Tighten your Air Vents
by Roland Schaer
Are your vent controls getting old and not holding the position to which you
set them? I ran into this problem in a 1997 NA That I recently started driving.
I came up with a solution and thought I would share it with you guys.
|I found that these vent controls are held firm by four strips of velvet
tape. As time goes by, the tape flattens out and looses it's grip on the
vent control. What I have done is remove the existing tape and re-apply
it to the back of some electrical tape, giving it back it's original thickness.
What you need:
- Utility Knife
- Electrical Tape
- 3M Super 77 Spray-On Adhesive (optional)
NOTE: You can click on any picture to view the full-size version
Removing The Vent Controls:
If you have a service manual, you can follow the procedure illustrated
in section 19-7-5 (Center Louver Removal). I found this did not work well,
especially for the extreme left and right vents. I used an alternate method
(see figure 1) that involved inserting two small flat bladed screwdrivers
between the vents and the dash pad. I then slowly levered the screwdrivers
away from the vent and it just popped out.
(Editor's note: If you use this method to remove your vents, we
suggest using a bit of cloth between the screwdriver and your dash to
help prevent marring the surface.)
Disassembling The Vent Controls:
|Once the vent has been removed, it can be disassembled. The
top of the vent is a snap-ring that is held in place by four snaps (see
figure 2). It can be removed by placing a flat-head screwdriver into the
slot and and slowly levering down. The snaps may chip a little but they
will still be strong enough to hold the ring in place when the vent is re-assembled.
After removing the snap-ring, remove the directional control to gain access
to the Velvet Strips (see figure 3).
Replacing The Velvet Strips:
|Reach into the vent and peel back one of the velvet strips. If you let
them bake in the sun for a while or heat them with a hair dryer, they may
come out easier and in one piece. More than likely, some of the sticky tape
that held the strip in place will not peel off. IF this is the case, you
will need some type of adhesive to secure them to the electrical tape. Apply
a piece of electrical tape to a smooth hard surface. If your strip does
not have any stick surface left, apply a small amount of adhesive. Apply
the velvet strip to the back of the electrical tape (see figure 4) and then
cut off the excess amount with a utility knife. Peel off the tape/strip
and re-apply to the inside of the vent. Repeat these steps for the remaining
Re-assembling Of Vent Controls:
|Once the vent strips have been replaced, the vent can be reassembled.
Insert the the directional control into the vent. Place the snap-ring on
top of the vent and align the snaps. It is designed to only go on one way
so make sure it is properly aligned. Press down firmly over each snap until
it clicks into place (see figure 2).
Installing The Vent Controls:
|There are two notches cut into the side of the vent control. Make sure
these notches are aligned to the right and left and push the vent control
back into the dash pad. It should just snap into place and you are done.