Non a/c car: "cold" air slider connection

RDS

Daily Driver
Whilst trying to access the non-operative heater fan/blower switch on a late 1500cc car I noticed why the cold air (ie lowest) slider was so easy to move: it was not connected to the Bowden cable that operates a flap located somewhere else.

Can anyone tell me if the cable can be re-attached from the radio cavity and if so, how? As far as I can tell from feel alone, the slider's arm does not seem to have any fixing point for the inner cable, which itself has two 90 degree bends at its end.

I have tried to push up with finger pressure in case the cable can be hooked over the slider arm somehow but without success!

Thanks in advance

Now off to work out why I have no fan or brake lights.......seem to share a common fuse.......

RDS
 

Eastep

True Classic
Whilst trying to access the non-operative heater fan/blower switch on a late 1500cc car I noticed why the cold air (ie lowest) slider was so easy to move: it was not connected to the Bowden cable that operates a flap located somewhere else.

Can anyone tell me if the cable can be re-attached from the radio cavity and if so, how? As far as I can tell from feel alone, the slider's arm does not seem to have any fixing point for the inner cable, which itself has two 90 degree bends at its end.

I have tried to push up with finger pressure in case the cable can be hooked over the slider arm somehow but without success!

Thanks in advance

Now off to work out why I have no fan or brake lights.......seem to share a common fuse.......

RDS
I may be wrong, but I was always under the impression that the vent cables/plastic arms only move as you described, after they are broken and will require replacing. 🤷‍♂️
 

JimD

Waiting for Godot...
Moderator
Check out the items on MWB's Heater Components page. Each lever has a hole at the end that the cable needs to hook into. Try to see if the end of your lever ends in a smooth curve, or if it is missing a chunk of the rounded tip that contains the cable anchor hole. It is not uncommon for that hole to break out of the tip of the lever. The heater valve control lever is the one that usually breaks, because the valve will stick over time and then someone tries to muscle the valve back into operation.
 

RDS

Daily Driver
Thanks both; Jim, the lever end seems to be a flat square bar that has rounded off ends but not a full curve; this is all done by feel though. Looking at the link which you kindly supplied, it would appear that the end of the lever is possibly sheared off at the transition between straight and curved but the edge is very smooth if it is a break....

I doubt this would be an easy fix with the heater in the car and working through the radio aperture.

RDS
 
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Rodger

True Classic
Thanks both; Jim, the lever end seems to be a flat square bar that has rounded off ends but not a full curve; this is all done by feel though. Looking at the link which you kindly supplied, it would appear that the end of the lever is possibly sheared off at the transition between straight and curved but the edge is very smooth if it is a break....

I doubt this would be an easy fix with the heater in the car and working through the radio aperture.

RDS
The levers are all stacked on a post and are held on with a toothed washer. No way to access it to replace the lever with it in the car.
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
I'm in the middle of rebuilding two heater boxes, a "AC" one and a "non-AC" one. So far I've been working on the AC version, but hopefully today I can get the non-AC box and controls out of that car. I'll try to get you some pics for you.

But I agree with the others, these plastic arms are very prone to breaking off*, especially with age and dried out plastic (as you are finding on other parts). Two issues I've noticed that contribute to that are; the heater valve corroding and sticking as Jim said, and the "flapper" air door pivot corroding and sticking. Both can become very difficult (or impossible) to move, so the lever breaks trying to overcome it. Also the cables themselve can be an issue. They can get sticky, making them hard to slide. Or they come loose from the retainer that holds the outer sheath (so the inner cable can move), allowing the whole cable assembly to move back and forth rather than operating whatever it is attached to. In that last scenario it feels like the cable isn't connected, but in reality it is - it just isn't doing anything.

I hate to say it but you might be best off removing the whole heater box and control panel. Then you can accomplish several tasks; repairing whatever isn't working (and there will be plenty of that), cleaning out all of the toxic health hazard material that is living inside it, reseal inside the box so the air actually goes where it is supposed to, replace the heater core before it starts leaking inside the car (it likes to allow water under the carpet where you can't see it, until it leaks through the rust holes it makes), and generally get everything sorted.

Please remind me if I don't post some pics in a couple of days. And let me know if there are any in particular that you wish to see.

*Note regarding the plastic heater control arms: I noticed the HVAC control units on Lada's are pretty similar to ours, but have metal arms. I wonder if it might be possible to modify the metal Lada arms to work in our control panel, or maybe make some custom metal ones? I know the Lada arms use the same knobs as the X does. Here's some examples of the Lada units:
$_576.jpg

21375.jpg

21376.jpg

The nice thing is they are about $10 for the whole assembly.
 
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RDS

Daily Driver
Thanks Jeff

I have a soft spot for Ladas but they have not been seen hereabouts in many, many years. The photos will be most appreciated.

I think you are right, the best job would be to take the while thing out but when I looked at this yesterday, the lack of access and cramped access via laying half inside the car and half out, with only one hand on the job put me off.

The cable is relatively free: I can push and pull the cable very easily, why it broke the arm beats me. However if the arm isn't broken the tension on the inner cable is rather too strong for finger-tip manipulation into a hole when I cannot see what I am doing. That said, if you can take any photos to allow ne to work out how to flick the cable in from above or below, that would be good.

Does all the wiring travel between the fuse box and the ignition switch pass via the cavity under the heater controls? I wonder if my fiddling behind there has caused my headlight and ignition switch problems...

Cheers

RDS
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
At the moment I'm taking a lunch break so only have partial results to offer, I'll take some pics when I go back out there.

I just finished removing the non-AC heater box from the car (a '86 model). Whoever said removing a non-AC box was much easier than removing a AC box either knows some secrets I don't or they are delusional...it sucked just as much. One of the biggest problems you will have in trying to reconnect any cables is just getting access to the back of the control unit...as you already know.

Start by removing the radio (if you have one), clock, and any wire harness you can reach in the area behind it. Then pry off the "knobs" from the heater control levers (they will break). You can reach some of the screws that secure the control panel, but to get the rest of them you will need to remove the instrument cluster and it's surround. Then you can access the rest of the screws for the HVAC control surround. There is a description of the whole process written somewhere.

After the control panel is loose you will need to disconnect some electrical harness connectors behind it (more broken plastic). If you managed to get the plastic bezel away from the control panel (broken plastic), then the control panel will move forward a tiny bit. Hopefully your eyes are better than mine and you can see where the cables connect to the control levers, to determine what your problem is. But to actually remove the control panel (which I think is the best way to repair any of it) you will have to disconnect the other cables. Careful not to break more plastic parts.

By now you are getting the message. It isn't a fun or easy job. I guess the good news(?) is if you really don't want to remove the whole heater box then you probably don't have to. However I still believe it is the right thing to do for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

I'll post pics later to help explain some of this.
 

RDS

Daily Driver
Many thanks Jeff

you are not "selling" me on this job. The cost benefit is not stacking up as far as I can see!

RDS
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
Here's some pics. I could not remember which lever you are having an issue with so I took pics of all three. I'll add a few comments...

The control housing/frame and faceplate removed and without the control mechanism. This needs to come out to get access to the control mechanism.
023.JPG


Where the mounting screws live for the frame. I think there is also a fourth one somewhere (already can't recall). Notice one (lower right) is broken off. You might be able to remove this from the dash, with the control mechanism in it, without removing the instrument cluster and surround. But you will need to get it out to remove the mechanism. And as you will see soon, the mechanism needs to be out to reconnect any loose cables.
022.JPG


In addition to the screws there is a "tab" on the mechanism that fits a hole in the outer housing. So once all of the screws are out it still doesn't want to come out easily.
025.JPG


The rear view of the mechanism in the frame. The arrow illustrates another common problem; the cable sheath gets damaged and the cable does not slide easily through it. One of the cables is already removed here (marked "#2"). The third one is on the bottom side.
024.JPG


Another look at it. The arrows are where two cables connect, for the top two levers. Knobs are all broken, common when trying to get them off.
016.JPG


The third (lowest) lever is on the bottom side. This one is broken off (red arrows).
036.JPG

020.JPG


The other end of that lever, also damaged. The cable would have pulled out of that eventually.
019.JPG


The ends of the cables have a "hook".
031.JPG


That hook goes into the little hole in the lever.
032.JPG


To get it in there the cable needs to be brought almost completely upright (90 degrees, see pic above) so the end of the cable can go into the hole, then lowered down to get the "hook" portion through (pic below).
033.JPG


Then the cable is secured by a retainer and screw.
034.JPG


This is why the mechanism pretty much needs to be out of the dash to reconnect any cables, way too much movement required, plus needing access to the retaining screw. For the same reason it is not likely the cable will come out of the lever unless the lever is broken. To replace a broken lever the mechanism needs to come apart (out of the car).

I have a few more pics, let me know if it will help to see anything else.
 

RDS

Daily Driver
Hello Jeff

this is absolutely marvellous thank you. I would say that your last email could be transformed into a tech article.

When I get back to the car at the weekend, I will have another look at the situation.

All the best

RDS
 
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Dr.Jeff

True Classic
Just to be clear, one reason I'm not 100% certain exactly what needs to be removed to access that control mechanism is because my cars are all under construction...so they are already partly stripped inside. Therefore I'm not starting with a full interior and kind of have to guess at what you will need to remove first. Perhaps someone else can chime in with better detail on how to get the HVAC control mechanism out in the easiest possible manor? But I really think that will need to be done to make any repairs to it. And I'll repeat what I said earlier about recommending that you go ahead and remove the whole heater box to clean and service it. When you see what's inside you will understand why. Not only the contaminants, but the physical condition. It will not only be more healthy for you, but the whole unit will perform much better when rebuilt.
 

RDS

Daily Driver
oh yes I agree entirely. However even with my head in the passenger or driver foot well there is so little room to get two hands on the item!
 

Dr.Jeff

True Classic
@RDS , did you manage to figure out what is wrong with your controls?

I did a thread on converting the AC style (vacuum) controls to the non-AC style (cables) controls. Not sure if there is any info there that might help, but here's the thread:
 

RDS

Daily Driver
Hello Jeff

sadly not: headlamp switch and motor issues got in the way at the weekend and I am trying to make sense of the new LED bulb rules here.

Thank you for the link, I will look through now. All your info is useful!!

RDS
 
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