Thursday, August 28, 2008

Front Heater Channel Rot.

Ok, so I had a little bit of disapointment when I peered into the front of the heater channel while investigating another repair. After blowing out all of the debris in the channel to inspect thoroughly, I noticed some pin holes in the front elbow of the heater channel that goes up to the defrosters. I definitely did not want to let this area go untouched as I would never be able to get to it once everything else was sealed up. I ended up cutting about a 7 inch section out of the bottom plate of the heater channel so I could get a better look at the damage. After getting the plate section removed, I noticed that it was much more than a pin hole. The elbow needed completely replaced.

Elbow Rot:

My first step in getting this fixed, was to remove the elbow, and see how the rest of it was. If nothing else, I needed it to use as a guideline for the new section. After getting the old piece out, it was clear that I would be working pretty much blind. It was almost completely destroyed.

Old Elbow:

Knowing the basic dimensions of the part that I needed to make, I took a few measurements from the channel section of the car to determine what the original diameter of the pipe was. It turned out to be just a hair over 1.5 inches.

The new elbow was made from stock 24 guage flat sheet metal. I cut strips of metal and bent them around an aluminum pipe, and then welded the seam from the inside once removed from the pipe. I made two of these.

Next, I cut a diamond shaped piece of sheet metal to make the corner of the elbow. This would wrap around the outer corner of the elbow. Surprisingly, everthing turned out very well. Not bad from starting with flat metal!

New Elbow:

I had to cut a bit of the new elbow section down to make room to mate it to the old pipe, and so it would be a little easier to get up into the fender area. I then made a smaller sleeve to slip inside the old and new pipes to get a nice air-tight seal. Everything fit amazingly well, and looks good also.

New Elbow in Place:

Everything is welded in place and sturdier than ever. I'm going to apply a layer of zinc coating over everything and then seam seal all of the welds as an extra added precaution. After that I will clean up the section of the bottom plate that I removed and weld it back in place.

In total, I spent fourteen dollars to repair my heater channel. Not too bad.

See ya soon!!

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