2020-2021 Winter Projects

It is pretty much the end of the 2020 show season. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic I didn’t attend any in person shows. I did enter a virtual show, but it just isn’t quite the same as looking at the cars and meeting the people in person. I hope that 2021 offers more opportunities for the car show community to get together in person.

Of course not attending car shows doesn’t translate to not driving the car. My driving time was very limited, but I did get the opportunity to stretch the car’s legs a few times. It also gave me plenty of time to plan what car projects I would like to complete this winter. I thought I had a plan, but on my last drive of the season the car gave me a clear indication as to what my highest priority winter project will be this year.

I got the car all cleaned up in preparation for what I thought would be my last drive of the season. I only got a short way from my house before I remembered I needed to bring a mask with me. I didn’t really expect to be in close proximity to any people, but just wanted to bring a mask just in case. I made a quick U-turn and headed back home. I was now driving in a direction where the sun was shining straight through the front windshield. I noticed what appeared to be some smoke or fog rising up in front of the dash. It quickly cleared so I kept on going. I arrived back home and went inside to get my mask. When I returned to the car I noticed a small puddle on the passenger side floor mat and some dripping coming from the heater box. This was something I’d seen before, just not for a number of decades. It looked like I was going to need to replace the heater core. Looks like my joy ride for the day was over.

A couple of days later I made it back out to the garage and pulled the heater box out. One look at the heater core and it was obvious it was leaking. The heater hoses and heater box were in good shape as I had replaced/rebuilt them in the past. So just replacing the heater core was a viable option that I could pursue without a lot of additional work or expense.

Another option would be to install an aftermarket air conditioning unit. This option involves a lot more work but would make driving on long trips more comfortable. Since my car has a factory console there is no room for an A/C unit that hangs under the dash. However there are several companies that sell kits that install in the dash, replacing the factory heater box with a unit that has blended air/heat, and dehumidified defrost functions. I’m not completely certain at this point and I keep oscillating back and forth between A/C and no A/C, but I’m starting to lean towards adding the A/C system. At this point I’m researching and waiting to see if I can get any Black Friday or holiday deals.

Whichever route I choose, I’ll do my best to document the install process, hopefully with lots of photos.

The three aftermarket A/C kits I’m considering are: