Behind the Dash

After much gathering of parts and mental planning, things are starting to come together inside the car.

The heater box, restored and ready to install.
The heater box, restored and ready to install.

I finished up the restoration of the heater box, including some “rust-converting” paint and a thorough cleanup on the outside. With the new core, new seals and new motor, it should perform like it did from the factory.

I wanted to get the heater box back in the car before disassembling the next item on the list. The loose parts are starting to pile up, limiting the workspace in the garage. Getting it back in, though, meant replacing the vacuum lines and sound insulation first.

Vacuum lines are simple to replace . . . once you have the proper size in hand. There are three sizes of vac line in this car, together adding up to about 35-40 feet, even on my low-option car. Most parts shops I went to with sample hoses just eyeballed the size and sold me “what looked right.” I went along with this for a while, quickly amassing quite a lot of wrong-sized tubing. I finally struck gold at Napa Auto Parts–they had a large selection and lines in quantity. While I was there, I also bought a pocketful of bulbs to replace every light in the dash.

The heater unit back in place. The black and silver behind it is the Dynamat insulation.
The heater unit back in place. The black and silver behind it is the Dynamat insulation.

The old sound deadening was falling off in places and brittle in others. Most of it is pinned in place and comes off easily. I tore it off in chunks, tossing it out the window as I went. I bought a large box of Dynamat–peel and stick soundproofing–through Amazon. The trick with this stuff is to get good adhesion to the sheet metal. I scoured the surface with steel wool then finished up with denatured alcohol. The firewall and cowl have a lot of screws and irregularities, so I had to apply a lot of small pieces to get good coverage.

When done, I had better quality insulation, and it’s installed in more places than stock. I plan to install more along the entire floorpan. That, with the elimination of the rust holes in the floor should go a long way towards bringing the bird back to luxury standards.

The heater box went back in yesterday after a short struggle, freeing up some space for the next item: the brake master cylinder and booster.

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