Front Range 4x4 Upcoming Trail Runs - Add a New Trail Run

Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Heater Core Leak!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Member
    #834
    Last Online
    3 Hours Ago
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    4x4
    2004 Jeep Wrangler LJ
    Posts
    758
    User Name
    Doink
    Real Name
    Brian
    Thanks Given
    365
    Thanked 197 Times in 150 Posts

    Default Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Heater Core Leak!



    I've been wheeling the better part of 25 years in a '79 Scout and pretty much tried as best I could to be as knowledgeable as I could on it's mechanical upkeep and maintenance. Along the way I managed to convert it to 100% propane and eventually a 5.3L Chevy and driveline swap. Then last September I sold the rig (too many reasons to list) and 'got in step' with the Jeep mafia and bought a 2004 Wrangler Unlimited. I mean, what's this 'Jeep Thang' all about and why wouldn't I understand? It's in pretty good shape with just some easy wheeling and mild mods to its credit. Things were going pretty good with it and I began to daydream of the first real wheeling trip I'd take with it.

    But... It always had a 'lil bit of a 'funky' smell to it. I just attributed it to a some 'mudding' and lack of complete clean up. Or maybe all Jeep soft tops harbored mildew/moldy/rusty plumbing pipe odiferous emanations. I mean, what do I know about Jeeps anyway?! Maybe all Jeep window's fog up when you use the heater. No such luck...I had the dreaded heater core leak!!

    I Googled up some info about the issue and to my surprise I found what at first I thought was an internet hoax. Numerous sites and members were detailing removing the entire dash down to the firewall just to get to a heater core. Hahahahhahaha, I thought! What a bunch of jokesters! But the joke was on me. To my dismay these tales of woe were honest and accurate. I, a n00b Jeep owner, was about to embark on a journey that would lead me to the brink of insanity and a newly developed nervous tick!

    Credit to the following sites and video's (listed below) for leading me through the process. Rather than 'reinvent the wheel' I'll just say these sources will get you through it if you ever have the need. However, I'll say this; most info in regard to the removal of a Wrangler heater box deal with the 1997-2002. A change happened around 2003 to the design of the box, but the info supplied about the 1997-2002 box removal will work for 03-06.

    Notable exceptions: 03-06 Wranglers do not have the same pigtail/harness set up under the dash. There are three harness's to unplug, but they are quite obvious and below the steering column, near the drivers kick panel. Some write-ups claim there is no need to remove the steering wheel and dash completely. That MAY work, but since I was working alone I decided to remove everything so I would be able to 'manhandle' the dash and have maximum flexibility during removal and replacement. Also, I decided to change out the AC evaporator while I was in there. Added a few $$, but since I was in there...why not.

    I'll just say this; I was shocked to discover this 'dirty little secret' about my Jeep. But, after all the angst and feelings of dreed over this repair passed and I got into it, it went pretty well. Took me about 3 days to disassemble everything, but I was really taking my time trying to pay attention. Plus, I had to get my AC purged before I started. Going back together took about 4 hours!

    Here are the 'crime scene' photos:

    Take your doors off, makes it a 'lil easier



    Removing the steering wheel trim



    Steering wheel removed



    Remove your dash-yes, it comes out just like that in one piece



    Now you're down to the heater box




    Remove it and your down to the firewall



    The leaking heater core



    The new OEM Mopar parts that went back in




    Sources:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXwi9tYzuCg

    http://www.stu-offroad.com/engine/he...atercore-1.htm

    http://www.stu-offroad.com/engine/he...atercore-2.htm

  2. The Following Member Says Thanks to Doink For This Post:

    Jim (February 16th, 2018)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Member
    #1998
    Last Online
    1 Hour Ago
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
    4x4
    JKU
    Posts
    365
    User Name
    Getaklu
    Real Name
    Chris
    Thanks Given
    106
    Thanked 109 Times in 75 Posts

    Default Re: Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Heater Core Leak!



    Looks like a bit of a PITA. You handled it like a trooper and thanks for the information and forewarning.
    ___________
    Im happy to be here, but still a little sad to be here too. Sometimes its better to travel than to arrive. Robert Pirsig

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Member
    #2036
    Last Online
    27 Minutes Ago
    Location
    Broomfield
    4x4
    2005 Wrangler Unlimited (LJ)
    Posts
    237
    User Name
    open_circuit
    Real Name
    Trent
    Thanks Given
    61
    Thanked 66 Times in 47 Posts

    Default Re: Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Heater Core Leak!



    I wonder what the funky smell is like. My 2005 LJ has a rather unique "hot" smell after running a bit.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Member
    #834
    Last Online
    3 Hours Ago
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    4x4
    2004 Jeep Wrangler LJ
    Posts
    758
    User Name
    Doink
    Real Name
    Brian
    Thanks Given
    365
    Thanked 197 Times in 150 Posts

    Default Re: Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Heater Core Leak!



    open_circuit previously posted:
    "I wonder what the funky smell is like. My 2005 LJ has a rather unique "hot" smell after running a bit."

    It was like a dank, rusty plumbing pipe kinda thing. I caught mine before it began leaking into the floor but it was still enough to fog the glass which was the real tip off.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Member
    #853
    Last Online
    2 Hours Ago
    Location
    Denver
    Age
    51
    4x4
    LJ, Xterra
    Posts
    5,505
    User Name
    Paul
    Real Name
    Paul
    Thanks Given
    1,225
    Thanked 982 Times in 688 Posts

    Default Re: Jeep Wrangler (TJ) Heater Core Leak!



    I may be doing this soon too, I don't have a leak but as I understand it the lifespan of the TJ/LJ cooling system is 12-15 years, then the radiator and heater core do this. I just had a radiator leak and am kicking myself for fixing the radiator instead of replacing it. I'm considering replacing both, along with the waterpump, thermostat and all the hoses while it's apart.

Similar Threads

  1. 2018 Wrangler leak info
    By Jim in forum General Topics
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: August 13th, 2017, 09:37 PM
  2. TJ Heater Core Replacement
    By JFjeld in forum Tech How To
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: November 8th, 2014, 12:34 AM
  3. Jeep leak
    By Paul in forum Tech Help Wanted
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: November 24th, 2013, 06:15 PM
  4. 2000 Jeep Wrangler Robyn's Jeep Build
    By Brody in forum Build Threads
    Replies: 134
    Last Post: May 26th, 2012, 07:23 AM
  5. 2000 Jeep Wrangler Kory's Jeep Build
    By Kory in forum Build Threads
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: May 9th, 2012, 07:38 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
BACK TO TOP