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-   -   Retrofitting heater/defroster (http://www.clubcobra.com/forums/era-speak-bob-putnam/127808-retrofitting-heater-defroster.html)

1795 02-28-2014 05:34 PM

Tried Sears and they did not have anything in stock. Will try Lowes and Harbor Freight tomorrow. If nobody has anything, Rick I will take you up on your offer to borrow the air drill. It should all work out, I am running the process through my head and visualizing it. I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and thoughts. I will take pictures from beginning to end so that someone else will be either able to follow through with the process in the future, or take a close look and say, "No way in hell!" before purchasing the heater/defroster :LOL:

Jim

patrickt 02-28-2014 06:03 PM

Mark the holes to be cut with a sharpie, drill a hole through the middle of it, from an angle, with any old drill and bit, and then use a rat-tail file to make the hole just right to the sharpie marks.

ERA Chas 02-28-2014 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by patrickt (Post 1289110)
Mark the holes to be cut with a sharpie, drill a hole through the middle of it, from an angle, with any old drill and bit, and then use a rat-tail file to make the hole just right to the sharpie marks.

DON'T do that and DON'T take advice from a scholar who's never done that.:(

DanEC 03-01-2014 04:51 AM

I think the hole saw for the two core lines is probably the best approach. If you have a dremel with the little sanding drums they would be nice to kind of slightly oversize the hole to clean the edges up and smooth them - you may have to get it in from the dash side however.

It may have been overkill but after I installed the heater hoses on my heater I put a heavy strip of 3M strip caulk around them at the aluminum to seal it up tight. It can be a little sticky in trying to mold it to a finished appearance but I found that by wetting my finger with detailer spray or spray wax I could tool it and it also cleaned any smudges off of the aluminum.

It's not necessary but I also fastened a metal strap to one of the upper heater case screws at the rear (dash side) of the heater and ran it up to the inner fiberglass panel in the cowl and secured it with a short screw. That made the heater mounting very solid. With just the 3 screws at the firewall it wasn't as solid as I wanted it to be.

Good luck

Edit - a picture being worth a thousand words - you can see the strap here. I had to be careful where I drilled for the upper mount.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p...a/IMG_1653.jpg

1795 03-01-2014 05:55 AM

I plan on drilling a small pilot hole through the center of the marks on the template to center my bits, and then will follow up with the hole saw for the inlet and outlet hoses and 3/8" bit for the mounting screws. I do not have a dremel, but will use your suggestion of a rat tail file to clean up the holes. I like the idea of the additional mounting support strap, but it would be too hard to do now with all of the gauges and wiring in place. Heading out to pick up a few last supplies and if everything goes well, will start taking pictures and getting the project going.

The problem I am fighting is that this is the first nice day in a week, and the last for at least one to two weeks and I really want to take the car out for another spin....:confused:

Will keep everyone posted.

Jim

patrickt 03-01-2014 07:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1795 (Post 1289167)
I do not have a dremel, but will use your suggestion of a rat tail file to clean up the holes.

Jim, over the years, when I need to make a hole to "just the right size" and in "just the right place," I prefer to use a hand file. Nothing will slip on you and it's very hard to make a mistake. And just ignore Chas., he always gets cranky on Friday nights.:LOL:

ERA Chas 03-01-2014 07:46 AM

If you must do this job, because DMV mandates, OK. But the only right thing Sheldon Cooper said is to make your wife comfortable, not gut your finished car for this. This is a man that needs an instruction sheet for a nail file.
And if weather conditions really require a heater-it's too cold for the engine. Wear is not premature when it never gets to operating temps. But you're apparently past that or don't care.
Grommets are a good idea but the 'glass may be too thick. Try McMaster, then size the hole for the grommet OD. Forget files. Holesaw is great followed by a close-sized dowel wrapped in 60 or 80 grit paper. Finish with 220. Before that, get some old hand towels, wet them and place them on both sides of the f'wall to catch the 'glass dust tornado you'll make. Wear a particle mask for the worst of it.
Dan's brace is good.
Don't expect this all will do anything to keep anyone warm below 50 degrees. If you run in the cold, keep checking for milkshake in your valve covers and breathers.

strictlypersonl 03-01-2014 07:58 AM

What might work to seal the hole is "half" a grommet. Cut one of the flanges off. Then use silicone to stick and seal it to the firewall.

patrickt 03-01-2014 08:09 AM

... and if you find you can't get the heater in there without moving heaven and earth, then a 12v blow dryer, like this one, temporarily ducted in has been known to work for getting by the inspection requirement for defrosters.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...LL._SY355_.jpg

ERA Chas 03-01-2014 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by patrickt (Post 1289180)
... and if you find you can't get the heater in there without moving heaven and earth, then a 12v blow dryer, like this one, temporarily ducted in has been known to work for getting by the inspection requirement for defrosters.

See what I mean? He always validates my assertions about him.
Lesson: Be careful from whom you take advice.

1795 03-01-2014 12:35 PM

Thanks everyone for the sage advice.:) I do not plan on driving it much in the cold, and certainly not at high rpms until the engine is warm. But, the DMV does mandate the defrosters, so here we go....next weekend.

1795 03-02-2014 09:40 AM

I stopped by Harbor Freight and $29.99 later I have a right angle drill. It should last long enough to drill the 5 holes that I need in the aluminum firewall. I do not plan on driving the car in very cold temperatures, but since I already bought the heater/defroster and DMV mandates it, in it shall go. It does not look like I will have to gut the car, will have to remove the two lower supports for the dash and then take the retaining screws out of the dash so that I can slide it backwards a couple of inches.

I understand the concern about operating temperatures and do know not to run the engine at high rpms until the temperature gauges have increased to an appropriate operating temperature.

Will start posting pictures next weekend. The temp has dropped too much for me to be fiddling around in the garage with the car.

ERA Chas 03-02-2014 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1795 (Post 1289321)
I understand the concern about operating temperatures and do know not to run the engine at high rpms until the temperature gauges have increased to an appropriate operating temperature.

Which will never happen below about 45 ambient. Especially with an oil cooler.
Don't disregard my other advice.

DanEC 03-03-2014 08:51 AM

Jim - in response to your PM here are some pictures from when I was bonding the body that show the heater hose holes in the fiberglass firewall and aluminum skin.

The two holes just below the main electrical cable entrance are for the heater. I believe the three screw holes around it are the one to secure the heater - one to either side and one below. Assuming ERA supplied the same heater to you as they did in my kit, they should be the same on the template.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p...a/P1010125.jpg

This is of the firewall behind the aluminum. The lower heater support screw is below the steel tube cross bar and only penetrates aluminum. The threaded coupler allows adjustment to make up for the thinner section in that area.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p...a/P1010128.jpg

Here is another picture of the interior with the heater mounted. I took hundreds of photos but still managed to miss a lot of good detail shots I could have taken.

http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p...a/IMG_1654.jpg

Hope this helps.

1795 03-03-2014 02:30 PM

Dan,

Thanks, that helps a lot. I imagine that the template and screw layout is the same. Just got off the phone with Doug at ERA, Bob had left already and he talked me through it. I am planning on starting work this weekend when it warms up. I will take all the photos that I can.

Jim

patrickt 03-03-2014 02:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1795 (Post 1289551)
Dan,

Thanks, that helps a lot. I imagine that the template and screw layout is the same. Just got off the phone with Doug at ERA, Bob had left already and he talked me through it. I am planning on starting work this weekend when it warms up. I will take all the photos that I can.

Jim

How far did he think you needed to pull out the dash?

1795 03-03-2014 03:56 PM

He thought that I would just have to disconnect it, so that it was loose and cut a few cable ties on the wiring harness to loosen things up. He said that I may have to unbolt the windshield and tip it forward to access the screws on the deflectors for hooking up the vent tubes; however I found this nifty little right angle Phillips had ratchet that may have enough clearance to get the job done without loosening the windshield. Will let you guys know in a few days, it is single digits out right now and will be below zero tonight. A little too cold for me to be messing around with things.

patrickt 03-03-2014 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1795 (Post 1289565)
He said that I may have to unbolt the windshield and tip it forward to access the screws on the deflectors for hooking up the vent tubes; however I found this nifty little right angle Phillips had ratchet that may have enough clearance to get the job done without loosening the windshield.

Oh, wow, you're right. I hadn't even thought of that part of the job. Doing anything on these cars is a PITA.

1795 03-03-2014 04:24 PM

They sure can be a PITA, but it is my PITA now and I am enjoying every minute of it:LOL: I have always been a glutton for punishment:D

DanEC 03-03-2014 04:37 PM

I forgot about the defroster vent screws securing the defroster ducts also. It's pretty tight in there - if you do decide to lean the windshield forward (which is really pretty simple) I would put a strip of masking tape at the front of the seal all the way across. The seal will slide forward as the windshield is stood up and any dust or dirt trapped under the edge of the seal will be pushed across the paint, scratching it. I would slip the edge of the tape just slightly under the edge of the rubber before you move it.

Do you have a glove box? Is so and if you decide not to pull the dash completely, you might want to remove the glove box - I think there are just two screws in the back of it. That will free up a lot of access to work with. I know I mentioned it before, but those defroster hoses are really stiff and difficult to work into position while screwing the defroster ducts into position.

Dan


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