I have been doing lots of little things in the car, lubing the window mechanisms, adjusting the lock mechanisms, and generally making sure every little thing worked. Well now is the day I have finished my heater box rebuild and installed it and the result…..HEAT! And lots of it. So here is the heater saga.
I was looking at all the reason why there was no heat. Its a pretty simple system, its a radiator with a fan on it that blows hot air into the car. There is a valve that lets engine coolant into the heater core (heater radiator). The most common thing that happens to 2002’s is the valve clogs up. New valves are about $500. Ouch! I just knew that my valve was done, I mean it is 39 years old! I pulled the valve and it was dirty, but it was still very functional. Move on to the hoses. I wanted to check all the hoses for leaks as well as flow. Hoses checked out fine. So then it was the heater core itself. Checked it and ZERO flow. It was completely clogged.
OK the heater core itself is buried inside the heater box which is UNDER the dash bolted to the firewall. So my plan was simple…get another heater box and heater core because mine was thrashed. Rebuild it with new grommets, lubricate the control cables and replace all the foam inside of it so it seals perfectly and so it works for another 39 years. Then when thats all done, pull out my old heater box in its entirety and install the new heater box and controls all at once.
I had another heater box and heater core in the garage that I bought years ago with this in mind. It was old, beat up, but the controls and cables were in good shape and the box was intact. In addition to that it had a good heater core. I removed it and took it to a radiator shop for testing and it was good as new. So I got new pads for all the flaps and new rubber grommets for the flaps from Ken Blasko at Vintage BMW Racing. The rebuilding was pretty simple. Completely clean it out and then cut the foam to the correct size and then replace the grommets on all the flaps. Then I lubed up the control cables and the grommets and ensured silky smooth operation. The only thing I needed was the screw that secures the wire on the valve. Mine broke and in act the wire snapped as well. Good thing I was installing new cables with the heater box. One of the members of the 2002 FAQ (www.bmw2002faq.com) was good enough to sell me a new lever with the needed screw to attach the cable. Once that was installed it was all ready to go back in. The install as the reverse of the removal and it was very straightforward. Once back in, I opened the heater valve and “burped” the cooling system…added a bit more coolant snd then….HEAT. After a day its so nice to have a working heater but its HOT. It nearly burn your hand when its on high. All in all a very worthwhile repair.