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TJ Heater Core Replacement #2

by Taka Sokabe

Note from Stu:   A big thank you goes out to Taka.  I received an e-mail from him after he had swapped the heater cored on his '01 TJ 4.0L.  He took the time to document his swap using 93 commented photos.  Better yet, he wanted to share this information with his fellow Jeepers.  Here is his e-mail explaining it.....

Hi Stu,

First of all, thank you so much for maintaining such an awesome website for Jeep owners.  I had, and will have to, pay thousands of dollars for my TJ without your site.

I was thrown into despair after realizing that mysterious strawberry-color droplets inside my jeep were actually leaked antifreeze from the heater core.  And I came across the best detailed description of how to fix this issue on the internet, which was the write-ups in your site.  I finally decided to DIY after my TJ almost had an overheat. Although I am in an amateur side for car maintenance, but the write-ups encouraged me to do so.  It guided me almost in the perfect way, but I had to spend a lot of time to understand unfamiliar and specific terms (I am a Japanese and not English-native) and figure out which bolts/nuts to remove.

I took pictures in each step and created a photo-based manual.  I would like to ask you to post this in the heater core replacement section since it would supplement the write-ups and could be helpful especially for people who never have done Jeep maintenance but having a leaky core problem.  It should work at least for Wrangler Sport 4.0L (2001, manual shift) but could be informative for all the TJ models.  The manual is in my web album and anyone can take a look.  I am happy to have any comments and corrections.  I will maintain them as long as I pay for the Google storage service...Please let me know if you have any problem to see the pictures.

Again, I appreciate Stu and all the people who participated in the heater core replacement write-ups. Jeep forever!


Taka and Taka's Jeep (TJ)


Update:  03/02/2019  Taka recently contacted me to inform me that the hosting page he had his photos on was being discountinued.  I asked him if I could download them and host them on my site.  He graciously agreed and commented that he was glad to see his work would continue to be made available to other Jeepers. 

NOTE:  When removing the steering column, DO NOT allow the steering wheel to spin within the column assembly as it will damage the clock spring which will then need to be replaced!  If the clock spring is damaged, you see issues with your horn, air bag light and possibly the instrument cluster when you reassemble your dash.  Use a bungee cord to secure the steering wheel so it does not rotate.

And lastly, if you haven't seen it, there is another heater core swap write-up on this site. 

Here is Taka's photos and comments.....and thanks again to my friend for allowing his work to be shared here. 


Typical antifreeze leak in driver's side. If you see this, you need to ask yourself if you don't mind to spend over a thousand bucks at dealer to get a peace of mind. Otherwise, here is a set of photos that might help you!  FYI, Mine is Wrangler Sport 4.0L (2001, manual shift) but this protocol may be applicable for all TJ models.



Antifreeze leak in passenger's side. I started disassemble without draining antifreeze.



Disconnect and remove battery. This should be done first, as you know!



Remove the two Phillips-head screws (arrows) from the knee blocker and pull the panel towards you to remove.



Remove two Phillips-head screws (the left side hole is indicated) from the lower trim piece of the steering column.



More Heater Core Replacement



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