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How do I clean the air vents/Should I replace blend door? (also rough idle/possible battery issues?)

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Prince_Polaris, November 29, 2016.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Prince_Polaris

    Prince_Polaris Active Member

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    Okay, so this is a simple question, since my explorer is a 98 the plastic is obviously kinda old. However, the vents are hard to mess with because the close/open knobs like to stick, and moving it up/down and left/right is also hard, cause the plastic just wants to stick together so I feel like I'm gonna break it whenever I try adjusting something. Is there something I can use to clean the vents so that they move smoothly again, I was thinking perhaps WD-40 or no? Heh, it's getting nice and cold up here, so I need the heat. And on that note... my blend door is shot, I have air on MAX AC and every other mode pumps out heat, so I have both, but I don't like only being able to choose full heat and I feel like it might wear out my heater if it's always going at 100%, so should I replace the blend door thing (actuator?) or won't it just eventually break again?

    Also, this is probably a common issue I could look up but I figured I could ask anyway, my wonderful SOHC is having a few more problems... When I start it up, this is hard to explain, but it just feels like it's really struggling to get going, but the check engine light doesn't come on or anything. It's getting cold up here in western maryland and I haven't had the battery checked, should I go do that? And if I do, where should I go, walmart, autozone, or advance auto parts? Also, it's not idling nice anymore, it will just keep going vrrrrRRRrrrrrrrrrRRRrrrrRRrrrrrrrrrr, but maybe that's related to the timing chain and its rattling.

    And lastly, while I am waiting for my silicone lube to be delivered, is it okay to use my window if it has to REALLY struggle to go down? It's okay going up, but it's having a hard time going down about the first half of the way. The passenger window is the same, but not as bad.
     
    Last edited: November 29, 2016
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  3. lobo411

    lobo411 Active Member

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    I wouldn't use WD40. You can get vinyl protectant just about anywhere (Armor All and tons of other brands) in a spray bottle. Just give it a little spritz and work it in by operating the vent grilles.

    If your engine is cranking normally, then the battery is probably fine, although it can't hurt to have it tested. The battery doesn't do anything but provide power to crank the engine. If it cranks fine but just doesn't get started, then you have some other issue.
     
  4. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    The Job 1 SOHC V6 engine (which is what you have) uses very thin intake manifold sealing O-ring style gaskets. These O-rings tend to shrink and harden with age. Then they don't seal very well and leak air, which especially noticeable when the weather turns cold. Once the engine warms up and parts expand the engine will typically run fairly well. Change your upper/lower intake manifold O-rings and it will start easier and idle and run better when cold.

    I would probably remove the vents a throw then in the dishwasher, or just let them soak in the sink with dish soap. If you want to go this route, just be very careful as the plastic my be brittle.
     
    Last edited: November 29, 2016
  5. Prince_Polaris

    Prince_Polaris Active Member

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    Well, today it warmed up a bit but I also lubed the windows, and they work great now! We'll have to see if it stays that way once it gets super cold again :)

    And yea, the battery is probably fine, so we'll have to figure out what that is.


    Oh boy... well, for someone who knows general maintenance but little else, how hard would it be to get into there and replace those O-rings?

    Well, I was able to pop the center vents out kinda easily (pulled one out on accident and thought I broke it haha), but I assume it's harder to remove the vents on the far right and far left, yea?
     
  6. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Window Lube: I've found that using the silicon spray on the window channels (especially the driver's window) once or twice a year is sufficient and the silicon doesn't seem to be effected by the cold (more by salt and dirt maybe).

    Vents: The right vent assembly should just pop out of the dash with a little help from a screwdriver. Maybe warm the area with a hair drier first. Proceed at your own risk. For the left side you'd need to remove the instrument cluster trim panel and unplug the light switch. Quite a bit more work involved. Take the radio bezel loose (2 screws over the HVAC controls), remove the 3 screws over the cluster, remove the 3-4 screws under the lower dash panel and pop the panel off, and finally a few more screws from the the bottom of the cluster trim panel and pull.

    Intake O-rings: It's probably a 2-3 hour job to R&R the intake manifold, but it's a pretty straight forward job. You just need to get a lot of stuff out of your way. Be sure to label all the hoses and electrical connectors so you know where they go. This would also be a good time to replace your PCV valve because you'll be able to get at it (only replace with a new Motorcraft PCV).
     
  7. Prince_Polaris

    Prince_Polaris Active Member

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    That's what I got, silicon spray! I just wish that it hadn't made my window get a little foggy, but that'll probably wear off eventually.

    About the vents, oh boy, well, my center console, the black thing, is... loose, it's hanging out with about a half inch gap at the top and I can shove it up back into place but it falls back down, so maybe if I get into the vents I can also fix up that. Just have to resist replacing my rear window heater wire thing switch, its light is burnt out even though it still works, oh, and last night I found out the panel where my HVAC dials are gets very hot when I have the heat on, is that normal?

    Well hey, maybe on a day I have time and it's not so windy I could try, how much are the O-rings though? And sure, while I'm in there, and if I should, I could replace that valve if it's not too much either.

    (And one other small thing, a chunk fell off of one of my old and pretty-worn-out cruise control buttons last night, do ya think they're worth replacing for the ridiculous price amazon wants for em?)
     
  8. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Silicon Spray: You were supposed to use the straw that came with the can to lube only the window channels, not the glass. Actually it's mainly the rear channel that sticks.

    If your HVAC control panel is getting hot, you probably have a loose connection there.

    Loose Radio Bezel: There are 2 metal push-ins that hold the top in place. Your's may be missing or broken.

    Cruise Control Switches: Look for a good used pair on eBay, but the lights probably will not work. There's a trick to disconnecting the switch from it's wires. If you get to that point let me know and I'll explain how to do it.

    Light in the rear defogger switch: Replacement bulbs are available from autoilluminations.com, but I don't recall the size.
     
  9. Prince_Polaris

    Prince_Polaris Active Member

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    windows - Well, I kind of sprayed some down into the window, thinking that it would help... haha, probably wasn't the best idea. It's super rainy right now so it's either that or the rain, but it works amazing right now!

    about the radio bezel, how can I fix it if they are broke?

    Hahaha about the switches, they're supposed to light up? Mine don't, but thinking about it, I'd love it if they did! One of the reviews here says it does, and these don't look... too expensive (and ebay's were just as pricey), so what about these? https://www.amazon.com/Motorcraft-SW5928-Cruise-Control-Switch/dp/B000C5DUN2

    Also, I can replace that little light inside of the defogger switch instead of the whole thing? cool!
     
  10. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Cruise Control Switches - If you really want to buy new that's an average price. I've paid between $35 and $45 for good used ones (salvage yard may be cheaper). The light bulbs on the used ones are usually burned out. I've changed one bulb, but it's very trick to do this w/out breaking something. I wont try it again.

    Other Switches: Yes the switch bulbs can be replaced. You have to remove the switch from it's bracket and the tiny bulbs (with bases attached) twist in. You wont be able to match the color though. The OE bulbs have tiny colored covers on them (AKA "mouse condoms") that typically cannot be removed w/out tearing them. Replacement bulbs may look green, but the light produced looks clear/yellow 'ish. IIRC there a size 10, but I don't recall the part number.

    Radio Bezel: If one or both of the push pins are broken and/or missing, you'd do better to try to find a used one on eBay, or the salvage yard. '95-'01 Explorer and Mountaineer radio bezels are the same. Most are black and some are wood grain plastic. Be sure the replacement has the same holes (eg: 4wd switch, fog lights, rear defroster).
     
  11. Prince_Polaris

    Prince_Polaris Active Member

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    I might just get new ones, There's no salvage yard around here that I know of and I would totally break them trying to get a new light in.

    About the defroster switch, heh, I guess I wouldn't mind if it's yellow, the fact that I can't see it at night bothers me more.

    Hahah that'd be funny if I could find a wooden one, I'd add some flair to my exploder! After all, the interior is brown... I really need to find out if there's a salvage yard around here or not >:C
     
  12. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    I find you just need to be patient when shopping on eBay. Sometimes it may take me several months to find something I need at the price I want to pay. Sometimes auctions get you the best price, especially if no ones bids on an item and you snipe your bid at the last possible moment. I bought 2 like-new tail light assemblies for my Sport Trac off eBay auction for $20 for the pair. Normally they can run $40-$60 a piece.
     
  13. lobo411

    lobo411 Active Member

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    Good tip...My window has been slowing down lately so I went down to Pep Boys and grabbed a can of silicone spray. But then I noticed that the can was missing the straw, so I grabbed the can behind it. Got home and lubed the channel, which freed it up right away.

    Then I looked at the can.

    Yep...Penetrating oil! The shelf-stock was mixed up. I guess we'll see if it lasts!
     
  14. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Penetrating oil (like WD40) will probably not last very long.
     
  15. lobo411

    lobo411 Active Member

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    K...I'll grab some silicone spray tomorrow. Hopefully the oil doesn't mess up the silicone!
     

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