Perform steps 4, 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 above.
Sometime last spring, my van's heating and cooling system failed in the sense that I could no
longer direct the air anywhere in particular. It was stuck on the floor, which wasn't particularly
helpful for refrigeration.
No matter; I ride a motorcycle almost exclusively in the spring, summer and fall. Still, there are
...and, after all, winter is coming: I can't operate this vehicle without a defroster.
Well, I knew that, because this happened before, there was some nasty work in the offing. Julene
remembered that the last time, the mechanic reattached some hose to the engine. Yeah, back when I
was a child, the manifold vacuum was used to operate many things—using amply large-gauge rubber
tubing. Not everything is electric even today.
Well, for the Chevy Astro van, there's a "doghouse" that encloses the back end of the engine
compartment isolating it from the cab. The operating manual has instructions and illustrations on
how to do that. This doghouse cover must be removed because the hose connects underneath it. It
also connects up in a place accessible from the front mixed in a bit with large aluminum tubes that
appear related to refrigeration. (I'm not verifying all I'm saying 'cause I'm way past interested
in auto mechanics at this point in my life, but most of this is accurate I think.)
At first, I couldn't find any tube likely to the one in question. And the doghouse wouldn't come
completely out of the van without removing one of the seats. As (bad) luck would have it, my
brother has the same vehicle (a little newer) and the same problem at the same time. If that
weren't convenient, his second son married the daughter of the guy who, Julene thinks, fixed this
thing the first time. So, a little networking and a visit from my brother after calling the
mechanic and he found the broken tube exactly where he learned it would be.
The problem is this tiny gauge (⅛") tube is cooked by the engine over the top of which it's
routed, become brittle and ultimately breaks. Mine broke next to the repair splice from the first
time. The splice was still good; much of the rest of the tube was brittle.
We went to get a replacement from AutoZone, but they only had ¼" gauge tubing and some tubing
connectors, none of which really was the answer, but we were in hard way, night was falling, etc.
We clipped off the tiny hose from its nice factory ends (rubber elbows that mated with a T
connector in front and a nipple on a connector at the back under the doghouse) leaving short stubs
of that tubing, still not brittle, and cleaned the latter up. We force-fitted these good bits of
the remaining skinny tubing into nylon connectors from an $8 box of a million different size tubing
connectors purchased from AutoZone, and heated up the ¼" tubing ends to go over the other end of
This, plus hooking it back up did the trick. My brother did his this morning and reports that it
all went much faster as he'd been in on most of the job at my house.
Here are the puzzling bits I learned performing this repair. I'm hoping that after the search
engines crawl my post, these points and my account will help someone else.
The rest of what's going on is fairly obvious.