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Are Heater Box Clips available?


calw
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This isn't for a restoration, but if all you want is a good repair, read on. Stainless steel wire wrapped around the clip lugs then twisted tightly makes for a durable repair. It lasted many years on all 3 heater boxes that I've repaired. All of them needed other non-stock repairs as well due to broken, brittle, old plastic. You can make a good sturdy box with the wire clamps and some home-made "improvements".

 

Use backing washers that fit the rivets closely on all the rivets that grip directly on plastic. You'll most likely break the 45-50 year old plastic without them.

 

Search for hot water valve repair tips. Making a bracket from sheet metal is not difficult. In reality, the bracket isn't all that necessary. The hoses will hold the valve in place well enough.

 

Find some fairly thin open-cell foam sheet for the flap seals. Use trim adhesive to install it. The self-stick stuff may not stay on very long, and it's often too stiff to allow the doors to close completely.

 

Check your local hardware store for rubber grommets. They often have some the fit the flap shafts. I've also found bronze bushings the fit the shafts, but you need to drill out the box to use those. They'll never wear out or become hard and brittle like the originals.

 

Hope that helps.

Edited by JerryC
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Thanks for inputs.  Jaymic calls them genuine BMW parts, so I assume it was or is available directly.  The P/N will be elusive, sigh. 

 

Stainless wire - (is safety wire stainless?) -  is a good idea, it will hold and the tightening can be gently unlike the snap action of the clips.  Unfortunately, 50 year old plastic ain't very plastic at this point, so stress minimizing is a good thing.  I'm using small machine screws with fender washers and keps locking nuts to assemble mine, not rivets.  Don't know if I'll have occasion to go back inside, but drilling out rivets near crispy old plastic is not fun.  I am also resisting the urge to put any sealing compound between the sections when assembling.  Again, if it hardens later, good luck getting back inside the heater box.

 

There's another thread which mentions a mcmaster carr p/n for thin closed cell foam with self stick on the back, comes on a roll.  It's the right thickness.  I'm using it. and found that it's adhesive is very sticky- removing it after application requires a razor blade and destroying the piece- luckily the roll is ample for a lifetime of heater box rebuilds, for you and all of your friends.  Don't know how long it will last, but ti looks like good stuff. 

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I was able to gently tap the brackets off and on, you could carefully bend them a little, it's still a snug fit and easier to get on, I experimented as I had about 4 old boxes to make 1, I've managed to clean up the old brackets and hit them with penetrol, I then left them in the Aussie sun and hosed them daily to see how they would hold up, Penetrol is amazing stuff.... no rust.

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