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Offline JohnW

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Cleaning out cowl
« on: September 25, 2011, 09:26:45 PM »
How do you guys do this?  It doesn't come off, so am I going to have to go through where the heater core is?  Mine's filled with pine needles from where I parked recently and I want to get them out before there's a problem.  I also want to put a screen in under the opening.
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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2011, 10:06:31 PM »
Pulling the heater box is one way. Another way is to remove the hood and the hinges then pull out the rubber boots that the hinges go into. That will give you access to that area.

Offline JohnW

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2011, 10:08:23 PM »
That sounds a bit easier, thanks!  I wonder if I can fit a screen in through there and manage to glue it in...
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Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2011, 01:12:15 AM »
I pulled the heater core & the left vent as well as the hood hinges & seals & used a shop vac sucking & my air compressor blowing. It took a good 30 minutes to clean it really well. I then coated everything in sight with Rust-Oleum black from a spray can & also brushed some on where I could get the brush.
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Offline JohnW

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2011, 09:07:25 PM »
How bad is pulling the heater core? 
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Offline popbumper

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2011, 09:18:27 PM »
How bad is pulling the heater core? 

My cowl and heater box were absolutely full of leaves to the point of the squirrel cage being jammed up. Pulling the core is not that hard. The heater box is a split design (two halves) that are joined at the center by clips. If you look at the front of your heater box, you can see these clips. Pull them off, and the front half of the box will come off and expose the core, the blend door, etc. There should also be a foam "ring" that keeps the two halves together as they go up into the cowl; yours may or may not be torn/deteriorated.The back of the heater box will remain securely attached to the firewall via the four bolts on the blower motor that hold it in place.
Opening the front should allow you to access the heater box core and get it sufficiently cleaned out. Good luck.
Chris
Restoring a 1976 MPG wagon - purchased 6/08

Offline r4pinto

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 11:21:34 AM »
That easy huh? If that's the case I might as well pull mine. I am tired of getting pelted with leaves & other debris that is built up in mine.
Matt Manter
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Offline JohnW

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 12:04:40 PM »
Mine's spitting out old black leaves now and then.  I mainly just want to keep it from rotting out the heater channels and whatnot.  I'll have to give that a try next week when I have a chance.  Gotta find time to get my new alternator in it first...
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Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 12:40:52 PM »
I pulled my whole heater box in less than an hour on my '80 & cleaned it & replaced the 31 year old heater core & hoses while I was at it. My box seal was nearly perfect except for a 2 inch spot which I used 30 year caulk to fix.
 
 I replaced the hose sections with extreme service semi truck heater hose & quality stainless clamps that should give me 30 more years of service. I put caulk around the stud holes & heater hoses & tightened it up & after the caulk dried I removed the excess & painted evrything & it looks great. it should be water tight & maintenance free for years.
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Offline D.R.Ball

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2011, 06:35:16 PM »
At least you do not have the factory A/C, mine is not going to be easy. Sometimes I miss my old 1979 beat run Pinto......Tha t was an easy car...

Offline JohnW

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2011, 10:09:58 PM »
The heater core is pretty damn cheap so I'm just gonna replace it when I clean it out in a week or two. 

Pinto5.0: Just regular stainless hose clamps?  Are the semi heater hoses thicker?
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Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2011, 04:07:43 AM »
The heater core is pretty damn cheap so I'm just gonna replace it when I clean it out in a week or two. 

Pinto5.0: Just regular stainless hose clamps?  Are the semi heater hoses thicker?

The semi hose is reinforced & can handle the heat & pressure for a million miles. It's worth the price. The semi clamps are wider & high quality. Since the heater box needs to be pulled to get to the hoses & clamps I put the best I could find on it.
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Offline Pinto1600

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2011, 08:55:31 AM »
Another fix to keep out junk while the car is sitting is a good heavy duty car cover. Or a large strip of magnetic sign material over the cowl opening.
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Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 03:19:30 PM »
A car cover is the best idea. I have one of the custom fit waterproof ones off Ebay that I got for 50 bucks. The fit is near perfect & the water & debris just fall off the car. It keeps my interior from the sun as well.
 
It's got a lifetime warranty but realistically I expect it to last 3 to 5 years. When it starts to deteriorate I'll get a new one for 50 or 60 bux. 
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Offline lugnut

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2011, 12:42:45 AM »
I did this on a '79 that I used to own.  It had A/C, so removing the heater/AC box is a PAIN. (plus I never thought of it!)  I took off the drivers side fender,and one hood hinge and put a shop vac on the water drain hole, then blew compressed air in the cowl and used brushes in thru the hinge hole.  the reason I took off the fender was that I had a mysterious rain leak on the driver's side that I could not find.  After all that, it turned out that the rain was splashing in thru the door because there was no tarpaper shield behind the door panel!

Offline dieseldave4443

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2011, 07:52:25 PM »
I should have scrolled down and read this post!  I added the same problem to my power issue.  It's pretty simple to do.  I really liked the magnetic strip trick!  Man, lots of good stuff to read and so little time! I was thinking about replacing the heater core since the rad was so bad just to ensure the cooling system integrity.  Yes, they are relatively cheap-think I saw one in O'reilly's for like 35 or 40 bucks.  I wanted to change the heater hoses too but you can't do that w/o getting to the core.  I love this forum site!!!!!

Offline dieseldave4443

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2011, 11:22:16 PM »
I replaced the heater core in my 73 wagon. I was able to access n clean the cowl but did not notice a drain hole for water? Is there one and if so where would it be located. I appear to have gotten fortunate and there was not significant rust. I want to prevent rust or water entering the interior n unknowingly rusting the floor pan?  I am thinking of spraying some bedliner on the floor pan as a preventive measure.

Offline JohnW

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2011, 11:24:33 PM »
I replaced the heater core in my 73 wagon. I was able to access n clean the cowl but did not notice a drain hole for water? Is there one and if so where would it be located. I appear to have gotten fortunate and there was not significant rust. I want to prevent rust or water entering the interior n unknowingly rusting the floor pan?  I am thinking of spraying some bedliner on the floor pan as a preventive measure.
I'd just coat the floor in some good epoxy.  I plan to rip out my junk carpet and remove all surface rust, then epoxy my floor.
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Offline 78txpony

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Re: Cleaning out cowl
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2011, 10:38:00 PM »
Or a large strip of magnetic sign material over the cowl opening.
I have done this for a while - I use those magnetic air vent covers from the hardware stores. 
HOWEVER, DO NOT let water get under them and then just let it try to dry on its own!  They will STICK to the car like glue! Not sure what does it, but it made a mess of the car and the covers now have holes in them. 
After a rain, remove the covers, let it all dry and put back on. 
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