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Old 11-10-2012, 12:00 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: lake of the ozarks
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Heater core time...

So ive got the smell and the light fog on the windsheld I know what ill be dong very very soon. My question is out of the people that have replaced them how many have used a parts store brand with good luck? i read that the aftermarket ones may not put out as much heat as oem is this true? also is it really nessesary to replace the ac evap also?

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Old 11-10-2012, 12:06 AM   #2
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What's a heater??? I live in hawaii!!!!

98 Wrangler Sport
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:10 AM   #3
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lol, dick!
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:13 AM   #4
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im with ya i need to do mine ASAP, going to snow soon and i have no real heat, that and the smell of coolant is starting to get to me
Darkproximity;Brings new meaning to giving yourself a stranger
1987 wrangler yj, I6 4.2 - UP FOR SALE!!
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bubhed720 View Post
What's a heater??? I live in hawaii!!!!
Man I miss going to Peacock Flats!
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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I did my heater core recently. Bought it at NAPA, even though I read a lot of posts suggesting that we buy an OEM heater core because the after market parts don't have as many radiator fins and don't provide as much heat. Well, now being in Alaska and fighting against very cold temperatures, I can verify that the advice is likely good. After doing the 6-8 hour job, my heat is not very hot. It is warm, but not even close to hot as it used to be when it was leaking, but of the OEM variety.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:55 PM   #7
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I just got done with the heater core replacement and man dose that job SUCK!!!! I purchased and installed a Murray brand core and it fit like a glove and is blowing the same amount of heat as the stock unit so I have to say I'm glad I went with the $50 one over the $300 . I also replaced the hoses as well with gates brand.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:07 AM   #8
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For sure a OEM is going to fit the first time and give OEM BTU output. Price is the only reason you would try a aftermarket core. I priced one for my '97 2.5 and the Mopar core was almost $400. A aftermarket is less the $100. It probably depends on where you buy and what brand you get. There a lot of aftermarket heater cores. Even different core design and materials within the same brand.

You will have to take time looking for a good after market core. I'd order every aftermarket core from every close parts store. Take your air box with you to make sure the fit is good.

I helped a friend do his TJ a few months ago and did my own about a month ago. We both bought aftermarket heater cores from Autozone. Both were Spectra Premium. The first one we bought for his TJ fit fine and has the same number of rows. The difference was OEM is copper, the Spectra Premium was aluminum. I was not so lucky. I had to try 3-4 different Autozone stores before finding a Spectra Premium that fit right. One of the cores looked nothing like the OEM, it was copper but had far fewer rows. The others were just like the OEM but made of aluminum but many were not a good fit. The bends in the pipes were not bent to the correct angles or the flange for the mounting screw was not in the right place. I finally got one that fit perfectly after looking at half a dozen Spectra Premium cores.

I would say the BTU output of the aluminum Spectra Premium is very close to OEM. I stuck a thermometer in the vent after the new core and I had 160 degrees temps when it was 60 degrees outside.

I'd do both the core and evaporator if I were you. Both my friend and I replaced both the heater core and the A/C evaporator since we had everything out. Both his core and evaporator were leaking. My core was plugged up and my A/C evaporator had a very small leak in the evaporator. I could see just a very small trace of the UV dye between the fins.

I did not think the job was too bad if you read the post on how to do it first. I did not remove the steering wheel or the entire dash. I did not unplug the harness on the driver side. I lowered the steering wheel and tilted the dash down and out of the way when I removed the airbox. It helps to have someone there to move the dash a little when pulling the box out and re-installing.
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Old 10-01-2014, 01:43 AM   #9
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Great read here thank you.

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