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Old 08-01-2016, 09:19 PM   #1
jmoller99
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Default Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

The plastic dash vent louver pieces pop up too easily and I seem to break off one (or both) of the tabs, so I can't get them back in.

Here is how I fix it once I've broken off a tab (in this case 2 of them - one on each end).

I ordered some 10mm long watch band spring units (on eBay, with free shipping, that amounted to 99 cents). These are 1.5 mm in diameter (1/16 of an inch drill bit is slightly wider, so it works).

I drill out approx 8 mm deep into the plastic louver on the side that I'll ease into place (so it only sticks out as far as I can compress it all the way). The other side sticks out further (I put that end into the assembly first), so I don't drill it out that deep. If you are only replacing the one tab, its simpler.

I used a short length of metal coat hanger to get behind the snap on so I could pull the louver snap on piece together and then slide reattach the louver (like you do with a watch band).

I was never fond of how this part goes together (it's too easy for it to come apart during disassembly and reassembly). I have 3 louvers repaired in this way on my dashboard. I recently had this one pop out, so I captured a few photos of how I addressed it
Attached Images
File Type: jpg watchSpring.jpg (45.4 KB, 449 views)
File Type: jpg louverHoleDrilled.jpg (19.7 KB, 447 views)
File Type: jpg louverAndSprings.jpg (27.9 KB, 455 views)
File Type: jpg fittedLouverSprings.jpg (46.3 KB, 452 views)
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Last edited by jmoller99; 08-01-2016 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 08-02-2016, 01:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

Nice writeup, thanks for the idea!
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Old 08-02-2016, 02:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

Way to go! That is inspired. I have a vent I broke and just put a dab of glue on to hold the vane in place. Of course it won't adjust now. I will definitely copy your method.
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Old 08-02-2016, 02:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

Excellent fix !
At this stage my actual louvers are ok. However, the lever in the middle that adjusts the louvers angle is so loose that it will not maintain the louvres in my preferred position. The airflow moves the louvers! My temporary fix at the moment is a tissue stuffed into one of the openings.
I shall be be forever greatful if anybody has fix for this particular issue ?
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Old 08-02-2016, 04:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

That's a really nice solution.

I had repaired the louvers on my 2002 initially using brad nails clipped down to size, but the "floppy-ness" finally got to me and treated my Sprinter to OEM assemblies for both the passenger and driver sides.

Knowing how fragile that louvers are, I will keep your fix handy.

Thanks,

Jim
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Old 08-03-2016, 03:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

I never thought to actually buy the pins.

Glad to hear that they are cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Puttana View Post
So Man's Best Friend put his paw through my louvers. Canine 3, Vent 0.

I had some old watchband spring pins and figured I'd try those. Worked very well for installation. I set in the up/down clip first, then set the pin and let it spring back into place. The smaller pin end is probably a bit more sloppy in the vent side hole than the brad method, but is good enough for my use. Very easy to install.

It is a bit of a pain to keep the drill aligned correctly. FWIW. vic
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Old 08-03-2016, 04:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

Brilliant!
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

Very clever. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

An even better replacement for these cheaply made vents would be a 3d generated vent facsimile out of a more durable material. Carbon fiber? Bring it on. Anyone that comes up with a better idea will have an instant market niche.

I replaced two of mine years ago from a used parts site in Ok?, but since then a couple of the others have not held up.

3d printer aficionados out there in sprinterland, come on down. You will have an instant market advantage. Replacing these vents with the same prone to failure parts is nuts. That old saying about the fine line between sanity and insanity applies here.
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Old 08-15-2016, 01:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fixing a broken plastic dash vent louver

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcmadeintheshade@gmail.com View Post
An even better replacement for these cheaply made vents would be a 3d generated vent facsimile out of a more durable material.
I hear you.

My used 2006 came with missing vent parts. Unfortunately the center operators are missing too. Otherwise I could probably cobble some replacements together out of folded aluminum flashing.

Actually I've become pretty good at ignoring the missing vents. They really don't seem to be required for my general comfort. It sure looks tacky with them missing though.


vic

Added:
Maybe something like this?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Maki...board-AC-Vent/
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DAD NAS (N. Amer. Spec) 2004 140 2500 >330,000+ mi. Arctic Whitewash Brush-tone Grey
2006 Freightliner 140 2500HC >183,000+ mi. Arctic Whitewash (Spotted Snow Leopard accents)
"My opinion and worth everything you'll never pay for it." assumed.
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. Publilius Syrus
"There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't." HaWiiLuVeR
16 ounces of unnecessary prevention can be worth a pound of manure.

Last edited by Aqua Puttana; 08-15-2016 at 01:49 AM.
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