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Dreaded Heater Vacuum Pipes


Glyn Harper

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Hey all..

My window demister is not working, as the vent is not opening.

I found that somehow, the vacuum pipes that control it all are not connected! I don't know how it's happened, but basically all three are loose. I must have caught them with my foot or something?

Anyway, I have the picture in the parts manual of what is meat to go where.. but that's only on paper and I can't actually seem to get to the place I need to reconnect the pipes.

The pipes I need to reconnect are the two that are 'T'd from the vacuum pump, and also the one that goes to the main capsule that opens the flap inside the front bonnet arear.

I just can't seem them anywhere, no matter how far I got in under both sides of the car!

Would taking the whole central console help? I only want to do this if one of you chaps reckon it'll be worth it, as it's a pain taking it all out and putting it back, as the dash has to come off to.

Cheers,

Glyn.

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Hi Glyn,

I had a dabble with this last year as my vents weren't working. Lucky for me it turned out to be a problem at the vacuum pump end rather than under the dash. Its a bloody nightmare under there. If I had to do this again the first thing I'd do is take out both seats so you not doing your back in using the 'lotus' position. On mine, I managed to get my hand in there and carefully pull the vacuum lines out a little so I could see them into the drivers foot well. They are very distinctive as very thin hard black plastic connecting into rubber boots or T's. Would it help if I got some pictures or video footage of what I can see on my car around the area ?

When you say 'all three are loose' how do you know this if you cant see them ? There is a strange setup which is if I look in the drivers footwell and look up into the console I can see three of the vacuum pipes T'd together, could it be that these just need connecting up again ?

Any pictures could help ?

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I actually know a easier way to to access these items other than taking the front apart as I have done this to several Esprit's. I assume there are common construction techniques in the UK and USA fed cars. The T is in US fed cars located on the left side of the car. If you go inverted with your head in the footwell lying on your back it is just to the left of where the center tunnel joins the front dash pad. Very small hard black plastic line into a rubber T, the line is about 1/8" in dia. The ones I have seen disconnected were the result of a rookie actually blowing in to the line in the back and blowing the lines aparts. It is supoposed to be vacumm only and is easily parted if given positive pressure even if only a few lbs. of pressure. To get to the cam controlled vac plunger that route to the flap actuators remove the radio from the pod and they are almost directly behind the stereo head unit you will see 2 of them on dead center or just to the right rear side of the stereo head unit opening. They are mounted on a metal strap via saddle clamps and if these shift by even an 1/8th of an inch it will cause the vent flaps to not move. In USA cars another way is to gain access to this area is the remove the fiber board glove box liner by dropping it out the bottom only held in place by several screws. Not sure if this trick will work in UK cars as the glove box is on the left side.

Good luck and tell us how it goes.

Calvin

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Thanks Carl and Calvin.

I know the 'T' piece you are on about. The pipes are still connected to this end, but they appear to have come out of the end that connects to the main unit that they then connect to..

Carl, it's probably the same under your car as mine.. I'm trying to kind of picture where the lever control unit thing is, in relation to the dashboard, so I know which parts to remove to get at it.

I think I'll have a go at removing the radio and see what that brings.

I honestly don't know how they got disconnected in the first place. All three were just sat loose! pulled one thinking it was not needed, and a rubbe piece of pipe came off with it that I assume goes to the main capsule that opens the flap inside the front compartment. Any ideas where this is?

Cheers,

Glyn.

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I have been working on these recently. I took the radio out and also the little tray/cig lighter thing below it. You can just about reach in to work on the parts then, as has been said above.

I have been advised that if you accidentally pull the pipe off where it connects to the actuator for the main inlet flap though, that you will have a nightmare.

I don't know whether this kind of vacuum operated system is used on normal cars, but I am not very impressed by it........

It looks like the parts are just pushed together. I used some araldite on some of the joints. The flaps now work but a leak must have reappeared because the pump is now running almost all the time, even though the flap movement is ok.

I added a bit of extra length in one place, using distributor vacuum advance pipes available in little packets in motor factors in the same racks as all the electrical clips, grommets etc. The bore size is slightly different, so it's a looser fit, hence the araldite and possibly the leaks.

Good luck.

............. that's fightingtorque!!!

www.fightingtorque.com

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From the rubber T it goes directly to 2 white plastic plunger vac valves that are mounted on a strap about 6" long held to this strap by small U shaped clamps. There are 2 cable driven (from the rotary knobs) eliptical plastic cams that rotate just above the plunger that press down on the plunger. These vac valves are in line devices that control how much vacumm is passed through to the flap actuators, so there is an in and out lines but I don't think it matter which side the lines are connected to it only that they are both connected to the valves. When the plunger is pressed in the vac is applied. Be careful you do not snap the off the ends off the valves where hose is connected as they age they become brittle. Also if the valves have slipped inthe saddle camps by even 1/8" they will not work correctly. You can get new valves from SJ. It'sa been a while but I recall that in USA fed cars the strap is mounted a little to the right of center if looking through the stereo opening. Being mine was a USA car I was able to access the valves with the glove box liner dropped out the bottom. Not sure how much of the items have been reverse mounted in the UK cars but I would suspect that such items as the heater parts have remained in the same place in both models. Out of curiosity I would like to know if the locations for small items such as these have been swapped left to right. Keep us informed of your progress.

Calvin

Edited by CNH
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Hello chaps..

Well.. Managed to finish the job at 1:30am this morning.. and my arms/hands look like I've been fighting with a panther..

This has to be one of the hardest jobs ever! Even harder than changing the inlet manifold to water pump pipe. (which i also had to do at the weekend!)

The main control system is in the same place on the UK as you describe, Calvin. I got to this bit easily from under the drivers (right) seat and put the two pipes from the T piece back into those. But the one going to the flap actuator...!!!!!! I think it was the first thing Lotus fitted, then built the car around it!! I ended up taking the heater fan out of the car (easier than I thought) and also the actual flap. Once you do that you there is a slot behind it for recirculating air, and in there you can see the actuator but can't really get to it. Perhaps if my arms were like a 10 year olds, and I had an extra elbow I could have re attached the pipe from there.

What I ended up doing was taking my instrument cluster off, pulling as much of the wiring from there out of the way, and then getting into the 'lotus position' while pushing my arm through as much wiring and pipework as possible. Just as I was at the extent of the length of my arms (and I'm 6'4" so I have quite long arms) I was able to just about reconnect it.

The connector you need to plug onto is facing right, so it's the only way. I suspect if US cars also have the actuator facing right it would be easier a job to do without all the wiring for the instrument cluster there.

I couldn't test it as I didn't want to run my car in the garage at 1:30, but I assume it'll be ok. If not, then I think I'll have to hire a 6'7" annorexic to fit it for me.

Lesson for the day.. if you see a random vacuum pipe not connected, don't think 'this will be for my redundant air con system' and pull it out..

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My main fresh air feed flap hasnt been working for a while so stupidly decided to have a "quick" look,well all the vac pipes are good no leaks ,but the fresh air actuator is leaking i think its corroded and leaking air in ,so i have taken off all plastic trim (the bit that holds the bonnet stay) and filled said rusty actuator with RTV so will see if that works ,if it doesnt (which i suspect may be the case) i will have to replace atuator,dont quite know how yet but will cross that bridge when i come to it,in thursday for a new uprated clutch ,the joys of owning one of these cars ! :rant:

Nick S4s

Simplest things first.

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Goodness, I wouldn't know how you'd get the old one out.. You really can barely get to it to be honest. It appears to bolt in from inside the front compartment which is where you say you removed the coverings from, you you can't really get to the back of the little nuts.

I think if mine failed, in all seriousness I would just cut the rod, and make the flap work manually instead, until I was taking the whole dash out in the future. I think it's the only way to change it. especially as it took me about 4 hours just to put the hose back on!!

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especially as it took me about 4 hours just to put the hose back on!!

Wow, big job for a little part. The UK LHD cars are much harder to work on the heater flap and wiper motors. I replaced that little plunger valve and it took me about 15 min. Since my car was a USA Fed version the glove box is on the right side. I removed several screws that held the glove box liner in place and dropped the liner out the bottom. I then accessed the heater control valves through the glove box opening without any obstructions.

Good job on the repair. People who repair Lotus cars have shown much tenacity and paitience.

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Update on my dodgy "repair"...............didnt work ,so i now need a new actuator,but the good news is the vacum pump is not running constantly.I think to replace the actuator i may "mod" the area with a dremel to gain access and replace it,it really does look like the car was built around the actuator not a terribly bright Lotus idea,i figure the diaphram is torn hence why the pump was running all the time when in closed position.Any ideas on a replacement atuator part number anyone?

Cheers

Nick S4s

Ordered new one from SJ

Edited by fflyingdog

Simplest things first.

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It did actually occur to me to 'mod' the bodywork.

Once you have the plenum cover out from inside the engine compartment and removed the flap thing, there is an area above it that you could could out and replace after, that would be covered by the plenum.

Not ideal, but I suspect in reality this part is fitted before the main dashboard so the only alternative would be to cut that out.

Mine all works a treat now.. Ace!!

Pity you Nick for having to replace the unit. You know that as soon as you remove the last bolt, the old one will drop down into a position it can't be retrieved from don't you?!

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It did actually occur to me to 'mod' the bodywork.

Once you have the plenum cover out from inside the engine compartment and removed the flap thing, there is an area above it that you could could out and replace after, that would be covered by the plenum.

Not ideal, but I suspect in reality this part is fitted before the main dashboard so the only alternative would be to cut that out.

Mine all works a treat now.. Ace!!

Pity you Nick for having to replace the unit. You know that as soon as you remove the last bolt, the old one will drop down into a position it can't be retrieved from don't you?!

Yeah i know always the way ,will post pics when i get new part and have attempted to fit it !

Nick S4s

Simplest things first.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Your hands must be way smaller than mine if you got that done in two hours! If mine ever needs replacing I'm bringing it to your house :thumbsup:

Ok but i charge ! Honestly it was pretty straight forward,going through the bonnet.

Nick S4s

Simplest things first.

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