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'88 glove box door damper


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Is there any way to repair the damper on the glove box door? Mine just falls open when the button is pressed. I'm afraid something will break if I don't catch it with my hand. By damper I mean the little rod that catches the door when it opens. I assume it was supposed to open slowly when new. Am I correct?

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I guess the next question is:

Has anybody tried to source this part. I have an 88 glove box assy on hand, the cylinder is marked:

Gas Spring Co.

Colmar PA

25526027

168 8

I assume the first number is a part number (OEM? Could be a GM number, but most parts of late 80's/early 90's had lower numbers/1 fewer digit).

I interpret the second as a date code of August 16, 1988. Just guessing though.

This is an unusual sized gas strut, so may not be available any longer. It is also unconventional in that it has no end-mounts like the ones used on the trunk or hood. It is clamped in place around the plunger end of the strut with a completely sealed back end.

I will do some searching to see if I can find anything out.

KDirk

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This is the fix that was posted years ago for this. Never tried it myself:

The cylinder can be repaired by drilling a tiny hole where it won't interfere with normal installed piston travel or cause damage to the internal valve. I chose to drill mine on the upper side just below the circular crimp line. Then take a small stringe filled with fluid with seal swell such as Valvoline Synthetic Power Steering Fluid or motorcycle fork fluid. Fork fluids can be found in various viscosities if you want to vary the opening rate. Then seal the hole by cleaning and then soldering with a high wattage soldering iron.

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Hmm,

Roger, what type of solder did you use? Best I can tell the cylinder is aluminum, making it difficult to solder to. Would need to sand off some of the black paint to make this work as well.

Of course, I would worry that the oil/fork fluid would leak out eventually around the piston seal due to wear. Wouldn't want that mess dripping down inside my dash on to the floor.

KDirk

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This is the fix that was posted years ago for this. Never tried it myself:

The cylinder can be repaired by drilling a tiny hole where it won't interfere with normal installed piston travel or cause damage to the internal valve. I chose to drill mine on the upper side just below the circular crimp line. Then take a small stringe filled with fluid with seal swell such as Valvoline Synthetic Power Steering Fluid or motorcycle fork fluid. Fork fluids can be found in various viscosities if you want to vary the opening rate. Then seal the hole by cleaning and then soldering with a high wattage soldering iron.

I tried this fix a long time ago used both soldering as well as epoxy to seal the drill hole. The fix worked for a short time in that it refilled the lost damper fluid and the damper would slow down as opposed to just allowing the door to fall. I think the real issue with the damper failing is internal to the damper. I would expect that there is a seal (rubber or whatever) within the damper that is wearing out and would need to be replaced in order to get a more permanent fix. I tried to locate a manufacturer who made a replacement damper but came up empty.

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You push a button on the console below the tape player and the glove box door falls open.

Such luxury! Were Rivs the same way?

I was wondering if it somehow tied into the keyless remote. But '88s didn't have a keyless remote. Not sure why a convertible would 'need' one...

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Such luxury! Were Rivs the same way?

I was wondering if it somehow tied into the keyless remote. But '88s didn't have a keyless remote. Not sure why a convertible would 'need' one...

Vert needs one because when you take the key out the glove box is is locked. In other words you don't have to manually lock the glove box if you leave the top down. Keeps glove box items and trunk items secured.
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Very close except there is the RAP. As it is I usually open the gas door by using the remote to open the trunk then press the lever. Wish the 90 had the whole 88 button arrangement ( and an 88 dash). 90 has no MPG display.

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So let me get this straight - since I have never closely examined an '88 (or an '89 or '91 for that matter...) There is no key lock for the glove box? So the only way to open the glove box is to have the ignition key turned to ON/ACC (or RAP is still active)? What happens when the battery is dead?

I generally like the '90-'91 panel. It does seem like they could have easily added some MPG functions by reusing the odometer readout - similar to how the diagnostic mode uses it. Better would have been to re-engineer the already-developed Olds Driver Info System (or even the lesser Caddy MPG Sentinel version) to fit in there. Maybe put it where the cubby is in non-CD cars, and in the space under the CD player in CD-equipped cars.

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So let me get this straight - since I have never closely examined an '88 (or an '89 or '91 for that matter...) There is no key lock for the glove box? So the only way to open the glove box is to have the ignition key turned to ON/ACC (or RAP is still active)?
That is correct with the exception of crawling under the dash as discussed before.
What happens when the battery is dead?
Recharge the battery.
I generally like the '90-'91 panel. It does seem like they could have easily added some MPG functions by reusing the odometer readout - similar to how the diagnostic mode uses it. Better would have been to re-engineer the already-developed Olds Driver Info System (or even the lesser Caddy MPG Sentinel version) to fit in there. Maybe put it where the cubby is in non-CD cars, and in the space under the CD player in CD-equipped cars.
I would gladly trade the MPG function for the cool dash with the tach like 90&91 have. I wish the 90 IPC could be used with the 88 CRT. Best of both worlds.
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Well I find the 90-91 dash to be remarkably uninformative and hard to read with the top down and sunglasses on. Further 88-89 CRTs give numbers to the gauge values that I have to go into diagnostics on the 90 to see. Not to mention the absurd "Headlamps Suggested" light (one sweep only wiper is nice though)

For example "straight up" on the coolant display can be anything from 181F(83C) to 210F (100C) and I consider the 180-200F range the one I am most interested in.

If at some point I should acquire an 88 "parts" car, I may consider swapping the dash into the white 'vert but what I keep finding are '90s & have too many projects anyway.

So "different strokes" & obviously I am in the minority but grew up with computers so thinking digitally comes naturally.

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Since this is getting a bit hi-jacked, I will add that I prefer the looks of the 90/91 IPC (much more modern and interesting looking) but I concur with Padgett that while the gauges are better than a simple idiot light, the lack of a numeric readout for each vs. the 88/89 setup is a bit disappointing.

I do like the way the gauges were done with more detail on the CRT setup, and have been kicking around ideas for an upgrade (perhaps a custom heads-up-display) that would add some of the features lacking in the 90 & 91 instrumentation.

KDirk

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The novelty of the 88 & 89 CRT's are way cool. Loved being able to monitor engine functions, mileage read outs, etc. The problem I had with them is that they were too distracting. I found myself playing with the many functions they offered more so than paying attention to the road where my attention should have been. I guess it could be related to a cell phone scenario but not on as big a scale. Or so I told myself. Haven't had that kind of problem with the 90 & 91's I've owned. Nothing to play with other than station changes & temp controls. I miss the 89's I've owned but for me and those that I've shared the road with it's been safer with the later models...

Mike

'91 Coupe

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  • 3 years later...

Ok, I am resurrecting this thread, as the problem is still around for owners of the '88 model year and previous attempts at fixing the damper did NOT seem successful, at least not longer term.

I am getting ready to retrofit my '89 with an '88 glove box (remote latch release) and the '88 5 button console switch setup. My salvaged '88 glove box was pristine, but alas, the damper on the door was shot.

As this is an extension damper, there are three ways that such devices operate. Some have a pressurized gas charge on the side of the plunger that resists the plunger being extended (i.e. the pressure wants to keep the plunger in the retracted position and as such dampens the rate of extension of the plunger. The other design uses NO pressurized, dampening the extension of the plunger by creating a suction behind the damper when the plunger is being extended. Any air that might be trapped behind the plunger escapes during the initial retraction by design (i.e. the internal seal work only one way). The third way is with a working fluid (oil) being metered thru an orifice in the plunger piston as it travels (shocks work using this method)

All the designs work well, but the gas designs are virtually impossible to seal longterm as with each extension of the plunger, there is a good chance that some of the pressurizing gas will escape around the seals surrounding the plunger. The vacuum designs suffer when the internal seals are no longer able to seal against the sides of the damper during extension and therefore no vacuum is created to resist the extension of the plunger. Lastly the oil working fluids models fail when either the orifice or the seals wear out.

That said, I took a long look at the damper from the glove box door. I exercised it watching for play in the plunger and found that there was side to side play between the plunger and what "might" be seals, making me suspect that this was a suction design damper, NOT a pressurized gas design.

Regardless, my first stab at fixing the issue was to see if I could swell whatever seals there might be at the plunger end. I used part B of BarsLeak Power Steering Repair which is very viscous and contains the seal swelling components. I just put some around the plunger and exercised it to work it in. After a couple of hours of alternating application of the sealer and exercising the plunger, basically NO change and the plunger still had the same side to side play (very minor, but WAY too much to seal in a pressurized gas).

So, I made the decision, right or wrong, that the damper was NEVER a pressurized gas design, but rather one that worked by creating a vacuum behind the extending plunger. Of course I already knew that the internal seals on the plunger pistons were NOT holding squat, so it was time to drill a hole.

From what I read, everyone up to this point had drilled on the end opposite the plunger end, but as I was not wanting to compromise the seal at that end given my choice of how the damper originally worked, I chose to drill about 1" below the plunger end of the damper. I first drilled a very small pilot hole and then enlarged it to about 1/8" (I had the plunger completely depressed into the housing when I drilled). Luck was on my side in the choice of where to drill as at the extreme extension of the plunger, I was just at the top of the plunger piston (easy to get stuff to the plunger seals). I first tried using a bit of the BarsLeak PS Repair to see if the seals could be swollen sufficiently to make a good seal. The plunger was better as resisting extension but the vacuum would bleed off quickly at any position that I might stop, so I obviously was NOT getting a good seal around the plunger piston seals.

Padgett suggested trying 140W gear oil, but it appeared that no one had tried it. So I took a trip to my local FLAPS and all they had was 85-140W. Then I decided to see if any of the various oil additives might be super viscous. BINGO, MotorHoney was WAY thicker than the gear lube and cheaper to boot.

So, with a hole in the damper and MotorHoney in hand, I proceeded to work some into the interior very slowly (imagine getting cold honey into a 1/8" hole). Almost immediately, the plunger began to seal. I kept working in the MotorHoney and exercising the plunger. Within a few minutes, the plunger was holding a vacuum when I extended the plunger (i.e. on release, the plunger would snap back to fully retracted) and NO leakage of vacuum even after holding the plunger extended for fairly long periods. Understand that I did NOT have more than a few drops of the MotorHoney worked into the damper body at this time. I worked in a few more drops of the MotorHoney into the damper and exercised it more, turning the plunger as I did to really work the MotorHoney into the internal seals. As I had drilled my access hold at the plunger end, it did NOT compromise the damper's ability to create a solid vacuum behind the plunger during extension so the hole was just a larger version of the play around the plunger itself. Oddly enough, I actually get a stronger snap back on release with the hole left open, so I have no plans to seal the hole I drilled.

I put the plunger back into its bracket (drilled hole to the top) and mounted it to the glove box door. FYI, for those with '89 and newer, the glove box door on the '88 is a LOT heavier. The door interior is metal rather than plastic, so dampening its fall is a real challenge and also explains why the door drops like a lead brick without the damper. Now I don't know if anyone can remember exactly HOW the '88 glove door operated when new, but with my revived damper, it opens gently. It is NOT super slow motion, but it is gentle and the last portion is greatly attenuated. As the MotorHoney is SO viscous I really don't see it ever leaking and as I am NOT trying to use the MotorHoney as the working fluid but rather only to seal the plunger pistol to the sides of the damper, I think this might actually work long term.

UPDATE! A bit more testing and I realized that restricting the escape of air to just around the plunger external seal would actually improve things even more, so I simply rotated the damper so that the hole I drilled is covered by the mounting sleeve, effectively sealing it. I previously had the hole lined up with the gap in the mounting sleeve and as such air was able to escape via that gap.

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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David, great write-up! For those 88 Reatta owners that have a "dead" glove box strut (my guess all), your info will restore their glove box action to new condition. I no longer have a Reatta, but your post was very interesting.

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Okay, I thought the glove box was designed to drop down.I to did not like it so I have pulled mine out to work on. I have one question on where to drill the hole. I have put picture of my plunger. Is it 1 inch from the left or 1 inch from the right per your success story.

Thank you for the post!!

post-89156-143142361609_thumb.jpg

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here is a pic of where I drilled mine. From the top of the housing to centerline was 1" (from the left on your pic). At 1", by extending the plunger completely, I could get some of the MotorHoney on the underneath side of the piston (i.e. into the chamber that is going to create the vacuum). I also put a tad of the MotorHoney on the external seals and worked the plunger to get those seals lubed. Rather than seal the hole, I just rotated the damper slightly such that the bracket sleeve covered the hole yet the hole was pretty much still pointed upwards once reinstalled. BTW, that bracket has a slight angle on it, so be sure that you reinstall correctly so as to have the plunger travel perpendicular to the door travel.

FYI, the housing is steel, not aluminum as suggested. You will need a very sharp bit. I started with an 1/16" bit and worked at a slow RPM on the drill so as to NOT go too far into the housing. Once I had the pilot hole drilled, I used the 1/8", again working slowly, which spiraled the metal outwards along the bit.

If you have any questions feel free to post or PM me.

post-95875-143142361855_thumb.jpg

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Every thing is working !! Thank you. I was able to get away with a 1/16th hole. I worked the Motor honey in by working the plunger in and out to suck in the fluid. After 5 minutes of working it I regained the pressure. I positioned the whole upward under the clamp as you described.

Amazing how something so small can make one feel so much better.

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Guess I have another project for my two 88's when the weather gets decent again. Glad to see a solution to this, as I had exhausted any hope of finding a new part that could be used as a suitable replacement. Rather surprised that this worked, but I will not argue with a proven fix. I just wonder how long it will last.

KDirk

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It will be interesting to see how the motor honey fairs in the middle of summer when it gets hot and starts to thin.

I have the same question. Yesterday was a beautiful 72 degrees and sunny here in Dallas and I have yet to install the glove box into my Reatta, so as an experiment, I put the box with the damper facing the sun and left it out for several hours. The damper was pretty hot from soaking up the sun and the damping action was still as good as at cooler temps. I know that this is NOT the same as a good soaking in the interior of the car on a 100+ degree day in the Texas sun, so we will just have to see how this holds out come summer. As a further experiment, I heated some MotorHoney up in the microwave and even at almost 200 degrees (i.e. well above what it will encounter in the car), it is still pretty viscous, so I have reasonably good expectations that it will hold.

I might add that even after soaking in the sun, with the damper in a slight downward tilt (i.e. plunger pointed slightly downwards), there was nothing on the plunger shaft or around the external seals, so the MotorHoney is staying around the internal piston seals pretty well.

Regardless, I think this approach has the best chance of being a long term solution, even if we have to find a lube that stays more viscous at elevated temps without becoming solid at cold temps. As MotorHoney is cheap, readily available at FLAPS, the fix is quick and easy, there is little to loose and maybe time will show it to be a more effective longer term fix than previous approaches.

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I just completed this repair using STP. It was a complete success. Although I would recommend drilling the hole a little closer to the top of the cylinder as the piston comes up to the hole when it is 1 inch from the top. Mine was a tiny bit under an inch and I could see the piston at the hole. If I did it again, I would drill the hole 3/4" from the top.

Also installing the cylinder with the hole up and under the mount not only improves the working of it, but it quiets the pistons sucking sounds.

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I just completed this repair using STP. It was a complete success. If I did it again, I would drill the hole 3/4" from the top.

Also installing the cylinder with the hole up and under the mount not only improves the working of it, but it quiets the pistons sucking sounds.

Drilling at 1" allowed me to get the MotorHoney in behind the piston seals as well as in front of the piston ensuring that the seals are lubed from both sides. Granted it may not be necessary to get the stuff on the back side. Good to hear that STP works as well as MotorHoney, but that is not surprising as they are similar products.

I agree on the mounting direction of the damper so as to seal the drilled hole (noted this in my update). Really glad to hear that yet another Reatta owner with the 88 setup has found success with my fix.

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Thanks Dave, it really worked. With the seals so badly worn I don't think that you have to worry about getting the fluid behind the piston. What I didn't like was the piston coming so for forward the it lost it's seal every time it made the full, travel.

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Thanks Dave, it really worked. What I didn't like was the piston coming so for forward the it lost it's seal every time it made the full, travel.

At least on mine, the actual travel of the damper once installed in the glove box door is a shorter throw than is needed to pull the piston forward sufficient to expose the piston to the hole I drilled. Granted the piston can be extended further once disconnected from the door, but again, once installed, the throw stops short of exposing the piston to the hole.

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Update! While I was content with the MotorHoney fix that I previously posted, I continued looking for even more viscous products and came across one that is WAY more viscous. It is a commonly available R/C silicone grease (300,000 centistoke viscosity). I ordered mine online but you might be able to find at your local R/C hobbyist store. This stuff is more like a super slow moving solid than a liquid, but it does flow. As I can't find a good rating on the viscosity of MotorHoney, I can only go with other comparisons. Honey is about 10,000 centistokes, REAL Peanut Butter (with its natural oil present) is 250,000 centistokes and this stuff I found is again, 300,000 centistokes. I pulled my damper off and worked in some of the 300,000 centistoke stuff (so at the moment, I have a combination of MotorHoney and the 300,000 centistoke silicone).

So, does the door open any differently than the fix with only MotorHoney? Well, it is subjective to some extent as MotorHoney did a really good job, but with well over a week of use, I can say that the door opens slightly slower with an even gentler landing. I think this really thick stuff will hold up better against the extremes of summer heat, but then again, MotorHoney/STP may prove to be sufficient. This just gives us another product to consider in the quest to resurrect glove box dampers.

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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