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54 Heater hose clamps
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Good evening;

Would it be 'correct' to use single spring wire design hose clamps on a '54 Cavalier heater / defroster installation?

I'm about ready to change the cooling system hoses on my '54 Cavalier, which is currently equipped with a hodgepodge of hose clamps. So I thought I would try to figure-out what might be the 'correct' clamp to use. I've looked in the '54 shop manual, specifically Figure 4, in section XIV Radiator & Cooling, and believe the single spring wire design would be correct for the two radiator hoses, and perhaps the heater hoses. I say perhaps because the heater may have been a dealer installed option / accessory and may have been shipped with its own clamps and those clamps may have changed over the years, or as a mid-year / batch change. My car is also equipped with a rear seat heater. The clamps associated with that accessory appear to be original, but surely not spring wire. Those are sheet metal with a single tightening machine screw that is tangential to the hose . . . not a worm clamp . . . nothing like the clamp shown in Figure 4. I'll photograph and post when I have them on the bench.

So I started to dig deeper:
I found in the parts listing a part number PA 13230 heater hose, applicable to 22 - 54 series, which is presumably bulk hose because there is a note to specify the length. There is heater hose clamp PA 354158, 6 required, for heater hose with the applicability of 22 - 23 series heater / defroster only. From these two observations I've concluded that the heater hose size did not change throughout the 22-54 series, and the same design clamp was used at all locations when installing a heater/defroster, albeit what clamp was used may be dependent on the model series. None of the later heater / defroster parts break-downs list 'PA' hose clamps. There is some evidence suggesting the heater hose clamps adopted 'main stream' part numbers and the accessory part number were dropped. The 22-23 may be a sheet metal clamp unique to those series cars (PA 354158 may be the same as 415878). With respect to the rear seat heater clamps being different than those shown in Figure 4. The conclusion would be that coordination between accessories was not stressed, and perhaps the two heater accessories came from different suppliers, or the spring wire design was deemed inappropriate for 'under-car' use. I would install those with the 'tang' pointing upward. The parts book establishes that the rear seat heater (mounted under the right side of the front seat) was a 54th series accessory . . . maybe the clamps are unique to the accessory, or my rear seat heater clamps are wrong.

Additional evidence of automotive OCD;
Another data point is the 'art-work' contained in the thread 'Heater control valve--54 Cavalier', this confirms a spring wire clamp was shown in factory illustrations for the '51-'54 heater. The illustration was used to describe the correct hose routing not necessarily the clamp configuration. Service Bulletin 48T-31 establishes that heater hose clamp 415878 (note the non-PA number) was introduced early, perhaps at on-set, of the 22nd series. Service Bulletin Volume 25, Number 6, June, 1951 introduces the K. R. Wilson PU-370 hose clamp plier used to remove/install spring wire hose clamps used on the radiator and heater hoses. This bulletin contains a photograph that is NOT a 22nd or 23rd series car, so perhaps the spring wire design was introduced beginning with the '51 model year (24th series).

So now I don't know if all heater hose clamps for the 54th series were the sheet metal ones, or the heater / defroster used the spring wire, and the rear seat heater used whatever came in the box. I would like to get rid of the hodgepodge and approach something closer to correct. It now appears that 'correct' is likely a single spring wire design for the 24-54 heater / defroster, and hope that no one crawls under the car . . . at least of the right side to look at the underside of the heater. I would like to hear from those with a lot more practical experience, especially those with experience with the rear seat heater accessory and whether those hose clamps were different.


Posted on: 2018/4/2 19:45
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Re: 54 Heater hose clamps
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I didn't find a spec listing for the the PA or Packard Accessory clamps but I believe the postwar heater clamps were all spring wire and all models used 5/8 hose. The spec and types of radiator hose clamp numbers which are listed in the radiator section 11 of the parts manual are given in the Utility section 50.

Posted on: 2018/4/2 21:41
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Re: 54 Heater hose clamps
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Thanks Howard;

I didn't think to look in the utility section. Sometimes I get a bit lost in the parts book. I got tricked into restricting my search in the accessory and radiator groups, and never thought to skim the utility section. Your comment about all clamps being spring wire leads me to believe the clamps on the rear seat heater may be incorrect. To me they look so period correct, although I've not seen any artwork on the installation of the rear heater . . . I'll post photos before I change those.

I'm a bit confused about items in the accessory catalog. Were they factory installed, as in an option, or dealer installed, as in an accessory? If the heaters were considered options in '54 the likelihood of finding installation instructions would be remote.

I once owned a Nissan pick-up truck and my son-in-law installed a factory AC kit 10 years after I bought the truck new . . . I was moving from Connecticut to Arizona and needed and AC. His comment was all of the trucks came from the factory without air conditioning, and if the customer ordered one the dealer would install a factory kit. He said that's what he did while in high school. The dealership was just about across the street from the high school and he had a part time job after school . . . I guess one of his jobs was to put AC kits into Nissan PUs.

Thanks again


Posted on: 2018/4/2 23:09
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Re: 54 Heater hose clamps
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Most accessories could either be ordered from the factory or dealer installed. The main and underseat heater are items that could be dealer installed. 51-4 Instructions are in the service manual accessory section and was also usually shipped on a separate sheet or two of paper along with the accessory. 51-3 heater units were essentially identical except for minor trim detail for the models and 54 used the same basic components with the main difference being the different style control levers. 51-3 had two levers with shared functions and 54 had the 4 individual levers, one for each function which were also used with 55-6 models.

On the clamps, since heaters could be dealer installed yours could very well be original, Nothing said a dealer had to use a factory item on something like that or even follow factory instructions for that matter. An example is some have found cars with some interesting switch placements which do not exactly follow factory instructions.

53-4 factory AC was only available when the car was built but 55-6 units could also be dealer installed.

Posted on: 2018/4/2 23:45
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