2010 Cobalt FXE Heater Core Removal
My 2010 Cobalt XFE (no AC) had a leaking heater core. Losing antifreeze, smelling antifreeze in the cabin, dripping antifreeze from the engine side firewall (Chevy did a nice job engineering a drain to the outside so the carpet is dry, but I could still smell the antifreeze).
Thought I would do the job myself, and didn't realize what a job it would be.
This was my experience, and I am not telling you how to do anything. If I did this the hard way, then that's the way I did it. Perhaps somebody will find my experience helpful:
1. Buy a new bottom heater core pan from Chevy parts. ~$35. I gave up trying to get the old pan out whole, and cut the installed pan into pieces to get it out. With the new pan, I looked at the connection points for reference as the factory installed pan was plastic riveted. The plastic rivets attaching the factory installed pan needed to be shaved off or cut. The replacement pan has screw holes at the attachment points, so it's evident where the plastic rivets are located.
2. Tools -
3/4" wood chisel to cut through some of the plastic rivets.
Battery operated Multi-Tool. One of those hand held cutters like a barber's electric hair cutter. I used this to quickly cut the installed heater pan into pieces and broke the pan out of the assembly. Took care not to cut other plastic parts that were not part of the pan. Used the replacement pan as a reference.
3. Attachment points -
There are several plastic rivets to shave off. Used the MultiTool where I could, used the Chisel for the rest. Some rivets were only accessible from the inside of the pan, once I cut the pan into pieces.
There was one bolt through the firewall. This is next to where the heater core tubes and rubber hoses connect. The bolt has a dual purpose as a fuel line attachment point and holder for the heater core pan. Detach the flexible fuel line holder, use a 10mm wrench to remove the nut. The bolt is attached to the heater pan in the cabin. After I got the old pan out, the bolt came with it. Reused this bolt by unscrewing (plastic threads) from the heater pan and screwed it into the new pan.
The drain was on the passenger side through the firewall. It hung up on the housing above and had a thick flexible gasket around it. It eventually worked out, but I had to cut more of the pan to get it out.
4. Dashboard and Center Console -
I ended up removing the entire dashboard, center console and driver's seat to get enough room to work. Now that I cut out the heater core pan into pieces, it might not have be necessary to remove so much. I found other forums for dash removal. You decide what you want to remove.
Spent so much time on the pan, forgot to mention the heater core pulls right out; after the pan is removed.
Last edited by orvas; 01-25-2014 at 06:31 PM.