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Advise needed on convertible heater channels
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scottalford
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject: Advise needed on convertible heater channels Reply with quote

After a Christmas eve session building a rotisserie we finally got the 1960 Karmann Cabriolet off the pan ready for body work. Unfortunately things not looking so good for the RH heater channel.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The battery area is very rusty with the internal heater channel tube rusted out for about 6 inches up within the channel.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The support rails need replacing but replacing the whole heater channel seems like a huge job just to fix the tube.

Does anyone have some advise on how to proceed with this one?

Much appreciated.

Scott
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First thing to do is really check the integrity of your channels. You have made the plunge to do the repairs, make SURE you only do them once and right.

By that picture alone, chances are more damage and rust is present further than the obvious. Replace the channel or channels....

IF you honestly think you have no issues further than what you see, buy a whole channel, use what you need, and sell the remnants off.
Option 2, buy the inner repair sections, and use the portion you need, as its nearly the same profile.
Option 3 patch with available sheet metal.
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scottalford
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken, thanks for the comments. Yes, it is an opportunity to do the job correctly.

My concern is with repro heater channels. They are not the same as the OG ones as far as material thickness and profile. 95% of the heater channel is in great condition, but to fix the internal tube will mean taking off the bottom plate which is ok.

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Is it possible to replace the inner tube while still on the body? Or is it beat to remove the heater channel and attempt the repair on the bench?

I was thinking that this may be easier. I would still need to buy a repo heater channel to get the internal tube.

Scott
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6Kabrio7
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure heater channel replacement on a convertible requires a body off.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6Kabrio7 wrote:
I'm pretty sure heater channel replacement on a convertible requires a body off.


Did you happen to miss the photos at the beginning of this post and notice his body is on a rotisserie already? Also the very first sentence states that he built a rotisserie on Christmas Eve. Rolling Eyes

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scottalford
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well looks can be decieving... started to remove the reinforcing rail and channel bottom plate today. The internal heater tube is way far gone..

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Definately two new heater channels on the cards now. Which ones are the best for a 1959 - 60 model??

Scott
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can easily obtain new channel bottoms.
IF the top of the channel in the door areas is good, leave well enough alone and make patches where it is rotted. This will be a LOT easier than cutting it out to weld in a new complete unit.
I'd give real careful consideration to if you can and how to simply repair what you have. You'll need to do some serious evaluation of what is absolutely solid and what isn't.
Remember the best metal on your car is the original metal, keep it if you can.
As has been suggested, purchase new heater channels and cut out the portions you need and weld them in.
The best heater channels? who really knows? it is a topic full of opinions that conflict with each other.
aircooled.net carries newer channels that they claim are OEM VW channels. You might want to check them out. It's a Good company to deal with.

On my Super, the top of the heater channel was fine, it had rusted at the wheel splash panel and allowed water infiltration which damaged the bottom.
Another place to look is at the lower A pillar (hinges). the door hinge screw holes allow water and dirt to infiltrate and then simply sit between the outer pillar skin and the inner portion thus rotting away the heater channel and pillar at that point. The drain hole in the front 1/4 panel often clogs from dirt and items being dropped down the "black hole" from the luggage area and allowing moisture to set and rot the bottom of the 1/4 away.

And yes, other's had warned you that the rust will be worse than you initially thought it was. Shocked

Good Luck!
Dave
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scottalford
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

Thanks for the comments. Repairing what I have would make a lot of sense. As I have said 95% of the heater channel is in good condition.

I'll continue to open the channel up to under the A pillar. From the outside the A pillar is not to bad with a small amount of rust.

I have a question.. which year model did the heater channel change to have the internal tube. I got a 1958 donor shell for the front and rear aprons and guards but the heater channels are only a single skin.

Could I convert my heater channels back to the older style or would this cause issues for my carpet with heat from the channel?

Thanks

Scott
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scottalford
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spent a few more hours with the air chisel and grinder to open up the rest of the channel. There is some rust at the base of the A pillar but the top of the heater channel looks ok there.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Now the decision - Repair or Replace???

I have some good 1958 heater channels which I can use some parts out of but what to do about the internal tube??
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really depends if you Plan on running heat or not. Not really a very good heater IMO. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Yeah, that's the rust from the clogged bottom drain hole I mentioned. How's the heater channel in this area? You can easily rebuild the lower A pillar here and 1/4 panel.

I'd for sure fix the heater pipe, it isn't hard to do and will give you more heat than just blowing through the channel will give. There is a layer of dead air between the pipe and the channel acting as insulation.


This Statement....
Nubby wrote:
......... Not really a very good heater IMO. Embarassed


Is a bunch of BS if you have good heater channels, good heat exchangers and the proper tin and thermostat. The heat in these cars is actually hotter than water pumpers deliver!

Dave
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scottalford
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,

The top of the heater channel above at the A pillar is solid.

How does the internal tube come out. I can see all the welds along the length but how about for the windscreen defrost tube? Is it welded to the heater channel outer?

Thanks

Scott
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cannot answer that question with any 100% certainty. It is a round pipe that exits inside of the 1/4 panel, if memory serves it is indeed welded tot he channel but others will need to chime in and verify.
If it's solid at the A pillar, I'd my all means simply fix the pipe and channel rot. Put on a new bottom and call it good!

Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: Vert channels. Reply with quote

I'm at the same cross roads with my late 57 vert. I can take more pictures. I have the channels open and donars as well. I can show The inner heat channel.

I have perfect donar channels but the metal between doors is fine. Just need foot well and rear areas.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=477853&highlight=vert
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For information I also thought the defrost pipe is welded. I currently have a pair of original channels out of a car, and have confirmed, the defrost pipe is welded to the channel on the top.
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Its your vehicle- stop askin' for approval-do what YOU like for cryin' out loud
Better to roll em' how you want and wear em' out-than lettin' em' rot out
Its about the going not the showing
Rebuilt to drive not decorate
WANTED: Local Eatin' Joints, Triple D for TheSamba contributions here http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=570510
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scottalford
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it looks like the heater channels will need to be removed regardless. Either to fix or to put new ones in.

I might just wait to see how Gerson's new channels look and see if I can get a set shipped to Oz.

I'll turn my attention to the rest of the body work for the moment. The rear apron replacement will keep mw busy for a while. Then onto the front clip and fixing the guards. And if still not ready I can do the RH drive dash conversion as well....

Scott
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, If the tops are as good as you say, I'd figure out a way to simply cut out the defrost pipe to slide the new inner heater portion in place. If you really think the pipe needs to be secure, you can figure out a way to weld it to be stable from under, or use a high temp or body panel adhesive, to hold the defrost pipe at its neck. You could also leave the heater front portion in place and splice the center heater tube at a point where its solid. You have nothing to loose by trying. If during removal you dont think you can make it work, move on to replacing the entire channel.
I wouldnt replace the entire channel if if I didnt have to.
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aka Ken {o\!/o}
Its your vehicle- stop askin' for approval-do what YOU like for cryin' out loud
Better to roll em' how you want and wear em' out-than lettin' em' rot out
Its about the going not the showing
Rebuilt to drive not decorate
WANTED: Local Eatin' Joints, Triple D for TheSamba contributions here http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=570510
Search "VOLKSWAGNUT" on YouTube since you cant watch a "certain" BELT change video round here
Usually and often edited
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