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How not to replace a Force heater

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  • Mike Chancey
    Hi folks, Sometime back on the EVDL someone asked about cutting though the firewall on their donor car to remove the heater core. I kind of poo-pooed the
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 27, 2005
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      Hi folks,

      Sometime back on the EVDL someone asked about cutting though the firewall
      on their donor car to remove the heater core. I kind of poo-pooed the
      idea, as most car heater cores aren't that difficult to access if you have
      the proper instructions. Well, I was wrong. Some cars just SUCK. The
      heater on my Force hasn't never worked since I put it on the road, so
      yesterday I tore into it to try and find the problem. I have the factory
      Geo service manual, so I carefully followed their instructions. To remove
      the heater core, you have to remove the entire dashboard and steering
      column! After hours of work, I finally got it all out. I then discovered
      Solectria had found an easier way. They had simply cut a hole in the side
      of the heater housing, yanked out the heater core, then inserted the
      ceramic heater elements. Had I noticed this sooner it would have saved me
      hours of labor.

      Anyway, once I got it out and accessed it, I discovered the element had
      failed. I suspect this happened way back when the car was new. The
      heater blower did not work on the lowest fan speed setting, which just
      happens to be the setting used by the pre-heater. Without any airflow, the
      element would heat up, the over heat switch would trigger, the element
      would cool, the switch would then cycle it back on. After several months
      of this the element apparently failed. I have now repaired the blower and
      replaced the element and just in time for warm spring weather. I have heat
      now that I won't need it. :) Timing is everything.

      It does appear there are times when simply hacking the heater box open
      might just be the better solution. With a little care, one could even make
      an access plate that screws in to allow future repairs if needed, rather
      than simply sticking it all back together with copious quantities of black
      silicon adhesive as Solectria did. You like and you learn.

      Thanks,

      Mike Chancey,
      '88 Civic EV
      '95 Solectria Force
      Kansas City, Missouri
      EV List Photo Album at: http://evalbum.com
      My Electric Car at: http://www.geocities.com/electric_honda
      Mid-America EAA chapter at: http://maeaa.org
      Join the EV List at: http://www.madkatz.com/ev/evlist.html
    • gjc0@aol.com
      Mike: Thanks for the tip. Where does one buy the replacement ceramic heater? Mine still works, but it is always nice to know where to buy parts if the day
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 27, 2005
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        Mike:

        Thanks for the tip. Where does one buy the replacement
        ceramic heater?

        Mine still works, but it is always nice to know where to
        buy parts if the day comes.

        Gary Carlson


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mike Chancey
        ... Wow, slow response here. I actually lucked out on the heater. When I converted my Civic I just used two elements from inexpensive cube heaters. I had a
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 6 9:49 PM
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          Gary Carlson wrote:
          >Mike:
          >
          >Thanks for the tip. Where does one buy the replacement
          >ceramic heater?
          >
          >Mine still works, but it is always nice to know where to
          >buy parts if the day comes.
          >
          >Gary Carlson


          Wow, slow response here. I actually lucked out on the heater. When I
          converted my Civic I just used two elements from inexpensive cube
          heaters. I had a third one, so for the Force I opened it up and was
          shocked to find an element virtually identical to the one Solectria
          used. It fit perfectly and it worked so I guess it was a good match.

          Thanks,


          Mike Chancey,
          '88 Civic EV
          '95 Solectria Force
          Kansas City, Missouri
          EV List Photo Album at: http://evalbum.com
          My Electric Car at: http://www.geocities.com/electric_honda
          Mid-America EAA chapter at: http://maeaa.org
          Join the EV List at: http://www.madkatz.com/ev/evlist.html

          Wasting imported oil is not an act of patriotism, conserving it is.
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