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How to install cabin air filter [PICTURES]

Discussion in 'Modified 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Hitchhikingmike, September 12, 2011.

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    1. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Most people don't realize that drivers usually breathe eighteen times more air pollution than "ambient air". It is common sense that the quality of air is worse near an interstate, but most people don't realize that vehicles trap and build up air pollution inside the cabin.

      I drive several hundred miles weekly through dusty construction zones, share the road with particulate spewing diesel engines and other poor running engines and drive under that path of large Boeing jet planes taking off and landing. During this time my HVAC system picks up all these pollutants, not to mention algerians.

      If you spend several hours a week in your Explorer as I do, simply having clean air to breathe is an understatement.

      Here is how I was able to modify my HVAC system to accommodate an air filter:

      1). Drop down your glove box by opening it by the handle. Next squeeze in the top of the sides near the back and fully pull the glove box out so that it will swing on its hinges nearly 100 degrees. Revealed to you behind the glove box will be part of the HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning system)
      [​IMG]

      The white cardboard that you see in the photo is the side of the air filter installed in my HVAC system. You will have to cut out a hole of the same size to accommodate an air filter.

      Note that I made this modification while I had my dash out repairing the outside/recirculate blend door in my HVAC system which made the modification easier to do.

      Here is another photo of the piece that had to be modified removed from the vehicle:
      [​IMG]
      This piece has a blend door inside of it that either brings in outside air or recirculates the cabin air depending on the blend door's position.

      The black rectangle piece is what must be cut out.

      I suggest removing the blower motor which is directly at the bottom so that the cutting filings and burs that fall inside while making your cut will just fall right through to the carpet and not get trapped inside..

      Since this is a modification, you will have to also make your own custom air filter, unless your can find one made for another car that will fit. The dimensions are 11.5"x6.5"x1". I purchased a high filtration home filter and cut it to size a glue-guned it inside of a cardboard frame I made.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      It literately takes me 15 minutes to make an air filter and I make a new one and change it every 3-4 months.

      Here is what my air filter looks like after 3 months:

      [​IMG]

      I consider my explorer to be somewhat like a second home to me as I spend many hours inside of it weekly driving away from home and likewise desire clean air to breathe as I would in my own home. I'm sure I am not alone in this conviction.

      =-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-EDIT June 2017:=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
      I came back to post that I have found a factory cabin filter that fits the dimensions for this mod exactly. The filter is for a BMW 3 series I believe. I am now using a WIX 24784 filter, which filters bacteria, mold, mildew, algae and yeast. Here is the rockauto link. I feel silly for making my own filters previously.

      https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=489028&jsn=7

      Rock Auto says alternate part #s are as follows: 64111393489, 64118363274, 64119069895, 64311394093, 64318363274, CF168, CF8103, LA80

      PICS:

      [​IMG]

      This tag must be cut off with some pliers for the filter to slide in. Took me just 5 seconds to fix it:
      [​IMG]

      Filter installed!:
      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: June 27, 2017
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    3. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Thanks for taking the time to make this thread! It's now a sticky on the top of this section. Could this modification be made to other year Explorers as well as other Fords? It's hard to believe that there is so much pollution to mess up the filter in such a short time.
       
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    4. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Thanks for making it a sticky.

      I made this modification a bit over a year ago. I just now changed out my air filter and realized I never posted this modification on EF and wanted to share it with other members. I regret not posting it sooner, so I just took the time to type it out and finish it.

      I have not worked on other HVAC systems in other Ford vehicles so I cannot say for certain if this modification would work that same way I have it displayed.

      I imagine the best way to make this modification to other 3rd gens without pulling the entire dash (which is what I did) is to use a Dremel tool with a small grinding wheel.

      The place where my air filter is actually looks like it was designed to fit there. One might think the filter would just fall into the box, but there are steps that hold the filter and guide it into place as you insert it. And the location could not be more convent, directly behind the glove box.

      Another note: when I install a filter I tape up the opening with two strips of blue painter's tape so it is a sealed system. Another step, but it just takes me seconds to do.

      There is also no restriction in air flow due to the filter. I am also using a higher quality home air filter that filter out smoke and algerians as well.

      I have even taken out air filter much dirtier than the one displayed above before. I would not drive my explorer now long term without having a quality air filter installed
       
    5. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Something like this should be standard from the factory. There is a lot of pollution where I live. Sometimes there is a vehicle in front of me that has smoke coming out of the tail pipe. I could smell the fumes coming into my vehicle, so I have to shut off my A/C or heater until I'm far enough away. A cabin filter should make it more bearable so that it wouldn't be necessary to turn off the blower motor in this kind of situation.
       
    6. BigRondo

      BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Outstanding job Mike! :thumbsup:
       
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    7. jad2411

      jad2411 Elite Explorer

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      Nice! I'll have to give it a try
       
    8. College Student

      College Student Well-Known Member

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      Another cheap almost free mod worth doing, love this place
       
    9. Ji553r

      Ji553r New Member

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      wow I am going to do this next week! thank you for the contribution!
       
    10. 43

      43 Active Member

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      Awesome! i have been looking for a how to on this forever! Thank you!
       
    11. mountaineer02

      mountaineer02 Member

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      Not just for me,but for my kids!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!
       
    12. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Please let me know if there is any step that I can clarify upon, and I will.

      Another note: even when air vent panel selection rotary knob is set on recirculate (max-ac) air still pass through the filter, so air is constantly being filtered over and over again on the mac-ac selection.
       
    13. jweb1369

      jweb1369 Member

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    14. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Sorry didn't see your post jweb1369. I don't know about the adjustable filter, probably wouldn't work out to well. The autozone filters would probably work. But I believe the only way you can get the highest quality filter will still be to buy a top of the line air home filter of which you have the specs on and form it to your dimensions. The filter medias on those generic autozone filters probably aren't as capable of the former.
       
    15. badloser

      badloser Member

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      Awesome thread I cant believe how dirty that air filter got after just 3 months..
       
    16. rcc

      rcc New Member

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      Excellent article, but might want to correct the typo. I assume you are trying to keep allergens out of your truck, not Algerians. LOL, are the Algerians your HVAC system picks up attractive?? :)
       
    17. jpoprock

      jpoprock Active Member

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      I don't understand why "modifying" has to be involved? Edit: Is it because there isn't a cabin filter and you're CREATING one?

      So, that means you can't you just buy replacements that drop right in because they don't make them easily serviceable by the owner? I've got
      178K on my 2002 Explorer and never once even THOUGHT about an air filter change! Perhaps I should... but I'm not sure how jazzed up I am dremeling and risking a major screw up.

      I guess the reason this isn't chrystal clearl is beacause you had the dash out already making it 10x easier. It would be awesome to see pix on how to do this with access only through the glovebox hole!

      I totally get it the concept and reasoning behind doing this now that I've read through this a couple times, and it's a great idea for sure. I just didn't realize that there wasn't a replaceable "Cabin Filter" on these vehicles. I think they do have them now though?
       
      Last edited: March 12, 2012
    18. AntonK

      AntonK New Member

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      cabin filter Ford Sport Trac 2010

      I have a 2010 Ford Sport Trac Truck with a similar problem.:mad:
      1) However my glove box view is slightly different per attached photo. Does anyone know about this modification? or any other ideas?
      2) AND where is the Outside air Intake on this vehicle.
      thx
      [​IMG]
       
    19. Saik

      Saik Active Member

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      i want to do this, but i have no dremel tool, and I have not enough knowledge to disassemble the interior. :(
       
    20. HCCA 250

      HCCA 250 Active Member

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      This looks like your telescopic steering column. Same principal. It appears that a cabin filter was at least feasable, on this vehicle. But, factory, for some reason, decided NOT to do it. ?????? I'm starting on mine, in an hour!

      BTW, the other thing about making your own filter, is that the 3M Ultra Allergen filter in 25"x20", costs $15, and will make 6 filters for your vehicle. As opposed to ONE filter made for a vehicle at $15 each!!
       
    21. BastekFX

      BastekFX New Member

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      I just did mine.
      As it turns out, the Rec/Fresh Air door came off it's 'hinges'... What a PItA to get it re-installed without removing a dash.... But I did it. I used some glue on the actuator side, hopefully it will stay in it's place.
      I should have figured something was wrong, looking at the amount of dust in the glove box and from weak air speed from the vents. Not to mention, that it took for ever to cool down the car.
      BTW, now that it all works properly, I've noticed that, if I put the AC in auto, the door closes and pulls the air from inside, but the Re-circulation light does NOT light up. Pressing on Rec button does not do squat.
      If I press one of the Mode controls, then the Rec button operates the door.
      Going back to the installation.
      I used one of those Bosh (Fein like) oscillating tools to cut out the hole. One thing, if you cut the hole, you have to make it 3/16" taller than your filter, as there is a 3/16" lip on the bottom of the assembly. I had to cut twice because of it.
       
    22. Jnd1104

      Jnd1104 New Member

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      I have a 04 explorer xlt is it located behind the glove box also ive been wanting to change asap thanks
       
    23. EvilTheCat

      EvilTheCat Member

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      Awesome idea. I'm going to tear into my '97 this weekend to see if it's simple or not. I'll try to take a few pictures and post them if I remember.
       
    24. fordlover453

      fordlover453 New Member

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      Good DYI definitely book marking this
       
    25. HCCA 250

      HCCA 250 Active Member

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      Just a note...I did my filter mod a year ago. And, it's stupid easy. I was amazed at the minimal amount of work I had to do. I simply used a dremel tool with a cutoff disc. One hour to cut out the access (inside the vehicle, no removal of anything, but the glove box.) cut the filter material, hot glue the cardboard "frame" around the filter medium, and install. Why did Ford not make this an option...or, hell, STANDARD!
       
    26. Jeremy Henry

      Jeremy Henry New Member

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