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Gambler68 09-09-2008 09:07 AM

Rebuilding a metal Gladiator era Heater Core Box w/ pix (tech)
Well it looked ok from the outside, but I wanted to resurface the flappers with neophrene so it wouldn't be blowing hot air during the summer like so many do..they do this because the air flow flaps on the core AND the inner blower box are lined with foam that degrades over time and don't seal. After checking that the vac switches were still good I went ahead and got busy..

First the inner box. In very nice shape for being 40 years old. Still had the inspection stickers on it.

Next the heater core box. Simply dumping out the leaves is NOT good need to open it up. It's easy.

looks good right?



don't lose these. They are the main reason for all the rust gunk in there.

see how the flapper foam seal is useless at this point from time

leave the flapper in there and remove the airflow thingy

scrape it clean with a chisel or whatever

I used neophrene from a knee brace that was laying around..

sorry camera was in night mode. But you can see the nice seal now. Do both sides of course.

look at that NICE clean core. I flushed mine out in the shower and sprayed the fins out with normal pressure hot water. A few good flakes came out and some assorted gunk. Be sure to really get the inside clean and move it around while water is flowing. Re-install pieces in reverse order of disassembling (maybe I should go work for Haynes eh?)

Inner box got RTV. Didnt bother with the outer seal.

put back together. Sadly I had to reuse original 1/4" head screws, added some larger ones where they had wallowed out.

painted! I will add foam to the inlet/outlet and around the fresh air inlet and blower outlet later when I install

speaking of..does it still work? Yes! Battery jumper with on/off switch confirms.

paint it black!

Hope this was helpful to anyone wondering. Early style metal boxes do not swap. That bottom piece on the blower is absent in the later style, so they do not line up if you try and mix and match. I would assume if you replaced the ENTIRE HVAC system (newer style into an older cab) it would work of course..but where's the fun in that. Plastic sucks.

tgreese 09-09-2008 09:35 AM

Heh. Somehow your write-up reminds me of the Rolling Stones.

Very nice - thanks for posting.

red mistress 09-09-2008 10:04 AM

heater core
The heater cores from early years are little different than the new ones.

Spacing of heater tubes and the thickness of the core.

Newer heater core can be made to work with carbide cutter, but treasure hunting & finding a NOS one is so much fun.

I think I need Laura Croft on my treasure hunting team. :)

orangecherokee 09-09-2008 10:18 AM

If anyone needs a heater box, blower motor or under dash vent system let me know. I just stripped all of this out mine and don't need it anymore.

budojeepr 09-09-2008 12:16 PM

Somebody "sticky" this!

Gambler68 09-09-2008 12:38 PM


Originally Posted by budojeepr
Somebody "sticky" this!

there is a thread stickied for Tech Archives in the index in this forum. If someone deems it worthy, feel free to reply there with a link to this thread.

Hopefully this thread will help save a few of the old metal boxes! I'm sure rad shops will rebuild them but since its so easy and doesnt take long to rehab it yourself, why spend the $$

hummer010 09-09-2008 12:53 PM

Awesome thread! My heater core, inner box and blower are all out of the truck right now. I was planning to do this very thing in the next little while, so very helpful thread.

I like the shot of the NBA too - one of my favourites

fulsizjeep 09-09-2008 02:05 PM

nice work & documentation :thumbsup:

men in black 09-09-2008 02:32 PM

X2 on nice write up :thumbsup:

you needed a couple Newcastles after that.

skeletor 09-09-2008 02:51 PM

thats amazing that the heater core is still there. when i did mine, half of it had dissolved into mush and the tubes broke off when i touched it. i still whish i had painted the box before i reinstalled it though.

Lindel 09-09-2008 07:42 PM

The one I slapped in the 79 looked a lot like that before I installed it. I didn't go to the trouble of repainting it, I was doing a quick install to get rid of the gaping hole that was in the fiberglass box.

Nice work Ryan!

SnowShoe 09-09-2008 09:06 PM

Very impressive...may have to make same for mine...

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