Options to repair rust in Duster fresh air vent

Mopar Body and Trim

  1. Ken71Twister

    Ken71Twister FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    The 71 Duster has a very effective air vent system - but the vents in front of the windshield let leaves and trash thru that collect, hold water, and eventually rust the heck out of the duct system. With water leaking thru from the rusted vent area, I'm in the process of butchering the upper part of the firewall - first to clear out the debris and I'll butcher further to gain access to the rust damaged metal to make repair. I'd appreciate shared experiences from those of you who have attacked this problem to tell me the least painful way to gain access to the damaged metal and how to clean up the damage done getting there.

    A Mustang owner showed me today how he'd drilled out spot welds and removed the vent area in front of the window and made his repairs from above. I don't know if that will work as well with the Duster - plus I've already made a mess cutting in from the front side. Before I cut and tear further - I'm open to shaared experiences and suggestions.

    Whatever I do - I'd like to install a screen below the vent that will block leaves and debris in the future. Any good techniques for doing this would also be appreciated. Again - getting a screen into that area is going to require some serious cutting.

    Is the sheet metal that I'm butchering available online? I've attempted to attach a picture - hope you can see it.

    tx,
    Ken​
     

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  2. seabee

    seabee FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Was thinking the same thing. I opened the vents for the first time since getting my car and man do they make a difference in cooling the interior, especially since having a black car with black vinyl seats in SoCal. But now I having dried leaf bits blowing up my shorts all week.
     
  3. 805moparkid

    805moparkid Slant and AFX Guy

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    no that peice is not available but your in luck as it looks like you havn't gone into the curve...

    just make a nice rectangle and cut the hole to fit...

    as for the rust why not pull the dash and get to it from in there?
     
  4. Ken71Twister

    Ken71Twister FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I've thought of going in from below - but it seems that I would only be plugging a leak and not addressing the long-term problem - rust on the top-side of the metal. Also, looking up from below, the rusted-thru area seems to be at the base of the round ring that sits at the top of the vent housing. To remove that housing does not look like a good experience since one bolt is behind the vent box (towards front left). If I get it off I don't know if I'll ever get it back. I suppose with enough persistance I could do that.

    Seems that I need to kill the rust, seal the metal, and either add a screen below the vent or come up with a removable plate when I repair the upper firewall that will provide a clean-out hole from time to time. After I get the car painted - I may promote the car to a spot in the garage and let one of my newer cars deal with the falling leaves.
     
  5. crackedback

    crackedback FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    You can always buy one of these. I have one available

    [​IMG]

    Top and bottom half of cowl section.
     
  6. Ken71Twister

    Ken71Twister FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I added two pictures in case you are interested to see what the Duster air vent system looks like with the upper firewall removed. I'll deal with replacing the firewall later - right now I want deal with the source of the water leaks.

    The rough looking material that you see around the vent is apparantly some kind of mastic material that was installed at the factory. It is actually in better condition (less rust) than I expected it to be.
     

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