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1795 02-27-2014 04:19 PM

Retrofitting heater/defroster

I am getting ready to retrofit a heater/defroster into ERA 717. I have the kit from ERA and just wanted to touch base and gain some advice before I start tearing things apart to install the unit. I have to install both the heater and the ducts for the defroster. The holes and deflectors are already in place. Any advice? I do not want to waste time removing items that I may not have to. Thanks.


Mark IV 02-27-2014 04:27 PM


Save yourself all sorts of issues and call Bob P. on Monday.

He will give you the straight skinny. Peter will tell you it is "easy" because he has Bob do the job!

Like my accountant says "Nothing is impossible if YOU don't have to do it!"

1795 02-27-2014 04:30 PM


I always have appreciated your wit and wisdom. You are a true friend. Looking forward to seeing you this summer.


kevins2 02-27-2014 04:32 PM

Depending on what dash layout you have, you may need to move some instruments around, so ask about that while you're at it.

1795 02-27-2014 04:41 PM

Thanks. I will. I have the SC with the Smith gauges and a glove box; however, the glove box should not be an issue.


patrickt 02-27-2014 05:00 PM

With the SC dash and glove box, the three middle Smiths gauges will be amps, fuel, and oil temp, in that order, from left to right. The job will be more difficult than you think. Here's a pic of mine going in during the build.

1795 02-27-2014 05:24 PM


That is the order that the gauges are in. Just took a quick peek under the dash, it is 3 degrees outside right now with one hell of a wind chill, and it does look like it will be a tight fit. Will probably have to remove the dash to get a little clearance with the wires and may need to move the wiring around a little. Good thing that I am thin and flexible. Otherwise, it would be one hell of a pain in the a@@!


patrickt 02-27-2014 05:33 PM

Those little angle support braces are fake -- so you can pull those. The dash is going to have to come out a bit, but I think you can get by with just removing the dash screws and pulling the dash back a couple/few inches. Maybe, but maybe not. I don't know if you have the quick release steering hub, but that helps. The steering wheel is a PITA when you're under the dash. Removing a seat helps too. You'll be working on your back with your head towards the front of the car so you can either flip your legs back over the seat or just take the seat out. Make sure you disconnect the battery cables before you go in there....

1795 02-27-2014 05:45 PM

Thanks Patrick, I was planning on removing them and I think that you are right about only needing to move the dash back a little to gain some working room. It will be a pain, but as Bill S. has said previously regarding his own situation, "She who must be obeyed" is requesting it. The weather is supposed to be warmer Saturday, so I may give I a try as I do not want to have the car tied up in the garage during good driving weather. I was able to fit with my back on the floor quite easily, so I have that going for me. Will have to snip a few zip ties so that I can move the wiring out of the way.

I appreciate all the guidance.


patrickt 02-27-2014 05:50 PM


Originally Posted by 1795 (Post 1288899)
It will be a pain, but as Bill S. has said previously regarding his own situation, "She who must be obeyed" is requesting it.

Buy her a 12v electric fleece lined travel blanket and, if you don't have a cigarette plug, just wire a quick one straight to the circuit breaker next to the solenoid on the passenger side of the firewall. You could do a quickie wire job in 15 minutes -- she'll be toasty warm and it will work tons better than the heater ever will. If that's the only reason you're putting it in, do yourself a favor and listen to me on this.

1795 02-27-2014 06:10 PM


It is not just for her, NY requires working defrosters in the car, so I have to do it, she is just a convenient excuse for my complaining:)

patrickt 02-27-2014 06:13 PM

Very clever. Post pics of your work -- Chas uses his one good eye to pore over them.;)

kevins2 02-27-2014 06:48 PM

Actually, an accessory outlet is a nice thing to have and the wiring for one is already in the ERA harness, unless that changed over the years.

1795 02-28-2014 01:49 AM

There is an accessory outlet already installed and hidden in the glove box. I appreciate Bill S. taking the time to install if only he had followed through with his post when he had the car concerning installing a heater/defroster this would have been his headache, not mine....:D


I will try to post pictures, but for some reason I have not been able to upload pictures into an album. It keeps on failing every time I try.


DanEC 02-28-2014 04:05 AM

When you say "the holes ..... are already in place" do you mean the 5 holes in the firewall? I hope so since to me having to drill the firewall holes in a finished car woul be the most difficult part.

I would second pulling the dash. The heater is pretty good size and fitting the defroster hoses can be a struggle because they are very stiff and the right one is a pain because of the glove box aluminum.

1795 02-28-2014 01:57 PM


unfortunately I meant the holes for the deflectors. I have the template that came with the heater/defroster for drilling the holes and just bought a new 1" bimetal hole saw. I plan on putting electric tape on the drill bits so that I stop soon after going through the firewall and will make sure that I have all the wiring out of the way before a single drill bit touches anything. Looks like it will be a nice day tomorrow, almost 40 degrees.


DanEC 02-28-2014 02:08 PM

Is your motor out of the car? Wondering about drill access.

1795 02-28-2014 02:25 PM

Looks like I am heading out to purchase a small angle drill.

Mark IV 02-28-2014 02:29 PM

For cheap try Harbor Freight, they have both air and electric that will be fine for as much as you will use it. I have an air unit you are welcome to use.

DanEC 02-28-2014 02:34 PM

Yep, I bought an inexpensive right angle electric drill at Harbor Freight. Only used it a couple times but it is handy when you need it.

But an air drill might even be slimmer.

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