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How to: Replace Front Blend Door Actuator in 3rd Gen Ex.

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by BigRondo, October 6, 2010.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. mranderson214

    mranderson214 Active Member

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    So that part that's hitting the button in the video is actually the blend door itself. That's not actually a button btw, but I know what you meant haha. I had the same problem/symptoms.

    Basically the problem is your blend door motor/actuator. As mentioned in my last post, it's an electric motor that drives a shaft. The shaft of that actuator goes into a hole, which turns more gears and help moves the blend door. Now, the blend door, is the black plastic flap in the video. Actually, thats part of the blend door. 9/10 times, the blend door itself is fine but the motor (actuator) goes bad.

    So what happens is that, the blend door motor keeps trying to spin the shaft but it doesn't spin because of broken gears inside the motor assembly. So the flap motor will keep trying to spin the shaft but eventually it reaches a point/position where the shaft will no longer spin. When this happens, the blend door will just do the clicking thing shown in the video.

    When this happened to me, it was the dead of winter and I needed a quick fix for heat, so i actually did the same temporary fix. Basically you stick your hand behind the glove box and manually push the blend door (flap) into position. I believe it was down for hot air and up for cold air (or possibly vice versa, I forget). Once you do that you'll have heat.

    Warning though, when manually pushing the blend door by hand, you shouldn't use the temperature dial as it'll try to spin the shaft again and you'll have to do the manual thing all over again. Also, I feel like over time, the manual movement might damage the actual blend door itself. I live in the Northeast (Buffalo, NY and NYC), so last winter was brutal, but not as bad as this one. So I flipped it once and left it in the heat position until April or May. Eventually I changed it in the summer by myself.

    It's not that bad of a fix, especially with this detailed walk-through which includes pictures. I would recommend using the Motorcraft blend door actuator. I tried to cut corners by getting a Dorman part but it didn't work, so I got the Motorcraft one and it worked fine. It took me about an hour, but if I had to do it again, it'd probably take 30 minutes or so. Look at the pictures from the OP and what I'm saying about the shafts etc should all make sense.

    Hope this helps..
     
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  3. guy48065

    guy48065 Active Member

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    MrA THANK YOU for your detailed description. I thought the blend door and shaft were 100% internal. All the videos I watched only showed the actuator end so I had no idea the shaft stuck out the other side. Is that little paddle/button some kind of a stop?

    Re your comment about moving it manually (and then leaving the knob alone), one of the comments to that video mentioned pushing too far or too hard and that made the shaft inside break off of the door. .. so some caution is a good idea.
     
    Last edited: February 27, 2015
  4. mranderson214

    mranderson214 Active Member

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    You're welcome.

    In the OPs pics, you can see the motor. Its the plastic/white box with the white rod shaft. The shaft of the actuator goes into a hole in the dashboard. When turning the temperature dial, the gears in the actuator turn the shaft, which in turn moves the blend door. That is, the shaft of the actuator spins grooves in the hole that moves the blend door itself.

    The button that the paddle is hitting just appears to be a plastic kind of stopper. And I figured because the blend door itself doesn't seem to be attached to that strong of a mechanism. It literally takes no power to move it down by hand. So if you go that route, proceed with caution. Honestly, its not a bad thing to replace if you're handy. I understand that this time of year, getting stuck with no heat is no fun.. so the quick manual fix may be needed.
     
  5. andyman202

    andyman202 New Member

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    I understand all about the "clicking" noise on the actuator door. My problem id the heat is available but it not going any where. By that I mean the blend door is obviously closed because the fan blows but very little gets into the passenger compartment or to defrost, etc. Is it still the actuator without the clicking noise on high heat? Could it be that the door is stuck 2)vacuum servo is broke at the door 3)vacuum leak somewhere. Bottom line is no warm air is being blown anywhere with the fan even on high. anyone else here?
     
  6. andyman202

    andyman202 New Member

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    Just reviewed my post, to clarify: I don't have the clicking noise on high heat as described in by others. My fan runs great, but moving the heat knob from, say, heat to defrost, result in no effect. A little heat gets into the compartment AND to the defrost but neither have full fan force at either position even tho the fan is on full force (have you really confused now?). The fan air (no matter the speed) just goes nowhere. The temp.control works great BTW..no issues there...just nothing blowing out anywhere.
     
    Last edited: March 8, 2015
  7. andyman202

    andyman202 New Member

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    And MrA..great tutorial but no pictures showed up on mine...what'd I screw up??
     
  8. mranderson214

    mranderson214 Active Member

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    Hello,

    Let me start of by saying that as far as I know, when the blend door actuator goes bad, you end up with that clicking sound when you try to adjust the temperature dial (center knob). So, if you get no clicking sound when adjusting that, I think your blend door actuator itself is fine.

    In attempts to narrow down the issue, I would start of by testing the AC as well. Try running the AC for a minute or so and see if you feel any air through any of the vents/defrost. Even check the rear vents. If you feel something, that means its a problem with your heating system. If you don't that means that chances are your AC and Heat are fine, but something might be stuck somewhere or blocking airflow.

    Chances of not feeling anything through every single vent means that it's most likely an issue near the source (inside the dash), as opposed to something blocking every single vent.

    But as far as I know, even if the blend door is stuck, you'll get either cold air OR hot air depending on the position it's stuck in. In this thread, and in my case, it was stuck to allow only cold air out. So, I don't think the blend door nor the actuator (motor) are your problem.

    Make sure that your air filter is clean and clear of any debris. I'm referring to the air filter under the hood, because i don't know if we have a Cabin Air Filter on the 3rd Gen Explorer.. if they do have one, Ford has done a good job at hiding it as I've had the car for over 5 years and havent found one yet!

    So basically, I'd recommend doing the vent test I mentioned with setting to AC. Also, check the air filter under the hood.

    I'm not a pro at this area haha, so maybe someone on here who has more experience in this area can chime in. But I'll try to help as best as I can.

    Good Luck.
     
  9. mranderson214

    mranderson214 Active Member

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    Also, the OP of this great post is BigRondo. I just checked and the pictures dont load anymore for me either. Maybe he still has them saved somewhere, hopefully.
     
  10. andyman202

    andyman202 New Member

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    Thanks mra...214...heat and A/C are working fine. You can hear it running in the dash but nothing (very little) gets through. I think you're right about a blockage...could be the door or the door arm to actuator is broken of. Going to dig into it Friday. I will also look behind the glove box to see if the vacuum servo moves at all. One way another, I'll end up tearing into it....oh joy...my ol' carcass just doesn't bend like it used to! Thanks for the thoughts, appreciate the answer.
     
  11. mranderson214

    mranderson214 Active Member

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    No problem.

    When you drop the glove compartment and go behind the dash, I'd see if the blend door actually moves when turning the dial from hot to cold, and vice versa. It sounds to me like it should because otherwise you'd get some form of clicking or knocking. Keep us posted.

    If you run into any trouble, I'm sure someone here can help.
     
    Last edited: March 12, 2015
  12. andyman202

    andyman202 New Member

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    thanks Mranderson214.....I'll check it out...raining and such here right now but not real cold...getting by. Will let you know what I find out/repair/replace, etc. Thanks for the response.
     
  13. guy48065

    guy48065 Active Member

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    They're back.
    Probably never went away, exactly. I had that happen to me once when I posted an animated GIF image on a forum--the constant page hits & file reloads exceeded my monthly traffic limit on my photo site (photobucket). Result was my photo links EVERYWHERE were dead for most of the month.
     
  14. andyman202

    andyman202 New Member

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    okay...here's what I found out...all the vacuum motors are working (the arms move as the heat/defrost/AC knob is rotated to the different positions); the heat/AC blend door moves (AC blows works excellent and heat temp is adjustable). When I pulled the console apart down by the drivers foot, a plastic piece fell out that looks like a pin sort of thing, obviously off of the floor heat door that's on the left side of the heat unit. I pulled everything out that I could remove up to the point of the dash. So, the conclusion I have is that the heat door is broken (that's why no heat at the floor). I also noticed that the an actuator is also attached to the driver side of the heat unit behind the dash (under the radio/heat controls). I think I'm going to end up pulling the dash apart in order to access replacing that floor heat door. I'll go to a local "u pull it" yard and practice on an explorer there before I start on mine...get experience and maybe learn a few tricks I can use. Will post results when done with anything I learn to shorten the project. Thanks to all who commented.
     
  15. mranderson214

    mranderson214 Active Member

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    I'm glad that you're on the right track to getting the issue resolved!
     
  16. Nivan

    Nivan New Member

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    Can anybody tell me what is the connector shown on photos 1.d and 13.a (rigth one)?

    I found the same one in my FE3, but It doesn't connect to any botton or switch.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. wishfuldrinkin

    wishfuldrinkin New Member

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    Hey everyone. I'm new here, just bought a 00 Mountaineer on Thursday. The previous owner said it needed the blend door replaced and even bought the door.

    Well, I got in there today and the door is fine, but the actuator itself is missing... not that big of a deal, actually happy that it's a bit easier of a fix... but wait... what are these loose wires? Some dope cut the connector off!

    Does anyone know how I can get ahold of one or can get me some good pictures of it?
     
  18. Turdle

    Turdle Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    You are in the wrong sub forum. This is the 3rd gen area, you have a 2nd gen.

    2nd gen sub forum here

    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=100

    I think a junk yard is your best bet, since you need the connector also. You might post a part request in this thread

    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=166984
     
  19. rlgdguy

    rlgdguy Member

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    Just ordered my actuator from Rock Auto for $55. Same OEM part. Gonna tackle this once the weather starts to get warmer. Did a temporary fix by going through the side of the glovebox, reaching down to the top of the heat door, tying on a 14" tie wrap and feeding the end through the side of the console. When I need the heat, I just pull down easily on the tie wrap and the door moves into position and "Wallah", heat!
     
  20. Hitchhikingmike

    Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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    hmmm... it appears that I am the only one who's original blend door actuator has not failed?

    '02 w/ 122kmiles.

    -mike
     
  21. rlgdguy

    rlgdguy Member

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    I've been lucky. My "02" has 202,700 miles and my actuator just now went. Vehicle has treated me very well thus far. I love Explorers!
     

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