Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HVAC Detour

Beware of Simple Tasks 
The now dashless truck interior
A few weekends ago, my friend Chris was over helping with the conversion project and I said, "why don't you take out the old heater core so we can put the electric heater in."  I was thinking this would be a nice couple hour job he could work on while I worked out some wiring issues.  Well it turned out getting to the heater core required removing the entire dashboard--simple enough right?  Wrong!  Four or five hours later we finally had the dash out.  As with nearly every detour, there is a bright side to this one.  With the entire dash removed, I have easy access to all the heating ducts and was able to remove and thoroughly clean them all.  This turned out to be pretty important.  The previous owner use the truck for a landscaping & maintenance business and I've found dirt, grass clippings, and mulch debris in every crevice of the vehicle--inside and out.  I now have clean, dust-free ducts.  It's also a lot easier to clean all the crevices and niches of the dash board when it's not in the vehicle.

Electric heater core in place
The electric heater core is substantially smaller than the old liquid heater core so I had to make an adapter to get it fit into the duct properly.  This gave me a chance to learn a little sheet metal fabrication.  Fortunately I have access to a sheet metal shop and was able to use the brakes, shears, and punches to fabricate a sheet metal box to hold the electric core and fit snugly into the duct work.  It's a bonus that this whole thing fits inside a duct where it will never be seen.  It all works fine, but my first attempt at sheet metal work leaves a lot to be desire on the aesthetic side.

Old leaky master cylinder
The last little detour had to do with the breaks.  When I bought the truck there was a half-full bottle of brake fluid behind the driver's seat and the reservoir was about down to the low limit.  I soon had to add fluid to the reservoir, I figured I had some leaky cylinders at one or more wheels.  However the puddle of brake fluid under the left side of the engine compartment clearly pointed to the master cylinder.  I wasn't really looking forward to rebuilding the master cylinder and was please to find out that I could by a refurbished master cylinder at a reasonable price.  All I had to do was unbolt the older cylinder move the reservoir from the old cylinder to the new one, and bolt the new one in place.  Actually, bleeding the new master cylinder on the bench took longer than replacing it.

I've now finished most of the major mechanical stuff and am moving seriously into the electrical part of the construction.  Things have slowed down quite a bit now that summer is over.  I'm into tortoise mode-slow and steady.

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