Removing the MGB heater is considered one of the most PITA jobs that MG restorers come across. Recommendations include having lots of band aids, making sure kids aren’t around because of colourful language and have beer, I’m not sure whether the beer is for before the work or after to celebrate, maybe both.
With this in mind I’ve been avoiding dealing with the heater on a regular basis. But, it has to come out now as I prepare to paint the engine compartment. I’ve thought about masking the heater off and then painting but then I have one ugly in need of restoration heater in a nice looking engine compartment. Let’s do it right! Here’s what the ugly MG heater looks like.
Not very pretty. Hopefully it won’t be as ugly on the inside! This is what the interior looks like, what a rats nest! The wiring really needs to be cleaned up under the dash.
I started on the interior of the MG by removing the center console. Fortunately there isn’t a speaker or stereo stuffed in there so no wiring to deal with. The console is held in place with 2 screws on each side so I took these out and while the console was loose it wouldn’t come out. Turns out there were a few bolts under the carpet in front of the console and once these were removed it came out easily.
This is what we have now. Lots of space to work. At this point I’m thinking that the center console could possibly have stayed in but we certainly have better visibility now and while I have the console out I can clean up some other messes.
Removing the old venting proved to be easy enough although the right one fell apart. These are easy to replace so Moss Motors will likely make some more money in the near future. There might even be more modern materials available, lots has changed in the past 50 years.
The rubber elbows came out easily once I applied a little heat from a blow drier to them. Fifty year old rubber can be somewhat stiff but at least the elbows are in good shape and can definitely be reused.
Once the rubber elbows are removed it’s easy to reach in with long nose pliers and remove the connecting pipes. At this point the heater box is free except for the control cable.
There are two ways to remove the heater control cable. The first is to reach under the dash with a small socket or nut remover and undo the cables. This is a royal PITA as the nuts are above the control unit and not easily accessible. The second method involves removing the heater control knob and then removing the control from the dash. No blood lost!
To remove the knob you need to depress a spring through a hole (I used a drill bit to press in) and pull the knob off the shaft. It took a little prying but worked well. Once the control is removed from behind the dash it’s easy to remove the cable.
At this point it’s time to have a beer before heading into the engine compartment for more fun. Next installment… removing the MGB GT heater box from the engine compartment. Stay tuned!