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February 22, 2003
2.5 Hours

Gutting the Interior

What, you thought that just because I went to see Doug today, I wasn't going to get any work done? I was inspired! Today was also the first day in more than a month that it wasn't under 20 degrees outside. I can handle 30+ degrees, but if you get much colder than that, the fingers stop working.

Since Doug has my kingpins and I couldn't continue in the suspension department, I decided to get the interior cleaned out. I started with the easy stuff, the seat cushions and seat backs. Then I removed the seat frame and adjustable tracks for the front seat, and the rear seat back. Then I pulled the rear quarter panels, which were just kind of hanging there after being reupholstered at some point in the past. Finally, I pulled the window moldings from around the windshield and rear window. I have to send them out with the dashboard and other window moldings and have them woodgrained.

I also removed the underseat heater, which is a pretty neat little assembly. It's a doughnut-shaped heater core, with the fan in the middle. It has ducting that pushes warm air into the front passenger's footwell as well as into the back seat. It came out with 4 screws and some wrestling with the tarpaper that was used as both insulation and a gasket between the heater assembly and the floorboards. I also had to disconnect the new hoses I installed a few months ago. Good thing I did all that work, eh?

I wanted to remove the dashboard, but I haven't found all the fasteners yet. The shop manual is pretty vague (what else is new?), so I was working by feel. Anyone out there know how to take the dash apart on a '41 Buick? Let me know...

Heater1.jpg (45684 bytes)
The heater lives under the front seat frame. It actually still
works, though I'll be rebuilding it before reinstallation. I also
learned today that the housing is painted a medium brown.

Heater2.jpg (45918 bytes)
A better view of the heater unit itself. The red arrows indicate
the direction of airflow when the heater is operating. Since
the coolant is always flowing, there is a valve on the water pump
to shut off coolant flow so that the heat doesn't cook the interior
during the summer months.

Heater 3.jpg (60937 bytes)
Once the heater is out, you can see how it fits into the floor
boards. It was simply sealed with some tar-impregnated cardboard
which was pretty much intact, even after 62 years. And yes, there
was coolant in the hoses and heater core when I pulled it, and
yes, it spilled all over the place. There's no way to drain it
except the messy way. And you've discovered my secret tire storage
area: under the car.

Back Seat 1.jpg (44120 bytes)
Here's what lives behind the back seat: waterlogged plywood.
It actually looks worse than it is, but I'll replace this for sure
(after all, I used to be a professional carpenter). Interestingly,
those two holes are for ventilation so that the air flows through
the car. There are also vents in the trunk to facilitate airflow.


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Last modified on 02/06/2005

Thanks, Fidget!