Cowl Cleanout


85_Ranger4x4

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Original Poster:

Difficulty: 2 out of 10

Time to install:

Disclaimer: The Ranger Station.com, The Ranger Station.com Staff, nor the original poster are responsible for you doing this modification to your vehicle. By doing this modification and following this how-to you, the installer, take full responsibility if anything is damaged or messed up. If you have questions, feel free to PM the original poster or ask in the appropriate section of The Ranger Station.com forums.

Brief Explanation:

Many a RBV has suffered from the cowl being plugged with leaves. Mainly 83-88 trucks with the big leaf eater slots along the bottom of the windshield. Leaves go down inside there and plug up the drains so water collects and when combined with leaves rots out the cowl which can be an expensive and complicated repair. Leaves contacting the hot blower motor resister is also a serious fire hazard. At best having the cowl plugged up can reduce airflow for the dash vents and defroster. I try to do it once a year and also try not to park under trees in the fall. The process is similar for 89-92 trucks but with the small round holes replacing the big slots in the cowl there is is much less chance of large debris getting trapped in the cowl. Ease of doing this will also vary depending on your engine and options. If you have A/C it is more complicated, different engines fill the engine bay differently too.

Tools Needed:
- Flashlight/Treble Light
- 5/16" nut driver (might be good to have a ratchet and socket if you have A/C or a ratchet wrench)
- 7/32" nut driver
- Something to scoop leaves (I use a distributor wrench)
- 10mm deepwell socket with ratchet and assorted extensions and a wobble (if you need to pull the blower/evap housing)

Parts Needed:
None

---------------------------------------------------------

Step 1:

There are three main access holes into the cowl system on a RBV highlighted in red:



It seems they usually accumulate more towards the drivers side for some reason so I usually start there. If your truck has a manual transmission use the 5/16" nut driver and remove the clutch reservoir (there is only one screw) from the drivers side access panel. Then use 7/32" nut driver to remove the three screws securing the cover itself.



Not much in there this time:



What it should look like all cleaned out, there is a rubber flap on the outside too:



When you are done reinstall the cover, if your truck is a manual don't forget the clutch reservoir too.

Step 2:

If you have to take anything off the engine to remove the center cover be sure to make sure to cover it so you don't get leaves somewhere you don't want them. I used a dish to cover my carburetor. Use the 7/32" nut driver to remove the three screws from the cover on the center of the firewall above the engine:



There isn't usually much there but it is easy enough to check, a person can also get a feel for what has drifted down towards the blower motor housing too. Once done there reinstall the covers with the three screws (and whatever else you had to take off the engine)

Step 3:

Mindful of the 30 year old plastic connectors by carefully unplugging the blower motor. Mindful of the 30 year old rubber disconnect the blower motor cooling hose. Using the 7/32" nut driver remove the three screws holding the blower motor to the blower motor housing and remove the blower. Set the blower motor safely aside so it doesn't fall and break.

Step 4A:

If your truck (like mine) does not have A/C now it gets kind of hairy.



Scoop out what you can (usually the fan chews them up and blows the bits thru the screen into the passenger compartment. This is the backside of the resistor, those wires are resisters that get hot to adjust the fan speed, I have heard of several fires caused by leaf buildup coming in contact with them. If it is really bad removing the housing is simple, disconnect the blower motor resistor and remove the nuts that retain the housing to the firewall with the 10mm deepwell/rachet, watch out as there is a rogue one on the inside of the cab you will need to remove too. My truck has a bodylift so the nuts between the blower motor housing and inner fender are easier to get at, you may need extensions and wobbles to get it done, it really depends on the set up of your truck.



Step 4B:

If your truck has A/C now it gets really hairy. So you gotta dig deeper. Air comes into the blower motor housing where it is highlighted in yellow but you have an evaporator that will prevent leaves and debris from getting thru the housing to the blower motor.



Your housing will look like this:



If you have room in your engine bay (mainly 4cyl trucks) you might be able to squeak off the access panel on the engine side of the evaporator housing and clean it out there. Access to the cover is pretty tight on V6 trucks:



Screws are here so you know where to look, use the 7/32" nutdriver or socket and ratchet:



Otherwise you may have to remove the entire housing if you can't get the cover off and then remove the access panel. Mindful of the 30+ year old connectors carefully unplug the blower motor and blower motor resistor. There are nuts all around to hold it on, there is one that has to come off the inside of the cab along the top of the carpet that will drive you nuts if you don't get it off. Use the 10mm deepwell socket/ratchet, my truck has a bodylift so the nuts between the blower motor housing and inner fender are easier to get at, you may need extensions and wobbles to get it done, it really depends on the set up of your truck. Be careful with the A/C stuff so you don't drop/bend/break things. While you have it in your hand you also might check that the evaporator is not plugged up with dirt too. Installation is reverse of the disassembly.

Step 5:

Now how to get at the leaves on the backside of the mesh... set the vent to "Outside Air Off"



Now get down on the passenger side floor board with your leaf scooping tool of choice, I have ok luck with half a distributor wrench:



There is a black plastic grate down there, with your flashlight you can see the leaves in there, now get to scooping! Go back and forth from the cab and engine sides of the firewall so you can see where you need to scoop.





If you can get an angled attachment for a vacuum that may be helpful too, I don't have one so I can't get the really small bits out.

Step 6:
Now reinstall your blower motor, be mindful of the blower motor orientation as it will only go in one way.

All done!
 
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sgtsandman

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It's probably getting about time for me to do this on the XLT. I can hear some leaves or Maple seeds fluttering around when the fan is turned on.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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It's probably getting about time for me to do this on the XLT. I can hear some leaves or Maple seeds fluttering around when the fan is turned on.
Just add water and they will turn into trees and not flutter around!

Seriously though, for all I know the process on your '11 may be similar to getting tribbles out of a Romulan Warbird.
 

sgtsandman

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Just add water and they will turn into trees and not flutter around!

Seriously though, for all I know the process on your '11 may be similar to getting tribbles out of a Romulan Warbird.
I seem to remember there being some access plates similar to what is posted above in the 1998 when I did the engine swap. I'm assuming the 2011 will be the same. Worse comes to worse, I'll just pull the fan and fish out what I can from there.
 

bobbywalter

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That's the trouble with tribbles....



Which is nothing


Wait until I rat you out to your wife for using the Tupperware as a carb cover.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Just a weird note, but I pulled the cowl cover plates off when I put my headers on to try to get airflow down into the engine bay. No leaves since.

Also it makes using the fan while sitting in traffic in warm weather miserable because the cabin blower sucks in the hot air from under the hood.

It's a trade off to me.
 

racsan

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one time with my 93 there was some really fine-grained sleet, alot of it, so much that it filled the cowl area enough and the wipers wouldnt work due the linkage being bound up in the ice. I wish that whole top plate was removeable, Its a real bitch trying to hook up wipers through that center access hole in the middle.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Wait until I rat you out to your wife for using the Tupperware as a carb cover.
You can try, that one is mine. :cool:

When wifey moved in it moved out because it didn't go with her set.

one time with my 93 there was some really fine-grained sleet, alot of it, so much that it filled the cowl area enough and the wipers wouldnt work due the linkage being bound up in the ice. I wish that whole top plate was removeable, Its a real bitch trying to hook up wipers through that center access hole in the middle.
If it was removable I would swap in a later cowl panel too... which I wouldn’t mind doing at some point anyway.
 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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Its too bad the cowl sheet metal goes under the glass. If I ever have enough time I'm going to figure out a removable cowl just like the big boys have.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Its too bad the cowl sheet metal goes under the glass. If I ever have enough time I'm going to figure out a removable cowl just like the big boys have.
Dude. Please. The leaf catcher sucks. Wouldn't be so bad if you could take the top plate off.

Thanks, Ford!
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Dude. Please. The leaf catcher sucks. Wouldn't be so bad if you could take the top plate off.

Thanks, Ford!
Fun fact, first gen Mustangs shipped with bare steel inner cowls. The only paint they had was what drifted in when they painted the car. And thus most have really horrid cowls because it takes a lot of money to fix something nobody ever sees...

I am tempted to have the windshield resealed/replaced when I strip the truck to paint it. Sucky part is I would have to do the same to a donor as well. It would be nice if someone would repop that part...
 

bobbywalter

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Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
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bobbywalter

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sawzall?
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33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
You can try, that one is mine. :cool:

When wifey moved in it moved out because it didn't go with her set.

Well that sux.

Was planning on extorting a case of count chocula out of this situation...
 


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