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How do I replace a leaking heater core in a 2005 Grand Caravan?

28087 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  ajkbuz
My 2005 Caravan suffered a near-catastrophic failure recently and dumped nearly the entire contents of the cooling system into my front floor.

I thought I was at least somewhat competent at this stuff, but I can't figure this one out after nearly a week (on and off) working on it.

I've got parts spread out all over the van and part of the driveway, and I'm stumped. So far, I've got the core about half-way out and most of the dash apart, but have run into the steering colunm and can't go any farther.

One post that turned up with a Google search says to remove the steering column and "just slide it out", but I can't figure out how to do that without destroying something.

Other Google results require removing the entire dash assembly, dissembling the the entire heater box and controls and taking it out the top. There has to be a better way! (Doesn't there?).

I can't find a thing with a forum search. :-(

Has anybody ever done one of these?

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This is why you ALWAYS start with FSM. There is no substitute.

Probably not what you wanted to hear---

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1966 Crown Coupe, 2016 200 S AWD, 1962 Lark Daytona V8.
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The steering column can be dropped onto the driver seat and covered with a cloth to prevent scratches. The right side of the dash can be swung away to remove the HVAC housing. It has to come out. You need to reclaim and open the A/C system in order to do that.
A FSM is a must for this kind of work. Chiltons and Haynes is useless. The real factory service manual information is copyrighted by Chrysler so beware that pirate copies available on the internet may be incomplete, wrong or non-factory.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies and attempts to help, but I'm still bumfuzzled. I'm about a week into this project and still don't feel like I'm making any progress. I even took out a second mortgage and bought the factory service manual; it hasn't helped a bit. I guess I need an interpreter.

I used to think I was a pretty-fair mechanic; I've been working on cars since I was 13 (back in the late 50's, and have always done at least 95% of my own mechanical work through nearly 3 million miles of driving.
I've had several cars that I've kept in good condition through up to 300,000 miles of driving (I've currently got two Caravans that are used almost daily, one a 2005 SXT with a little over 200,000, and a '93 LE with 236,000, either of which I wouldn't hesitate to hop into for a coast-to-coast family vacation. (that takes a lot of good maintainance and repair, most of which I've done myself). I's sure I've driven well over a million miles in Dodge vans alone (my first Dodge van was a 66, and my first "full siize" was a '72 Royal Sportsman Maxivan; my first "mini" was an '84. (not that minivans were my only Chrysler Products; I've had a slew of those since my first '63 Chrysler Pacesetter Convertible that I sold in '67 with 230,000 miles, several Dodge Darts and Chrysler sedans; I might be one of the few that got 160,000 miles out of a 2000 Concorde before the original 2.7 blew up.)

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that there's not much that I haven't "fixed" on a car (including lots of race cars), including lots of heater cores... ...but I've never put a core in a Caravan (and its beginning to look like I never will).

I'm obviously getting old and less able that I used to be, but this one's got me completely stumped!

The Caravan I'm working on is my newest, lowest milage van, a 2005 C/V with few options (not even cruise control or power windows), so there's nothing special in the way... ...except for the blankety-blank steering column! I simply can't figure out how to slide the the heater core past the steering cloumn...

I'm currently stuck on step (1) of 24-8 of the shop manual (page 2236 of 2339).

Is there anybody out there that can explain that to me? Figure 18 shows the plastic collar that is stopping the heater core from coming out; there's no way at that point to work the core down under that collar, and no way that I can figure out how to move that collar either up or down to get it out of the way. What am I missing or failing to understand?

Figure 19 appears to show the "collar" now below the core; how do they get it there; how did they move it?

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