Sorry for the replies 5 months late, found the thread doing some research for a similiar job.
Our dash is supposed to come off real easy I thought from looking into various dash related mods.
The "Dash" as in the front surface where the instrument cluster, radio and air vents are, does come off easier than other vehicles.
The "Dash" as in the whole dash assembly, to include the upper, lower and inner portions, needed to be removed to gain access to the Evaporator, NO, its NOT any easier than any other vehicle, meaning its really hard, at least in a long and tedious job.
Originally Posted by vfrdavid
Honestly, how hard is it to replace the evaporator core myself? I'm pretty capable with car repairs - do I really have to remove the dash?
I haven't done this job on a Commander, from what I can tell it is just as difficult as any other vehicle.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to this job, the only way to get inside heating/cooling blend box well enought to remove and replace the evaporator is to remove all the dash components around it. The fact quotes for the job from multiple sources are all over $1000, pretty much confirms this fact.
If you are capable, and have the time and patience, you should be able to do it. Bag & Tag (put the attachment hardware for a piece in a zip lock sandwich bag, mark it or tape it to the part), lay out each part neatly as it comes out. You often need a punch to remove the pin that holds the steering wheel connector from the steering column, that will have to come out.
The AC portion gets difficult. Once you open an AC system, you need to vacuum down the system to remove any air, that is expensive tools. BUT, you can replace all the parts and bring the system to an AC pro and have them service it properly after doing the job and save a lot of money.
If you open the system and expose to air for more than a few minutes, and that includes the air in the system that will be there before you vacuum it down again, you should replace the Drier/Accumulator in the AC. The AC shop can do that with the servicing, if you want, I always worried if I replace the drier/accumulator myself, and bring it to AC shop, it will sit a whole day before they get to it and the desicant in the Drier is being used up exposed to the air and humidity in the lines. If the shop replaces the drier/accumulator before service, then its gets vacuumed down (air and humidity removed) as soon as its installed. Probably double the bill of servicing to do it this way, but would better protect your AC system IMHO.