I have to replace the Clayton heater on my 1951 80-inch because it’s developed a leak. Is there anything to watch out for?
J Buchanan, Stirling
Clayton heaters are quite tough and don’t typically develop leaks like the later Smiths heaters. So, when you’re dismantling, check that the in-out pipes aren’t being strained. It would be good to replace the rubber pipes connecting the heater to the over-the-engine pipes, as the old ones will be hard and transmitting all the engine’s vibration. Maybe these are minor points, but forcing old materials is never good.
Some Claytons were fitted with bleed screws but most weren’t. I have never found bleeding a heater to be a problem – just fill as normal up to the top of the radiator’s internal fins, open the heater valve and run the engine until hot. When the coolant has circulated you’ll need to add a bit. Stop and check the coolant level a few times when you first drive the vehicle and look for any leaks.
This workshop advice appeared in the April 2010 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.