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Permanently cover cowl vent...

Dlillie87

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Probably a unique situation...just looking for opinions on how one might accomplish this. I have an 86 ranger that I'm basically turning into a "hot rod" build. I'm gutting everything that isn't essential, including the entire HVAC box and all the vents except defrost,which I'll hook a small electric heater to. I want to permanently cover my cowl vent under the windshield. I know I could just cut it out and have someone weld sheet metal in its place. I'm thinking Bondo would crack. Has anyone done this, or think they have a good idea on how to?
 


sgtsandman

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I haven’t noticed anyone doing it. I agree that bondo probably won’t hold up long term and access to the bottom side of the cowl isn’t great. Cutting and welding might be the best option.

One thing to consider is air flow. Without the cowl vent, good air exchange in the cab might be a problem unless you plan to address that in other ways.
 

Dlillie87

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I haven’t noticed anyone doing it. I agree that bondo probably won’t hold up long term and access to the bottom side of the cowl isn’t great. Cutting and welding might be the best option.

One thing to consider is air flow. Without the cowl vent, good air exchange in the cab might be a problem unless you plan to address that in other ways.
My biggest concern is without the HVAC box, the cab would be exposed to pretty much anything that comes through the vent. As far as air exchange, I'd probably just use my vent windows unless it's raining or something. Idk what the best solution is.
 

sgtsandman

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You should be able to make a panel to cover the hole in the engine bay. I don’t think, but I don’t know for sure, that the box doesn’t protrude into the cab. I think it gives a place for the condenser to be. The heater core might be in there as well but it’s been a good while since I’ve worked on a Ranger that didn’t have A/C. I may remember incorrectly that even the non A/C equipped Rangers had a protrusion into the engine bay.

Since you are talking about removing both, you should be able to just block off the hole in the fire wall and be able to leave the cowl vent alone.
 

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I’m drawing a blank on the member’s name but there is at least one other guy that has a Ranger rigged for racing and I believe they have a build thread in the mini truck forum about it.
 

Dlillie87

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You should be able to make a panel to cover the hole in the engine bay. I don’t think, but I don’t know for sure, that the box doesn’t protrude into the cab. I think it gives a place for the condenser to be. The heater core might be in there as well but it’s been a good while since I’ve worked on a Ranger that didn’t have A/C. I may remember incorrectly that even the non A/C equipped Rangers had a protrusion into the engine bay.

Since you are talking about removing both, you should be able to just block off the hole in the fire wall and be able to leave the cowl vent alone.
With the inner and outer box removed, there are 2 big holes that I can easily cover with sheet metal and seal them off. But there's still a hole under the dash area where the cowl vent area dumps, I don't have a picture of that. I could probably seal it off there, but then I think the cowl area wouldn't be able to drain and may cause rust problems, idk for sure
67570
 

sgtsandman

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I’m trying to find the member I have in mind so you can check out what he did with his. Harder with a phone than a computer.

EDIT: I can’t find him. He’s featured on the 2020 calendar. I’ll have to look up the name and go from there.
 
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Dlillie87

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I’m trying to find the member I have in mind so you can check out what he did with his. Harder with a phone than a computer.
I appreciate your time, thanks
 

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for the cowl vents, can you use something from a wrangler? not sure if the size is close enough but lots of wranglers have covers or scoops over their cowl vents because of lack of air flow or water intrusion, different issues and such. maybe it would fit? try googling it? maybe two, one for each side?
 

RonD

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Remove the inspection plates on the firewall, that will give you access to the back side of the cowl, i.e. windshield wiper access

You should be able to insert sheet metal pieces and screw them in place from the top side, silicone seal it
Then bondo

Would cutting cowl out and welding a new piece in be better, yes


Yes, the fresh air vent is located under the cowl right above the fan hole in engine bay
Just below that, in the cab, was the "re-circulation" vent door, it closed the Fresh air vent off and opened inside cab air vent, this was used for MAX AC but also on dusty roads so no outside air came in but you still could have fan on
Since you are not going to use the factory fan then you don't need to do anything really
If you can reach into the cowl area far enough you could try to seal off the fresh air intake, or do it thru the fan hole before you seal it up
 

sgtsandman

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Maritime Drag Racing

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That is who I was thinking of. Thanks!
Not sure exactly what the previous owner did the firewall on our Ranger but I think the openings are just covered with sheetmetal.

.
68367
 

RonD

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It looks like they are there, inline with each wiper knob, thats what they are there for, to access/service wipers
You can see the indented part of the plates in the picture

Center of engine bay top(behind the hose), and drivers side next to inner fender, right inline with driverside wiper knob

The heater box holes have sheet metal cover
 

19Walt93

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I used a Vintage Air system because my truck was formerly drag raced and the HVAC was missing. Vintage doesn't use outside air, they just recirculate so I blocked the air inlet under the right side of the dash with sheet metal and seam sealer. Vintage Air is in Texas, they couldn't understand why I'd want to draw outside air into my truck. I guess they never had to clear a fogged windshield on a 40 degree rainy day.
evap in place.JPG
 

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