Monday 6 February 2017

Auf Wiedersehen heater channels!

With the car firmly braced up the time had come for some brutal surgery! I started with the rear crossmembers and marked the location of all the spot-welds ready for drilling out:

A few areas had small weld stitch welds about an inch or so long, these were ground back using the dremel tool as I did not want to over grind the area, which is easily done with an angle grinder:

The Y-piece heater tubes had small blobs of brazing on the top and underneath to join them to the inlets of the heater channels. I also ground these back:

After a while of having fun with the power tools, the old crusty panels came free with forceful wiggle:

The old and the new (yep, there was quite a bit of material missing from that outer edge!):

Getting the remains of the heater channels out was largely the same process. Locate and drill out spot welds:

Cut carefully around and just to the inside of the seam welds of the B pillars and hack through the A posts ( I didn't have to be so precise here as these will be replaced):

Out they come ...after some twisting, tugging and leverage from a big flat headed screwdriver:

Comparison of the old and the new:

Interesting little discovery - the outer skin of the passenger side heater channel had apparently been patched up in the past using a now obsolete 'Veng' repair panel. Sticker still intact on the inside, as seen through several layers of corrosion:

With both channels now out of the car it would've been rude not to have a quick test fit of the Klassic Fab replacements:

Still some minor adjustments to make in order to make them sit right; namely, the carpet retaining strips that sit along the bottom edges of the door apertures appear to be too far back and foul both of the B-pillars. Nothing that a little trim wont take care of though. On the whole I would say it is looking fresh!

Edit (27/02/2017): The marginally incorrect position of the carpet retaining strips were really bugging me, particularly as they cost a pretty penny to buy. Klassic Fab are know for their outstanding attention to detail and it seemed a shame that this was letting the overall quality down. I sent my feedback to the UK vendor of the channels who got in touch with Gerson over at KF on my behalf. This is an extract of the replies I received:

"We got an email back from Gerson and hes checked all the channels he has and they are all the same. Hes sold over 400 pairs but has been told this by 2 other customers so he is now aware of it. He said that he thinks people just cut the small part out or de-spot weld and re-spot weld the strip."

"thank you for your email, yes Gerson knows all about this now so he will make sure that these are right in the future."

Happy to hear that this minor issue will be addressed going forward. Klassic Fab are a real asset to the aircooled VW restoration community and I am reassured by the fact that they take customer feedback onboard to improve their products.

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