help anyone.

I had a clogged and leaking heater core since the purchase of my 2008 Equinox. I went through the winter of 2018 with lukewarm heat and antifreeze smell in the cabin. My local shop wanted $1200 to replace and to do it myself required 2 days and the evacuation and refill of the AC refrigerant. Never mind the amount of disassembly required of the dash.

I have a shortcut but you have to have some experience to do this. It is not the easiest job, but if you understand the pics I've attached, you should have no problem.

The only panels you need to remove are:
  • Shifter bezel
  • Lower rear center panel under shifter bezel
  • Driver side center console panel
  • lower dash panel under steering wheel
  • lower black cover above pedals

You'll also need to remove or reposition the following components on the driver side:
  • Remove and unplug gas pedal
  • Remove 2 top bolts on the CPU to the right of gas pedal (don't need to unplug)
  • Loosen brake switch and disconnect brake pedal from brake pushrod
  • Disconnect the computer connection in the center console to give you some room on that harness

Once you get that far you'll see a panel that looks like the 1st picture. It's held on by 3, 1/4 inch screws. Removing it will get you access to the heater core (see 2nd pic).

You can drain the coolant or disconnect the lines and blow air through the core to minimize the amount of fluid left in the core. There'll be some left regardless, so put something down to collect the drips.

At this point you can cut the lines in 2 spots. One cut has to be close to the core so there's room to slide the core out. You'll need to manipulate the wiring and the brake pedal to wiggle it out, but it wasn't that bad. The other cut should give you room to place a hose between the 2 cut lines. I used an air body saw to make the cuts. You will definitely need a small saw. It's aluminum so take your time. Be careful to not cut any wires or to nick your actuators, other panels, etc. Picture 3 shows the space with the heater core removed.

Picture 4 is the new heater core with the lines cut. I used an air body saw and then cleaned up the ends.

Picture 5 is the new core in place without the hoses.

Picture 6 is the complete install (the hoses are 3/4 inch ID).

I could not put the panel from picture 1 back on because of the size of the hoses. I just fashioned a stepped bracket into one of the removed screw holes to hold the core in place. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that.

Reinstall all the pieces and be on your way.

If you don't get what I'm talking about above, don't try this. This is just an alternative that worked for me and saved me a grand and a lot of time. No guarantees with these instructions.

If anyone has any questions, fire away and I'll try to answer.
 

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Amazing work around to get that heater core out.
Anything is better than tearing the dash out and it was still a bit of work to do what you did.
But much more affordable to keep an otherwise vehicle useful in winter months.
 

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Great Step by Step explanation.
I'm about to takle mine and wasn't looking forward to removing the dash.
The pictures you put up will definately help out !
Thanks alot !
 

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Posting this to see if it will help anyone.

I had a clogged and leaking heater core since the purchase of my 2008 Equinox. I went through the winter of 2018 with lukewarm heat and antifreeze smell in the cabin. My local shop wanted $1200 to replace and to do it myself required 2 days and the evacuation and refill of the AC refrigerant. Never mind the amount of disassembly required of the dash.

I have a shortcut but you have to have some experience to do this. It is not the easiest job, but if you understand the pics I've attached, you should have no problem.

The only panels you need to remove are:
  • Shifter bezel
  • Lower rear center panel under shifter bezel
  • Driver side center console panel
  • lower dash panel under steering wheel
  • lower black cover above pedals
You'll also need to remove or reposition the following components on the driver side:
  • Remove and unplug gas pedal
  • Remove 2 top bolts on the CPU to the right of gas pedal (don't need to unplug)
  • Loosen brake switch and disconnect brake pedal from brake pushrod
  • Disconnect the computer connection in the center console to give you some room on that harness
Once you get that far you'll see a panel that looks like the 1st picture. It's held on by 3, 1/4 inch screws. Removing it will get you access to the heater core (see 2nd pic).

You can drain the coolant or disconnect the lines and blow air through the core to minimize the amount of fluid left in the core. There'll be some left regardless, so put something down to collect the drips.

At this point you can cut the lines in 2 spots. One cut has to be close to the core so there's room to slide the core out. You'll need to manipulate the wiring and the brake pedal to wiggle it out, but it wasn't that bad. The other cut should give you room to place a hose between the 2 cut lines. I used an air body saw to make the cuts. You will definitely need a small saw. It's aluminum so take your time. Be careful to not cut any wires or to nick your actuators, other panels, etc. Picture 3 shows the space with the heater core removed.

Picture 4 is the new heater core with the lines cut. I used an air body saw and then cleaned up the ends.

Picture 5 is the new core in place without the hoses.

Picture 6 is the complete install (the hoses are 3/4 inch ID).

I could not put the panel from picture 1 back on because of the size of the hoses. I just fashioned a stepped bracket into one of the removed screw holes to hold the core in place. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that.

Reinstall all the pieces and be on your way.

If you don't get what I'm talking about above, don't try this. This is just an alternative that worked for me and saved me a grand and a lot of time. No guarantees with these instructions.

If anyone has any questions, fire away and I'll try to answer.
incredible short cut, only thing i would have done differently is cut the lines half way down the angled part, instead of so close to the core. saved me a good 6 hrs of itty bitty parts r&r. thank you
 

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Will this work for an 2005 Chevy Equinox as well? The reason I ask is because I am trying to save money at this point and have replaced everything else except the heater core.
 

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I forgot to mention that you need to remove the shift knob to get the shifter bezel out of the way.
T10 TORX SET SCREW ON THE BACK. PULL DOWN THE TRIM RING ON THE BOTTOM SET SCREW IS THERE UNDER THE TRIM RING.

THANKS FOR THE POST, SORRY FOR CAPS BROKEN KEYBOARD.
 

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Will this work for an 2005 Chevy Equinox as well? The reason I ask is because I am trying to save money at this point and have replaced everything else except the heater core.
The Equinox and Terrain are the same, and don't look like they've changed a whole lot from my 2011;
I did this procedure last year at about the same time on my 2011 Terrain, and for the same reason, no way was I taking out the center console and half the dashboard. I would say that you can use the majority of the aluminum pipes to go through the firewall, and just use 2" or so of 3/4" heater tubing to connect each pipe where you cut them off from. I also used RTV gasket maker/sealer to bond the heater hose to the aluminum pipes AND then clamped them with hose clamps.
NOTE: You cannot just put rubber heater hoses through the firewall without crushing them; so use the scrap aluminum tubes you cut off the new heater core to go through the firewall!
 

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Very interesting take on it, but I'd rather just do it the old fashioned way.
The "old fashioned way" was underneath the glovebox and about one hour of labor. So if you mean you're going to do it by the book, please let us know how long it takes you so others can judge for themselves whether or not it's worth it.
Thanks.
 

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Posting this to see if it will help anyone.

I had a clogged and leaking heater core since the purchase of my 2008 Equinox. I went through the winter of 2018 with lukewarm heat and antifreeze smell in the cabin. My local shop wanted $1200 to replace and to do it myself required 2 days and the evacuation and refill of the AC refrigerant. Never mind the amount of disassembly required of the dash.

I have a shortcut but you have to have some experience to do this. It is not the easiest job, but if you understand the pics I've attached, you should have no problem.

The only panels you need to remove are:
  • Shifter bezel
  • Lower rear center panel under shifter bezel
  • Driver side center console panel
  • lower dash panel under steering wheel
  • lower black cover above pedals

You'll also need to remove or reposition the following components on the driver side:
  • Remove and unplug gas pedal
  • Remove 2 top bolts on the CPU to the right of gas pedal (don't need to unplug)
  • Loosen brake switch and disconnect brake pedal from brake pushrod
  • Disconnect the computer connection in the center console to give you some room on that harness

Once you get that far you'll see a panel that looks like the 1st picture. It's held on by 3, 1/4 inch screws. Removing it will get you access to the heater core (see 2nd pic).

You can drain the coolant or disconnect the lines and blow air through the core to minimize the amount of fluid left in the core. There'll be some left regardless, so put something down to collect the drips.

At this point you can cut the lines in 2 spots. One cut has to be close to the core so there's room to slide the core out. You'll need to manipulate the wiring and the brake pedal to wiggle it out, but it wasn't that bad. The other cut should give you room to place a hose between the 2 cut lines. I used an air body saw to make the cuts. You will definitely need a small saw. It's aluminum so take your time. Be careful to not cut any wires or to nick your actuators, other panels, etc. Picture 3 shows the space with the heater core removed.

Picture 4 is the new heater core with the lines cut. I used an air body saw and then cleaned up the ends.

Picture 5 is the new core in place without the hoses.

Picture 6 is the complete install (the hoses are 3/4 inch ID).

I could not put the panel from picture 1 back on because of the size of the hoses. I just fashioned a stepped bracket into one of the removed screw holes to hold the core in place. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that.

Reinstall all the pieces and be on your way.

If you don't get what I'm talking about above, don't try this. This is just an alternative that worked for me and saved me a grand and a lot of time. No guarantees with these instructions.

If anyone has any questions, fire away and I'll try to answer.
Posting this to see if it will help anyone.

I had a clogged and leaking heater core since the purchase of my 2008 Equinox. I went through the winter of 2018 with lukewarm heat and antifreeze smell in the cabin. My local shop wanted $1200 to replace and to do it myself required 2 days and the evacuation and refill of the AC refrigerant. Never mind the amount of disassembly required of the dash.

I have a shortcut but you have to have some experience to do this. It is not the easiest job, but if you understand the pics I've attached, you should have no problem.

The only panels you need to remove are:
  • Shifter bezel
  • Lower rear center panel under shifter bezel
  • Driver side center console panel
  • lower dash panel under steering wheel
  • lower black cover above pedals

You'll also need to remove or reposition the following components on the driver side:
  • Remove and unplug gas pedal
  • Remove 2 top bolts on the CPU to the right of gas pedal (don't need to unplug)
  • Loosen brake switch and disconnect brake pedal from brake pushrod
  • Disconnect the computer connection in the center console to give you some room on that harness

Once you get that far you'll see a panel that looks like the 1st picture. It's held on by 3, 1/4 inch screws. Removing it will get you access to the heater core (see 2nd pic).

You can drain the coolant or disconnect the lines and blow air through the core to minimize the amount of fluid left in the core. There'll be some left regardless, so put something down to collect the drips.

At this point you can cut the lines in 2 spots. One cut has to be close to the core so there's room to slide the core out. You'll need to manipulate the wiring and the brake pedal to wiggle it out, but it wasn't that bad. The other cut should give you room to place a hose between the 2 cut lines. I used an air body saw to make the cuts. You will definitely need a small saw. It's aluminum so take your time. Be careful to not cut any wires or to nick your actuators, other panels, etc. Picture 3 shows the space with the heater core removed.

Picture 4 is the new heater core with the lines cut. I used an air body saw and then cleaned up the ends.

Picture 5 is the new core in place without the hoses.

Picture 6 is the complete install (the hoses are 3/4 inch ID).

I could not put the panel from picture 1 back on because of the size of the hoses. I just fashioned a stepped bracket into one of the removed screw holes to hold the core in place. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that.

Reinstall all the pieces and be on your way.

If you don't get what I'm talking about above, don't try this. This is just an alternative that worked for me and saved me a grand and a lot of time. No guarantees with these instructions.

If anyone has any questions, fire away and I'll try to answer.

Thanks for posting, I am having the exact same problem with my equinox and this step by step is great and is exactly what I was hoping to find.
 

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You did cut the new heater core correct? To make it fit where you cut the 2 lines then reconnected them?

Look at his last THREE pictures. . . . Hope that helps.
Yes .. . he cut the new heater core inlet and outlet tubes leaving about 1 1/2" so it could be installed. Then the rubber hoses could bridge the gap between the original tubes he cut to remove the old heater core.

Also, I would try a mini tube cutter to cut the tubes if possible. It would not leave metal particles all over the place or inside the new heater core. A tube cutter needs to be small enough to go all around the tube when cutting. Something like this that can cut up to +1" tubing:
Turing cutter

Tubing Cutter.jpg " Click On Picture To Enlarge ! "
 

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So ... why couldn't you cut the rigid heater core piping further away from the heater core (nearer the firewall) ... maybe just far enough to allow that plastic cover to be re-installed??

Is the answer ... "you can't physically do it", or "you won't be able to remove (or reinstall the new) heater core after it's cut"??
 

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So ... why couldn't you cut the rigid heater core piping further away from the heater core (nearer the firewall) ... maybe just far enough to allow that plastic cover to be re-installed??

Is the answer ... "you can't physically do it", or "you won't be able to remove (or reinstall the new) heater core after it's cut"??
I think it was both what you mention and more. He needed enough length and original heater core tube to fasten the rubber hose splices and still easy enough to remove and install the heater core.
 
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