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The Gentleman's Express: Tech-Tips from the JIOC

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Another Heater Valve Replacement

Author: CFF

I finally found an American replacement part for our Ranco water valve in the heater system. I don’t know what it fits, but can tell you that it is made by American Parts Co Inc of Houston, Texas. Part number 5-320. Costs about $25.00. It is not exactly the same, has no mounting bracket, nor does it have the freon-filled tube used for the climate control. But it does have the right size of hose fittings in the right places, and the vacuum fitting on the valve workhead. To replace the original is a problem!

Jensen thoughtfully located the heater valve behind the left bonnet lock and underneath the firewall cowl. To make it just a little bit harder to replace they used two 5/16x1" screws to secure it way back under the cowl, where fingers can barely reach. So, first remove the two 7/16" screws holding the hood lock. (If you scribe the lock before you remove it, it will be easier to adjust back later). Then the phillips screw that holds the hood cable retainer guide. Now gently remove the assembly out of your way. While holding the hood lock, hood cable and six or eight hoses out of the way with one hand and using a 1/ 4" drive ratchet with a 5/16" socket remove the front bracket screw. Easy, wasn’t it? Now for the rear screw. Smart man would use tinsnips and simply cut the bracket off, if you could get to it! I even saw one car where they had left the old valve in place with the new one in front of it!

Anyway, to remove the rear screw you’ll need a small ignition wrench, 5/16" and you’ll need to take your time to turn the screw a bit at a time. Once it is out, remove the freon hose from the top of the old valve - it unscrews. Disconnect the vacuum and two water hoses. You will lose a little water here, so make sure you’re working on a cold engine. Hook the new valve to the hoses and conveniently tuck it away under the cowl. Whenever possible, secure it with plastic wire ties so it does not bounce around (the starter switch is just too near). Put the hood lock back on and the cable guide, and adjust the lock to its original place. Check the coolant level and then startthe engine, checking the hoses and clamps for leaks. When the coolant is hot, now check system for operation as it should.

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