Baby, It’s Cold Outside


With the temperature dropping down below freezing, I decided it was high time to finally work on the Stewart Warner South Wind heater, in the ’40 Ford truck.

Of the old cars that I have owned/driven, the only one that had somewhat of a heater was the ’37 sedan, and although it looked cool, it didn’t do much. My ’40 coupe has never had a heater, and even though the ’54 F-100 that I drove in high school had a “Fresh Air” heater in it, I never tackled wiring it up to work.

The South Wind heater is essentially a gas furnace that runs off the engine vacuum by drawing fuel from the carb, into the furnace, and the burnt exhaust exits back through a vacuum pipe into the intake. Stewart Warner advertised that they heat up in 90 seconds, and they weren’t joking. I remember riding in the truck, when I was a kid, and my uncle firing up the heater.

The problem is, I couldn’t make it light. I monkeyed around with it here and there, and I had exchanged a few e-mails with Larry Lewis, of, and he advised me on a few things to check.

I finally determined that the igniter had to be bad, so I removed the heater from the truck, and sure enough, the heating element in the igniter was broken. I contacted Larry, and a business transaction later, I should have a new one in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I will remove and replace the two old and dry rotted wires that lead to the switch, and do a little internal cleaning on the heater, while I wait for the new igniter to arrive.


The igniter with a broken coil inside of it.


This is the back side of the unit that goes through the firewall, with the mounting bracket removed, sitting on the left.  The fitting pointing upward is the heater carb, and the lower fitting is the vacuum exhaust port.

That’s the extent of my “current project”.

The FUN is in the RUN!!!