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1998 5.0 XLT Electrical Gremlins. PATs and horn problem.

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Nate_V8, February 19, 2018.

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    1. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Well, over the years I've learned that bad grounds can cause all kinds of weird stuff. I'd just try splicing in a good ground to the existing ground wire and see if that makes a difference. What about the other wire(s)? There could be a break/bad connection there too.

      BTW - Twist splices and electrical tape are not a repair. If you don't have a soldering iron, get one. Also pick up a wire stripper, some silver solder, soldering flux, some heat-shrink and do proper repairs. About the only repair I'll make w/out soldering is to use a butt connector and I don't trust those kinds of repairs either. That's a real rat's nest of wires you've got there.
       
      Last edited: March 22, 2018
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    3. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      It would have to be a bad connection because if it was a break it wouldn't work at all. I will check the others but for some reason I feel like a bad ground is the problem (if a poor connection is the problem).

      I know twist splices and tape are not repairs. I have a picture from years ago when one of the mustangs I had almost caught fire due to shit wiring. Turned out the PO used green wire for EVERYTHING and just twisted and taped everything together. Green for positive AND negative. Good times....

      As for what I've done so far, the wires I sealed up with tape were just exposed wire with no danger of arcing or grounding out on anything. There is nothing I had to splice back together. For the most part, most of the wires (save 3/6 ignition wires) were soldered at least but no shrink wrap, just tape.

      I will have to look at the wring diagram for the locks/rap module if I can't see a broken wire or anything that is clearly the problem. My only concern is since the locks partly work, how would it be a broken wire for the locks?
       
    4. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Good thought, a poor connection can do all of that. Keep an eye out for any other things which someone else might have worked on. Dash wiring is great and rarely has faults, but like an engine harness, old age and becoming brittle, handling any of the wiring can create an issue. You hate to have to work on old wiring, but also you want to avoid anything someone else might have messed with.

      I bought a dash harness from a 2002 Mustang, but not the first one I found, because it had had a remote starter installed in it. I didn't want that harness, in case any connections that were made damaged the original wiring. That was for my 92 Mark VII, which this year I hope to rewire with that 01/02 Mustang wiring, including a 97 Explorer engine/trans harness, to make it OBDII etc. I've got lots of wires in boxes, a big puzzle with way more pieces than a boxed puzzle.
       
    5. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Sometimes you can have a wire with broken strands under the insulation. A wire like that may only carry 1/2 the amps of whatever gauge the wire is rated for. That may cause a device to work, but work poorly. You can also have wires that are completely broken under the insulation. These broke wires, if disturbed, may carry current sometimes, but not at other times.

      I was once working on an acquaintances classic car. He had recently paid someone $1500 to "rewire" the entire vehicle, but had a host of problems afterwards.

      An example of three of his problems were:
      - Driver's power window worked, but very slowly.
      - Brake light only on one side, only tail light on the other side.
      - The in-dash ignition switch got so hot you couldn't touch it.

      The driver's power window issue was because the person that rewired the car used about six 8" pieces of different colored, different gauge wire scraps, butt spliced together, to carry the power to the window motor. The window motor was only receiving 7 volts due to all the resistance.

      Brake/tail lights were never rewired and there were broken/bare original wires running across the trunk floor.

      The HOT ignition switch was my favorite. The person had re-wired the ignition switch with more wire scraps and butt connectors, but apparently didn't have a crimp connector large enough for the primary wire coming from the battery, so he just twisted it loosely around a stud on the ignition switch. The poor connection carrying a lot of amps got really hot. So hot that it heated up the metal ignition switch. If the dash wasn't 100% metal it would have melted. If that wire ever fell off the stud and grounded out the whole car would have probably caught on fire.

      When I told my acquaintance what I found (and fixed) and that he had been ripped off because he'd paid someone $1500 to ruin his car he got mad at me. I offered to actually rewire the entire vehicle correctly using a Painless Wire kit, but he just ended up selling it to some other sucker.
       
    6. mic98xlt

      mic98xlt Elite Explorer

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      To me, erratic electrical problems such as yours indicates a bad ground. Bad grounds cause all kinds of crazy problems because they are essential points for reference in a 12 volt system. This would explain why sometimes the gremlins disappear and other times reappear again. The grounding points are often taken for granted to be good and valid, leading to a bad assumption and leading you down the wrong trouble shooting path.

      I once helped a friend chase a electrical problem with his head lights and other lights appearing dim. The ground between the body chassis and the negative battery post were eliminated by mistake during the engine swap. We chased that once for weeks before we realized that a solid ground strap was needed between the front metal header panel and the negative battery post.

      On these Explorers second generation, often on the firewall by the PCM, the grounding spot is only good at one dedicated metal post point. During a engine swap it is often removed, but often replaced back on the first available metal nut that someone finds. Other firewall grounding points are at best a partial bad grounding point. When this was done on my Sport, most of the dash instruments worked fine but the fan switch and blower didn't. This is just food for thought while you are troubleshooting.
       
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    7. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Good thoughts. Check the easy to get at main ground points. The big battery and alternator wires you can check fast. Hunt the many other grounds, which I think all have green 8mm head bolts going into the chassis. There's one main bolt on the radiator support near the battery and radiator cap. Check the one in each kick panel area, very close to the bottom front edge of the dash. That left one I hope doesn't have several added wires on it. There's one in the LR quarter panel area, near the relay box that has the door lock relays in it. Most circuits in some way ground through those main grounds, plus the one on the firewall from the engine. The whole chassis is a ground path for almost all of the circuits.
       
    8. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      There are also 2 braided ground wires on each side of the frame that go to the body. These braided ground wires often corrode on rust belt trucks. You can find replacements in the HELP section of most auto parts stores.
       
    9. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      So some interesting developments.

      I tried the original pats transceiver ring and as I thought it still works. Here's the weird thing though. I plug in the original, try it and nothing. So I read about leaving the key on with the theft light flashing for 60s and then the theft light will blink in a pattern. The pattern was 1:6 which is faulty link between PATS module and EECV.

      Here is the interesting part. While waiting the 60s with the key on and theft light flashing fast, my check engine light comes on and I hear the fuel pump prime. OK what? I already know that means I can start the truck and after getting the code pattern after 60s I tried starting it and it started right up. What the hell??? No idea how that works.

      I then unplugged the battery and tried following the wiring and the wires go up inside the dash toward the center and I couldn't see any ground. I looked around for other grounds and took off panels, everything looked fine unfortunately lol. So I sprayed some sensor clean on the PATS transceiver plug, plugged it back in and pushed all the wires in toward to connectors and some wires did move, I'm not sure if it did anything but it was able to start every time after that and that is at different intervals. I'm not assuming I fixed it though.

      As for the locks. I tore apart the floor along the doors where the wires run to the RAP module. Everything looked fine and intact. So I look at the drivers door and there is a weird black plastic cylinder with a nut on it that has the door wires coming from it. So I start undoing the nut and was expecting the top to come off. instead it drops the bottom out. So instead of inspecting it I put it back and tighten it back up. Now all my locks work. Perfect! So I go and disconnect the battery and unplug the PATS tranceiver module as it was temporarily placed, plug the battery back in. No more locks. Same thing as before, drivers door unlock button and key fob unlock will only unlock the drivers door, nothing else works. So I take apart the cylinder at the door again, look at it, see one of the female connectors is out of whack, spray some sensor clean in and install it again and no locks. Sun was fading by that point and my hands were starting to freeze so packed it up for the day.
      So guess the problem lies within that cylinder? I pulled off the rubber boot and I didn't see broken wires and would be odd that the ones inside the door would be broken. The bent female connector could have been when I took it off the first time. It still doesn't make any sense why they would stop working within the 2 weeks the truck has been sitting there unplugged.


      20180322_181849.jpg

      This looks like it would cost me a small fortune to fix. What a piss off, this is getting old quick
       
    10. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Intermittent PATS issue - Seems like your zeroing in on a bad connection to the transceiver ring.

      Hearing fuel pump prime - PATS does not disable the fuel pump. It's turns off the fuel injectors.

      Door locks - It sounds like you have a broken wire(s) in the wire bundle going from the driver's door to the cabin. This is very common. By messing with the barrel connector you probably made temporary contact which allowed the locks to work. After opening/closing the driver's door a few times, contact was once again lost. The wires leading from the driver's door to the cabin often break due to the multiple tens of thousands of times the driver's door is opened and closed. Remember we're talking about a 20 year old vehicle here.

      - Undue the bolt on the top of the barrel connector until the bottom drops out.
      - With a helper, remove the four 13 mm bolts that hold the drivers door hinges on and remove it.
      - Cut off the wire-tie that holds the rubber boot on the lower part of the barrel connector and pull it back. Carefully check all the wires found under the boot for breaks (external and internal). Fix any broken wires found. I'm pretty sure the wires that control door locking/unlocking are pink/yellow and pink/green, but consult a wiring diagram.

      Free wiring diagrams can be found at the following link in the Auto Repair Reference Center.

      EBSCOhost Login

      USERID = s8921298
      PASSWORD = password
       
      Last edited: March 23, 2018
    11. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      I know the PATS disables the injectors which is why I find it weird. Maybe I'm actually hearing something prime in the front? Something primes! I'm still lost as to why it started up 30s in with the theft light flashing fast. Theft continued to flash in pattern when I started it up too.

      I will add that when the door locks all started working it was when I had all the plastic floor molding off revealing the wire harness track along the floor, I don't know if that matters. When I unplugged that barrel connector the first time and plugged it back in and the locks started working; I unplugged the battery and reinstalled the PATS transceiver, ****put all the floor molding back*** and plugged the battery back in only to discover no locks again. even with removing the boot and inspecting the wires and spraying in cleaner and trying to reattach it twice.

      I found a thread with people having close to similar problems. I haven't tried the rear power lock yet but looks like everyone has a problem with some pink wires on the floor. I'm wondering if it was coincidence that my locks starting working after I removed that cylinder as beforehand I removed the floor molding. Maybe I moved something on the floor wiring harness? I can't recall exactly but I'm pretty sure I didn't try the lock after removing the floor molding and only tried after unplugging and plugging in that barrel connector

      I did cut the zip tie and pulled the boot back but maybe I didn't look thorough enough. I will inspect the floor harness again tonight and check the rear power lock. Going to be hard to get a helper and find time to remove the door.
       
    12. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      It's much easier to check the door loom wires with the door off, which is really easy to do, other than it's clumsy to do by yourself. When examining the wires, keep in mind that the insulation does not have to be broken for the wire inside to be broken. If you can't get someone to help you remove the door, get creative.

      When you examined the wires running along the door sills and under then rear seat, did you remove the tape covering them? Did you see the factory splices on the pink wires? Where the splice points green with corrosion? If there are no broken wires in the driver's door loom it's possible disturbing the splices on the wires in the door sills temporarily allowed the locks to function. By trying the door lock/unlock button found in the cargo area, you effectively bypass the driver's door related wiring. If the locks work from the cargo area every time, you have a BROKEN WIRE/BAD CONTACT/OPEN CIRCUIT somewhere between the driver's door switch and the lock/unlock relays in the cargo area.

      IDK what you're talking about regarding the "priming noise" you're hearing. The only thing that primes is the fuel pump, which is not deactivated by PATS. If you're hearing something making noise under the hood, it's not the fuel pump. The fault code your seeing is most likely referencing a bad connection to the transceiver ring. PATS is not all that mysterious.

      - The ignition key has a chip inside it.
      - The transceiver ring around the ignition lock cylinder reads the key's chip and passes its code to the PCM for verification using a dumb buss.
      - If the PCM recognizes the key's chip it enables the fuel injectors. If not, the fuel injectors are not enabled, the engine will not start and the theft light blinks quickly.
      - If you experience intermittent PATS issues you probably have an electrical contact issue.
       
    13. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      You are getting closer. Keep inspecting the wiring at the door jamb, that's a weak link where the wires are being twisted each time the door is opened and closed.

      My starting issue stopped in 2005. I recall before learning about the THEFT light, I got the engine to start by turning the key to run, over and over, until I heard the pump prime. I thought the pump was being disabled most of the time. It's been so long I'm not sure that the pump was priming each time.
       
    14. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      @CDW6212R I find that unless it is very quite it can be difficult to hear the pump prime. It's probably easier to hear if you listen at the open fuel filler when someone else turns the key.
       
    15. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      It was hard to hear, I was at work many times when it did it. That's when I saw the Theft light flashing the first time, and learned how it works by watching the Theft light. Once it stopped flashing with the key just turned on, then it would start.
       
    16. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      Well it doesn't really matter what primes. If the check engine light comes on, I can start it. Which the check engine light came on and something primed. I'm just confused as to why it allowed me to start while the theft light was flashing and I didn't move the key from the on position.

      Side note: I normally hear the fuel pump prime as I don't turn the key right to crank from off. With one of the heavily modified mustangs I had, carbed with a sumped tank and the works, I got into the habit of turning the key on, waiting to hear the fuel pump and then cranking and now I do that with all my vehicles lol

      If the PATS transceiver starts acting up again I will try finding which wire on it is the ground and try adding another ground wire to it. I don't have a multi-meter and I'm still trying to find a wiring diagram of the transceiver.


      For now:

      I guess I will first check the rear hatch lock. I'm assuming it will work but what if it doesn't?

      I don't remember seeing splices, I did not remove any tape, should I remove tape? Where are the splices?

      Also do I have to remove the rear seat to follow the wire harness? how do I remove the black tracking that covers the wire harness that the moldings snap into?


      I will start with the easier wires. I may be able to get someone to help me with the door if I need to take it off.
       
    17. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I realize you're frustrated, but now you're frustrating me. Please take 2 freaking seconds and try the cargo area lock/unlock button. I feel like I'm wasting my time with you and that I've wasted as much time as i'm willing to spend.

      Oh, and yes you have to remove the tape! How do inspect the splices if you can't see them? No you don't have to remove the rear seat, just look under the carpet with the door sill removed.

      Good luck with your issues. I'm done.
       
    18. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      The door you can take off yourself, with little trouble. Putting it on does need some help.

      As you get to any of the latches, spray each with some penetrant, and a lubricant too. That will help or solve many latch problems which are from age(sticking etc). With the key in the door chime should go out when all doors are shut. If any of the latches aren't triggering the sensor to shut off the chime, the dash light will stay on, with the chime and interior lights.

      The wires going back to the RAPS module run straight back along the left edge, and up to the wheel well. You'll have to remove the back seat to get at all of that wiring, under the rug there. The big rear quarter panel trim takes the most time to remove.
       
    19. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      Well that seems a bit harsh man, I only have about an hour a day I can go out to work on it (between 5pm-6pm) and only when it's warm (warm being 0c) and not windy. I don't have the option of going out to work on it at whim. Sorry I upset you, I was just confirming. I did make it outside and checked the cargo lock/unlock button and it does nothing. The only thing that works currently is the the unlock button on the drivers door and the unlock button on the key fob and they only unlock the drivers door.

      I won't be able to get out to it until sunday or monday.

      I will remove the tape and check the splices when I get out next.

      Thanks for the help so far.
       
    20. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      I finally got out to look at the truck. Power locks are fixed!!

      As I said before I tried the rear power lock and it had the same problem as the rest of the locks. Only unlocking of the drivers door worked.
      I started by removing the drivers side kick panel and floor trim along the front and rear door to get at the wiring harness. The harness on the floor all looked intact and I saw where the splices were so before I started removing the tape I tried the locks again. They worked perfect.... Hmmmm

      So I go along the floor looking at the pink green/yellow stripe wires and it goes behind a black fiber material that was behind the front kick panel. I didn't think I would see much as I had a hell of a time trying to get one the of spliced wires out of there but that's when I found the problem.

      20180328_171158.jpg

      Behind the kick panel, behind the black panel the 2 pink wires for the doors are just opened up with no protection. I guess they weren't touching before but after removing the panel to get at one of the spliced wires they must have touched when I put the kick panel back. I'm also assuming that none of the locks worked except the drivers door first unlock press was because 2 presses and it unlocks all doors and the lock button does all doors so when it goes to all doors it shorted on the opposite wire.

      Anyways I shrink wrapped them up and no problems after installing the trim.


      As for the pats transceiver I rerouted the wires back to how they were and took some tape and wound it around the door dinger blue sensor several times to hold it in place. Should hold just fine, if not it isn't hard to get to. I checked each pin wire at the connections for the PAT transceiver and then taped them up to hold them and then I moved a ground wire terminal ring that looked to be on the same circuit as the PATS. The ground terminal ring was so far over the ground wire was pulled back down at a sharp angle and was tight so I loosened it and brought the wire end back to give the ground wire some slack. Probably did nothing but you never know. No problems with it trying several times to see if it would start and waiting in between tries. If it does flash me the theft light again I will see if waiting 30s will work again.

      Thanks for the help everyone! Now just need a horn relay and it's all done! (Pats transceiver pending)
       
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    21. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Progress, good to hear. It looks like someone was rushing before and didn't finish the repair well. It's better than finding missing chunks from a rodent tasting things. Carry on.
       
    22. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      Well unfortunately the pats transceiver is still not fixed with the used one from ebay or my original. At this point I don't know whether to buy a new one or cut the connector right out and solder them up and add an extra ground. It's not the key, I found a key in a box in all that wiring junk (Makes sense, how else could it auto start without the pats) and it isn't an original key, looked to be from ebay, and it worked no better than the originals.

      Is it possible I got a used transceiver with the same problem as my original transceiver?
       
    23. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      That is a possibility. Finding the extra key hidden away might give you more to work with, did you identify the hidden transceiver with it? I gather remote starters with a hidden coded key also use it, I don't recall if some used OEM parts or a provided device.

      With all that added wiring and what looks like poor wire connections, they were probably rough on wires in general. They may have damaged the key code wiring that you are looking at, tracing and checking. I'd hate to replace one thing or another part, and there's a damaged section you haven't found yet. Test the wires for continuity a lot and try to gently tug on them while you do it. I'm wondering if there's a factory terminal connection that is intact visually, but barely connected inside.
       
    24. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      So have a new hiccup.

      Heat is stuck on HOT. I did some searching (although I was already aware of this problem with explorers) and blend door is the culprit of course. I will check the fuses first (not getting my hopes up) and then see about popping the actuator off and see if it is moving. If the actuator isn't moving I get I have to replace it but if it IS moving then does that mean the blend door is stuck or something else broken?
       
    25. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Might be a broken blend door or broken blend door actuator. Do you have the manual HVAC controls? I'd assume you would on an XLT.
       
    26. Nate_V8

      Nate_V8 Active Member

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      I have the manual controls yep. Does that change anything?
       

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