About two weeks ago I decided to finally use the parts I ordered from Falconparts to get the heat working in the wagon. The heating system was completely non-functional all playing with the levers would get you is a faint smell of mouse pee. After unhooking the heater hoses & unbolting the heater box I crawled under the dash to disconnect it. Clearly I’d been lucky with the faint wiffs of pee, the heater box was both full of, and topped with mouse nests.
After pulling the heater box out and dragging it downstairs I cracked it open. Lets just says you should be incredibly grateful this blog is not in Smell-O-Vision or you’d be desperately deleting these pictures. The picture to the right is after I pulled out the worst of the still-damp mouse nests. I pulled everything apart & vacuumed up what I could, then carried everything upstairs.
I then spent the next hour bent over the tub scrubbing the ever loving hell out of every square inch of all the pieces. I scrubbed so hard the paint came off most of the painted pieces. After that hour I had a load of blessedly scent-free parts and a really disgusting tub(I have an incredibly patient girlfriend). Everything was laid out to dry overnight.
The next morning before work I masked and painted the metal pieces, as well as the screws & hardware. Once I returned home the re-assembly process began. First came gluing in all new foam seals on the various flaps. I have to say I am really unimpressed with the seal kit from Falconparts. The foam for the seals is really thin, the instructions are completely useless, and there was a missing gasket I had to make from some other foam I had. Last time I did this with my ’62 Comet I used a mustang kit and the materials were higher quality and the instructions at least mentioned each piece.
Eventually it did go together, along with a new blower motor (single speed, but it will work for now), and an ABS plenum to replace the rotted out original plenum. I decided to leave the old heater core in place for now, It didn’t seem worth putting a new one in while there was so much rust & junk in the system. The plan was to replace it when the new engine went in.
Next it went back into the car, It’ll come back out again when I work on the floors so I can properly deal with the surface rust on the firewall and put up some sound deadener. I hooked up the cables, installed new defroster ducts, and hooked the heater hoses up.
I now had heat.
The next morning I decided that heat meant I could drive the wagon to work. My commute is a 15 mile drive with a 3 mile highway bit near the end. Everything seemed to go well, and on the highway the wagon was doing ok (though the drivetrain gearing limited it to about 65mph) . However just as I came off the highway the heater core failed pretty spectaularly, pouring coolant out of the bottom of the heater box. Wisps of steam were coming out from under the hood. I limped the car to work where it immediately marked it’s spot wit ha puddle of rusty water. The radiator was spraying coolant out of the overflow pipe so violently the firewall at the back of the engine compartment was soaked.
Looks like that “new” engine needs to go in sooner rather than later…