VW T2 Heat Exchanger Fitting

This is a set of notes that I made as I fitted the exchangers : there are other websites dealling with the procedures.

When we got the van, there was a perpetual trickle of hot air coming into the cab which would not stop, regardless of the setting of the heater controls.

As time went on the hot air dwindled away and so I decided to take a look at the heater air feed pipes round the engine. I found the aluminium tubes had fallen apart and cracked where they joined the fan housing, as they went through the tinware and then at the heat exchanger end as well.

So at about 4.00 each, it looked like a relatively cheap repair.

Then I looked at the heat exchangers and realised they were a bit rusty and there were holes round the exhaust tubing through the exchanger where some kind of grommet had vanished.


In other words, more holes than necessary.

So I bought a JustKampers heat exchanger kit and a couple of the rubber boots for the cable ends. Along with other bits and pieces we spent over 300

The kit  includes the cables as well as the heat exchangers, concertina hoses, fixing screws, gaskets and exhaust clamps.


Feeling around , removing the flexible hoses from the heater to the body ,
 then taking some pictures showed a bit of a mess where the control cables were meant to attach to the heater. The green arrow shows the end of the cable , and the red arrow shows the  attachment to the heater. They are not joined up ....
 This also shows some of the rot with fibreglass in the vicinity of the heater duct.
I am leaving this for a possible weld up so I am not putting underseal on there yet.


Heater cable missing

Given you have taken the heater concertina hoses off then you can see the end of the bowden cables coming out of the tubes.
These tubes run all the way from under the front pedal cover plate under the footwell, just to one side of the heater duct tube.

Removing the heater cables


To remove the old cables, remove the rubber boot from the end.

Then push the black plastic tube end out of the metal bracket - I found you could lever it out with a screwdriver. Then pull the black end off. Keep it.

Now prise out the split nylon insert from the end of the tube.  Remove it from the cable inner by pushing a fingernail into the split and opening it a little to get it off the wire.  Keep the insert.



Make sure there is no wire wrapped round the end of the cable (botched repair attempts)  before trying to pull the bowden cable from the front of the car

Now all the ferrules on the end of the cable (if they remain) can be pulled back into  the tube. as you pull the cable out from under the footwell. The ferrules will  catch on the end of the tube and need to be helped into the tube.

Either cut the ferrules of the end of the cable  or help them in.

The cables are attached under the dash to a bracket held in with a spring clip which hooks through a slot towards the centre of the car and clips over the outer end of the bracket.
Remove and keep the cable clamping clip.

Remove and keep the circlip holding the pair of cables onto the right hand heater control, using a small screwdriver to lever it off.

You can now disconnect the old cables.

Replacing the cables.


Having pulled the old cables out from under the car, you can now pull them up through the grommet into the area behind the left hand kick panel and out of the way.



 You will have to feed the new cable back down  the same way

Tip 1 : read the labels on the packaging of the cables and install them as indicated : there is a slight difference in the cable lengths.  Make sure the cables run exactly in the same places as the old ones.

Tip 2: Clip the new cables to the under dash bracket and connect them to the control lever as soon as possible - the lengths will then be more correct.

When they are fed back in, the ends of the cables may look like they are different lengths.

But before panicking, fit the little nylon split inserts over the cable inner between the outer and the first ferrule which is an endstop, and push this back into the tube. This should push the cable outer back into the tube where it belongs.

At this point the two cable ends should extend the same distance from the end of the tubes , and should come within about 20-30mm of the ends of the heat exchanger levers (if they are still attached ... )

 Push the black segmented tube over the end of the tube and squeeze it back into the slot in the bracket attached to the car body .  This fixes the little insert in place . Now put back the new rubber boot.

Cable ends
This shows a new rubber boot, the black segmented tube and the insert.


Removing the old heat exchanger


Then the nasty bit started. I began with the lower of  the  two nuts on the exhaust port where the exhaust tube is connected to the front of the cylinder head. I couldnt get a ring spanner on the nut and the open spanner just started to round off the nut.

At this point I decided to jack up the car  and remove the nearside rear wheel for better access and then lower it onto an axle stand. As I did this the jacking point began to deform, and then the axle stand began to sink into the tarmac.

So to make sure, I wedged the wheel back under the body.

My nut splitter wouldnt fit the exhaust nut either as it needed as much clearance  as a ring spanner. So off to get the cold chisel and the club hammer to try and split the nut. As soon as I  gave the nut the first whack with the hammer and chisel, it started to move and then was only finger tight , so I could take it off.

I found the upper nut was tight , but with an aluminium tube over the spanner I could get enough leverage to undo the nut.

 Then dismantling the exhaust clamp the other end of the heat exchanger turned out to be slow as the clamp was rusty and it twisted up as I undid the clamping bolt.

The old exchanger came off and then revealed itself to have been jammed permanently open in the 'hot' position. So thats where the hot air came from all the time.

I fitted the new exchanger , which I had painted with high temperature paint already. This went on easily except for fighting with the new exhaust clamp which was cunningly arranged so the joint packing was slightly wider than the gap between the clamping bolts which were exactly the correct length when clamped. So this took some time squeezing with the pump pliers before I could get the nuts and anti-shake washers on the clamp. At the other end the new exhaust gaskets went on easily.

The offside exchanger took a fraction of the time - I didnt need to get the wheel off.

The new heat exchangers fitted better and I was easily able to get the ring spanner on all of the nuts .


But somewhere in the process I rolled over, gouged my glasses on a bolt protruding from the end of the engine mounting bar , and cut my lip on the bottom of the bumper.

I am going to get the  suspension raised !!!

There was then a lot of messing about with the cables as I had installed them the wrong way around and they had to be swapped over - not too hard except the ferrules catching as mentioned before. Just do it right earlier.

I had already assembled part of the cable attachment for the levers on the heaters, but I noticed the circlip would pop off quite easily - to prove to be a trouble later.

I then inserted the new concertina hoses - these are hard plastic and are too stiff to bend to meet the differently angled pipes which they need to be connected to. They are ended and there is a large end which goes on the body duct and a smaller end that goes on the heat exchanger end. All I could manage was to get the body end OK and the heat exchanger end pushed over the end but not fitted. It needs pushing with something like a piece of wood or heaving on a warm day from properly under the car, to bend the concertina hose..

I had a near miss when I got the side of my hand pinched between the tube and the heat exchanger, but in the end it came out without breaking the skin.

Then I attached the offside cable end without too much trouble, adjusting by slightly tightening the clamp bolt and pushing the air outlet flap closed while the dashboard lever was fully up. Then I tightened it more fully.

New cable end

On the nearside, the circlip fell off once . I recovered it with a large magnet from the ground, tried again but the access was bad because I had already replaced the wheel.

So I took the pin and circlip out and replaced it with a stainless M4 bolt with a Nyloc nut from my boat parts collection.
This time I got both hands in (lowered suspension is a total pain) and managed to do the same clamp adjustment.

Now I get lots of hot air.