I drove over to Mr. Soldittome's
house to pick up Maych. After doing the paper
work and visiting a little, he walked me out to the pickup. As I
was getting ready to drive away, he said, "Oh yeah, when you want
to switch over to heat this winter, just push up on the
wire". I was in a hurry to get Maych to his
new home, so I said, "OK, thanks", even though I didn't have
a clue what he was talking about. We guys (at least me) tend to
do that a lot -- act like we fully understand, even when we are
It was actually my wife
that solved the mystery. As I was showing her my new acquisition,
and pointing out all of the things that made it such a good buy, she
asked, "what the heck is that?"
I looked where she was pointing and saw a thin, stiff piece of wire,
about 4 inches long hanging down from a part of the heater under the dash. I
still don't know the
correct name for this part of the heater. It seems every parts catalog
calls it something different. What the part does is direct the air
from the blower to either the dash or the floor. I'll just
call it a diverter box.
in the last 30 years, the flap door inside the diverter box that
directs air flow around the cab quit working. Rather than replace
the diverter box, someone drilled a hole through the
bottom and attached a stiff wire to the flap door
so it could be open and shut by pulling or pushing on the wire.
It actually worked quite well -- if you had someone riding along
to do the work. But it was definitely not something you would want to do
while driving down the Interstate.
For whatever reason,
I decided this was the first item on Maych that I
needed to address. It was just one of those things that
"had to go", like curb feelers or hood ornaments. I
just knew that every time I showed someone the pickup, no matter how
else the pickup looked, the one comment they would make would be,
"what the heck is that thing?" So, it had to go.
I could fix it, I had to figure out what was wrong with it. That
meant I had to remove the diverter box. To get the diverter box out, you
just remove a few screws, remove the heater/AC lever cable, and unhook
the hoses that go to the AC vents. I could tell that getting it
back in was not going to be as easy, but more on that later.
I got the diverter box out it was apparent why the flap door wasn't
working. The flap door has a metal rod molded into its bottom
edge. This metal rod extends through each side of the diverter box
and acts like an axle which, when rotated, moves the flap door.
A metal bracket is attached to one end of the metal rod and the
heater/AC lever cable attaches to this bracket. When you move
the heater/AC lever, the rod rotates and the flap door moves with
it. At least it did before the flap door broke into. After
it broke, the lever still moved the rod, but because the flap door was
now in two pieces, only the bottom portion of the flap door
moved. I decided I could probably repair the flap door if I
could get it out of the diverter box.
The problem was, that
the metal rod that rotates the flap door was installed in the diverter box
before the the two halves that make up the diverter box were glued
together. The only way to get the rod out is to separate the two
halves. Obviously, the original manufacturer did not design this
piece to be taken back apart. The two halves of the diverter box are
glued together with some type of glue that effectively fuses the two
halves. Much like gluing PVC pipe together. No way it's
coming back apart without some serious sawing. So, time to do a
Who would have thought that there are
so many different businesses selling parts for these old pickups?
I figured the hard part would be finding the part. Turns out the
hard part is deciding which business has the best part for the best
price. Thanks to the Internet, finding parts dealers and
checking prices is simple. Determining quality is a
little tougher. You mostly have to rely on past experience or get
advice from others through one of the many
Message Boards available on the
As a result of my search for a diverter box, I
wound up with several catalogs and a list of Internet addresses for
various businesses that sell parts for old pickups. Now that I
had sources for parts, I thought I might as well take an inventory of
all the things I would need to restore the cab interior and order them
at the same time I ordered the diverter box. That way, I would at
least save a little on shipping. While waiting for the parts, I
began restoring the cab interior, starting with the dash.