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Cold air in glove box -OR- No air flow from vents on Max AC - Here's a workaround

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Curtis, June 24, 2010.

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    1. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      A lot of times this problem is mistakenly called a blend door problem. That's not the case here. A blend door does exactly that, blends warm and cold air depending on the temperature selected on the heater controls, that's in another part of the system

      This part is called "recirc door duct" - or - "Air Inlet Duct"
      This duct closes outside air when you select Max AC and causes the blower motor to sound louder

      [​IMG][​IMG]

      My Problem
      ========
      What I noticed is that when on Max AC, there is no change in aiflow/blower noise from regular AC. And the blower seems too loud for the amount of air coming out of the vents

      If you look where the blower motor is in the 3rd gens, its really easy to get to. Its under the passenger side dash. Three 8mm bolts + 1 holding the wiring will let it drop out.

      [​IMG]

      Lean in with a light and look up, you'll see a mesh that prevents tissues etc from getting blown up into the vents.

      Here is the cause
      ===============
      Right on top of that mesh you'll likely see the recirc door, fallen out of position, and resting right on top of the blower motor, blocking the duct, and severely restricting air flow


      Now what?
      =========
      You cannot replace just the door, its in the Max AC Air Inlet Duct
      The part is about $49 at the dealer, but requires the dash removal and Ford states 6.9 hrs... that's probably a $700 dollar job

      Here's what I did for now
      ==============
      Empty the glove box
      squeeze the sides, and lower it to the floor

      You'll see the top of the blower motor housing - its the round part.
      Above this is the Air Inlet Duct

      [​IMG]

      The duct is kind of tent shaped as can be seen in the exploded diagram above, its #16, and the door is hinged at the top point and swings to each side to allow or stop outside air.

      This Air Inlet Duct is in 2 pieces. Remove these four 8mm bolts with a small ratchet.

      [​IMG]

      Then you can split the two pieces with a couple of flat screw drivers. The pieces are not glued so they can be pryed apart easily.

      When you've got enough room reach in with a couple fingers and pull out the door.

      This is the door
      [​IMG]

      Its much bigger than I thought.
      Once its out, replace the 4 bolts of the Air Inlet Duct, and put the glove box back up.

      Bolt the blower motor back up too.


      After doing this, I now have the air flow on speed 1, that I used to on speed 4.


      But wait! What about a permanent fix?
      ===================
      The downfall to this workaround, is that you always have outside air coming into the system (as you would on regular AC)
      Here in FL, that can be really hot air, which will not allow the AC to cool as efficiently.
      The opposite would be true in colder climates, when driving, you'll have cold air coming in behind the glove box and you wife may have to cover her legs with a blanket :rolleyes:


      So after I removed the door, I sealed up the intake outside the truck.
      1 - open the hood
      2 - remove the passenger side cowl grill (its just snapped in)
      3 - Just below the windshield, there is triangular plastic cover that's snapped in but does have some sealant on it. gently pry this off.
      4 - Then if you look inside, you'll see a scoop shape on the firewall with a gap at the top. This gap is where the outside air comes in.
      5 - I sealed it off with clear packing tape for now as I plan to remove it later when I replace the duct.

      I dont have time right now to pull the dash so this is just to allow more air so I can feel it on my face. With this door restricting air flow, the AC would not move a hair on my head, but now it does!

      In the near future, I will replace the Air Inlet Duct assembly
      For Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 the part # is 1L2Z18B259AC, list price is $49.60

      This site ----> http://www.denlorstools.com/autoblog/2008/08/2003-ford-explorer-ac-not-cold-enough/
      has excellent instructions for doing it without removing the whole dash as Ford would have you believe they do.
      This guy can replace the part in 45 minutes, so I'll budget a few hrs for me.

      Hope this helps someones cool down quicker, or at least offers a way to diagnose a similar problem.




      :thumbsup:
       
      Last edited: July 2, 2010
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    3. t1j2f3

      t1j2f3 New Member

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      Help please....

      I just did this on my wife's Explorer. It worked! For the first time ever the A/C blew like it should have (we bought it new in 2003 and were told the air was supposed to suck like this by the dealer). I tried all four levels and the air blew hard out of the A/C vents until...

      I wanted to show the wife that I was able to fix her A/C so I turned it off and did a drum-roll for her. When I turned it back on the cold air started coming out the dash and defrost vents.

      I checked all of the connections on the "vacuum tank" and they appear to be intact. Can someone please give me some advise on how to fix this?
       
    4. t1j2f3

      t1j2f3 New Member

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      I fixed it! I had a line pinched so there was no suction.
       
    5. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      :thumbsup:
       
    6. workman482

      workman482 New Member

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      Thanks for the info

      Thanks for the extremely useful info! Helped to do a temp. fix on my '04 Explorer. I hope to return the gesture with some useful info of my own.

      :usa:
       
    7. xTOM153x

      xTOM153x Active Member

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      How is the airflow on the third setting I get airflow but its so bad compared to pretty much every other vehicle I have driven and four is way to loud and is hard to talk over im wondering if it is something to do with my fresh air door
       
    8. rhauf

      rhauf Well-Known Member

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      so wait, i can get one of those fancy air conditioned glove boxes?
       
    9. armysoldier30263

      armysoldier30263 Active Member

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      i just did your remedy curtis and it helped out 100% thanks a bunch. i thought my problem was the blend door. im so happy it isnt. lol but i also had a crap load of leaves and trash in the wire filter between the door and the blower motor. so that could be added as a problem with the airflow. thanks again buddy. maybe a sticky?
       
    10. v8 thumper

      v8 thumper New Member

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      THANK YOU CURTIS:D:thumbsup::D

      My wife's '02 Explorer has had very poor airflow for over a year now. Living in the desert, poor airflow (especially in the summer) sucks HUGE. My 'initial' diagnosis was in fact the dreaded 'blend door' issue, and had put off this project long enough (too long).

      Not looking forward to removing the dash assembly, I thought I'd do a little more research before starting. I found this thread, and checked the recirc door first. Sure enough, it was laying flat on the bottom of its plenum.

      Needless to say, the Mrs. is a happy gal :D
       
    11. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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    12. RKH

      RKH New Member

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      Thanks you soooo much! Was fed up with the poor airflow. Read this post last night and just finished the band-aid job on my '04 earlier.
       
    13. Foard48

      Foard48 New Member

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      Thank U 2!!

      I was fed up with the airflow on my 2003 XLT until now. I had been putting up with this for a long time. Performed the quick fix and airflow is where it should be. We'll have to see how this affects things in the winter. May have to tape up the intake as previously pointed out.

      Thanks again,

      Gary
       
    14. Welli

      Welli New Member

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      Thank you. I did the same procedure in my 2004 XLT, I used the very same trapped door I removed wedged in the passenger side under the grill by on the bottom of the windshield instead of a tape. On the 2004 thew gap is huge , hard to tape.
      Also you will need to remove the passenger's windshield wiper, lift the little lock on its bottom , wiggle it right up.
      Thanks again.
      :thumbsup:
       
    15. tcore83

      tcore83 New Member

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      My regular A/C works fine, but now there is no change when i go to MAX A/C, heard a strange noise the other day when I turned MAX on and now it does not work. Do I have the same problem or is there another issue at hand. All the vents still change position when i change it, floor-vent-defrost-etcm just MAC A/C does not change from regular.

      Thanks!
       
    16. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      The air flow in different vents has nothing to do with this recirc door.
      The recirc door just opens or closes outside air.

      The reason MaxAC is usually louder than normal AC is that the door closes outside air, and opens up directly to the blower for inside air, and we hear it louder. So if there is no change in the blower sound, then this door is likely broken or fallen out of position.

      The blower is in the passenger floor area under the dash, lean in and look up though it, you'll most likely see the door laying across the blower, or if its not, its still in position but not moving properly.
       
    17. wildcat40cal

      wildcat40cal New Member

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      Can't thank you enough. My a/c wasn't pushing much air on max a/c either and your work around changed everything on my '04 XLS. Huge volume of cold air through the vents now. Thanks for saving us a ton of $ on a repair shop bill.
       
    18. s2per

      s2per New Member

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      Thanks guys! I just did the "quick fix" on our son's '03 Ex and it was amazing the amount of air that wasn't getting through. Here on the west coast of FL, cold air's a great thing to have....lots of it. We may or may not replace the door assembly; blocking off the intake has proved effective.

      First time on the board, but with this success, we'll be back.
       
    19. Culley9

      Culley9 New Member

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      I just did your quick fix and I have to say wow what a difference. Thank you thank you thank you
       
    20. bratton88

      bratton88 New Member

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      Thanks for the awesome write-up. I just bought a 2003 Explorer EB and the first thing I noticed was very poor air flow from the A/C. Following your instructions, I was able to remove the broken recirc door and a bunch of leaves that had gathered in there on top of the wire mesh. Now, it's blowing like a champ. Plan to replace the Air Inlet Duct assembly in the future, but am glad I could apply a quick fix until I have the time. Thanks again.
       
    21. 75ohm

      75ohm New Member

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      Good stuff, thanks for the write up! I pulled this off last night and am pretty happy that I have airflow again!

      I have a new plenum box and will install it in the fall but this is going to work just fine until then!
       
    22. sfbayjay

      sfbayjay Active Member

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      Could a malfunctioning recirc door be part of the reason that my defrost/defogger doesn't work very well?

      When you set the air to defrost, is the recirc door supposed to change positions? I think when you hit "defrost" on the dial, the AC kicks on to remove humidity from the air in the cabin. It would make sense to me that the system should kick the recirc door open to circulate and dehumidify only onside air, correct?

      This might explain my nagging problem with fogging windows...
       
    23. ericsauvage08

      ericsauvage08 New Member

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      air out of defrost vents only?!?!

      Where was the pinched line at? the air blew great right after I pulled the door and drove around town yesterday, but today all i get is air out of the defroster vents

      Thanks.

      ^^^^Got it, for future people, there are a couple small hoses, they look like wires (Mine, on an 04 Exp XLT, were black and grey), that WILL get caught in the seal of the blower when you put it back on if you don't move them out of the way. There is also some more obvious wiring that will get in your way as well. Once I removed the pinched hose (the grey one in my case) The air was working again out of the face vents.

      Also, another observation. When Curtis says, "Then you can split the two pieces with a couple of flat screw drivers. The pieces are not glued so they can be pryed apart easily." I figured the thing would just pop open, that is not the case. The pieces are not glued, but it should be understood that you are essentially prying open and half opened box just enough to get the door out. There are screws on the back side of the box that you cant get to, hence the using a couple screwdrivers to hold and pry it open just enough. Don't get too carried away prying though.

      I can't get over how good my air flow is now!! Thanks so so so so so much for the pictures and step by step. If anyone thinks their air flow might be inadequate, pull the blower and see if the door is open. It's easy, a little awkward to get to, but VERY worth checking, glad I did.

      I ordered a new box, so sometime this fall i'll put that it. If anyone has more to add to the install for that box in addition to the link Curtis posted, let me know. I am not excited to pull the dash open.
       
      Last edited: August 2, 2011
    24. mdisalvo

      mdisalvo Member

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      I always thought my air wasn't blowing very hard, but just assumed it was normal. Just checked and sure enough the recirc door was sitting on top of the blower. I wasn't able to grab it with my fingers, so I used needle nose pliers instead, but after removing it I noticed a huge difference. Feels like I have a fan in front of my face now, thanks for the info!
       
    25. Exproblems

      Exproblems Well-Known Member

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      >>>>>>>>
      >>>>>>>>>>>

      Mdisalvo,

      Prior to removing your failed air recirculation door, did you ever have weak air flow through your defroster vents on top of your dashboard to your windshield, besides problems in your AC vents? I have that problem, weak defroster air flow to the windshield and I am assuming the recirculation door is out of align and blocking the air flow to the defroster vents. I may try this fix by removing the recirculation door completely if it will improve my defroster vent air flow. Winter is just around the corner here and I could use better air flow to the defroster/windshield. Also, how long did it take you to do this fix? Was it easy to get the 4 screws out of the recirc box and seperate it? Thanks for any feedback.
       
    26. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      If your recirc door has fallen out, you'll get decreased air flow everywhere.
      Easy to check, just look up though the blower motor on the passenger floor with a flash light, you'll see the door.

      You should be able do this 'work around' in an hr or so... most likely less.
       

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