right then, job done .. 95% successful.
Firstly having placed the order on
on Thursday, the parts arrived Saturday morning which was great. I went for the full 3rd party resistor and loom wiring kit, and a new crimping kit (that included some spares [recommended, I did some practice crimping on old speaker wire]).
So, I didn't bother disconnecting the battery, but this did prompt me to find the radio code which will be useful for future ref. removed the 40A fuse instead as someone else had suggested, despite my fear I didn't get any shocks so it seems ok to do that.
I took the top and bottom dash surround to the digital display off quite easily, just use a small screwdriver to work it open, and then run it around the side to gradually release each clip in turn, then carefully remove. Pic1.
Then using a small torch I could immediately see the wiring, the gap is indeed small but certainly not impossible to reach even with bigger arms.
Got my arm in and the Resistor pulled out quite easily, I think it was previously glued as no screws were in place. Note; it would have been quite fiddly to get a screwdriver in there, but I didn't have to. the whole unit pulled out relatively easily to the point where I could work on it, and there the problems began !
So, someone had previously done work on this and made some shocking decisions along the way. Firstly it appears they had replaced the Heater Resistor, but not the wiring loom, so the problem has indeed reoccurred and the loom connection was part melted and connections oxidised. Pic 3.
The way in which they had replaced this however was bizarre, the red power cable had been cut in a position halfway along the cable deep within the dash recess. The black cable had then been cut in a position where there was enough slack to bring it outside of the dash, but the red was cut way further down. The replaced resistor had then been connected by stripping both ends of cables and twisting the copper together, and then wrapping electrical tape round it!
The red cable had been done in such a position that the dash must previously have been fully removed to access this area, but then why not do the job properly if removing the dash?!
So my options were, leave those connections alone, cut away the old Heater Resistor and crimp on the new one, or try to cut below the bodge job. The latter was impossible to get you hand in there so I went with just leaving it alone.
Then on trying to work on the red cable disaster struck as with all the movement of the cable the previous job to bind the cables together came undone and they separated with the live end only stretching to about 10inches within the dash, shoving your arm in as far as it would go you could only touch it with your fingers !!
1 hour of key-hole surgery later, I had managed to guide a new crimp, that was pre-crimped on one side to the new resistor onto the red cable and pinch the crimping tool closed using my finger tips. Finally I was back on track. Pic5
The loom wiring was really easy thanks to another thread on this forum for which I'll provide a link. Pic 6.
tidies the job up with some electrical tape, replaced the 40A fuse and tested - success on all settings. [slight burning smell for about 5mins but this passed - and was alluded to in another thread also].
Final issue - how to get the thing back in place?! So this is where I came unstuck again. By now my arm was getting a bit red raw, but that was mostly due to the dam red power cable issue. However I can't understand how anyone can get the thing back into it's ducting slot, and then be able to screw it into place as you need to hold it with one hand and then find the screw hole and get a screwdriver in there with the same hand .. absolutely no space for 2 hands in there. I tried this for about 30mins then gave up so it's kind of lying half in there but will just fall out when the car starts moving.
I can only really see gluing it again as an option to hold it in place.
Once I work out how to add photos i'll edit this post.
Summary: as someone else said, the whole point of getting this car was to spend less, so spending £500 on getting this done at a garage became a last resort.
Thanks to all on the forum for the info over the years, I'm sure other swill still be doing this job for some years to come