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Cheap Fix For Broken A/C Fresh Air Door

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by TonyinFL, March 22, 2010.

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  1. TonyinFL

    TonyinFL New Member

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    Here's a quick fix for a broken A/C fresh air door. Mine's an '03 XLT so I don't know if this will work for others.

    If you've got outside air coming in when you've got the A/C set to Max or if you're getting little to no airflow out of your vents you probably have a broken door and it's fallen down over the fan motor intake.

    I've read that it costs approx. $1500 to get this fixed at the dealer. Ouch. Here's a site detailing how to completely repair this yourself for the cost of the part: http://www.denlorstools.com/autoblog/2008/08/2003-ford-explorer-ac-not-cold-enough/

    However, that involves partially removing the dash and other work that my condo association won't allow me to do so I had to come up with a different fix. My fix involves permanently bolting the door back in place without removing the dashboard.

    This results in no way to open and shut the door again but that doesn't matter to me as I usually have the thing set to Max A/C anyway. Also, depending on how well you align the door you may still get some outside air coming in.

    You get access to the door for the following steps by lowering the glove compartment. (push in on the sides and drop the door)

    Step one was to pick the door up off of the bottom of the box. I tried using my fingers and curved rods to try to grab it via the box grate but that didn't work. The box is deep and you can't grab it. So, I drilled a couple of holes in the side of the box toward the bottom in order to stick a screwdriver or something in to pry the door off the bottom. I ended up using a long thin allen wrench.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As I lifted the door up with the Allen wrench I used my other hand to grab it through the box grate with a rat tail file and maneuvered it back over the outside vent opening where it would be if it were closed. I jammed the file into the plastic grate and it held just fine.

    [​IMG]

    I needed something to permanently hold the door in place so I came up with using toggle bolts. I used a 1/4"x4" machine screw with the toggle. The spring loaded toggle will latch onto the box grate and the screw part will butt up against the door, holding it in place. I added a large flat washer to keep the assembly from falling down into the box (but not before it happened once and it took me nearly an hour to fish it out.)

    [​IMG]

    I ended up using two bolts. The angle of the box grate makes it so the bolts go down at a slight angle and impact low on the door. Not ideal but it seems to hold.

    [​IMG]

    I have no idea how long these things will hold up. If I had to do it over I'd go with a little longer screw. The 4" just touched the door when it tightened on the vent grate. A longer screw might allow adding a lock washer or nut to make sure they don't loosen over time.

    I also don't know what will happen if you change the setting from Max to outside air and the actuator arm functions. I don't know if it will hit the door or what.

    This whole thing cost me under $3, much better than $1500. I hope this lasts and I hope it helps others.

    Tony

    **UPDATE**
    It's been about two weeks and the bolts are still secure. Air flow from the A/C is excellent.
     
    Last edited: April 7, 2010
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  3. fordbluefamily

    fordbluefamily Active Member

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    Good Idea and worth a shot! I have been wanting to jam this door up like that for a while now, but didnt due to the fear that the windows wouldn't defrost very well. I think I could live with that though, I am sick of smelling everyone's burning trash when driving around here. That and the cig smoke at long stoplights. I would rather the windows fog up....
     
  4. TonyinFL

    TonyinFL New Member

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    Update

    It's been about two weeks and the bolts are still secure. Air flow is excellent. :)
     
  5. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

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    Tony that was a great idea!

    I actually removed my door and sealed up the intake outside the truck
    My write up is here
    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=284042

    TO seal up the outside, open the hood, remove the passenger side cowl grill (its just snapped in)
    Just below the windshield, there is triangular plastic cover that's snapped in but does have some sealant on it. gently pry this off.

    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. I sealed it off with clear packing tape for now as I plan to remove it later when I replace the duct.
     
  6. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

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    There are instructions for replacement of the Recirc Duct assembly here
    http://www.denlorstools.com/autoblog/2008/08/2003-ford-explorer-ac-not-cold-enough/

    But Tony does have a nice write up with a work around - http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2492772#post2492772

    I too did a workaround - http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=284042
    There are some other pictures there including an exploded diagram from a Ford manual
    Basically I removed the door and sealed up the air intake outside the truck.
     
  7. way2busy

    way2busy New Member

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    Well, I taped up the outside of my air intake on my 03 XLT V8. The airflow is nice, but it still doesn't seem to be blowing any type of cold air. On this cool evening it is still warmer in my Explorer than out. The A/C is charged properly. The compressor seems to be working, evidenced by the change in rpms. Why no "cold' air? Please help a busy guy out.
     
  8. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you may have a blend door problem.. search the board for Blend Door and there are many posts
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. BigRondo

    BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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  10. way2busy

    way2busy New Member

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    Thanks Curtis, I have already removed my blend door. I put a thermometer in the central vent with the A/C on and the fan speed on 1. After 25 minutes it continued to blow 90 degrees constantly. I felt all the lines in the engine compartment. I didn't feel any cold or even really cooler lines. All were very warm to hot. I am wondering if it is possible that I have air charged in my lines rather than refrigerant?
     
  11. way2busy

    way2busy New Member

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    Oorah!
    6114 1995-2000
     
  12. BigRondo

    BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    Huey mechanic?
     
  13. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

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    If you're not feeling any cold lines you have an AC problem.

    [​IMG]

    the lines going to the accumulator should be cold, freezing.. condensation should form ice on it if you're not moving and AC is on Max.

    Do you have a set of AC gauges? if not check if there is pressure
    Remove the caps on one of the charge ports, its like a tire valve inside, use something small and pointed to give a quick pressure test. There should be a lot of pressure, if you get a small hiss, you're low on gas. then just find out why. Its leaking from somewhere.

    If you get a loud pop hiss sound you have gas, so check your compressor, is it turning?
     
  14. way2busy

    way2busy New Member

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    Curtis: I do seem to have a fair amount of gas. I did get the hiss. I also have one of those refrigerant refillers with a gauge from Walmart. It shows about 34 psi on the front accumulator. I tried to observe the compressor but found it difficult to see. Any advice on this? I think I should be able to see the front of the clutch spin in the middle when it is engaged right? I just see 1 rusty nut, no spinning, A/C on or off.


    BigRondo: AH-W1 Cobra, UH-1N Huey. 5 years based at Camp Pendleton.
     
  15. BigRondo

    BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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    Good deal! Semper Fi. :salute:
     
  16. xTOM153x

    xTOM153x Active Member

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    I did this and airflow is amazingly better on cool but on warm its not very powerful anyone else having this issue?
     
  17. Cobra Jet

    Cobra Jet Active Member

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    so - if the question may be asked - WHY is this fresh air door breaking on many Explorers, is it getting hung up on something, is there an issue w/ the acutator overpowering the door, thus breaking it...??? why?
     
  18. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

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    I removed the door from mine... but this is a better idea if you can get it to work.
    I was getting no air flow, and found the door had dropped out and was laying accross the blower, hence the no air.
    The door has no cracks, no missing pieces etc. Its just like it drops out of its pivot position.
     
  19. Hawkeye61

    Hawkeye61 New Member

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    Yes the actuator is overpowering the arm that connects to the door and over time breaks it off. When I fixed mine I added a stop to the actuator using a screw and couple of nuts so it would prevent this from happening again. Also added a large washer for the screw to hit against.

    [​IMG]
    image upload
     
  20. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

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    Nice pictures!
    I will plan to do something similar as before summer comes I'll have to replace mine. I took the door out for now as it had fallen down and covered the blower.
     
  21. slbubel

    slbubel New Member

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    '05 Explorer XLT Sport - Restricted A/C Air Flow

    The airflow on my Explorer is almost non-existent. On Max A/C the air is coming through the windshield defrost vents, and prior to this event, air was coming through the floor vents on either side of the tranny hump in the front passenger compartment.

    I checked for the broken recirculator door, it is in place.

    Two years ago had a similar problem and it was fixed at the dealer by replacing the air intake duct assembly.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
     

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