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How to: Heater diverter box refurb (with pix)

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  • How to: Heater diverter box refurb (with pix)

    During the R&R of my Climatizer, I found that the heater diverter box needed a renewing, since it looked shabby but also worked poorly. The original rubber sheet material that was used to quiet and seal the diverter paddles was long gone, and the box would require disassembly to fix them.

    The box is two parts, riveted together; a formed cardboard upper and a fiber-reinforced thermoplastic lower.

    I first tried drilling out the rivets, but they only spun in the soft plastic. I didn't want to enlarge the holes, so I used needle-nose pliers to bend them up and removed them one at a time.

    Instead of using rubber or foam to "reupholster" the flappers, I went for felt, figuring it will hold up better and make for quieter operation. The sheet felt was procured from Michaels; I couldn't find the thickness I wanted so I bought two sheets of the kind with the self-adhesive backing and laminated them into one thick sheet, and adhered the result to the fiberboard flappers with Goop.

    Someone here on the forum advised painting the cardboard portion with a thinned wash of carpenter's glue, which I did. It not only freshened the cardboard visually, it also stiffened it and sealed it.

    When the cardboard was dry, it was time to reassemble the bits. Note in the photo below that there's a washer on the upper shaft of the defroster flapper. This goes on the shaft and rests between the pinches in the shaft and the cardboard top to keep the shaft from unduly wearing the cardboard. Don't forget to replace it before you begin to reattach the top.

    To reattach the top, I first tried pop rivets, but they took too much pressure to set and I was afraid of cracking the plastic tub. I settled on 1/4" machine screws with self-locking nuts. Not original looking, but they do the job and if I ever need to get back in for some reason, easy to remove.

    Good as new, ready to re-install


    Clark in San Diego
    '63 F2/Lark Standard

    Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" |

  • #2
    Great job on this topic Clark. Very valuable info considering those boxes haven't been available for a good while.

    Dan Miller
    Atlanta, GA

    Road Racers turn left AND right.


    • #3
      Nice work Clark!
      I love to see good work done, and with pictures[]
      Esprcially on a part that gets buried where nobody will ever see it (or your efforts)..
      As Ol' Dave would say... "Good on ya"!
      HTIH (Hope The Info Helps)


      Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

      Note: SDC# 070190 (and earlier...)


      • #4
        Nice work indeed, Clark.

        I was stripping out a '97 Mercury Villager minivan this week, and there are fasteners used throughout it that would be ideal to replace those split rivets. They are a 2-piece plastic job; a split outer body with a pin or screw that inserts in the middle to spread it and lock it. Any auto body supply outfit should have them, or they might be at your FLAPS on the rack with the "Help!" brand products. They look almost stock in there.

        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands
        Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


        • #5

          Thanks for the pictures. One of the neat things about working on a Studebaker is being inovative. I had hot air blowing in from the engine compartment onto my feet while driving my Avanti. I found the plug where clutch pedal equiped cars goes through firewall missing plus a detiorated steering column gasket. I used a plumber's test plug to plug up the clutch pedal hole and I used a toilet bowl to sewer pipe rubber gasket around the steering columng with a retainer plate and used screws with wing nuts on firewall side to hold the toilet bowl gasket in place.

          In this picture taken with engine out for restoration you can see the test plug and wing nuts around steering column.

          <div align="left">John</div id="left">

          <div align="left">'63 Avanti, R1, Auto, AC, PW (unrestored)</div id="left">
          Resto-Mod by Michael Myer