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Improve the defroster

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  • Cool/Heat: Improve the defroster

    55 State Sedan, wrap around windshield.
    This is tied in with my previous post about anti-fog stuff.
    I did a search and didn't find much on improving the stock defroster.
    Has anyone tried [and succeeded] in making the existing defrosters work better.
    The core is not leaking, and the motor is turning free [both speeds], it's just that the defroster is "weak".
    I replaced the corrugated tubing under the dash.
    In original form the airflow pattern was spread out wide and low on the windshield, and it cleared more of the right side than the left [drivers side].
    I taped off 1/2 to 2/3 of the right side "Y" tube under the dash to direct more air to the left side.
    That helped move more air to the left side.
    Then I put foam backing rod [1/2" soft foam rod] at the outer ends of the vents at the windshield to direct the air more toward the center on both sides.
    That helped direct the airflow.
    There never did seem to be enough airflow ever. Is there another fan motor or fan blade that would move more air ?
    If I am in the car alone and not too wet the defrosters will almost keep up and clear the window.
    The other night with two wet people, the whole car fogged up and it became impossible to keep the winshield clear.
    I drive this car rain or shine, luckily it doesn't rain often here.
    Ahh ! The joy of owning and driving an old car.
    South Lompoc Studebaker

  • #2
    The way to properly fix your Defrosters is to figure out a way to make it flow "Fresh Air" from an outside vent like the '61 to '66 Larks and Lark Types and '63-'64 GT Hawks have.

    If you remove the Def. Fan maybe that hole could be used to bring in fresh air from the Grille area, and make some kind of "Duct" under the dash to route it to a Fan and Def. hoses etc. Of course you have to destroy the originality of the Car, but it is all a matter of what is important to YOU, not me or "us".
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      Have you flushed the defroster coil by itself? Disconnect the small hoses from the heater hose T fittings and use a garden hose to feed the small hoses, alternating hoses to reverse the flow. Restriction of coolant flow would obviously reduce the level of heat from the coil. You may already have enough air flow, just not enough hot coolant flow. Just checking, does the defroster coil achieve the same temperature, by touch, as the heater core? Also make sure the hot coolant control valve is opening to its maximum. Remember the 6 volt fan motors may not run as fast as the 12 volt ones do. Hope some of this might help.

      Dan Miller
      Auburn, GA


      • #4
        Back in the eighty's when I drove my 51 to work I done away with the t-fittings and made 2 Y-fittings. This let more hot water to the defrosters. It seamed to help a bunch.


        • #5
          Quote "The way to properly fix your Defrosters is to figure out a way to make it flow "Fresh Air" from an outside vent like the '61 to '66 Larks and Lark Types and '63-'64 GT Hawks have." Unquote. You have side vents in your car.
          I too have a '55 but do not drive it in bad weather, but at times have had to use the heater. Because the heater draws air in from the outside I have found the heater sufficient to keep the windows de=fogged.
          55 President Deluxe
          64 Commander
          66 Cruiser

          37 Oldsmobile F37 4 Door


          • #6
            You could try to get the kind of hoses that are foam-padded on the outside to keep the hot air in as long as possible, they're used on Citroen 2cv, I reckon yo have to google that, & probably get in touch with a 2cv club. & if I remember right, I think the air-cooled beetles & buses also used that kind of hoses.

            Champion V8
            4d sedan


            • #7
              I have no trouble with my 53. It works beautiful. Just be sure all the hoses are routed right, and has been mentioned, be sure everything is clear and flowing (water wise). AND, the one thing everyone will scream about. I changed mine to 12 volt before it was efficient.


              • #8
                Be aware, those two T fittings have about 3/16 diameter passage to the defroster. This was original. When I redid my '55 a couple of years ago. one of the tubes was corroded down to about 1/16 passage, almost no hot coolant got through. I agree with ST2DE5 that a Y fitting with the same diameter going both ways would be a major improvement.


                • #9
                  If you remove the windshield garnishing you may find something clogging the air flow. I have found lots of junk in there, for exmple, pieces of sponge stuffed in at the sides, for no apparent reason. Even if working optimally, that system is marginal at best. Cracking the windglass open helps defog all the windows, when the car is moving.
                  We have had two 1963 GTs, and their defrosters were only a little better than 1962 and earlier. With a retro AC evaporator that includes a heater element, having the retro heater on high, with the four vent louvers pointed upward, circulates the air rearward and defogs the rear windshield in no time. It also helps the front windshield do its job better, with all that heated air swirling around.


                  • #10
                    In the old days back in Minnesota, we would crack open the wing window just a bit. That draws air out from around the windshield and that allows more hot air to get to the windshield.
                    Last edited by RadioRoy; 01-07-2013, 03:25 PM.
                    RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                    17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                    10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                    10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                    4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                    5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                    56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                    60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible


                    • #11
                      Also check that you have good airflow over the heater coils/fins. Stick a vacuum hose in and suck out anything you can. Sometimes a mouse nest or a lot of leaves build up inside inhibiting flow. I stick a piece of heater hose on the end of my vacuum to get way in there. Although I am not familliar with the '55s, I know that in the '62+ Larks mice can get into the fan which is on the downstream side of the heater core and fill it with stuff.


                      • #12
                        Came to think about a car I had 3 years ago (-64 Volvo Duett) that had a very tiny leak in the heater radiator, just enough to moist the in-blowing air enough...

                        Champion V8
                        4d sedan


                        • #13
                          Another thing to remember: the cars with this style of Climatizer use the defroster as a booster, and they meant to be run in conjunction with the heater. Heater runs, warms air in cabin, relative humidity drops as air gets warmer. Defroster re-heats cabin air, directs it at windshield, raising windshield above dew point of air in cabin.

                          Run the heater with fan, and the defroster. If car gets too warm, open vents or window to bring in fresh air. These systems, when working properly, are truly excellent.
                          Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands


                          • #14
                            Back in the days when I used to drive GT Hawks to university and shuttle a few friends, I handed out scrapers to everyone. Often, there would be a coating of ice/steam on the inside of the glass. Vent window would have to be open.

                            If someone with long legs happened to kick the heater motor under the seat, there was even more steam in the car. I don't think I've had any C-K with a good defroster or heater, except one that had a really big GM heater put in it with a defroster.

                            1964 Larks, on the other hand, had excellent heaters and defrosters.


                            • #15
                              Here's something that may help. As you know, I comb through digitized newspaper archive for information on our dealer network. Sometimes a tidbit like this comes up and it's the wisdom of the ages, hope it helps....

                              Click image for larger version

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                              64 GT Hawk (K7)
                              1970 Avanti (R3)