How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

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How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Fresh Air Inspector »

Hello All,

I would like to test some blood pressure monitor inflation bulbs as a potential replacement for the bulbs currently on the car. The challenge is removing the existing bulbs. I've been able to pull the bulb up about 15mm (5/8"), but it appears to have a cable or some other device anchoring it into the metal pipe. I didn't want to pull it any further for fear of damaging the bulb. I must be missing something - any thoughts?
Thank you and take care,
Peter
1971 VW Beetle Cabriolet, 1988 Merkur Scorpio, 1994 Ford Escort LX, 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Ed Lijewski »

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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Fresh Air Inspector »

Hello Ed,

Thanks for the link. However, Brokencase's statement that the inflation bulbs 'just pull off' is somewhat incorrect. The bulbs are a press fit on the metal pipe and require water pump pliers plus a fair bit of effort to pull the hard plastic sleeve off the pipe.

The hard plastic sleeve is visible in the picture below - you need to pull up the inflation bulb about 15mm (5/8"), to give you sufficient room for the pliers.
Original InflatorR.jpg
Original InflatorR.jpg (240.57 KiB) Viewed 765 times
In the picture below shows the metal pipe once the inflator has been removed.
Metal PipeR.jpg
Metal PipeR.jpg (249.06 KiB) Viewed 765 times
The picture below shows the replacement inflators in place. These may end up being temporary as larger ones would be better (less pumping).
Replacement InflatorsR.jpg
Replacement InflatorsR.jpg (305.56 KiB) Viewed 765 times
NOTE; I used 5mm ID Silicone hose to adapt the bulb to the pipe. The pipe is ~8mm OD whereas in my case the inflator is ~6mm OD so the 5mm ID Silicone hose is a tight fit, may have to go to 6mm. Bear that in mind if you replace your inflators, you'll need selection of 'adapter' hoses. Also, you may find the 'adapter' hose should be short to prevent the bulb from 'floppy' around.

If I find better inflators I'll update this thread.

Hope it helps.
Thank you and take care,
Peter
1971 VW Beetle Cabriolet, 1988 Merkur Scorpio, 1994 Ford Escort LX, 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by brokencase »

How much, and where did you get, the blood pressure inflator bulbs?
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Fresh Air Inspector »

Hello Brokencase,

I got them via Amazon Canada for $16 CAD (~$12 USD), for the pair. These are very basic inflation Latex bulbs but enough for me to use for testing. These particular ones are not listed on the Amazon US site, but they do show quite a few similar ones. See link below. I plan to keep looking for some larger ones. Wish I still worked in that industry. :-(

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=replacement+ ... doa-p_4_18

The bulb closest to the one I just installed is;

https://www.amazon.com/CM-Blood-Pressur ... 234&sr=8-9

Ebay lists quite a few inflation bulbs.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... b&_sacat=0

If you have a medical supply company in your area, they may have a selection of inflation bulbs. Bear in mind that most are Latex but rubber is also available for people that are allergic to Latex.

Hope it helps.
Thank you and take care,
Peter
1971 VW Beetle Cabriolet, 1988 Merkur Scorpio, 1994 Ford Escort LX, 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Ed Lijewski »

A larger bulb to my eye is too obtrusive, plus the chrome screw valve is dissonant with the interior materials.

If one needed an alternate to the OEM bulb, for any personal reason, I'd recommend removing the bulbs, and connect them to a mini air inflator (mounted anywhere one chooses). Add dash momentary switches to apply power briefly to desired inflated level.

Voila.
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Ed Lijewski »

Groove joint pliers test review.

https://youtu.be/qjDG4gaiRp8

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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Fresh Air Inspector »

Hello Ed,

I agree that the replacement inflation bulbs are not as subtle looking as the originals but sometimes you have to use the workaround available to you. Having said that, these were only meant to be temporary until something better could be found. If you want to have power inflation, use a cruise control pump assembly. Volvo used the same one in their 940 series cars (1991 – 1995), don't forget to grab the brake pedal switch to use as a bleed valve.

Thanks for the slip joint plier review - interesting stuff.

Hello All,

The original inflation bulbs on my car were not 100%. The one side would not inflate, felt like it was already inflated but wasn't and the other had a very slow deflation rate. I decided to see if the originals could be disassembled and repaired – they can! First check the condition of the rubber itself especially around the release button and the bottom (around the plastic insert). Because these areas are stretched the rubber can begin to crack especially if the vehicle has lived in a hot climate.

Supplies;
1, O-ring (2 pieces); 10mm OD, 8mm ID (1mm cross section) OR 3/8” OD, 1/4” ID (1/16” cross section)
2, 3mm (1/8”), ID Silicone hose (min. 180mm [7”])
3, Synthetic grease

First, pull the release valve from the inflation bulb. You may have to twist it back and forth as you pull. Once it is loose, cut or carefully remove the hose. If you plan to reuse the hose use a small flat blade jewellers screwdriver is needed to release the hose from the metal nipple.
Repair - 01R.jpg
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Next, pull the plastic valve housing from the inflation bulb. Needle nose pliers work well here, slide one of the tips between the rubber and the plastic housing. BE CAREFULL to not damage the slots in the plastic or to let the pliers slip out when pulling. There is a very small O-ring in the end of the housing that helps to seal the valve assembly to the metal pipe.
Repair - 02R.jpg
Repair - 02R.jpg (190.71 KiB) Viewed 728 times
If you are reusing the small hose, leave it attached to the valve housing. In the picture below note the channel running around the circumference of the housing as well as the grooves perpendicular to the channel. This is the air intake channel for the inflation bulb. On the top you will see the hole with white 'pins' this is a basic air filter / one way valve. Next to that is the nipple for the release valve hose and next to that a rubber inflation 'valve'. This valve can be removed (very carefully), with a small slot head screwdriver to 'lever' it out.
Repair - 03R.jpg
Repair - 03R.jpg (202.97 KiB) Viewed 728 times
Note that the rubber inflation valve has a small diameter piece of blind tubing. If you carefully squeeze this part you will see a very small (~3mm / 1/8”), slit appear. This is the 'one way' valve that allows air to be pumped into the bladders but not escape. Check the blind tubing for damage and the slit is in good shape. It is possible that dust and debris has become lodged inside the tube. Clean and check the valve and when finished re-insert the valve in the housing.

End of part 1, thread will continue in the following post.
Thank you and take care,
Peter
1971 VW Beetle Cabriolet, 1988 Merkur Scorpio, 1994 Ford Escort LX, 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Fresh Air Inspector »

Part 2

Time to check the condition of the O-ring that seals the plastic valve housing to the metal pipe. If it doesn't look its best, replace it with a 10mm OD, 8mm ID (1mm cross section), O-ring. If you are stuck you could get away with an imperial size such as 3/8” OD, 1/4” ID (1/16” cross section). The imperial one will require a little stretching to fit over the metal pipe but this will 'thin' the cross section slightly to better seal the joint. Install the O-ring on the metal pipe but leave it at the top to allow the plastic valve housing to push it into place. A little synthetic grease on the O-ring will also help seal the joint.
Repair - 04R.jpg
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If you are not reusing the small hose inside the inflation bulb, cut a piece of 3mm (1/8”), ID Silicone hose 90mm long (3.5”), and attached this to the metal nipple on the plastic valve housing. Feed the hose into the inflation bulb and ensure it comes through the other end for the release valve. Do NOT push the valve assembly completely into the inflation bulb. Leave about 10mm (3/8”), showing as noted in the photo below.
Repair - 05R.jpg
Repair - 05R.jpg (232.33 KiB) Viewed 728 times
Temporarily attach the remaining piece of Silicone hose to the release valve and test the valve. In its rest state you should not be able to blow through the valve. When the button is pushed it should be easy to blow though. I did not try opening the release valve. I suspect that if it is sluggish you could try blowing through it with a can of compressed air to remove any dust or debris. Connect the release valve to the hose in the inflation bulb- you should have just enough hose showing to allow you to attach the valve.
Repair - 06R.jpg
Repair - 06R.jpg (223.16 KiB) Viewed 728 times
Push the release valve into the inflation bulb until it fully seats. Place the inflation bulb on the metal pipe and push into place. It may require some back and forth rotation to move it along the pipe, it is a snug fit. Ensure the valve assembly has reached the flared portion of the pipe and the O-ring remains in place. This flare helps the O-ring seat properly and create an air tight seal. Slide the inflation bulb down to completely cover the plastic valve housing. Time to test your inflatable bolsters. :-)

In my case only one inflator was functioning, by using the blood pressure monitor inflators I was able to test the bladders to ensure they did not leak. Inflated both seats and let it sit overnight, little if any leak so I knew the bladders were OK. The disassembly and cleaning of both original inflators brought them back to full functionality. So I now have working seat bladders in both seats. :-)

Hope it helps.
Last edited by Fresh Air Inspector on Tue Oct 26, 2021 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thank you and take care,
Peter
1971 VW Beetle Cabriolet, 1988 Merkur Scorpio, 1994 Ford Escort LX, 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
Ed Lijewski
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Ed Lijewski »

Great posts!

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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Fresh Air Inspector »

Hello Ed,

Thanks for the feedback - always appreciated. Just edited 'Part 2' as I realized that I didn't indicate the outcome of the disassembly / reassembly process. I my case both inflators and related bladders are performing perfectly. :-)
Thank you and take care,
Peter
1971 VW Beetle Cabriolet, 1988 Merkur Scorpio, 1994 Ford Escort LX, 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
Ed Lijewski
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Re: How to Remove Inflation Bulbs - Lumbar Support

Post by Ed Lijewski »

Love posts that go where no one else had dared to tread. 💕

Kudos.

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