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2000 ford explorer blend door actuator

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Christopher Buchwald, February 2, 2019.

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    1. Christopher Buchwald

      Christopher Buchwald New Member

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      I have to replace the blend door actuator. I got the old one out but now i cant get the post on the new one to line up to get it installed. Any tips?
       
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    3. 410Fortune

      410Fortune Snow Season Staff Member Moderator

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      do you have a dental mirror and a flashlight?
       
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    4. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      I have a question about the blend door. 1998 XLT. Blend door was replaced by dealer 3+ years ago. $1220. Now all it does is make a thump thump thump sound whenever anything is turned on,,,,not in off position. I guess im wondering if its the actuator or the blend door again. It;s not a clicking noise but as if the door is closing and opening and doesn't stop until the system is turned to off position. Doesnt seem to heat or cool.
       
    5. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Your blend door actuator is broken. They tend to strip their gears. That's the noise you're hearing. I just installed a $11.76 Dorman actuator in my Explorer EB w/automatic temp control. So far it's working fine. If you prefer the expensive (around $60) Ford actuator you can buy the cheap Dorman unit and swap the internal gears.

      The $1220 must have been to replace the blend door itself. That's a huge job unless you cheat.
       
    6. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      That repair was done by the previous owner and she gave me the receipt. 1998 Explorer XLT 4WD 26,600 original miles. I'll work on the actuator either sometime this week or the weekend and give an update. Do I need to pull the part before buying a new one. Seems to be several options and some look different. here is a picture of the dash showing ac,,,,not sure if that helps.

      IMG_0220.jpg
       
    7. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      No, you don't need to pull the part ahead of time, but it ill save you time. You will want to get a replacement actuator for the MANUAL temp controls. The AUTOMATIC and MANUAL actuators look the same externally, but internally they are totally different.and are not interchangeable. Some of the actuators on the market have a removable base attached to their bottom, not sure why, but I assume they may fit multiple models. I removed this base and then the actuator looked identical to my OE original.

      I wrote a review on the Dorman AUTOMATIC actuator I installed in December. You should give it a read as the installation procedure is pretty much the same less the EATC steps. Dorman 604-201 EATC Blend Door Actuator review

      Dorman also makes a MANUAL version I think the part number is 604-202 (not sure) it looks like the below image... The removable base is the part with the 3 holes. Look on eBay or Amazon for the best price/shipping. I'm not a fan of Dorman stuff, but the price was right. I paid under $4 after using some Amazon points.

      I found that the Dorman actuator installation was a bit more difficult than the OE Ford actuator, but it's been working perfectly for almost 2 months now.

      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: February 11, 2019
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    8. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      Well I was able to pull the original actuator out. No stripped gears and actuator moves when there is adjustment made to temperature control. Still hear the thumping sounds even with the actuator out. So wondering if its the blend door being moved by the air from the fan....too bad I bought another actuator and maybe good that I also bought a blend door. Could I test the blend door with a tool or screwdriver to check movement . When I held my finger on the top the fitting for the blend door while the thumping was going on there was no movement on that fitting.
       
    9. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Strange. The stripped gears are typically what make the thumping noise. I've had 3 go bad over the years in this way and so have many others here.

      Here's something you can try...
      Remove the crescent shaped gear from inside the actuator. Place the gear in the hole in the top of the heater box and see if it engages the blend door. It will only fit one way. You should easily be able to operate the blend door manually and feel/hear if hit the end of its travel in both directions. The total amount of travel stop-to-stop is about 1/4 turn. I operated my blend door like this manually for almost a year, though you do need to wire the gear in one direction or the other, as it will swing back and forth on its own.

      If your blend door is broken there is a quick fix that can be performed by cutting a hole in the heater box. Removing the entire dash to replace the blend door is a ridiculous amount of work and usually you end up with new problems because you pinched something in the process of re-installation. If you want I can provide a link to the quick-fix.
       
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    10. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      Ok that door operates as it should ...seems like something to do with a vacuum line that after about 30 seconds the noise goes way. The vent door ( not sure if thats what it is) seems to operate as it should also. Now do i put the original actuator back in (had to superglue the sides as the tabs all broke off) of the dorman replacement.
       
    11. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I'm not sure if you're saying you broke the tabs off the original actuator or the Dorman replacement. Did you mean to say or and not of? If you're comfortable that the super glue will hold I guess you could put that one (which ever it is) in or the other one. If the Dorman one is not the one with the broken tabs, can you return it?

      Tip - When reinstalling the actuator, don't bother with the rear screw. It's a pain and not really necessary.

      There are several other actuators used in the dash which are vacuum operated. I don't understand why any of them would "thump" though and it doesn't explain why you don't get heat or A/C.
       
      Last edited: February 13, 2019
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    12. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      original one. Wanted to check the gears and they were fine,,,,but its maybe original . I could return the dorman one. Bought on amazon and the blend door too I guess. I wont use the rear screw for sure. I'm sure it will get figured out. Can I ask another question. On this car with 26700 actual miles the shock absorbers are a monroe. would that have been original. The truck is a little bouncy so i am thinking of just getting some new shocks. The previous owner said she didnt remember ever replacing the shocks and there are no receipts stating it was done.
       
    13. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I don't know who made the original OE shocks, but I don't think they would have been Monroe. It's funny, my daughter's Mountaineer still has it's OE shocks at 243k + miles, it still rides very well and there are no signs of leakage. My Explorer only has maybe 20-25k on a set of KYB Gas Adjust shocks and it rides okay, but can be a bit harsh over bad road surfaces. I believe there are 2 reasons for this. The Explorer has factory the towing package and 16" wheels with a really old set of Michelin XLT's that need replacing, where the Mountaineer doesn't have the towing pkg, has 15" wheels with fairly new tires. The Explorer rode much better when I first got it 7 years (but only about 15k) ago. That's why I suspect the 10-12 year old tires have something to do with the current ride.

      Whether your shocks are original or replacements they're probably due to be replaced at 267k, especially if it bouncy.
       
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    14. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      It’s only 26,700 miles , not 267,000.
       
    15. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Holy cow, I thought that was a type-o. 26,700 miles on a '98 is unbelievably low miles on a 21 year old vehicle! 2 year old vehicles usually have more miles than that. Normally I'd say the shocks would still be good at only 26k, but with age IDK. Perhaps those Monroe's are the original shocks then. Super low miles on a vehicle is not always a good thing, because seals dry out from lack of use.

      I had a thought on your thumping noise. The vacuum operated HVAC actuators have a diaphragm inside them. Maybe one of them has a hole in it's diaphragm and can't hold vacuum. Maybe something got pinched when the dash was taken out and replaced to change the blend door. Each air flow direction control will have an actuator and a vacuum line. They are connected to the back of the right-most HVAC control under the radio and I think each vac line is a different color. Perhaps you can test each actuator with an inexpensive hand-held vacuum pump/tester to see if they are holding vacuum.
       
      Last edited: February 14, 2019
    16. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      I also have low miles concerns. My thoughts are to have the tranny flushed, differentials and transfer case. put in new spark plugs and wires. The brake fluid and oil have been changed. The tranny fluid was done but that was about 10 years ago, My neighbor bought it new when she was 66 years old. She cant drive any more and gave the truck to me.
       
    17. 410Fortune

      410Fortune Snow Season Staff Member Moderator

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      Let me ask you this, why are you replacing the blend door actuator?
      You are hearing a thump sound, I get that
      It sounds like everything is working as it should when it comes to the blend door............. is it just the thump sound that has you chasing these parts? Or does the truck not switch from hot to cold?
       
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    18. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      My factory shocks on my 98 were Ford branded. The Monroe’s are replacements.
       
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    19. Steve Wendling

      Steve Wendling New Member

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      Thanks for the reply about the shocks. The rear Monroe's are part number 37035. My guess is they were replaced sometime around 7-10 years ago. For the blend door I posted a request for help describing the noise and it was recommended to replace the actuator so I went about that process to find it wasn't. But the gentleman that suggested that has helped me try to discover the real problem. I'll keep working on it but maybe not this weekend. Raining today.
       
    20. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      @410Fortune, @Steve Wendling was not the original creator of this thread.
      @Christopher Buchwald was. Steve tagged on later saying the following...

      "I have a question about the blend door. 1998 XLT. Blend door was replaced by dealer 3+ years ago. $1220. Now all it does is make a thump thump thump sound whenever anything is turned on,,,,not in off position. I guess im wondering if its the actuator or the blend door again. It;s not a clicking noise but as if the door is closing and opening and doesn't stop until the system is turned to off position. Doesnt seem to heat or cool".

      As Steve mentioned the thump, thump, thump sound and also that his HVAC system wasn't cooling or heating that sure sounded like a stripped blend door actuator to me (I've replaced 3 stripped actuators of 3 different Explorers/Mountaineers and all were making the thumping noise). Once Steve reported that his actuator was not stripped, I suggested he check his blend door to see if it was broken. Steve said he did and that it was moving normally manually.

      At this point I'm a bit stumped as to what the thumping noise is and as to why Steve is not getting heat or cooling. I think the next thing he needs to check is vacuum if for no other reason other than to rule out a vacuum issue. It might also be a good idea for Steve to verify that his heater control valve (if so equipped) is working. If the HCV is stuck somewhere between open and closed I guess you might only get lukewarm air. Still doesn't explain the thumping noise though.

      Steve - question, are you still able to change air flow direction from DEFROST to VENT, to FLOOR? When you have a vacuum leak the HVAC system will default to only blowing air from the DEFROST vents.
       
    21. whitebread

      whitebread Elite Explorer

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      it still could be the door, as mine still moved back and forth manually,and the actuator worked fine.... see if you can get a small mirror, and look at where the door pivot comes through the case. mine had a small chunk broken off of the "square keyhole" section, and the actuator drive tab would spin loose, and make a little bit of noise... wasn't quite a "thump" though.... just an idea to check while the actuator is out, and before returning the door....
       

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