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1966 Ford Mustang - Project '66 - Heater-Case Rebuild

1. After more than 40 years of service, your heater case is probably home to several
pounds of dirt, leaves, twigs, dead bugs, and more fun stuff. The original foam
seals are always long gone, allowing air to pretty much flow where it wants to

2. Removing the case from your Mustang isnt a hard job. Four mounting nuts on the
firewall and a large screw above the fresh air door will get the job done. Dont
forget to disconnect or cut the heater hoses. Underdash air systems make the job
harder but not impossible. Once the case is dropped down, you can carefully pull
the cable retainers off

3. Remove the set screw and clip to allow the cable to come free of the temperature,
defrost, and fresh air doors. We decided to replace everything for a fresh start,
but its possible to clean these cables up and reuse them

4. With the heater case now out of the car and on a workbench, remove the four
retaining nuts and carefully pry the blower motor assembly from the back of the

5. The squirrel cage is removed from the motor for detailing by loosening the set
screw on the side of the motor shaft and carefully prying the cage off the shaft

6. Our blower motor was the original one with the correct wiring plugs (notice the
build date ink stamp). The motor was tested with a 12-volt source and worked
fine, it simply needed a major cleaning and painting.

7. To get into the case, you will have to carefully remove the case retaining clips
found around the circumference of the case halves. Different methods work for
different people, but most have good luck with a screwdriver applied as shown to
roll it off the case lip.

8. Inside, we found an original heater core with the date stamp and paint blotch on
the end, along with dried seals and a bunch of trash. Remove the core and this
metal brace. The fresh air door can be removed by removing the two screws that
retain it to the actuating rod.

9. On the other half of the heater case is the temperature-blend door assembly.
Remove this from the case by locating and removing the two retaining screws on
the backside of the case.

10. Once the case halves have been gutted of all brackets and doors, wash the case
halves with warm soapy water to remove any dirt and grunge from years of
hiding under your dash. Our case halves were in perfect condition, but
reproduction cases are now available if yours is severely damaged.

11. Our case had some paint overspray from someones quick dash painting job.
Lacquer thinner and the careful application of a rag cleaned the case back to its
bare fiberglass look. We masked off the mounting and cable brackets and
refinished them with some Eastwood Spray Gray.

12. For the added detail touch, we handpainted all of the bracket rivets with Testors
Bright Silver. The fresh air door is painted semigloss black, including the blower
motor housing and other metal parts.

13. The original blower motor had ancient undercoating oversprayed on it and took
some gentle but lengthy cleaning to come clean. The bare motor was then lightly
scuffed and refinished with semigloss black

14. All of our case clips were in good condition and none were missing. CJ has
replacement clips if youre missing some. We quickly cleaned our clips, then hit
them with a coat of the semigloss black as well.

15. Most of our interior metal items had enough corrosion on them to make us worry.
The only way we knew to fix the problem and our worrying was by sanding off as
much crud as we could get to, then refinish the metal parts with Eastwoods
Corroless paint for rusty metal. No more worries.

16. The foam kit from CJ has all of the internal foam pieces to seal everything inside
the heater case for all 65-68 models. Here, we have just applied the foam seal to
the inside of the fresh air door.

17. Putting all the seals in the correct place on the temperature-blend door assembly
can be tricky. Take your time and double-check positioning before applying your
adhesive. Speaking of adhesive, we simply used trim adhesive in a spray can, but
you can use weatherstrip adhesive.

18. This metal brace gets a seal on it as well to cushion the heater core and seal it

19. Our new heater core is carefully placed into the firewall half of the case. You will
notice the temperature-blend door assembly has already been reinstalled at this

20. Once the blower motor has dried sufficiently, you can reassemble it to the backing
plate and the squirrel cage using the new rubber and foam seals provided in the

21. Before reassembling the two case halves, inspect the case seam for old sealer and
scrape it out of the seam. We applied a small bead of butyl sealer to the seam,
then pressed the two case halves together. To aid in installing the case clips, a
gentle squeeze of the case halves with a pair of pliers will help.

22. The new defroster plenums are made from plastic and not the original cardboard
(if yours was even still in place). The plastic doesnt look 100 percent correct, but
it works better and will last forever. Besides, by the time you install your carpet
and possibly A/C, youll never see it.

23. Reattach the blower motor assembly to the rear of the heater case assembly and
youre almost home.

24. Finish off the case restoration with the cowl seal that is included in the foam seal
kit. Now you can set aside the case for a few minutes while we handle the control

25. We checked our blower motor switch (and the resistor too) with an ohm meter;
the switch checked out fine. We simply cleaned it with contact cleaner and
rewrapped the original pigtail with the correct fiber tape.

26. We ordered all-new chrome heater control knobs and a faceplate for the hardtop.
Before we installed our fresh chrome, we took a section of superfine steel wool
and polished the control levers, since they were quite crummy; they are visible
exiting the control faceplate

27. Our controls were cleaned with contact cleaner and were in perfect working
order. The controls were then reassembled with the new faceplate and knob kit
for a Grade A, first-class look.

28. New cables make the heater controls work as smooth as day one. We opted to
mount the control cables to the control assembly and the defroster, temperature,
and fresh air doors on our workbench so that we could adjust the cables without
the confines of the dash. Once you have the doors controlled, properly mark the
cable with tape at the heater case end of the cable and remove them for

29. Installing the firewall blanket is a tough job to perform by yourself. Get a helper to
aid in the installation of the blanket. The original retaining clips are these long
metal pins, which were still in our car. If you can locate some of these, use them
for correctness.

30. Whenever I rebuild a heater case or replace the heater core, I insist on new hoses.
These white stripe concours hoses will look great in our engine compartment.
The correct tower clamps are being used here.

31. Again, a helper is a great friend in getting the heater case lined up with the
firewall opening, sliding the heater hoses through, and getting the retaining nuts
started. You can go it alone, but make sure you have a section of two-by-four or
some other item to hold the case in place while you install the retaining nuts.

32. The controls with attached cables are slid into their home in our bare dash.
Carefully guide the cables into their proper locations, ensuring they clear the
wiper mechanism and anything else along their path

33. Remember the cable adjustments you made earlier? Now all you have to do is slip
the cable into place, line up the tape with your retaining clip (or other landmark),
and secure the cable. Now there is no fumbling around under the dash to make
adjustments. Dont forget to reinstall the cable retainers to prevent the cables
from popping off.