Fitting a modern high output heater to a TC

As regular readers may know, I am rebuilding TC 10030 to be as usable as possible.  From the outset I decided to fit a heater, in the hope that I might be more inclined to use the car when low temperatures would probably dictate otherwise.  The car came to me with a hood frame and some decrepit side screens, so I have invested in some new coverings; again, in the belief that together with a heater, the miserable British weather will be less of a disincentive.

The decision as to what type of heater – and where to put it – was virtually made for me.  While I could have gone down the traditional route of fitting an Arnolt or Smiths ‘vintage’ type under the dash, I chose to get a modern high output heater (supplied by Car Builder Solutions) and mount it discretely in the tool box.  As the measurements were a perfect fit – and seeing as the floor of the box had rotted through anyway – it seemed logical to use what was left as a housing for the heater.

Two views of the heater supplied by Car Builder Solutions.

Above: heater positioned in toolbox Below: underside of heater through ‘floor’ of toolbox.

Showing pipework connections from heater.

Having positioned the heater, I sourced enough of the correct rubber hose to connect it to the cooling system. I carefully researched the topic and studied the many different approaches to routing.  One of the difficulties, it seemed to me, was making a neat job of it – so I devised a route that concealed as much pipe work as possible.  I decided the ‘take-off’ would be at the back of the cylinder head and by a stroke of good fortune, Declan Burns (Germany) has produced a stainless steel plate with a heater outlet (see pic) that easily replaced the original steel cover.

From the cylinder head ‘take-off’, a short length of copper tubing – incorporating a service valve – passes through a grommeted hole in the bulkhead to be joined by a length of rubber hose that terminates at a vertical section of copper pipe that passes – via a driver operated service valve – through a grommeted hole in the former tool box where it is connected to the heater inlet.

The return flow is via another short length of copper tubing, connected to a rubber hose, which I have taken down the corner of the scuttle where it is secured by home-made stainless-steel clips as shown in the photo. The hose leaves the cabin at the floor where it passes inside the off-side chassis rail until it emerges by the radiator. At this point it is connected to the bottom hose via another service valve.

Other systems utilise the by-pass pipe but I see no benefit from it… 

1) With the original type of ‘bellows’ thermostat the bypass is blocked when the thermostat opens. 

2) With a modern wax stat type thermostat, the opening is greatly reduced and only really operational before the thermostat fully opens, so probably not enough flow for the heater.

The heater came with a three-position fan speed.  I have added a fuse and earthed it positive ground. 

Finally, the controller switch will replace the slow running adjuster on the switch panel but use the original knurled knob.

 The car has yet to be finished but I am hopeful that (with the up-rated water pump) the heater will work O.K… but should it not be a success, I have made no changes that cannot easily be reversed if need be.  

Ray White (member # 879)