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Submitted By: martinihenry
Date: October 31, 2008, 04:23:08 AM
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Repairing loose vent louvers - martinihenry


The dash louvers in my RC have a tendency to flop around when I've got heat or AC going to them. Nothing makes me angrier than to look down and see cool or hot air being blown towards my door or my passenger instead of directly onto me! The culprit is the felt pads installed on the insides of the vent louvers at the factory. After 15 years, the adhesive on most of them turns into powder, and the felt pads fall off. The louvers no longer have a friction force to hold them in place, and the next thing you know, they start flopping from side to side on their own. The solution is simple....glue the little buggers back on with a superior adhesive. I use 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive (Part No. 08001). This stuff is widely known as "Yellow Snot" (Figure 1)

(Figure 1)

Step one: Removal

Remove the louver assembly from the dash. This is accomplished with a thin, long regular screwdriver. The louver is held into place by two plastic tabs, one at the top and one at the bottom (Figure 2). The tabs have a small post mounted on them that keys into a hole in the louver frame in the dash. These posts are what allow the louver assembly to pivot left or right. Insert your screwdriver into one tab, GENTLY pry the tab open, and pull the louver slightly forward to disengage the post from the hole. Repeat for the other tab

(Figure 2)

This evolution usually requires some fidgeting and shimmying of the louver, as undoubtedly one or both of the posts will slip and snap back into place. Be cautious if you use the louvers as a handle to pull the assembly out of the dash. It's very easy to break, or snap the individual louvers out of their holes. It's no fun trying to put them back together.

Here's a better picture of the tab (Figure 3)

(Figure 3)

Step two: Examination

The louver assy should have a piece of felt at the top, and at the bottom. You'll notice how this one is starting to slip off the louver (Figure 4)

(Figure 4)

It's very likely that one or both of the felt strips will be missing. This will be evidenced by remnants of the glue used to hold the felt pads in place.

Carefully remove any felt pads that have stayed in place, and put them aside.

Take the whole assembly into the bathroom or kitchen sink and wash it down with a toothbrush, some dish detergent, and water (Figure 5).

(Figure 5)

Not only will this clean all of the dirt and dust out of the louvers, it will remove any oils which may prevent the adhesive from keeping the pads in place when we re-glue them.

Step three: Glue Removal

Scrape off any remnants of the original glue with a knife or other blade. This will provide a better surface for the new glue to adhere to (Figure 6).

(Figure 6)

Set louver assembly aside to dry.

Step four: New Pads

If the pads are missing, take a trip to your local home improvement or hardware store and pick up some felt pads. You'll need them to be about 1/8 inch tall. If need be, you can get taller ones and simply trim them down with a razor knife. I use leftover velcro fuzzies I get from work (Figure 7).

(Figure 7)

Let me know if you need some of these, as I have a ton of them. I trim them with scissors to make the appropriate size.

The material you use doesn't really matter, so long as it's durable, and provides enough friction to keep the vents from moving around.

Step five: First Application of Glue

Apply a thin coating of the 3M adhesive to the louver assembly AND to the back of your felt material (Figure 8 ). I use a wooden stick to apply the adhesive.

(Figure 8 )

Set the louver and felt strips aside to dry for about 15 minutes (Figure 9).

(Figure 9)

Step six: Final Glue Application

After the adhesive has dried, apply ANOTHER thin bead of adhesive to the felt and attach it to the louver assy (Figure 10). You want to position it in the same place the old felt was.

(Figure 10)

Hold for about 30-60 seconds (Figure 11), and repeat for the other felt pad.

(Figure 11)

Set aside to dry. I tend to let this stuff dry for at least a half-hour just to make sure it's properly set. Any excess adhesive can be trimmed away with a razor knife.

Step seven: Reinstall

The reinstallation process is, without a doubt, the hardest part of this process. It WILL require some trial and error. If ever there was a situation in life that warranted cuss-words, this is it.

You have to keyhole the louver assembly back into the hole by tilting and rotating it slightly as you shimmy it back into place (Figure 12).

(Figure 12)

I found it extremely helpful to use a screwdriver to push those tabs upward and allow the louver to slip into the slot. The most difficult aspect of this is to not scrape off your newly re-glued felt pads in this process. This is why it's of the utmost importance to let the weathersrip adhesive dry completely before attempting to reinstall the louver.

Once it pops back into place, move it around, and ensure that you have enough friction. You may need to install thicker pieces of felt depending on your vehicle, but mine tightened up very well with 1/8" pieces of felt.
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