Heater Box Rebuild - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2004, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Heater Box Rebuild

I thought it would be nice if this section would also represent a repository for useful procedures - no substitute for a manual of course, but it sure is helpful to look at other peoples solutions sometimes.

I'll start this off with my heater box rebuild procedure.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2004, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Heater Box Rebuild Part 1 - Removal

This is by far the worst part of the whole rebuild process. The console has to come out, and it is much easier to get on your back up under the dashboard if the seats are out too.

I had bypassed the heater core several months ago, so it was already empty when I went to remove it. This helped a great deal, but some residual coolant still leaked out of the box. I pulled the carpets to clean them since they had already been soiled by the leaking core.

1) Here is the area prepared for removal. Note the water stains running down the tunnel where the coolant had been leaking. You may as well ease removal at this point by taking the slider-levers and their cables off of the flapper-door levers.

2) The heater valve must be removed to access the nuts which attach the heater core to the underside of the cowl. This is not strictly necessary, but its a very tight squeeze otherwise. This one has seen much better days and had a bunch of crystallized junk inside of it which makes me thing the original owner had put some "leak stop" into the coolant system.

3) These are the two nuts on the driver's side. The camera angle is very funny, so I tried to indicate front using the arrow.

4) Here are the passenger side nuts. The blower motor grounds to the near stud and the presence of the cowl drain tube precludes removing the heater box toward the passenger side. What worked for me was shifting into 4th gear, laying the box on its back, and wroking it out passed the depressed brake and cluthc pedals. It reuires about 3 hands to do it easily, so patience and finesse are the best course of action.
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2004, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Here are the associated pictures
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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2004, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Heater Box Rebuild Part 2 - Disassembly

5) Popping the 5 clips off the case allows you to split the case above the heater core. The foam on top is trashed, I'll replace it. later.

6) The heater core lifts free from its grimy confines. I sent mine out to www.kingradiator.com and found their service to be excellent. I sent the core on Monday, and had it back on Friday, and the called me 3 times, once to let me know it had arrived, once to give me their diagnosis, and once more to let me know it was going back out.

7) 5 muck-covered bolts come out, allowing the tray to be lifted free. The flapper doors are in ugly, but serviceable condition.

8) 3 more bolts come out, freeing the fan motor and squirrel cage. The fan motor was relieved to finally breathe after steeping in coolant for a long time. To keep this from happening in the future, I drilled a drain hole in the bottom of the heater box.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-01-2004, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Heater Box Rebuild Part 3 - Reassembly

9) I cleaned all the large plastic pieces with Simple Green and warm water. All the hardware was cleaned up with a Dremel tool and a wire brush.

10) I had pulled the squirrel cage off the motor so that I could clean it. I also tested the motor once it was cleaned up and found it to be working perfectly.

11) I painted the metal parts of the flapper doors with silver POR-15. All the rubber parts were treated with "BMW Gummiphlege" which looks like vaseline but works much better - it really breathes new life into old rubber. It also comes in a very convenient applicator tube. Note the correct position of the flapper doors. There is only one position where they will actuate properly, but you can actually place them in a variety of bedeviling combinations. One possible error is shown.

12) Everything stacks back together the same way it came apart. Note the heater valve (just placed here for the picture) is not exactly like the original, but it is a work-alike and fits perfectly. I used a new heater valve gasket as well. The new foam around the top of the box is 1/2" self adhesive weather stripping from Home Depot.

Installation back into the car is the same as the removal. I found it was easier to reattach the cable controls before re-fitting the box because they need to be adjusted to work properly. I adjusted mine so that they would "park" in the same positions at the bottom of their travel even though they would be in slightly different positions when the heat was on full and the defrost was selected. Purely an aesthetic choice on my part - but you'll need to ensure the flapper doors work through their entire range of motion anyway; and that is much easier when the box is on the workbench.

Materials list
Heater Valve $30
Heater Core Repair/Clean $120
Heater Valve Gasket $.030
1/2" Weatherstripping (10') $5
Molded Heater Hose $16
Bulk 1/2" Hose (3') $5

My car is a 68 Euro-Spec GTV 1750, so there may be differences depending on how your car is equipped.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-02-2004, 01:38 AM
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Thanks for posting the excellent reference information and photos!

Kai Schorr
105.36 : 1967 Giulia Sprint GT Veloce
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-03-2004, 04:21 PM
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Fabulous job!!!

Care to do another one?


Series 2 USA 1750 GTV (in Series 1 European clothing)
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Sure Jim - send me the parts! I'm not paying for your heater re-core though if you need on of those!
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 02:24 PM
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Excellent report !!! Thanks.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-23-2004, 11:33 AM
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Nice job....

I worked over mine a while ago.. didn't get as extensive as you since my core seemed to be fine, I just cleaned up things, and regreased the motor bearings with some spray lithium grease.

I had very deteriorated rubber, with a missing chunk or two.. looked like it would be difficult to replace it, but in a moment of inspiration I tried a semi temporary fix of laying a layer of duct tape across each side of the rubber door seals.

This worked better than I expected, and filled the missing chunks. Probably won't be the longest wearing solution, but it's holding the rubber together, and that's taking the brunt of the work. They don't exactly press against anything, just block the flow.

That and finding the right sizes of foam insulation tape for the inside and outside of the box, and it's nice and tight.
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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 10-16-2004, 09:43 PM
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I just saw this thread for the first time.

Excelent write up Mr. Jim Cheney!

Simon Mestas
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-01-2006, 06:55 PM
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Reviving an old thread ....

I restored the heater box for my Sprint GT a couple of years ago and have not yet got around to refitting it, mostly because it never comes out in cold weather any more, and I've been waiting an age to find totally correct carpet too (that's another story, and no, not even Re-Originals could come up with the goods so I'm now going through HVL in Holland). Anyway, I'm pretty certain that my unit didn't have a squirrel cage impeller like the one shown above. Is this a part that could be swapped for the original (and somewhat ineffective) fan blade without additional modification? I have seen one or two conversion kits in the past but would prefer to retain as many (externally) original parts as possible. Or is there another squirrel cage that would fit? Apologies for all the questions but it's been so long since I've actually seen my heater unit that I cannot remember in what respect mine differs from the version shown above!!


Last edited by Alex; 03-01-2006 at 07:09 PM.
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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 04:21 PM
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Photos of the restoration of my Sprint GT heater box have now been posted to this page.

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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-26-2014, 04:29 PM
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heater box rebuild

I can't thank you enough for this post. As soon as my back feels better, I'll get on the repair of my GTV heater. My GTV is an occasional autoX car and occasional touring driver. I take it the 35 miles to work from time to time to keep the battery up and the seals wet. Last two times out I got coolant all over my shoes. Hence the need to go diving under the dashboard. Great article.
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-26-2014, 04:36 PM
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Since we are reviving this excellent old post I'd like to ask a question. I did a quick refurb on mine a couple of years ago and with the dash restoration I'm doing now I want to work the box over again. I saw DriverJon's temporary duct tape approach for the rubber edge seals on the dampers and I wondered if anyone else had a better solution? I was thinking of that plastic-dip stuff that you coat your plier handles with maybe?

'71 GTV 1750 USA SPICA
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