PHOTOS UNDER THE TEXT
The first one documented was probably done by Stefan Borch.
Meanwhile there have been some experts who do it faster with fewer parts than
removing the whole dash. Johan has done it too. See his website too.
Now Cyril from the
E34 board has a write up done and that is very good. Although without
BTW: The record time for this job now stands a 4 hours.
Since the weather was nice I decided to tear into the dashboard.
symptoms: low coolant message after a few days when using the heater.
No coolant on ground. Positive smell in cabin but no mist on windows as
My findings: small corrosion at top of passenger heater element.
One does not have to remove the upper dashboard as mentioned on a 7
series page. The center rear and forward console has to be completely
removed. The black panel holding radio, climate control and computer
can be swung out of the way while disconnecting radio and climate
control and lighter keeping computer connected. The components don't
have to come out individually. Behind this is the plastic covering over
the heater core with 10 clips and a few screws. As I didn't use the
heat for 5 momths it can be removed without draining coolant or
clamping the firewall hoses but place some paper towels under it as the
core is leaned forward and lifted out. I let about 1/8 cup of coolant
drip while replacing the towels. Clean all inside plastic surfaces well
to get rid of coolant vapor residue. Use new rubber washers on the pipe
connections (usually supplied but if not buy some). Assembly is reverse
of removal. Don't forget to reconnect the cigarette lighter (I did and
now have to figure out how to reconnect it with minimal disassembly).
time to replace and reassemble: 4 hours. I took five however, spending
time to clean all switches and dashboard parts on reassembly.
didn't document with photos but in case anyone wants to tackle the
heater core replacement, here are some instructions. Perhaps it will be
good for the archives at any rate. I, of course imply no guarrantees of
success and take no responsibility for your peril (I'm not a lawyer).
But seriously, it's not too hard.
Tools: Philips #1 and #2. Socket or wrench 8 or 9mm and 13mm. Small
straight blade screwdriver for prying. Flashlight.
1. Pry off vertical black strips to right and left of center black
console housing the radio, etc to reveal screws.
2. Pry off wood dashboard strips below instruments to reveal screws.
3. Remove drivers lower dash panel via 6 screws
4. Open/lower glovebox (can keep attached by straps).
Remove shifter knob, leather boot surround, wood surround (reach hand
in and pop up forward edge, slide forward and up (towards ash tray) to
clear tabs at edge of wood closest to you).
6. Remove rubber and foam around shifter rod.
7. Pry off color-coded cap from screw at junction of front and rear
consoles (where center recess is between arm rests).
8. Unscrew said screw.
9. Pry off leather parking brake surround and lift up a little.
10. Unscrew screw at bottom of opening around parking brake which holds
down driver's side of front console to rear console.
11. Pry off rear black panel where rear airducts are located.
Use 8 or 9mm socket to unscew two side bolts holding rear console in
place (I couldn't easily budge the 2 phillips screws but this is an
13. With rear console free, slide it back 5 inches but don't need to
14. Using 8-9 mm socket, unscrew black plastic bolt holding rear of
front console in place on a ridged plastic tab.
Up front, unscrew single phillips screw holding small carpet piece
along right and left sides of transmission tunnel (e.g. near
accelerator pedal) and slide piece of carpet forward and lift off.
16. Unscrew black phillips screw holding front bottom of center console
to a brass metal tab on both sides.
17. Unscrew any of the four remaining screws at black plastic console
holding radio, climate control, etc., revealed in step #1
Attempt to free the front center console. The window switches need to
be pried up and disconnected along with the hazard switch. I don't have
ASC but this switch, if present, should be disconnected. Un plug white
connector holding wires to cigarette lighter.
19. Try to swing upper
center black console containing radio to the right. As you do so,
disconnect radio wires, climate control cables, and climate control
wires. Look at how connectors come off carefully; one has a small lever
that needs to be pulled which helps eject it. I didn't disconnect the
computer but this could also be done.
20. Swing this assembly to the
right and balance on open door of glove box (don't scratch your wood -
use a protective paper, cloth, etc.
21. Revealed is now a big black
plastic enclosure to the heater core. Disconnect temperature wires at
white connectors on each side.
22. Unscrew two phillips screws at front base of enclosure.
23. Un-bolt two shock absorbing mounts at base of front enclosure.
Remove 10 clips holding enclosure back (facing you) to the front half.
The clips at driver's side may be tough to spot and access due to the
obvious wires and metal support rod, but this is "do-able".
tie wraps holding t-shaped wire loom in front of enclosure and push
this and climate control cables up, out of your way.
enclosure panel. Start at passenger side and pull towards you, then
slide to passenger side and free driver's (left side) from behind
27. Now you see heater core!
28. Un-screw each of
three pipes slowly and make sure paper towels are on hand. I didn't
drain coolant and did lose 1/4 cup from top of core and pipes, but
that's all. Make sure towels soak up any draining coolant and not your
PLASTIC CUP TO CATCH THE SPILL!
UPDATE: from me78569 of BimmerForum "Check the ends of the plastic pipe at the heater pipe connection carefully as they often crack.
29. carefully bend/move passenger element pipe torwards you to make
room for removing core (just a little).
30. Core is only held in place by the three pipes. Pull top of core
forward torwards you and lift out of dashboard.
31. Clean plastic box well.
32. Have three new washers on hand for attaching new core and pipes.
33. Test the new core to rule out leakage by reattaching the climate
control and running the car.
34. Assembly, is, well reverse of above.
35. Bleed the coolant system.
I hope I haven't missed anything. Good luck.
"First two photos from johnD"
Here are a few pics I took after I had removed the heater core from the
vehicle. No need to remove the entire dash.
I spent a couple evenings replacing the heater core.
Very Little needs to be done to this side Unquote
UPDATE: from me78569 of BimmerForum "The only thing I did different was I didn't remove the servo motor on driver side to get to the one bolt that holds plastic to aluminum pipes. I left the servo on and just used 1/4 ratchet with a extension and swivel. It worked really well. I took pics of all the wiring and connectors so I knew how everything went back. "
Photos below from the ever valuable Take of Japan
Use plastic cup to catch fluid!
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