repairing rather than replacing dash register assemblies (AC vents)

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Dec 4, 2015
Dubai, UAE
So I'm putting the dash back together on the 93 Middle East import I've been working on. And I was cleaning up the AC registers and parts are basically disintegrating. Replacements are available here and there for, for example 55650-60010 but I did not want to wait and I wanted to see if it was possible to fix these darned things. The basic problem is that the little strip of plastic that causes each of vanes is disintegrated or in the process of doing so. I hit upon the idea of replacing it with a nylon zip tie with holes drilled in it. Here's how it went.

Here is the assembly taken apart.

I found that the little nubs that the plastic strip ties together is a little bigger than 2mm, so that is the size hole I drilled after measuring the inter-vane distance--13mm for this register.

Here's the completed strip with 5 holes, 13mm apart (other registers have a different distance).

And here are the vanes now tied together again, this time by the zip tie section with the holes drilled in it:


The nylon zip tie seems to have just about the right amount of flexibility. The little nubs snapped through the 2mm holes and showed no tendency to pull out again.
The next problem was that the bearing at the side of the vent also had disintegrated:

I ended up using some sheet aluminum bent into a clip and then drilling a hole in the inner component of the vent to accept a small screw, the hole being tight enough that I could self tap with the screw.


I glued the metal clip onto the register housing.

I had to trim the dash panel slightly to accept the register because the metal clip was just slightly proud.

And here's the end result.

I used permanent marker to blacken the metal clip. The register has about the right stiffness, at least for now. I'm going to go ahead and try to fix the other three registers the same way. All of them had floppy vanes because the little strips were falling apart.
Nice work! I had some luck with some careful application of JB Weld brand epoxy.
Thanks Clay. The little strips cannot be helped with epoxy in our '93. I suspect the 27 summers in the Middle East did something to the plastic. Its almost like an old wooden matchstick. Holds together if not disturbed but crumbles if touched.

A buddy in Abu Dhabi just replaced his registers on his 80. The cost is a little lower and availability is better there for some reason. I've got two more 80 Series I'm working on in Dubai and I think I will try to get new registers. But meanwhile here in Virginia I'm going to try to repair the other registers on this 93. There is a nice local meetup each month and I'd like to take the 93 with my younger son all put back together.
@LC Parts Yard might still have the two driver vents I fixed if you want something cheaper than new.
Thank you Clay. Much appreciated. I was able to repair all the existing registers--completely I think. Time will tell!
Today was a red-letter day. My son helped me place the dash back in the truck. Really a 2-man job.

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