Heater Box Cleaning, Part 1

posted May 17, 2015, 3:15 PM by Jonathan Imberi   [ updated May 17, 2015, 3:18 PM ]
On Saturday afternoon, Sara attended a bridal shower, and I tackled dismantling and cleaning the heater box. One of the things I have discovered while looking back through my blog for reference pictures is that I did not take enough pictures. I have had trouble finding pictures of certain parts, fitment, sides, angles, etc. I have decided I cannot take too many pictures of this project, hence all the pictures of the heater box in this post.

This is all four sides of the heater box before I got started Saturday afternoon.

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This is the heater core that I will be removing and replacing. In the process of taking this picture, I propped the heater box so it sits level.

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With the heater box now sitting level, I took another picture from this side.

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I removed the two screws that hold in the heater core.

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The heater core seemed to be binding against one of the vent control arms.

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So I decided to remove this front plate and seal.

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This screw (dead center in the picture),

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and this press-on washer secured the plate and seal to the heater box.

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Here is the plate removed.

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This is a picture of the heater box with the front plate and seal removed.

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This picture shows the heater core is free to pull out.

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The heater core is removed.

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Here is a picture of the heater core and the shroud that secures it.

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Here are the clips that hold the heater core to the shroud.

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Here you can see the actuator arm that controls the diverter doors. I hadn't considered that they would be simple to unhook and remove. I decided that the box would be easier to clean with everything removed. 

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There is a small adjustment on each arm where it attaches to the actuator's arm. I numbered and marked the position of each actuator arm with a black sharpie.

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There are two press-on nuts securing each vacuum actuator.

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The actuator arm on this particular diverter door was simply hooked through.

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With the two nuts removed, the actuator pulls right out. I did not have to separate the actuator arm from the actuator so hopefully my marks won't be needed.

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Here is the actuator and arm assembly removed. I repeated the same process for the other two actuators.

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Here is the diverter door removed. You can see the foam on this needs to be replaced. I plan to replace it with some of the sound deadening self-adhesive Ensolite.

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My dad came over to help. Using a putty knife, he scraped all of the existing foam from the diverter doors.  Thanks dad!

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Initially I was worried about the pattern for applying the Ensolite, but we discovered underneath the existing foam was a tar-like substance. It must have been an adhesive that was used to secure the original foam.

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When I removed the third and final actuator and diverter door, the arm was secured with one of the press-on washers. I used my door trim tool to remove the washer.

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All of the foam has been removed from the first diverter door.

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My dad removed the foam from the second dual-flapped diverter door.

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I took the heater box outside and put in on saw horses so I could clean it and hose it down with water. I sprayed all-purpose cleaner on the heater box and then let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then I sprayed the whole thing off with water. Then I reapplied the cleaner and wiped everything down with a rag, and then gave it a final rinse with water.

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Once my dad had all the foam off the diverter doors, he used some very light grit sandpaper along with steel wool to clean up the rusted areas of the diverter doors. He also shined up the ends of the spindles where they pivot in the case.

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This is actually a two-piece mechanism that allows this diverter door to function in two different ways.

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This is a before and after picture of the cleaned diverter door compared to the non-cleaned door.

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Sara's dad came over as I was finishing up cleaning the heater box. I took this picture just for fun since both our dads are in it. They were discussing that the heater core looked fairly new. :) I will probably end up keeping it as a spare.

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Right after I took this picture Sara called and said the bridal shower was over. We had a graduation party to attend, so I put everything back in the garage and headed in to get cleaned up. Part 2 of the heater box project will be coming soon.