2001 F150 4X4 I have the steam trail coming out the dash vents with the sweet smell of anitfreeze. Is this the tell tell sign of a heater core failure? If so what is needed to be done to replace the core? Does the dash board have to be removed?
There has been some previous discussion concerning "electrolisys" in the cores themselves.Evidently they are not well grounded to the truck frame.This produces some "parasitic" voltage which actually promotes corrosion,and ultimate failure.Correction for this is to add a ground bonding strip to the frame from the core when being replaced.
Concerning the age of your truck,I would say you are "lucky" to just have this issue now.Not bashing your truck(My first F-150 was a 97),just figure it was time for yours to go.
If it makes you feel any better,Ive seen Cheby,s blow a core much earlier than one would expect as well.
There are some terrific how to instructions on this forum. I downloaded a copy and it was like following a recipe. I would recommend using those and a manual as a very general guide. The best advise I can give you is go slow and be patient. There is a lot of discussion about the blend door being broken because it is plastic and often if not careful you can break it removing the old heater core. It might be worth getting a new one anyway because of age and you don't want to have to do it again if you can avoid it.