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Heater Core Replacement

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Hi everyone,

My name is Chaz and I own a very rusty 1963 Riviera with a 401 Nailhead. It's a basic-basic car without A/C, power windows, etc., but I love it to death... I really mean that since I think I killed it.

It needed a new Heater Core, so after six hours of removing the center console and the front seats to get under the dash... the heater housing with a congested Heater Core came right out. I have also removed squirrel nests and the refuse of some unmentionable rodents from the ducting.

Currently I'm trying to reseat the old heater housing under the dash, but can't figure out how a few pieces are supposed to be reset –which should be taken care of before bolting in the heater core housing. They are holes for where the [optional] A/C would feed into the car. I took pictures of the process when taking it apart, but this step was not recorded (or somehow got lost). I can't figure out how it's suppose to go back together (the plugging for these holes). The two holes appear to have threadings, but none of the fasteners I removed are fitting.

I have several related inquiries:

--If you are a 1st Gen Riv owner (less the A/C), would you mind taking a pic of the exterior blower housing (under the hood) of this plug assembly and posting it?

--What type of sealant is the light gray gum that seals the inside housing to the firewall and where can I get it?

--Can I use an alternative?

--Is there a vendor that sells the insulation that sits between the heater housing and the firewall inside the car?

Any help would be great appreciated. Thanks much,


The parts in the 1st & 2nd pics are the two on the right. The one on the left (I believe) goes inside the car and covers a similar shaped opening.

In the 3rd pic is the view from the passenger side looking at the Heater Assembly housing under the hood. Closer up in the 4th pic are the holes that need to be plugged. They are right behind the distributor.

The last [5th] pic is a view from inside the car.






Edited by CyberGolem (see edit history)

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Those brackets hold on the original cable operated heater valve which in the picture has been replaced by a manual valve. The original valve is nearly impossible to find being a one year only part. If you find one, it's either excessively expensive or rotted out. I plugged the holes in the duct housing with some snap in metal plugs and now use an electronic heater valve I bought from Vintage Air. I hid the control knob under the dash. Not authentic, but it works. I tried another type of cable operated valve and couldn't get it to work right.

It was the right way to go removing the console. Mine was hacked out from the engine side long ago. A big mess. When I replaced the core, I had to fabricate a metal gasket to cover up where someone went nuts with what looked like a saws-all. As far as a sealant goes, I used 3M rope caulk.

I hope this information helps. Good luck!

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It does help, so thanks Riviator (I feel like I'm talking to a Transformer when I say your name in my head).

I have no problem just plugging this up and will do so if I can't figure it out soon. Either way I just ordered a manual from Bilko that is supposed to have exploded views of all these parts so I hope that helps. Plus I have guys like you helping out so I'm feeling much better about it.

I wish the guy who owned this car before me knew what kind of car he had in his possession. It's about as hacked up as a car can get, and there are more fasteners missing than I can count. You should see the metal that was underneath what was left of the package tray. But fortunately he didn't try to repair the heater core otherwise I'd probably be sharing the same experience as you!

Of course the part you're describing (Heater Control Valve right?) is something I've hacked myself. The original one was rusted shut so I removed it and after seeing the prices of a replacement :eek: I went to Lowe's and used a brass plumbing valve that requires lifting the hood to adjust it! My son thinks it's ghetto [therefore cool] so I don't feel too bad about it. Plus it's a non-invasive work-around until I can afford an aftermarket A/C & Heating system.


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I added Old Air products Hurricane system, cool only, and left the heater pretty much alone, except for the valve. It sits behind the glovebox, and has two control knobs under the dash, and used stock louvers. Since my mom had a '63 when I was a little kid, I always loved the sliding controls, so I had to make sure they worked. I also liked the green "cold" light, but that went by the wayside when the temperature gauge went in.

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