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SUBARUPictures of how I removed the dashboard and replaced the heater core on the Subaru Legacy Outback.


My wife said the heater smelled sweet. The heater core was leaking coolant.
But first, lets pay some bills:
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  1. There's the red heater hose that I used to bypass the heater core to check if the smell went away. It did. That's how I diagnosed it.
    heater core bypass


  2. To replace the heater core you have to take out the dashboard. The entire car is built around the heater core. They start with a heater core, then bolt every piece on top of it. The heater core is the exact center of mass of the Subaru.
    Here we go. Screws by the parking brake to remove this plastic cover.
    screws


  3. Cup holder, big screw on each side.
    cup holder


  4. If you pop this top part off first, the bottom plastic may break. @#$!@%^@$&%!!!
    #$%!!


  5. Unplug the emergency lights switch.
    emergency lights


  6. Then 2 screws hold on the ashtray / change drawer, and the bottom plastic with the lighter comes out.
    lighter


  7. The little clip in the middle is not connected to anything, and the screwdriver extension is short enough to take out the ashtray.


  8. Lowered the steering wheel.
    steering wheel


  9. Four screws hold on the instrument panel cover.
    instrument panel cover


  10. Connectors.
    connectors    connectors


  11. Four screws hold on the instrument panel.
    screws   


  12. Five electric connectors on the instrument panel.


  13. Pushed these tabs in to let the glove box open all the way out.
    tabs    tabs


  14. And unscrewed these on the bottom to remove the glove box.
    glove box


  15. Removed these screws and plastic tabs to get the back cover off.
    cover    cover


  16. All these 10mm gold screw bolts hold the dashboard on.
    bolts


  17. Hey, there's an airbag in there.
    airbag


  18. Maybe I should unplug the negative battery cable so it doesn't go off in my face.
    battery


  19. Little plastic tab reveals another gold screw bolt.
    bolt


  20. Popped this cover off, three metal tabs hold it on. I pried as close to the tabs as possible so not to break the plastic.
    pry the cover    metal tabs


  21. Then two gold bolts under here.
    bolts


  22. Unbolt a bunch of these... Gotta unbolt the airbag too. It comes out with the dash.
    unbolt


  23. There's a couple more under here...
    bolts    bolts


  24. One little connector over here. It's the airbag or computer or something. It has a sliding lock to click open before it will come apart.
    lock connector


  25. Do I have to take the radio and climate control out? I don't know. I'll do it.
    radio


  26. Four screws for the climate, six for the radio.
    screws


  27. Plug and antenna connector on the radio.
    plug


  28. Antenna and two connectors I think.
    connectors


  29. Some nuts in there hold the dashboard in.
    nuts


  30. Ugh, I think I gotta take this center plastic outta here too. Two screws in front and two in back.
    plastic


  31. Three screws inside here.
    screws


  32. Two big screws and some metal tabs pop this cover off.
    cover    cover


  33. Have to unplug this blue one and this little black one by my pinkie on the drivers side. I'm holding the antenna with my thumb.
    plugs


  34. Oh sweet Jesus.
    god help us


  35. There are four of these. Tan, white, black, & blue below.
    plugs


  36. What's back here?
    what?


  37. These wires are hooked around the fuse box. Unhooked them for a bit more play.
    fuse box


  38. Looks like a dealer installed keyless entry. Black wire into the black connector, red wire.
    black wire


  39. Orange wire into the other wiring on the white wire.
    orange wire


  40. Then I tried to pull the dashboard out, but I was scared I would break the plastic around the steering wheel. Four screws from underneath and it comes off easy.
    steering column plastic     steering column plastic


  41. Still a real pain. I bet I can lower the steering column. Two bolts hold it up.
    steering column


  42. Sorta hanging half way down. Seems fragile.
    fragile


  43. Unbolted the steering column inside the engine bay near the firewall. I hope I remember to reconnect this. Is this really necessary?
    steering column bolt


  44. Gave the steering wheel a yank, and down it goes, all the way to the seat. Dash came out easy.


  45. Yep, no dashboard in here. What the hell that took forever. Some guy said he did the whole thing in three hours. Just getting the dashboard out took three hours. I need a beer. My back is killing me. This sucks. Wah wah wah.
    whining


  46. Follow the link for Heater Core Replacement Part 2!


  47. Next I sold out to make 02ยข so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.
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    But no minivans!


  48. Then I finished my beer.
    Beer


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Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy.   Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives.   If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities.   If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic.   The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle.   For all you know I made this up.   Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.

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Last modified: 11/25/2014
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