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Defroster Door shaft broken, Need help getting to Pleunm Chamber

timz

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Help! I have always had poor airflow from my defrost vents. There isn't enough airflow to the windshield to keep from fogging up with more than me in the car! Long story short, I found that the defroster door on the left side of the plenum chamber is broken(so half of the airflow goes to the floor and half to the defrost. Not the clip(connecting the vacuum powered actuator rod to the shaft of the defrost door) like most people, but the shaft. Does anyone know how to remove my dash so I can get to the plenum chamber? I believe I need to remove the WHOLE dash. Right now I have the instrument cluster out as well as the radio and the radio bezel. I am not sure what my next move it. Please help, Thank You in advance!!!

I could reach the clip on the actuator, here is is broken right on the shaft.
axel.jpg


Here is the actuator location I am talking about. To the left and just behind the radio(removed) shown below:
broken.jpg
 
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FordFool2

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Tim, been there and done that. I had the exact same problem. The only way to get the upper plenum (defrost) unit out is to pull the entire instrument panel. Yes, the entire instrument panel.:eek:

I remember pulling out the center console, disconnecting the steering shaft pinch bolt (make sure the wheel does not spin freely else clockspring damage). There are bolts up high just under the dark trim panel on top of the dash. Deactive the airbags. The firewall wire harness needs unbolting. There was one or two bolts coming from the firewall side into the dash that would really mess you up unless you knew it was there.

You have to buy a new plenum assembly. It was $267 list but picked up for $177 from Tousley. I went ahead and changed out the blend door actuators while I had the thing that far apart.

If you have the will and courage, please snap a picture of the entire dash laying across the front seats, it's quit a scene. Fortunate for me, there was a kind sole on this site that provided me all of the necessary service manual pages to do the job. I have those still and will share them with you if you PM me your email address.
 
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timz

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I did it!

:DA big thanks to FordFool2 for all of the information!!:D

Here is a picture of the dash sitting on the front seats. I thought about giving up a few times, but took one step at a time and it wasn't too bad after all. Just don't be in a rush! I will post more information once I get my pictures in order.
dash_pulled_01.jpg


Driver's Side view:
dash_pulled_02.jpg
 
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FordFool2

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Nicely done Timz. Thanks for sharing the pic for others to see. It's a lot of work but I bet we saved over $1000 in labor. Enjoy the full defrost. It comes in handy up there in Wisconsin.
 
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rrgone

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Excellent pictures. Can see all of the mode door vacuum actuators and the blend door actuator clearly. That's quite a job to get to a 29 cent plastic part! :thumbsup: Thanks for sharing.
 
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BigRondo

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Wow. :eek: What an undertaking. Thanks for taking the time to share this info.
 
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dave940

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Thanks for this post, it is one of the more informative ones I've found after searching for over an hour on this problem (2002 Explorer xlt here). I had concluded that my problem was one of the other blend doors because of most of the posts I've seen... until I was able to spot the shaft for the defrost door and saw it was broken where it entered the wall. I've run into various problems with this vehicle, I've been a 30+ year Ford owner but my next vehicle will likely be another make.
Just a coincidence, but I replaced a 25" tv for my mother about two weeks ago, it was made in '95 by Sharp, and it appeared to be in excellent shape until I put it in the back of my vehicle. The plastic housing broke like an eggshell, if not worse. I had to shovel the shards of plastic out of the back of my Explorer when I got home. Coincidence, or is this modern plastic subject to failure more quickly than we would expect?
I'm currently unemployed, and I've only disassembled the console and center bezel on my exp. If anyone out there knows the best place to get the plenum for a 2002 Explorer, I'd be grateful because of the time I've already spent reading about this. I'm even considering a quick and dirty lock down of the damper so the air is diverted to the defroster permanently.
 
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chrismo

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i agree about going with a different brand next time. my dad worked at ford and i have been buying fords for a long time but my 04 explorer is the biggest piece of crap that i have ever owned. i bought it brand new and it only has
70K miles on it but i have put more money into it than my last 3 cars put together. i replaced the blend door actuator 2 years ago and then i needed the defrost about 3 weeks ago and after switching to defrost i cannot get it to blow out the front vents 100% anymore. now it barely blows out of the vents and when i do get it to finally switch to the vents after dicking with the controls for a couple of minutes , once you shut it off and start it back up it goes back to barely blowing out the dash and defrost again. if its the plenum then i give up. i'm too old and sore to be climbing around in that front seat. is there anything else that it could possibly be
 
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dave940

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i agree about going with a different brand next time. my dad worked at ford and i have been buying fords for a long time but my 04 explorer is the biggest piece of crap that i have ever owned. i bought it brand new and it only has
70K miles on it but i have put more money into it than my last 3 cars put together. i replaced the blend door actuator 2 years ago and then i needed the defrost about 3 weeks ago and after switching to defrost i cannot get it to blow out the front vents 100% anymore. now it barely blows out of the vents and when i do get it to finally switch to the vents after dicking with the controls for a couple of minutes , once you shut it off and start it back up it goes back to barely blowing out the dash and defrost again. if its the plenum then i give up. i'm too old and sore to be climbing around in that front seat. is there anything else that it could possibly be
Chrismo, sounds like your problem might be a vacuum line to the damper actuator that is not making adequate seal to a connector, if so, you're in luck because that should be an easy fix. If I remember correctly, those lines can be reached without disconnecting and pulling back the dash, unlike most of the damper replacement issues.
As for an update to my problem, I opted to remove the damper that diverts air from the defroster vents to the floor vents. Removing and reconnecting the dash took a few hours. I get about half the air flow to each area, which I have learned to suffer. I'm back to work now, but still can't justify spending the bucks on the real fix for this problem... especially since my wheel bearings are grinding AGAIN (this time front instead of back), and that's a several hundred dollar repair scheduled for this coming Monday.
 
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chrismo

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thank you dave for the feedback, i will check my vacuum line(s). i'm glad to hear your back at work and glad that you have at least partially fixed your air problem. you do know that as soon as you fix the wheel bearings then something else is going to go out! you might want to hold off on the bearings for a while. take care
 
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chrismo

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thanks again dave 940, can you tell me where the damper actuator is or maybe where i can find information on how to locate it? there must be more than one because i'm having a hard time finding more info on it.
 
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jonnycrashncar

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yes i have p chamber knob hidge broke as well behind stereo in my explorer

Yes my email is [email protected] if you could please send me manual on how to fix my hidge broke as well same place behind radio to the left I have already taken center console out not dash yet not sure how
 
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rcagno

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Removing the Dash

hello all, I see that this is an old thread. I am now experiencing the same problem with no defrost. I think the linkage for the defrost door is probably broken, as seems to be the common problem here. I can see from previous posts that this is going to entail removal of the dash. I also see that some have provided pertinent manual pages for this task. I would appreciate if anyone could provide this information to me. I can't see spending the money to have the dealer do this when I have tools and time. Any help would be appreciated. I can message you my email address if you reply to this post.

Thank You!
 
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mochris

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rcagno,
i was one of the lucky ones, my problem was a broken piece on my door blend actuator. i did not have to remove the dash. before you tackle removing your dash, you might want to take out your glovebox and look to the left with a flashlight, as someone works the dash controls for your vents look to see if the
actuator is broken. good luck
 
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rcagno

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I'll try that

Thanks Mochris
I'll give that a shot. Maybe I can be as lucky as you were. :thumbsup:
 
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mochris

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i cant explain exactly where the door blend actuator is but you will see things moving once you shine the flashlight through the glovebox hole as the control knobs are moved, just turn your dash control knob from defroster to vent and you should see the parts moving and if its quiet you will hear them moving also.
 
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mochris

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thank you for the video explorer04. i am sooo sorry....in my earlier posts i was talking about fixing the problem of not getting the air to come out the defroster not to fix the door blend actuator (even though that was another thing that i also had to fix before). i apologize for giving the wrong information. i came in through the glovebox opening to fix the piece that directed the air from the vent to the defrosters, not to fix the blend door actuator. i should just listen to the wife and learn to keep my mouth shut. i was only trying to help
 
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dani9678

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FordFool2, I sent you a PM in regards to the instructions for dash removal.
 
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rocco123

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I'm doin same job now.
 
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