WDID – Installed a Piece of Foam

Sometimes I perform jobs in the garage that may not be quite as technical as others. I might do something that requires no tools whatsoever. It’s possible I would perform a task better handled by a six year old. This post will cover just such a task.

Corvettes from 1968 to 1982 are known for having cabins that heat up with the ferocity of a thousand suns. Frying an egg is child’s play for this vintage of Corvette. If you drop a rock on the center console, it will turn to lava. Try it. It’s pretty cool. Once on a trip to Napa in 100° plus temperatures, we had to stop for a cold drink because it was so hot. I believe it was a KFC somewhere in the middle of Podunk, California. The girl behind the counter wouldn’t let my wife have her drink until the financial transaction had been completed. I handed the woman cash, and I vaguely recalled she went to check with her credit manager whether I should be purchasing these drinks. If not for her weakened state due to heat stroke, my wife would have punched her in the mouth, thus initiating a Thelma & Louise series of events that would have resulted in the Corvette attempting to jump a ravine, all because of a hot interior.

One of the methods that General Motors used to battle this situation was to glue a piece of foam above the bellhousing, flush with the firewall. This foam piece would block the hot air in the engine bay from flowing through the transmission tunnel. All of this hot air in the tunnel contributes to the oven effect. The foam often goes missing when an engine rebuild is performed, as was the case with my ’71. I intended to replace it.

The process to install this U shaped piece of foam is quite simple: stuff it in there. The smaller your hands, the better. You could make a game of it with the little kids from the neighborhood – who can stuff the foam in there the fastest. After some wriggling, I managed to get it into its appropriate space without displacing any spark plug wires.

Much like the air dam installation, I won’t really know the effectiveness of this until summer. I expect that this, combined with the floor and firewall insulation and air conditioning, will result in a nice cool cabin.

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