Heat and A/C

After unscrewing five nuts from the firewall, I was able to remove the heater and A/C as an entire unit. (A/C on the right, heater on the left)


The passenger compartment is looking mighty spacious now!  Leaving the seat in makes it easier to work.


Snapped a picture of the windshield wiper linkage before removing.


Noted the position of some fiberglass panels attached to the firewall before removing.  They keep the heat from the engine compartment from entering the passenger compartment.




Now it’s time to start working on the engine compartment.  All of this stuff needs to come out!


Electronic ignition module:     17-electronic-ignition-and-fasteners

Vacuum canister.  It keeps the accessory vacuum constant even as the engine vacuum changes.  Kinda like a mechanical version of a capacitor.


Heater control valve.  When you slide the lever on the dash from COLD to WARM, this valve opens up and allows hot water from the engine to enter the heater core in the passenger compartment.


Dash Part 2

Now we just need to disconnect  some wires, some pneumatic lines and a heater control linkage.  Then we should be able to remove the dash assembly from the car.  Here I am removing the passenger door switch.


Unplugging the wires from the door buzzer and seatbelt warning relay / buzzer.


What a mess!  Glad I’m taking pictures.


Removing the wiring harness from the firewall.


Heater control linkage.


Brake switch wiring (both the emergency brake and foot brake)


Finally, the dash is free!


Here’s how the car looks with no dash.  Spacious!


Dash part 1

I snapped some photos of the various wiring connections inside the dash.   It’s pretty obvious what connects to where but I wanted to make sure I captured the wire routing since all of that is going to get dismantled.



The infamous turn signal “clicker”


Instrument cluster wiring


So the dash is held in place by five screws that run along the bottom of the front windshield and two more screws, one on the far left and one on the far right where your feet go.  I discovered that these extra two screws are used as pivot points.  After loosening them slightly, I removed the five top screws and was able to rock the entire dash back toward the interior of the car.  This makes it very easy to get at all of the pneumatic tubing, wiring and various other gizmos located in there.   I suspect the dash started out this way when the car was being assembled.  After everything was hooked up, they’d simply rock the dash into place and tighten all of the screws.


Here are a couple of souvenirs I found hiding inside the dash.  Looks like Ed’s Westwood is still around.  A body shop.  Funny, I don’t remember ever taking the car there.  Must have been before my time.


Working my way forward

The car is starting to look pretty bare in the rear.  Time to focus my attention toward the front of the car.


I removed the glove box door and the glove box itself.  Snapped a picture of the bulb for the map light just so I’d remember what it went to later.


I plan to remove the instrument cluster next but to do so easily, I’ll need to pull the steering column first.  I’ll need to disconnect the gear shift linkage and disconnect the steering shaft from the gear box.


The shift linkage is now disconnected.  Rats.  I don’t have a suitable tool to tap out the roll pin in the steering coupling.


I tried using various spare bolts I had laying around.  Those didn’t work.  The punches I had were too small.  Finally I called a friend and he brought over an assortment of hardware he thought might fit the bill.  We cut one end flat on this metal rod and successfully tapped out the roll pin lickety split!


Next I pulled the steering wheel.  Sure helps to have the right tool for this.


I made a note of how the coupling attached to the steering box.  There were marks on both pieces already.


I removed the support bracket under the steering column.  Snapped a picture so I would remember the wire routing.  Unplugged the steering column connector, removed three bolts from the floor board and gently extracted the steering column.


The instrument cluster came out fairly easily.  Just had to disconnect the speedometer cable, some plugs and the ammeter cables.


I sat and pondered how I might remove the heating & A/C units from under the dash.  I decided it’ll probably be easier if I remove the dash first.  But the problem is, the bolts that secure the dash to the car are right up against the bottom of the windshield.  So I’ll have to remove the windshield first.  I carefully removed the chrome trim around the windshield.


Then I cut the old rubber windshield gasket.


After pulling off the part of the gasket that was holding the windshield in place, I was able to gently press out the windshield and remove it from the car.


Yuck!  Lots of rust damage under there.  Hopefully the body shop will be able to fix it.


And voilà!  The dash fasteners!



I started by pulling the rubber weatherstrip from the channel along the edge of the roof.


After unscrewing the 15 screws holding the weatherstrip channel in place, it wouldn’t budge.  I discovered that it was held in place with some 1/8″ thick double-sided adhesive foam weatherstrip.  After heating the weatherstrip channel with a heat gun, it came off easily and I was able to peel off the old foam strip.


There were some little black clips that held the sides of the headliner in place.  I took photos to mark their location.


There is a black rail that runs along the interior of that weatherstrip channel.  It’s held in with one screw and several clips.  Uh oh.  Looks like there’s some rust damage on the driver’s side drip rail…


I removed the frame around the rear window.


After removing the sun visors , rear view mirror and dome light, the headliner was finally free!



Here’s the underside of the roof.


Side windows

Time to remove the side windows and the machinery inside the doors (formally referred to as “window regulators”). After popping off the door panels, I removed the top rails.  Over the years, some parts of the mounting flange had broken off, probably due to over tightening the screws.  Looks like a common problem as I found several of these on e-bay with broken mounting holes.   I’m thinking I can probably use a nibbler tool to nibble out a rectangular area around the screw hole.  Then slide in a new piece of ABS (perhaps from an old fish aquarium lid) and cement it in place with ABS cement.  Then I can just drill a new screw hole.  We’ll see.


This is my first time removing glass windows from an automobile.  I wasn’t exactly sure how they were attached so I slid my iPhone inside the door and took a picture of the glass.  Looks like some sort of retainer that screws on.  I reached up inside the door, found the retainer with my fingers and tried to twist it.  It budged and I unscrewed it and another located on the other end of the window.  Lifting the glass out was a cinch.

Back side window fastener

To remove the window regulator, I just needed to unscrew all of the screws and remove the assembly through the large hole in the bottom of the door.  Some of the mounting holes are slotted to allow for adjustment.  I snapped a photo first so I would have a record of the original screw positions.

Passenger Door 4

Here’s the window regulator assembly.  The grease has hardened, making the regulator operation very stiff.  I’ll eventually clean it up and re-grease it before reinstalling in the car.  For now, it goes in a box in the car parts shed.


I thought the rear quarter windows would be just as easy.  They turned out to be quite a challenge to remove.   They hadn’t been operated in probably 20 years and were so stiff, it felt like something was going to break when I tried to operate them.

I’ll need to disassemble this one inside the door and pull the pieces out individually.  Smaller access hole too.  I snapped a photo to remember screw positions.


And here are the pieces.  Yikes!


Not being really sure how this all goes back together, I decided I should try to reinstall it in the car, especially while the other one is still in tact so I can reference it if I need to.  I cleaned off the old grease and put a dab of oil on all of the moving parts.  After a couple hours of fidgeting, I finally got it assembled back inside the car (and it actually feels good now that all the parts can move freely).  I jotted down a reassembly procedure for future reference:

  1. Insert window tray (piece window bolts to)
  2. Insert swivel roller into bottom slot.  Same orientation as other swivel roller.
  3. Insert black roller into top slot (with white roller facing interior of car)
  4. Insert window regulator.   
  5. Guide small roller into track welded onto interior wall of car.  
  6. Insert blue rollers into top slot and middle slot of window tray.
  7. Loosely bolt down regulator with three 7/16” screws
  8. Slide long track through both swivel rollers.  Loosely bolt into place with one nut and washer.
  9. Slide short track into place making sure it engages the one remaining roller.  Bolt in.
  10. Install three stoppers.
  11. Install glass
  12. Tighten all bolts.  Adjust as necessary.

I then removed both driver and passenger window mechanisms, bagged up the small parts and stored everything in the car parts shed.

Organization is key

The plan now is to strip the car completely down to the bare body, tow it to a body shop and have it painted.  The car can be broken down roughly into five sections:  Rear end, front end, interior, dash, and engine compartment.  With the rear end already removed, I decided to tackle the interior next.

I realized how important it was going to be to stay organized.   A few years ago, a neighbor decided he was going to restore his Range Rover.  He stripped it all the way down and eventually got discouraged.  He ended up selling the parts on e-bay and hauling the body to the dump.  I don’t want this to happen to me.

I swung by Office Depot and picked up some 4×6 and 9×12 resealable plastic bags that you can write on.


Any parts I removed from the car would be put into bags labeled with the date and a short description.


The date would allow me to reference a folder on my computer containing pictures I took on that date.  I could easily look up the photo showing how that part was installed.  By the way, smartphones are great for a project like this.  They make it convenient to snap pictures, even in hard to access  areas such as inside the car door or under a motor mount.



A whole section of the car, say, driver’s and passenger’s doors would go into a box (also picked up at Office Depot) and filed away in a temporary storage shed.



I opted to set up an affordable storage shed so I could keep the parts out of the way and not clutter the work area in the garage.



I’m also keeping a detailed log of every part that comes off of the car and putting special notes in there that will help when it comes time to reassemble.  Here’s an excerpt from the log:


  • Passenger door.  Removed door panel and top rail.  Removed long metal brace that sits under top rail.  Removed rubber bumper stopper under window.  Rolled window down below top of door.  Removed outside weather strip that contacts exterior of window (6 screws).  Removed door lever.  Removed door lever linkage (linkage goes between door lock stem and sheet metal (not between stem and glass)).  Cloth end toward latch mechanism.  Removed door lock linkage (one bolt).  Removed door handle linkage retainer (one gold screw).  There are two nuts on the bottom of the window where the regulator attaches to the window.  These MUST be removed.  Window is removed by itself, then regulator later.  Regulator is removed from large opening in bottom of door.  Removed tracks (can be removed thru large hole in bottom of door).  Removed latch mechanism.  Removed door handle.  Removed door lock.  Removed small rubber door bumper.
  • Driver’s door.  Removed door panel and top rail.  Removed long metal brace that sits under top rail (this one only had two bolts holding it down.  Looks like 3rd clip wasn’t reinstalled by Guy Hill back in ‘92).  Removed outside weather strip (6 screws).  Removed retainer screws from top of slide rails.  Removed two 7/16” nuts at bottom of window (attaches window regulator to window).  Window regulator is held to door by two longer 7/16” screws and three shorter 7/16” screws.  removed rubber window bumper.  Loosened window regulator.  Removed window.  removed window regulator.  Removed door lock, outer handle, outer lock, outer mirror.  Removed door latch.


  • Removed exhaust.  Two 11/16 nuts with lock washers to hold the flange to the manifold.  One ½” nut to hang the back.
  • Removed fuel line fasteners.  Six ½” screws.  One ⅜” screw.  One ½” screw has a special washer.  It installs by the distributor.  The ⅜” screw installs by the canister.  One clip installs on the rear passenger frame rail behind the axle.

I try to jot down every detail that I think will be helpful when it comes time to reassemble the car.  I should be able to just go through the log in reverse when it comes time to reassemble.

Change of plan

I’ve been trying to stick to my plan of always keeping the car in a drivable condition.  Just disassemble and clean a section, then put it back.  But as I dug in and had a closer look at the undercarriage, I realized my plan would have to change.   40-year old undercoating is caked onto the underbody and it wouldn’t look good if I just painted over it.  The old undercoat would have to come off.  After a little research, I found the consensus for removing undercoating seemed to be to use a heat gun to soften it first then scrape it off with a putty knife.  Then use a stripper to remove the left over residue.

I began on the rear passenger side.  The sheet metal was spot welded in sections which made it convenient to work on a section at a time.   I would remove as much as I could with heat and a putty knife then I would brush on some Citristrip gel, let it sit for about 30 minutes and the rest would come off with a wire brush.

Rear underbody_2

As I worked my way across the car to the driver’s side, I noticed some sheet metal was very flimsy as I was scraping it.  As the undercoat came off, the problem became apparent.  A section of the trunk had rusted through!  I had left some old rubber floor mats in the trunk and water somehow got trapped under them.


I can solder a 100-pin QFP onto a circuit board without hesitation but I never did get much practice welding sheet metal.  I’ve got some other rust spots on the body too.  I decided it would be best to hand this work off to a professional.

Driver side rocker panel damage:


Passenger side rocker panel damage:


Some rust damage on the roof:


Some more research on the internet led me to Triple A Auto Body & Paint.   Armed with the above photos, I took a drive down there and talked with a fellow named Angel.  He looked at the photos and assured me it would be no problem to repair.

So now I have a new plan:  Strip the car completely down to just the body parts.  I’ll need to reinstall the rear axle so I can tow it there (there are several towing options.  Not sure which I’ll use yet).

Clean and Paint

A friend came by as I was disassembling the rear end and suggested I take a peek inside the gas tank.  He said I might be surprised at what I find.  We removed the sending unit and he was right.  I couldn’t believe how corroded it was!  In fact, the float had completely dissolved and was nowhere to be seen.  That explains why the fuel gauge always said “E”.

Old sending unit

He suggested I buy a new gas tank rather than just cleaning up the old one.  With water being heavier than gas, any moisture that got into the gas tank over the years would sit on the bottom.  Eventually little pits would form and one day it would spring a leak.  Nothing like finding a giant puddle of gasoline on your garage floor. I took his advice and picked up a new gas tank from Classic Industries.  I painted it along with an assortment of other parts with Eastwood Extreme Chassis Black paint:  Gloss finish.

Painted parts

As I was sanding down the drive shaft, I noticed the word “Detroit” stamped on the end.  Cool!

Driveshaft Detroit

I started giving the driveshaft a fresh coat of Extreme Chassis Black paint as it was suspended from the rafters in the garage with an old coat hanger.  Things were going well until I accidentally bumped the shaft and the hanger gave out.  The shaft fell three feet to the garage floor!  Ugh.  I looked at the eyelets on the end and they were definitely out of round.  No way would I be able to get a new U-Joint to fit in there.  A friend came by and we attempted to heat the metal with a torch and press in an old expendable U-Joint cap to try and reshape it but our efforts failed.  Discouraged, I brought the damaged driveshaft to Driveline Service of San Diego and explained what happened.   I told them I really wanted to preserve the “Detroit” end cap.  They were able to successfully press in the new U-Joint but it was really stiff and they weren’t comfortable it was going to be a good fix.  They did some digging and were able to find another driveshaft with a “Detroit” end cap.  They ended up cutting off the damaged cap and replacing it with the other “Detroit” cap they had in their shop.  Then they pressed in both U-Joints, attached the slip yoke, balanced the shaft and painted it!

Here’s the old end cap:

Old end cap

And here’s the balanced and painted shaft, ready to install!

Refurbished drive shaft

Differential Rebuild

Sticking with my plan of removing parts, cleaning /renewing them then putting them back on (always keeping the car in a drivable state), it was time to rebuild the differential.  I took it to San Diego Gear & Axle.  When they saw that it was a 7 1/4″ rear end (instead of the more popular 8 3/4″ model) they were worried they would not be able to get a new gear set for it.  After they cracked it open they discovered the gears were in great shape so all it needed was new bearings and seals.

I had some help sanding it down…

Dash sanding differential

And here’s the rebuilt and painted rear axle!

Differential rebuilt

Interestingly, the axle shafts ended up getting swapped during the rebuild.  I could tell because the missing wheel stud (originally on the driver’s side) ended up on the passenger side.  I picked up a new wheel stud at O’Reilley’s and tapped it in.  That was easy.  Can’t believe I went all those years without it!