Dismiss Notice



Register Today It's free! This box will disappear once registered!

How To: Repair A/C "Fresh Air/Recirc" Door

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by EyeintheSky57, May 12, 2011.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. EyeintheSky57

    EyeintheSky57 New Member

    Joined:
    April 25, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Tampa, FL
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 Mountaineer
    Symptoms-

    • A/C sounds as if it is blowing at full blast but there is barely any flow out of the vents.
    • You DO still have control of HOT and COLD. If you don’t, you should review the “Blend Door Actuator” thread HERE.
    • A/C is properly charged and you get some cooling but just “not like it used to be”.

    To confirm-

    • Remove the glove box. Open the glove box then press both sides inward to flop the glovebox upside down.

      [​IMG]

      Next, remove the (3) 7mm screws.

      [​IMG]
      (BLUE ARROW: This is the rounded housing for the blower)

    • You should see a curved housing… this is the blower housing. Above the blower housing is a plastic housing for the Recirc/Fresh Air Door. Shine a flashlight upward. You will see a plastic grid. Looking through this plastic grid, you should see a solid plastic panel. This solid plastic panel is the door that can fail/fall.
    • This door should be straight from left to right. If it sits cocked in any way, it needs to be repaired. Additionally, you can cycle from MIN COOL to MAX COOL and you should see the door move. The door should be closest to you when in MINIMUM COOL but move away from you when shifted to MAX COOL (this closes the vent where “fresh air” enters from outside)
    • If you do not see the solid plastic door, you will see another side with a plastic grid when looking through the first plastic grid. That means the door has fallen.
    • You can also remove the plastic grille on top of the dash (near the front windshield) where the front window defroster would blow from. Then, from the outside of the windshield, look down with a flashlight and you will see the door laying in the bottom of the housing. If the door was completely missing, you would see a screen which is to keep leaves and such out of the blower suction.

    NOTE: “LEFT” refers to the driver’s side, “RIGHT” refers to the passenger’s side.

    PROCEDURE

    1. Remove the center console. The center console will come out in two large pieces. The upper piece is the part that has the cup holders, the power point, and the tray. The lower piece consists of the main compartment with the arm rest lid, the a/c ducts, and the rear seat ducts and cup holders.

    a. Lift out the rubber tray liner. Remove the (1) 7mm screw

    [​IMG]

    b. Open the center console arm rest. Pop the upper console piece upward near where the arm rest lid latches

    [​IMG]

    c. Once the upper console piece has been removed, reach under it and unplug the power point and accessory point (not sure what this is for). Lift upper console piece out of vehicle.

    d. Next, Remove the lower piece by removing (2) 8mm screws directly under the radio.

    [​IMG]

    e. Remove the (2) 8mm screws alongside the a/c duct for the rear passengers.

    f. Move both front seats forward. From the rear seats, remove the covers on each side of the lower console piece. Remove (2) 8mm screws.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    g. Lift console out of vehicle.​

    2. Remove miscellaneous trim pieces

    a. Remove the “defrost grill” using a plastic trim tool. This trim piece snaps into place. Under the defrost grill, unplug the electrical connector. Place grill outside vehicle.

    b. Remove both “A”-pillar trim pieces. These snap out using a plastic trim tool if necessary. On the passenger side, the “oh shit” handle will need to be removed. Pop the screw covers off with a tiny flat head screw driver. Remove the (2) 8mm bolts holding the handle in place.

    c. Remove the two outer/lower kick panels. The left panel is the plastic trim panel around the hood release. These just pop out.

    d. Remove the trim piece under the steering wheel. Remove the (2) 8mm screws. Pop the panel the rest of the way.

    e. Remove the DASH side panels. The panels are on each side of the dash, covered by the door when the door is shut. These pop out using a plastic trim tool exposing the main bolts that hold the dash in place.

    f. Remove the soft rubber door molding from the area near the dash. LEAVE the rest in place so you don’t have to fight it later.​

    3. Unbolt the dash. The entire dash will NOT be removed. Only pull the dash out enough to make room for the repair.

    a. Remove the NEG terminal on the battery using a 10mm socket.

    b. Remove (2) 13mm bolts on the left side of the dash.

    [​IMG]

    c. Remove (2) 13mm bolts on the right side of the dash.

    d. Remove (1) 13mm bolt on the right side where the “defrost grill” was covering.

    e. Remove (1) 10mm bolt in the middle where the “defrost grill” was covering.

    f. Remove the HIDDEN dash bolt. Raise the hood. Pop up/pry up the plastic grill that surrounds the windshield wipers (cowl?) on the drivers side, just enough to fit a 10mm socket and extension (I used a 10” extension and a universal and some masking tape) to remove the hidden dash bolt.

    [​IMG]
    (Notice the MagLite propping the cowl up AND providing light.)

    g. Under the dash, on either side of the radio section (opposite the kick panels we removed in 2c), there are two (1 on each side) 2” vertical metal brackets. Remove the (2) 8mm screws at the top of each of these brackets.

    [​IMG]

    h. Disconnect the steering shaft/spline by removing (1) 10mm bolt.​

    [​IMG]

    4. Swing the dash. IMPORTANT: The driver’s side of the dash will only move a small amount, maybe a couple of inches. The passenger side moves 10-12” so it can rest on the passenger seat. As you swing the dash do what you need to to relocate/disconnect wire bundles on the right side.

    a. On the right side, through the large hole left by the glove box, there is a large wire bundle that is held in place by a metal bracket. I unclipped the wire bundle from the metal bracket. I also unclipped the metal box (brain?) right next to the large wire bundle. I also disconnected the antennae cable.​

    5. Remove all the screws that are accessible to separate the top (grill/grid section) of the recirc/fresh air door housing from the bottom. Pry it open and remove the door.

    [​IMG]

    a. Familiarize yourself with the door. Notice the “nub/post” on the one side, which is the right side. The left side has a female receptacle for the actuator arm.

    b. Drill a pin hole through the “nub/post”. I used a 1/16” drill bit about 1/8” from the end of the post.

    c. Here I used a shop vac to clean out the leaves that had collected in the housing.

    d. Remove the actuator motor by removing (2) 8mm gold screws.

    e. Squeeze the door back inside the housing and into the correct position (hanging from the top of the housing). My wife had to do this part, my hands were too big.

    f. As she positioned the door, I slide the actuator arm through the housing to engage the door. And then reconnected the actuator with the gold screws.

    g. Reconnect the NEG battery terminal, turn on the vehicle (actually START the vehicle so you have vacuum) and test the door by shifting the a/c from MIN COOL to MAX COOL. You should see the door swing to cover the hole in the firewall (on recirculation during MAX COOL) then to swing toward the passenger seat (allowing fresh air from the hole in the fire wall during MIN COOL).

    h. If the door moves properly, great. If not, you need to determine the problem, either a bad motor or a wiring issue most likely.

    i. Re-disconnect the NEG battery terminal.

    j. Thread a paperclip (or similar) through the hole you drilled to (hopefully) prevent that door from ever falling again.​

    [​IMG]
    (YELLOW ARROW: paperclip threaded through drilled hole to prevent the door from ever falling in again)

    [​IMG]
    (BLUE ARROW: A put a small grommet on the end of the actuator arm shaft after I broke the plastic "shield". RED ARROW: door in the "fresh air" mode. If shifted to "recirc" the door would move toward the firewall.)

    6. Put it all back together. Potential problem areas:

    a. In the drivers foot well, under the dash, behind the radio, there is a white plastic drain line for a/c condensate. Before moving the dash back, get this piece into position so it is connected to the black a/c box centerline under the dash. Then, when the dash is moved back, it will click into the other white part.

    b. As you move the dash back, make sure the two brackets unbolted in 3g are correctly positioned.

    c. Don’t forget to reconnect the steering shaft coupler. The bolt should go in easily and be hand-tightened nearly the whole way in. If it snags right away, wiggle the two sides of the coupler until they are correctly positioned.​

    7. Good job. Make sure you don’t have any parts left over. Test drive the vehicle to make sure the steering is good. Enjoy you’re a/c again.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  2. Support EF

    Join the Elite Explorers for $20

    Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no ads, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.



  3. BigRondo

    BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    February 15, 2010
    Messages:
    7,886
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    48
    City, State:
    Worcester, MA
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 XLT V6 4x4
    Nice job. Thanks for taking the time to do this. :biggthump
     
  4. EyeintheSky57

    EyeintheSky57 New Member

    Joined:
    April 25, 2010
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Tampa, FL
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 Mountaineer
    Anytime. Glad to contribute after being helped so much.
     
  5. mobeious

    mobeious Member

    Joined:
    September 3, 2007
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    florida
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 Explorer XLT V8
    ok i got my dash out and got the screws out of the box but the box will not come out its like its attached to the fire wall? i dont want to pull to hard and break it
     
  6. RogerB1

    RogerB1 New Member

    Joined:
    March 5, 2010
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2005 Mercury Mountaineer
    Fresh Air Door Post Mortum, a few questions

    I just replaced the fresh air door assembly in my 2005 Mounaineer. It's not quite finished, but I have some questions.

    Before I completely bolted the entire dash back on, I decided to turn it on and check things. First off, the air flow out of the main dash vent is now poor. When I removed the broken door from the floor of the broken, old assembly, air-flow was great, but it wasn't running in max a/c mode due to pulling in the warm air from outside. I still have all the panels off of the center unit and the defrost grill on top of the dash is not put back on. Actually air is coming out pretty strong out of the defrost area. I am wondering if I put all this back together it will change air-flow.

    Secondly, I was debating whether to try to fix the old door or replace the unit. I was thinking of replacing the unit because I had difficulty trying to get the fresh air door back into postion. However, I wasn't sure about pulling the white vaccuum hose off the fresh air door actuator to put it on the new actuator (which came with the new assembly). I did not know if I was going to break some kind of vaccuum and the unit would not operate properly. After replacing the whole assembly and putting the white tube on the new actuator, it does not close properly (in the max a/c postion). Again, connecting the electrical connectors in the center console and the one in the center of the defrost grill may impact things more positively as well as putting the panels/consoles back on might create more of a seal and allow the actuator to function better.

    Thirdly, there is about a 1/4 inch gap in the a/c channels that get air back to the back seats. (see pic attached). I am not sure this is supposed to be like this. It doesn't really snap back together like it wiggled loose. Does anyone know if this gap should be like this.

    Gap:
    Thanks for any help, Roger[​IMG]



    During my test drive there was a lot of condensation on the plastic area above my red circle. Not sure if that means anything.
    When done, I have lots of pictures, comments, and suggestions to post.
     
    Last edited: July 15, 2011
  7. mobeious

    mobeious Member

    Joined:
    September 3, 2007
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    florida
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 Explorer XLT V8
    ok this is ur problem more then likely ...if u look up in the dash to the left of the radio u will see some vacuum lines should be 2 sets one set with a square plug and another set with a triangluar plug ... if the triangular one is unpluged ur ac will only blow out of the defrost with force ... plug that back in and u will be good .. prolly came undone when pulling the dash ... also it has the while vacuum line for the door on that plug so thats why ur door isnt working
     
  8. RogerB1

    RogerB1 New Member

    Joined:
    March 5, 2010
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2005 Mercury Mountaineer
    I see a connector to the RIGHT of the radio with to vac lines going to it. One is yellow and goes to the a/c control knob. On the other side of the plug, it goes towards the drivers side and disappears. Does this go to the plug you are talking about? Do I have to take the dash off again to see it? I have the radio bezel off and the glove box. All vac lines that I see seem to be firmly attached. Do you have a pic of this triangle plug or can you help me pinpoint it's location?
     
  9. mobeious

    mobeious Member

    Joined:
    September 3, 2007
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    florida
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 Explorer XLT V8
    sometimes it can be tucked behind wiring so look carefully .... last time i had to hook it up took me like 5 mins to find it and i knew what i was lookin for lol.... u should be able to reach it easliy with the glove box removed or folded completly down
     
  10. RogerB1

    RogerB1 New Member

    Joined:
    March 5, 2010
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2005 Mercury Mountaineer
    Here's what I see, is this what you are talking about? It looks like everything is connected. This is to the right of the radio.[​IMG]


    I am wondering if the yellow line going towards the driver has been pinched/cut.
     
  11. rdop02xlt

    rdop02xlt New Member

    Joined:
    September 23, 2010
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    white plains, NY
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    02 xlt 4.6
    Mods: This needs to be a sticky!

    Thank you Eyeinthesky! Because of your effort I was able to find that the actuator arm has been off of the recirc door probably since the truck was new. All I needed to do was remove the metal bracket between the blower/recirc door housing and the center dash support. I was able to get my hand up there and reconnect the actuator arm to the door arm and put on a push type lock washer to retain the arm.

    Edit: I spoke too soon! 5 miles down the road I heard a clunk - the actuator end of the door shaft broke off! Time to pull the dash:(
     
    Last edited: July 16, 2011
  12. GamerNx

    GamerNx New Member

    Joined:
    September 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Edmond, OK
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 Ford Explorer
    Can this door cause airflow direction problems as well? I have control over speed, and temp, just not direction, no matter what I choose, it all comes through the front middle vents, not very strongly mind you, and seems to come out very weakly from the defrost and floor.
     
  13. tcore83

    tcore83 New Member

    Joined:
    November 11, 2008
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Iowa
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2005 XLT Sport
    I fixed it this past weekend. I had ordered the new duct and was ready to go. Took about 1.5 hours to get the dash removed far enough to get to the duct. I could not get the duct out, there are two screws against the fire wall that I could not get to. I only know that they are there after looking at the new duct. The duct that i ordered turned out to be wrong, the vacuum actuator was on the right side, mine was on the left. So i ended up replacing just the actuator with the new as the old one seemed to be sticking when moved by hand. I did not want to remove the heat/evap core to get to the back side of the duct. I was able to get the door back in place and hooked back up fairly easily with the new actuator. It took another 2 hours to get the dash back in and all panels put back in place along with the center console. It could be dont faster but i was cleaning everything as i went. It does take 2 people to put the dash back in place, i am sure it could be done with one but i didnt want to break anything. Everything is back in place now, the vent works great and there are . The old actuator would make noise when it moved, this one is silent, glad i replaced it atleast.
     
  14. Exproblems

    Exproblems Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    April 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    48
    City, State:
    Orchard Park, N.Y.
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    '05 Explorer XLT 4.0L
    Yes, a broken (fallen off it's hinge points) "fresh air recirculation door" can block most of your blower air flow to the defroster vents. The door panel falls to the bottom of the air box just above the blower motor and lays on it's side blocking blower air flow. If you separate the air box at the seam line (2 screws left side, 2 screws right side) and split it open, you can reach in with needle nose pliers or some other tool and pull this door panel out. Once out, your blower air flow will be good again to the vents.
     
  15. emsydaisy

    emsydaisy New Member

    Joined:
    September 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Edmond, OK
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 Ford Explorer
    Thanks man, I fixed it a few weeks ago, turns out I had two problems, the fresh air circ door had indeed fallen, and so I was able to reach up in there and get her back in place, the air blew a lot stronger so I was happy with that, but then I noticed it still wouldn't change directions, so after further investigation, turns out the actuator arm for another door had broken off, the one just inside the glove box and to the left, so I ended up safety wiring the door arm and the actuator arm together to get it to work. I tell ya what, those are some weak plastics they used in those. (oh just noticed i posted using my wife's log in lol)
     
  16. Exproblems

    Exproblems Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    April 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    48
    City, State:
    Orchard Park, N.Y.
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    '05 Explorer XLT 4.0L
    Good to know you got both problems working again. On the cheap plastics Ford used, yeah no doubt about it and it's BS! In 36 years of driving and owning vehicles, I have never had or seen so many ridiculous behind the dashboard problems as in this type of vehicle. I guess in Fords eyes it's called "job security' and no gov't bailout needed.
     
  17. Burlito

    Burlito New Member

    Joined:
    November 7, 2012
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Bay City Texas
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 Explorer xlt
    nice write up i repaired mine in my 04 i would just add atleast on miine i had a bolt also in the center of the dash underneath the part of the dash that unclips as well as a bolt on the pasenger side just in case your dash might still be holding.I really appreciate the write up probably wouldnt have attempted repairing without it but you made this easy thanks so much !!
     
  18. Frank Martini

    Frank Martini New Member

    Joined:
    October 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    City, State:
    Reno NV
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2005 Explorer XLT
    Eyeinthesky57 did a great job in illustrating the repair procedure for the recirculating door. Three things I did bit different: 1) I removed the grid toward the rear of the vehicle making it much easier to remove the door for service. 2) I drilled a small hole in the end of the nub/post on the right side of the recirculator door to accept a small sheet metal screw with washers to keep the nub/post from falling out of it's pivot point. 3) When re-assembling the unit I put a small amount Gorilla glue on the bell crank assembly that inserts into the left side of the door.
     
  19. BigRondo

    BigRondo USMC 1371 Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    February 15, 2010
    Messages:
    7,886
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    48
    City, State:
    Worcester, MA
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 XLT V6 4x4
    I agree, this is an awesome write-up. I have a different issue: as far as I can tell by trying to look up there and feeling around with my hand, it appears that all my parts are intact & the door lever has come off the vacuum motor arm. I will be using this thread to get it sorted.

    Thanks @EyeintheSky57 :D:thumbsup:
     
  20. esclamada

    esclamada Active Member

    Joined:
    October 25, 2010
    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    KCMO
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    '02 Mountaineer AWD V8
  21. tcore83

    tcore83 New Member

    Joined:
    November 11, 2008
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    City, State:
    Iowa
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2005 XLT Sport
    I wish i had done the paper clip trick the first time, mine has fallen out again. I am not looking forward to taking the dash out again.
     

Share This Page







We Support Our Troops!