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Has anyone ever done a stepper motor fix using the glovebox access method (by cutting part of the panel to get access). How easy is this compared to pulling the dash. Seems like this should take only 2-3 hours but at the expense of some cosmetic damage.
 

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2015 Chevy (Holden) SS, 1989 Milano (Shankle Sport), 1991 164S
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I did it by going through the glove compartment, and it is not easy but can be done. Two problems arise once you get in there. One, the rhs defrost ducting is in the way to get to the back screw. Two, the **** back bolt. Alfa could have made this an easy job with only a couple of minor changes but then it wouldn't be Italian, would it.

You start by dropping down the glove box lid and popping out the little door to the left. then using a fine one ended hacksaw blade, you can carefully cut away some of the back panel to open a hole for your hand and wrench. Once you are finished with the job, you can carefully glue the cutout panel back in place and no one can tell, esp with the glove box lid closed. I bent the defrost duct down and away (takes a lot of force to bend/distort) after removing the bottom clamp. The big problem is the back bolt which holds the fwd end of the stepper motor bracket. It is up against the firewall and hard to get to. When I put the mess back together, I first cut a vee to the bolt hole so that I could install the bolt loosely first and then just slide the bracket forward under the head of that bolt. Then I could tighten it later.

There is a discussion in the 164 Digest site which describes a couple of special tools which a guy in Europe dreamed up. Search for that to see if it will make the job easier. His method does not involve cutting the glove compartment, but I thought he must have had really long very skinny fingers. Also, take a look at the AlfaPro web site, where you will buy the necessary replacement gears. They have lots of pix. Remember, it's the gears which go bad, not the motors, as they are pretty indestructible. Also remember to insert the little brass bushing on the fan shaft to reinforce that area.

Some people and most shops prefer the "move the dash back" method. I had no interest in getting involved with disconnecting everything to move the dash, but that was before I did it the "through the dash" way. One good thing is that if you do move the entire dash back, you can then renew all the old really icky foam gaskets for the a/c system. That stuff is vile and sticks to everything, and you should really replace it with something decent, American made.

Good luck with your choice. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, but looking back, I think I would have tried to move the dash back so that I could have replaced the foam from hell.
 

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Has anyone ever done a stepper motor fix using the glovebox access method (by cutting part of the panel to get access). How easy is this compared to pulling the dash. Seems like this should take only 2-3 hours but at the expense of some cosmetic damage.
Do it the way the Manual explains, I do not recommend this way. You can pull the dash halfway and get it all done very easy. takes time but not hard.

If your A/C is not working you can also access it through the engine compartment.
Through the glove boox is a mess and hard to see. I did not enjoy it at all and regretted cutting the box. I pulled it after that. Much easier.
Make sure to use gloves one pulled and plastic on the carpet to catch the oily foam. Replace with new foam. I also insulated all the tubing, new brass gears and ring and all seals.
I plan on a dash replacement in the future.

Jason
 

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1991 164L
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A/C Drum reinforcing ring

Don't forget to get a plumbing ferrel from home depot and file a notch in it to fit over end of drum where front stepper engages. If drum broken you have to repair so stepper will engage and turn drum.

Alfa 164 TSB 80.94.01 ring info

Alfa 164 TSB 80.93.02 dash info
 
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