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Heater core replacement estimate for 2015 GSW TDI.

aditud

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Pittsburgh
A dealer just quoted me $1,830 to replace the heater core and flush the system. That’s pretty excessive, I think. Anyone has any idea what I really should be looking at?
 

uglybastard

Autocross Champion
Location
GOML
Car(s)
Mk6 GTI
A dealer just quoted me $1,830 to replace the heater core and flush the system. That’s pretty excessive, I think. Anyone has any idea what I really should be looking at?
Is that parts and labor, all in?
 

uglybastard

Autocross Champion
Location
GOML
Car(s)
Mk6 GTI
Yes. They said they’d work all day on it. Btw, is this something a relatively timid DIYer can do?
Unfortunately I dont know specifically how it goes on mk7 but most modern VWs have the heater core behind the dash. I'd start by assessing your comfortableness with removing components on the dash and your confidence in being able to get everything back in place as it was before you started.

For an all day, one day job.. 1800 seems about right for a dealer price. You can test the waters with independent shops but results may vary. At least if vw messes it up you can escalate it to VWoA for reparations.
 

YamR1rider

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Tampa, FL
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport DSG
Holy sheeit, that price is insane. Coincidentally, I just replaced the one on my daughters high mile Mk7 1.8 Tsi yesterday.....I paid $70 for Nissens brand replacement core (plus a few liters of G13 coolant I already had on shelf - I drained the cars coolant from the lower radiator hose prior to commencing job). Plus some nicely skinned knuckles and bruised ribs because you have to be a contortionist to get to the part.....but in all honesty its far easier than many other cars as you can get away with only removing the lower trim piece on a left hand drive car (see pic). You have to manipulate and bend the plastic vent ends (second picture) out the way to fully remove the core (at this point I was cursing VW - if they had made that bottom venting just half an inch shorter it would have been so much easier....I seriously considered taking a dremel to that last half inch of venting).

Its also massively awkward to see and get your hands in there to remove screws and release the piping to the matrix (hence skinned knuckles and bruised ribs). Also, take the time to guard against spillage that will come out of the matrix (roughly half a liter) - I used some bubble wrap I had lying around and it worked really well as you can really wedge it back behind the pipes then also jerry-rig a funnel using whatever to catch most of it.

I reckon I had the core out and new one in (and really, really taking my time including breaks etc) in 2-3hrs having never done it before, although I had done a lot of research/youtubing etc. Here's a couple of links from UK/Ireland, but be aware not all applies to Left Hand Drive cars (which thankfully, are a bit easier - the RHD ones seems you may need to take a little bit more of the dash apart). The second link is from a Skoda Octavia, but its the same core and location. Link 1 Link 2

So - it can be done without too much trouble, and clearly, at a HUGE saving over $1800 lol. I would realistically say, however, that you really need to be more of an accomplished DIYer than a timid one for this job...if not there is some potential for damage/problems/frustrations to be caused....you also need to be happy with draining/filling/bleeding some coolant (so as to avoid air pockets etc). If you don't feel able to do the job, after looking at the links above, I would hope that an honest VW/Audi specialist in your area would charge you a lot less than that.

As an aside.....changing the core has only halfway fixed my issue here - daughters car does now blow some hot air but only after a long warm up period and through half the vents. Which is better than it was....but still not right. I'm pretty convinced now that it is the N82 valve (further up one of the pipes) which is stuck closed: N82 Valve. So this will be my next job when the part arrives next week. Another fiddly job by the looks of it in the engine bay, but probably no worse than replacing the matrix.

Hope that helps!

1669988808339.png


1669992854782.png
 
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aditud

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Pittsburgh
It does help, thank you!!!

I purchased the brand new OEM part off eBay for $130 and found a shop in the Pittsburgh area that quoted me $400 for replacing the part plus flushing the system. Hopefully they won’t fuck something up, fingers crossed 🤞. They have very good reviews, so…
 

YamR1rider

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Tampa, FL
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport DSG
It does help, thank you!!!

I purchased the brand new OEM part off eBay for $130 and found a shop in the Pittsburgh area that quoted me $400 for replacing the part plus flushing the system. Hopefully they won’t fuck something up, fingers crossed 🤞. They have very good reviews, so…
That is a LOT more reasonable, and about the price I'd expect to pay if taking it to a shop.

My N82 check valve arrived today which I will be putting on tomorrow, will let you know how that goes for in the event replacing the core doesn't fully cure yours either.
 

YamR1rider

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Tampa, FL
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport DSG
Well I changed the N82 valve today - that's fixed it, the heat on full blast is now nuclear! The old one was solidly seized in the shut position, no chance of blowing through it.

But....what an utter pain in the ass little job.....so tight and fiddly. I also found no-matter what I did with my clip-on magnetic lights, they were always in the wrong place too so hard to see what you are doing all the time. I ended up losing one of the two T30s holding the coolant valve as it dropped down into nooks and crannies of the engine somewhere, but thankfully the valve is pretty solid on with just the one and it also rests on the pipes plugged into it so not really a concern, its not going anywhere - but I will get another and replace the missing one as and when I can summon the enthusiasm to fight with the damn thing again :)

For anyone who has the misfortune to have to do it - this thread over on vortex really helped me a lot: https://www.vwvortex.com/threads/di...2-heat-taking-a-long-time-to-come-on.9493028/
 
Last edited:

aditud

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Pittsburgh
They ended u charging me $500 for core installation, flushing the system and adding coolant, and an oil change. The problem appears fixed, the cabin now is as toasty as I remember and I actually drive with the fan off because otherwise it gets hot. Took the guy who worked on it little less than 4h. Highly recommend European Autoworx in the Monroeville/Murrysville area.
 

EpicTech

Autocross Champion
Location
Houston
Car(s)
MK7 GTI 6sp w/PP
Price is fine if they knock off about a grand or so. :ROFLMAO:
 

YamR1rider

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Tampa, FL
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport DSG
They ended u charging me $500 for core installation, flushing the system and adding coolant, and an oil change. The problem appears fixed, the cabin now is as toasty as I remember and I actually drive with the fan off because otherwise it gets hot. Took the guy who worked on it little less than 4h. Highly recommend European Autoworx in the Monroeville/Murrysville area.
Nice to hear they fixed it for you at a reasonable cost - a lot better than that apparently drugs fueled dealer quote of $1800! Sad thing is - some people would just go ahead and pay it.
 

Goodbar

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Maryland, USA
Car(s)
Mk7.5 GSW
Holy sheeit, that price is insane. Coincidentally, I just replaced the one on my daughters high mile Mk7 1.8 Tsi yesterday.....I paid $70 for Nissens brand replacement core (plus a few liters of G13 coolant I already had on shelf - I drained the cars coolant from the lower radiator hose prior to commencing job). Plus some nicely skinned knuckles and bruised ribs because you have to be a contortionist to get to the part.....but in all honesty its far easier than many other cars as you can get away with only removing the lower trim piece on a left hand drive car (see pic). You have to manipulate and bend the plastic vent ends (second picture) out the way to fully remove the core (at this point I was cursing VW - if they had made that bottom venting just half an inch shorter it would have been so much easier....I seriously considered taking a dremel to that last half inch of venting).

Its also massively awkward to see and get your hands in there to remove screws and release the piping to the matrix (hence skinned knuckles and bruised ribs). Also, take the time to guard against spillage that will come out of the matrix (roughly half a liter) - I used some bubble wrap I had lying around and it worked really well as you can really wedge it back behind the pipes then also jerry-rig a funnel using whatever to catch most of it.

I reckon I had the core out and new one in (and really, really taking my time including breaks etc) in 2-3hrs having never done it before, although I had done a lot of research/youtubing etc. Here's a couple of links from UK/Ireland, but be aware not all applies to Left Hand Drive cars (which thankfully, are a bit easier - the RHD ones seems you may need to take a little bit more of the dash apart). The second link is from a Skoda Octavia, but its the same core and location. Link 1 Link 2

So - it can be done without too much trouble, and clearly, at a HUGE saving over $1800 lol. I would realistically say, however, that you really need to be more of an accomplished DIYer than a timid one for this job...if not there is some potential for damage/problems/frustrations to be caused....you also need to be happy with draining/filling/bleeding some coolant (so as to avoid air pockets etc). If you don't feel able to do the job, after looking at the links above, I would hope that an honest VW/Audi specialist in your area would charge you a lot less than that.

As an aside.....changing the core has only halfway fixed my issue here - daughters car does now blow some hot air but only after a long warm up period and through half the vents. Which is better than it was....but still not right. I'm pretty convinced now that it is the N82 valve (further up one of the pipes) which is stuck closed: N82 Valve. So this will be my next job when the part arrives next week. Another fiddly job by the looks of it in the engine bay, but probably no worse than replacing the matrix.

Hope that helps!
Thanks for the info @YamR1rider. I installed a Nissens heater core last December (~6 months ago) and it started leaking a few months later from both connections. One frustration was that the lower connection was at a slightly different angle from the factory core, so I had to bend the aluminum pipe to get it to seat correctly. I think the bigger problem is that the supplied O-rings are slightly too small. I was concerned about that when I installed it, but it didn't initially leak. I also think the clamps are subpar.

So, given that this job is somewhat of a PITA, I'd recommend sticking with the factory part. I ended up reinstalling the factory core (it wasn't actually bad — there's a long embarrassing story as to why I swapped it in the first place) with a new install kit (O-rings and clamps: 5WA815155, $9 from my local Audi dealer).

Note that the Nissens core has a coarser fin pitch than the factory core. Didn't seem to affect heat output that I could tell here in the Mid-Atlantic.

IMG_9896.jpg
 

YamR1rider

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Tampa, FL
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport DSG
Ah, that's a shame the Nissens didn't work out for you - that one I did is still going strong. Must admit, I also didn't notice any change in fin pitch with the one I put in to the factory one that came out, and there certainly weren't any gaps between the fins and endplates like yours seems to have. I guess that's possibly some of the gamble with the aftermarket stuff - they the brand (Nissens in this case) may change their supplier and/or standards on a whim - each example may not be identical over time.
 
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