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Dorman 604-201 EATC Blend Door Actuator review

koda2000

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My review of the Dorman 604-201 Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (EATC) blend door actuator as installed in my '01 Eddie Bauer a few days ago.

Let me begin by saying I'm not a big fan of Dorman products, but for the price of $17.07 (less using some points on my Amazon credit card and free Amazon Prime shipping my delivered cost was $3.60) I figured I'd give it a shot.

The Dorman unit comes with a snap on plastic base attached. I assume this is because it fits other vehicles. This base must be removed for use in the Gen II Explorers/Mountaineers. This is easily accomplished by squeezing the snaps with a pair of pliers while gently prying the base off. Once the base is removed a visual comparison to the OE Ford unit indicates that the Dorman unit should fit.

With the actuator not yet installed, I plugged my blend door actuator electrical connector into Dorman unit and tried running my temp setting UP and DOWN to see if I could see/hear the actuator move. It did not. It turned out that I had to reset the EATC control module by running the EATC self-test (ignition key ON, EATC control panel set to OFF, press and release OFF and FLOOR buttons on the EATC control panel at the same time and w/in 2 seconds press the AUTOMATIC button). You should see the display start a spinning circle and w/in 30 seconds you should either see "888" indicating all good, or one or more error codes. I initially received 3 error codes "024" "025" and "052". I did not bother to look these up, but I know the "024" and "025" codes are blend door actuator related. I then reconnected the Dorman actuator and ran the test again. This time I saw and heard the actuator move and got the "888" code. This may have happened to me because I removed my stripped OE actuator and had wired by blend door open for heat (and closed for A/C) about a year ago.

Once I had the Dorman actuator working I had to reinstall the actuator on top of the heater box connected to the blend door's shaft. Doing this proved difficult as the Dorman actuator-to-blend door shaft tolerance seems to be slightly tighter than the OE Ford actuator, plus just getting the actuator shaft and blend door's shaft to line up was challenging. Eventually I was able to get things lined up and was able to push the two together with some wiggling.

Next came installing the 2 outside screws (of the 3) that hold the actuator in place. This should have been easy to do, but apparently the holes in the Dorman actuator housing were slightly off. This made starting the 2 front screws difficult, but I was eventually able to get them started and snugged down using an open end wrench (5/16" IIRC). There was not enough room to use my 1/4" ratchet because I could not twist the screws in with my figures at all.

FYI - There was no way I was going to waste my time with the remaining 3rd screw that goes on the rear of the actuator. I deem it unnecessary and it's a major PITA to put in. More than likely you end up dropping the screw and it will then be lost forever.

I drove my EB yesterday and the Dorman actuator is working well. Hopefully it will continue to do so. Do I recommend it? Yes, but only because it is much less expensive than the Ford unit (assuming you can find one) which is typically around $60. Just be prepared for dealing with the fitment issues. Other's here report using the Dorman actuator for an extended period of time w/out any problems.

I hope this helps someone.

Edit:
I had previously said the EATC self diagnostic test required pressing OFF, FLOOR and then DEFROST. I just found out this was incorrect. It's OFF & FLOOR and then the AUTOMATIC button. Sorry if this confused anyone. It just confused me while trying to install a rebuilt OE blend door actuator in our '00 Mountaineer.
 




410Fortune

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Good job!
I had issues with Dorman blend door actuator being the wrong part for the truck. It appears you were sold the correct one for your electronic group HVAC system and got it working!

I have in the past taken the brand new Dorman part apart and stolen just the nylon gear that is needed to fix the inside of your OEM part........
9 times out of 10 the factory blend door motor quits working because the little white gear inside it strips. All you need to fix is the new gear....
Forget that 3rd screw! I hate them. However I do have a special tool that allows me to get them in and out. Its a very slim and low profile 1/4 ratchet driver setup and socket, slips right back in there and allows you to turn it in and out quite easily....even with that tool I never re install the 3rd screw
 




koda2000

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@410Fortune - Yes, all but 1 of my 3 broken actuators (1 manual and 2 EATC's) stripped the little white plastic gear. The manual one must have died due to a circuit board issue as the motor tested ok, but wouldn't work. I was able to take the gear from the manual actuator and put it into one of the stripped automatic ones. I need to reinstall that one back into my daughter's Mountaineer. I also made a tool to reinstall that damn rear screw and have done it in the past, but I've also lost several screws just trying to get them back in the hole and then I found them impossible to find/retrieve. It's just not worth the trouble to put that rear screw back in (and my hands are too big).

The Dorman 604-201 is the actuator for the EATC. They also make the manual version, but I don't recall that one's part number,
 




GLOCKer

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Good review. When I went to test mine, I found it was snapped into a plastic base like what you described, and that plastic base was bolted to the blend door box. For me to test it all I had to do was pry it up with a flat blade screw driver. Once I visually confirmed it was working, I just snapped it back into place! I was counting my blessings as I've heard how bad it is getting that back bolt out!
 




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