Heater radiator refurbishment and repair

The radiator had obviously developed a leak for the previous owner and it had been bypassed in typical Heath Robinson fashion.

Bypassed heater

On removing the assembly from the vehicle I found that the bulkhead area behind it and the box itself looked to be in a poor state although it wasn’t quite as bad as the pictures suggest:

Heater matrix unit - rust

Heater matrix unit – rust

Heater matrix unit - rust

Heater matrix unit – rust

Heater matrix unit - rust

Heater matrix unit – rust

The steel housing of this unit is extremely well made of quite a heavy gauge metal so after grinding away the surface rust and treating any stubborn areas with Granville Rust Treatment then several coats of Screwfix ‘No Nonsense’ zinc-based ‘galvanising’ spray paint, it seemed as good as new.

Heater matrix, refurb in progress

Heater matrix, refurb in progress

Britpart heater radiator

Britpart heater radiator

I finished the box, inside and out with silk-finish black metal spray paint from Lidl’s and slotted in the replacement Britpart radiator. I bent the locating tabs down to hold it securely and reassembled the housing with stainless self-tapping screws from STIG fasteners. I have purchased a number of stainless fasteners from this company and highly recommend them, they are quick, well-priced and efficient. I normally receive my order the next day and you can tell by the way the items are methodically packed they are a very good company.

Finished item

Finished item

To replace the foam gasket that had disintegrated into a powder, I used a left over piece of the adhesive-backed neoprene sheet that I had used on the seat box lids. I substituted the two screws on this face with pop-rivets so as to reduce interference and keep an airtight tight seal against the bulkhead.

Heater box, home-made gasket

Heater box, home-made gasket

Removing the heater box and blower unit (to be covered in another post) revealed a bit of a mess on the bulkhead and upper footwell section, but fortunately this first glimpse was deceiving, just surface rust. The square hole is sealed here with a piece of plastic from a Lidl’s tomatoes container, great value at 49p for six.

Bulkhead, surface rust

Bulkhead, surface rust

I also removed the (poorly fitted) fuel filter housing, VIN plate and near-side cable grommet plate to gain access to even more surfaces and rubbed it down to bare metal very easily. I treated any rust that I couldn’t clean out with Granville Rust Treatment. I was delighted to find in the shed an unopened tin of ‘Finnegans No 1’ rust treatment. I remember this stuff from years ago, unlike other Hammerite paint products (I never use it) it is very easy to apply and I think it does a great job. I used a small roller to apply two good coats.

Bulkhead and footwell coated with Finnegan's No 1

Bulkhead and upper footwell coated with Finnegan’s No 1

I then gave it two rollered coats of satin-finish marine blue enamel.

I’ll cover refitting of the heating system in a later post as this job has led to yet another! I will be replacing the blower unit with something more effective, and make a better job of fitting the fuel filter unit. This was ‘on the huh’ (Norfolk-speak for ‘not quite level’) and held in place with self-tapping screws which had distorted the thin metal of this section of bulkhead.

3 thoughts on “Heater radiator refurbishment and repair

    • Thanks! Yes I’m pleased with that, although an engineer friend pointed out that I shouldn’t have used stainless fixings due to galvanic corrosion, it’s not caused any problems so far though.

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