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Hey All:

Well as I sit here looking at the five to six inches of snow and 20 degree temps, I am deciding what project to start first.

I am going to try and diagnose the heater blower issue. This is probably a silly question, but is the air conditioner blower the same one used for the heater? :eek:
 

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Nope.

The AC blower is built into the AC box under the dash on the glovebox side. (seperate system entirely from the heating and fresh air system)

The heater blower is in the box under the console on top of the transmission tunnel.

If you set the right slide control on the console about halfway up, (all the way up and all the way down will block the floor vents with a metal flapper valve), and stick your fingers in the vent down by the floorboards, (just above your pinky toe on your right foot when you're in the drivers seat), you can feel the horizontally mounted squirrel fan.

In fact you might want to try that first to see if you can spin it easily which will help determine how potentially deep you'll be getting into things to make it go.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Another heater blower ?

Nope.

The AC blower is built into the AC box under the dash on the glovebox side. (seperate system entirely from the heating and fresh air system)

The heater blower is in the box under the console on top of the transmission tunnel.

If you set the right slide control on the console about halfway up, (all the way up and all the way down will block the floor vents with a metal flapper valve), and stick your fingers in the vent down by the floorboards, (just above your pinky toe on your right foot when you're in the drivers seat), you can feel the horizontally mounted squirrel fan.

In fact you might want to try that first to see if you can spin it easily which will help determine how potentially deep you'll be getting into things to make it go.
Well, that brings me to another question. How many wires are there attached to the blower switch on the consol? I will first see if the fan turns, but I think that the wiring for the switch has come lose.
 

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When I bought my 91 spider i found that my heater blower was not working. I had it checked out by my local Alfa shop and it turned out the blower worked, but that due to age/moisture/rust/gunk the blower had a tough time starting. There wasnt enough power in the motor to start it spinning. If you started it spinning with your hand it would run fine, but once it stopped it would not be able to start again.

Long story short... I ended up just having it replaced, but this was big $$$ since it involved an all-day project to get to it and replace it. I dont know if this is possible, but I would try to see if you can get to it to see if you can start it spinning and if so try cleaning/lubing the fan post to see if that can bring it back to life.
 

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...Long story short... I ended up just having it replaced, but this was big $$$ since it involved an all-day project to get to it and replace it. ...
This is actually the best solution, and the only one likely to yield permanent results. It is very expensive to do because it is a very labor intensive task, as it involves taking the dash out. The good thing is that it is truly labor. It doesn't require any "mechanical" skills, and it sounds much more scary than it really is. With patience and attention to how everything is connected, it is a task than can be accomplished at home. I will say nonetheless, that while it may take a pro an entire day to do this, it will easily take others more than twice that amount of time. (Don't be surprised if it takes you more than one weekend. :eek:) Then, once everything is fixed, don't let the car sit without use, as this is detrimental to the blower. The blowers in my '74 and '84 Spiders are original.

Best regards,
 

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IMHO, pulling the dash and console to get to the heater box is literally opening up a can of worms you might not want to deal with if you are trying to get back on the road. The likelihood of messing something else up is quite high. Before I launched in to that I would seriously consider the alternates.

I would do this:

1) Check the fuse (I can't tell you how many times I started in on something when all I needed to do was change the fuse). Don't be fooled by just looking at it - pull it out and clean all the connections. BTW, does the dash heater light come on?

2) Verify that you have power to the motor. The spade connectors are on the bottom of the box on the driver's side (see the pictures on my post). Get your multimeter out and check that you've got 12VDC to the motor. Black is ground. Read across the Black and either of the colored wires and you should get 12VDC. If not, find a 12 volt source and temporarily run it to the the box and see if the fan spins up. Do a search and I think you will find papajam has a wiring diagram in PDF format that you can download.

3) Verify that the fan spins freely. Reach in the box and try spinning the fan WITHOUT power. If it spins easy and you have power then it is time to pull the box. If it is stiff and refuses to budge, it's time to pull the box.

4) If the fan is stiff initially but will spin once it breaks loose you might have a chance. Carefully spin the fan with the power on - Don't sue me if you cut your finger please. If it spins up but squeals then follow my posted thread and drill a hole on the side of the box. Blow air in to clear out the accumulated crud and then shoot it with contact cleaner and then 3in1 oil.

This might not be a permanent solution but I will tell you this: After sitting for 10 years my fan was DOA. When I spun it by hand it came to life but it screamed so loud the dogs started barking and howling. Since I did this (which took maybe 5 minutes) it has run perfectly and as quiet as if new (not that that is very quiet). If I have to spend another 30 seconds a month to spray the motor to keep it quiet - to me that's the way to go. Then when you are ready for the big resto job you can tackle the motor.

As much as I love Alfa engineering, I think they missed the boat on this design. The motor is on the absolute bottom of the box. The motor is HUGE and well made and should last a lifetime IF IT WEREN'T SITTING IN A WELL OF CRUD! How hard would it have been to have a little access door or slide out tray for clean out? Trust me I would much rather pull an engine out than pull that heater box out - no contest...

Anyway, if I ran the world, things would be different!
 

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Sorry, Rich (gprocket), I don't mean to start an argument with you or anyone, but I have to comment about you taking exception with my suggestion... I don't see anything wrong in checking alternatives before concluding that one must proceed with a job that is expensive, as you suggested and described with excellent detail. However, I am a stickler for fixing things properly. If someone does not want to tackle a task, then pay a pro to do it right. The attitude of not wanting to spend the money to do things right, and looking for "cheap alternatives" like drilling holes, etc. is ultimately what turns so many of the Spiders into real basket cases... (Yes, I have seen many Spiders that have been butchered, because their owners didn't want to spend the money, and devised their own DIY "solution".)

If I was buying a car and somebody told me that everything is great, but I may "have to spend another 30 seconds a month to spray the motor to keep it quiet" and "that's the way to go", I would think to myself, "What a POS! - You Spider owners really have sub-standard cars". Then I would walk away. It's even worse when a PO doesn't disclose this and the new owner assumes that this is just the way the car is. Taking out the dash is time consuming, but it is certainly a process that any Alfa shop can do well, and one that many on this BB have also done. There is no need to avoid it at all costs.

Best regards,
 

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This is actually the best solution, and the only one likely to yield permanent results. It is very expensive to do because it is a very labor intensive task, as it involves taking the dash out. The good thing is that it is truly labor. It doesn't require any "mechanical" skills, and it sounds much more scary than it really is. With patience and attention to how everything is connected, it is a task than can be accomplished at home. I will say nonetheless, that while it may take a pro an entire day to do this, it will easily take others more than twice that amount of time. (Don't be surprised if it takes you more than one weekend. :eek:) Then, once everything is fixed, don't let the car sit without use, as this is detrimental to the blower. The blowers in my '74 and '84 Spiders are original.

Best regards,
When I bought my S4 the heater blower wasn't working. The guy I bought it from gave me a new blower motor with the car. The first time you do the job its a bit of a stinker but it can be removed in 3 hours and put back in within 2. IIt IS possible to remove it without taking out the dash and I have done this but you have to get to all the nuts and bolts. The Alfa repair manual will guide you thru every step. It definitely helps to remove the steering wheel for clearance but isn't required.

When you replace the motor (which will rust together because it sits in a well in the bottom of the plastic heater box) DRILL A FEW DRAIN HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX THRU THE PLASTIC AND YOU WONT HAVE THE PROBLEM EVER AGAIN!

Job does look worse than it is and as somebody said its all unbolting and bolting stuff, pretty basic mechanicals. Might was well replace the two heater hoses while you are at it and flush out the heater core. If you get stuck and need some advice just drop me a line.
 

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Enrique, you make a valid argument and 99% of the time I would be right there with you. And I never advocate modifying something that can't be returned to original. However, in this situation I think the factory blew it by not having a proper drain or clean out. To tear into 22 year old wiring is asking for trouble unless you are going to systematically and carefully rejuvenate all the connections and repair all the PO's wiring sins. Which isn't a bad idea but my impression is that dmarland wants/needs to drive this car now not next spring. As you say the good news is that there is nothing mechanically tricky or requiring special tools so it is quite doable. But man at least go at it with eyes wide open.

And as far as paying someone to do it, I would personally never recommend that. You are probably looking at close to $1,000 parts and labor (motor , valve and boiling the core is going to cost $250 right off the top). I could never recommend spending that kind of money on a car that is likely not worth much more than a few grand (sorry dmarland, I'm sure you have a very nice spider...). Now a clean series 1, low mile series 4, GTV or anything that hovers around $20k in value is another story.

The truth is that we at a weird crossroads with these cars. The value is just starting to catch up. And so it is a lot easier to justify or see the wisdom of spending the money then in the recent past. I'm never too critical of the crazy things PO's did to these cars - they just weren't worth the cost of repair. Can you imagine convincing your wife you need to spend $800 on a rebuilt SPICA when the the car is worth $400 tops - not too long ago...

I cringed a bit when I drilled that hole. But the money I saved will go toward rust repair panels that will ultimately go far further to save the species than a plastic heater box.

BTW, I think f512tr has a great idea to drill some holes in the bottom when you have it out - they could have/should have done this at the factory. I have several boxes waiting to go into cars so I think I'll do that tomorrow. And I will not shed a tear...
 

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...To tear into 22 year old wiring is asking for trouble unless you are going to systematically and carefully rejuvenate all the connections and repair all the PO's wiring sins. Which isn't a bad idea but my impression is that dmarland wants/needs to drive this car now not next spring. ...
Rich,
I hear you and do agree with much of what you have said. I certainly think you are correct in your assessment of the costs of having to pay someone $1000+ to do this job and deciding if the car warrants pouring this level of money into it. Perhaps my misunderstanding comes from interpreting that dmarland was asking about and seeking to embark on a project, and that his car wouldn't be going anywhere in WI for several months... (dmarland wrote: "Well as I sit here looking at the five to six inches of snow and 20 degree temps, I am deciding what project to start first.") Hence, I did assume that this would be an opportunity for him to get into the car and do all this himself. When such "opportunities" arise, I see them as a chance for an owner to elevate the condition of his car, do things right, and still spend little $$.

Best regards,
 

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If I pay someone $1000 to fix my heater blower I would rather spend the money on a down payment on a Porsche Boxster. That amount of money would lower my monthly payment about $25 per month maybe...

Part of the Alfa experience is doing your own work. I would think that's one of the main reasons why people look on this board- to get advice on how to do the work, or the rare Alfisti looking for a shop.

Implying that my car is only worth $4000 or less does not matter to me- its worth infinitely more regarding that I maintain, repair, and most importantly, drive it.

If I had an old GTV, or any other car folks consider worth more than $20K, I wouldn't drive it so hard, or have so much fun. My Alfa ain't my dream car, and I can't even think about getting my dream car until I buy the wife her dream car and new furniture. Should only be about 10 more years...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To all the folks that responded to this thread:

I can agree with all of you. I purchased this vehicle to work on it myself. I am no mechanic by any means. However, I need something to do here in the frozen tundra (espesially when football is over). I could not justify spending one third of the cost of the car to fix the heater blower. I would like to get it working so that I can extend my driving seaon in the fall and start it earlier in the spring. There is certainly some self satisifaction when you work on the car and get it working just by doing some light reading and posting questions here on the ABB.

I can tell you one thing, I usually really look forward to warm weather for all of the regular reasons. However, when you have a fun little convertiable to drive around, it really, really, really makes me miss the warmer weather.
 

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When I got my alfa, my my soft top was more like bikini top, and heater does not worked either, my wife got me an electric blanket :) but since that time I got a new soft top, and multiple times pulled dash out of my alfa (now i can do that with my eyes closed) it is not hard and it does not takes a whole day, removing the whole heater unit is another story though I would classify replacing motor mounts as a bigger PITA.
Mine blower was only stuck, and it works now, though since i`ve fixed it, I had not used it even once, but the winter is coming, so maybe I will have to ;)
Good luck with your project.
 

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I can agree with all of you. I purchased this vehicle to work on it myself. I am no mechanic by any means. However, I need something to do here in the frozen tundra (espesially when football is over). I could not justify spending one third of the cost of the car to fix the heater blower. I would like to get it working so that I can extend my driving seaon in the fall and start it earlier in the spring. There is certainly some self satisifaction when you work on the car and get it working just by doing some light reading and posting questions here on the ABB.

I can tell you one thing, I usually really look forward to warm weather for all of the regular reasons. However, when you have a fun little convertiable to drive around, it really, really, really makes me miss the warmer weather.[/QUOTE]

If you have the time I suggest you pull the heater box and check the motor out before you buy a new one. It is simply an electric motor held in place with some rubber pieces that sits in the bottom of the plastic heater box. You may be able to get it rebuilt or even free it up yourself for almost no cost. You may even find a replacement from a local shop. There is nothing fancy or special about it. definitely worth trying to repair it if a new one costs as much as people have quoted. I got a new one with my car as part of the purchase so i never bothered trying to fix my old one but if you gotta pay then try to repair it first. Oh, and definitely think about some drain holes in the bottom of the box; you will never see them but if you ever get water in there you will be happy it has a place to drain!
 

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If you have the time I suggest you pull the heater box and check the motor out before you buy a new one. It is simply an electric motor held in place with some rubber pieces that sits in the bottom of the plastic heater box. You may be able to get it rebuilt or even free it up yourself for almost no cost. You may even find a replacement from a local shop. There is nothing fancy or special about it. definitely worth trying to repair it if a new one costs as much as people have quoted. I got a new one with my car as part of the purchase so i never bothered trying to fix my old one but if you gotta pay then try to repair it first. Oh, and definitely think about some drain holes in the bottom of the box; you will never see them but if you ever get water in there you will be happy it has a place to drain!
The blower motor by itself is not horribly expensive:
Alfa Romeo and Fiat Heater Motors and Fans
But replacement may be (if you not doing it by yourself)
I do agree with f512r about looking in local shop, it is only a blower, electric motor that im sure you can pull from something else and MAKE it works.
 

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When I bought my S4 the heater blower wasn't working. The guy I bought it from gave me a new blower motor with the car. The first time you do the job its a bit of a stinker but it can be removed in 3 hours and put back in within 2. IIt IS possible to remove it without taking out the dash and I have done this but you have to get to all the nuts and bolts. The Alfa repair manual will guide you thru every step. It definitely helps to remove the steering wheel for clearance but isn't required.

When you replace the motor (which will rust together because it sits in a well in the bottom of the plastic heater box) DRILL A FEW DRAIN HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOX THRU THE PLASTIC AND YOU WONT HAVE THE PROBLEM EVER AGAIN!

Job does look worse than it is and as somebody said its all unbolting and bolting stuff, pretty basic mechanicals. Might was well replace the two heater hoses while you are at it and flush out the heater core. If you get stuck and need some advice just drop me a line.
Which manual do you use-I've found several (all online so can't look thru them before purchase) but it's hard to know which one will be most useful and informative...thanks!
 

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Which manual do you use-I've found several (all online so can't look thru them before purchase) but it's hard to know which one will be most useful and informative...thanks!
Its the reprint one for the S4 Alfa. Big thick thing with a red cover. Covers the USA Alfa but its close enough to the European ones if you ignore the airbag and AC parts. Its the only version I have found, usually there is one on ebay for about 40.00. Definitely worth getting. I think you can get them from some of the part suppliers here in the UK as well. Try EB Spares.
 

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IMHO, pulling the dash and console to get to the heater box is literally opening up a can of worms you might not want to deal with if you are trying to get back on the road. The likelihood of messing something else up is quite high. Before I launched in to that I would seriously consider the alternates.

I would do this:

1) Check the fuse (I can't tell you how many times I started in on something when all I needed to do was change the fuse). Don't be fooled by just looking at it - pull it out and clean all the connections. BTW, does the dash heater light come on?

2) Verify that you have power to the motor. The spade connectors are on the bottom of the box on the driver's side (see the pictures on my post). Get your multimeter out and check that you've got 12VDC to the motor. Black is ground. Read across the Black and either of the colored wires and you should get 12VDC. If not, find a 12 volt source and temporarily run it to the the box and see if the fan spins up. Do a search and I think you will find papajam has a wiring diagram in PDF format that you can download.

3) Verify that the fan spins freely. Reach in the box and try spinning the fan WITHOUT power. If it spins easy and you have power then it is time to pull the box. If it is stiff and refuses to budge, it's time to pull the box.

4) If the fan is stiff initially but will spin once it breaks loose you might have a chance. Carefully spin the fan with the power on - Don't sue me if you cut your finger please. If it spins up but squeals then follow my posted thread and drill a hole on the side of the box. Blow air in to clear out the accumulated crud and then shoot it with contact cleaner and then 3in1 oil.

This might not be a permanent solution but I will tell you this: After sitting for 10 years my fan was DOA. When I spun it by hand it came to life but it screamed so loud the dogs started barking and howling. Since I did this (which took maybe 5 minutes) it has run perfectly and as quiet as if new (not that that is very quiet). If I have to spend another 30 seconds a month to spray the motor to keep it quiet - to me that's the way to go. Then when you are ready for the big resto job you can tackle the motor.

As much as I love Alfa engineering, I think they missed the boat on this design. The motor is on the absolute bottom of the box. The motor is HUGE and well made and should last a lifetime IF IT WEREN'T SITTING IN A WELL OF CRUD! How hard would it have been to have a little access door or slide out tray for clean out? Trust me I would much rather pull an engine out than pull that heater box out - no contest...

Anyway, if I ran the world, things would be different!
Hey! My heater fan makes that squeeling noise you're talking about. Where abouts did you drill the holes to spray in the oil? (sry i don't see your posted thread) I started taking the thing apart today and its turning out to be a horrible job so this might be a great solution!
 

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I will first see if the fan turns, but I think that the wiring for the switch has come lose.
I just stumbled upon this thread....lots of great advice. I also had to replace my heater motor, it was all rusted because of crud and water collecting in the heater box. But you say you think the wiring has come loose....so should that not be the first thing to check before pulling the dash?;)
 
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