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


BigRondo

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This is my how to for replacing the blend door actuator on the 3rd Gen Ex. The Blend Door Actuator controls the hot/cold temperature in the vehicle, not where the air is blowing from or fresh air/recirculated air. While researching this issue I found several discussions, but no definitive how to. I used this post as a guide: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2378135&postcount=133. Even with this excellent post by ColdnFrosty, I was “flying blind”. That has lead us to this write up.

I purchased the Blend Door Actuator from my Ford Dealer. Cost was $70.00.

I recommend purchasing it at the dealer as others have had problems with the ones purchased at auto parts stores.

VIN is required to ensure you get the proper part.


This procedure involves cutting the dash. The part of the dash I cut out is not visible with the center console back in the Ex. Some have replaced the actuator without cutting the dash. Whether or not you cut the dash is a decision you will have to make. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE OR UNWANTED MODIFICATIONS YOU DO TO YOUR VEHICLE. YOU ASSUME ALL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CUTTING YOUR DASHBOARD. ATTEMPT THIS INSTALL AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Be Sure To Check Out My Other Write-Ups:

How To: Remove/Replace 3rd Gen Door Panel

How To: Install Signal Mirrors On 3rd Gen Ex

How To: Restore Faded, Yellowing Headlights

How To: Replace Multifunction Switch in 3rd Gen Ex

How To: Paint Rear Pillar Trim

How To: Replace 3rd Gen Ambient Air Temperature Sensor

How To: Test a Relay

How To: Remove/Replace 3rd Gen Center Console


Tools Required:

1. 7MM Socket
2. 8MM Socket
3. 10MM Socket
4. 10MM Deep Socket
5. Socket Driver Handle
6. Ratchet
7. Extension
8. 8MM Box-End Wrench
9. Utility Knife
10. Large Slotted Screwdriver
11. Butter Knife of Putty Knife

100_7334.jpg


Parts Required:

1. Blend Door Actuator

1aBDABackView.jpg

1bBDAFrontView.jpg


2. Electrical Tape

2ElectricalTape.jpg


Blend Door Actuator Replacement Detailed Instructions:

1. Remove Center Console Upper Half

1.a. Remove rubber mat

1aRemoverubbermat.jpg


1.b. Remove screw under mat – 7MM socket required

1bRemovescrewundermat.jpg


1.c. Pry from rear and pull out console upper half

1cPryfromrear.jpg


1.d. Disconnect front power point connector & extra power source connector (Cigarette Lighter?)

1dDisconnectPowerSources.jpg


1.e. View with upper half removed

1eViewwithupperhalfremoved.jpg


2. Remove Center Console Lower Half

2.a. Disconnect rear power point connector

2aDisconnectrearpowerpointconnector.jpg


2.b. Pop off rear power point connector with screwdriver – be careful not to damage connector

2bPopoffconnector.jpg


2.c. Pop off harness with screwdriver – be careful not to damage any wires

2cPopoffharness.jpg


2.d. Remove 2 front screws – 8MM socket required

2dRemove2frontscrews.jpg


2.e. Remove 2 duct screws – 8MM socket required

2eRemove2ductscrews.jpg


2.f. 4 top screws remain in place

2fTop4screwsstayinplace.jpg


2.g. Remove passenger side rear screw cover – butter knife or putty knife required

2iRemovepassrearcover.jpg


2.h. Remove passenger side rear screw – 8MM socket required

2jRemovepassengersiderearscrew.jpg


2.i. Remove driver side rear screw cover – butter knife or putty knife required

2kRemovedriverrearscrewcover.jpg


2.l. Remove driver side rear screw – 8MM socket required

2lRemovedriversiderearscrew.jpg


2.j. Pull passenger side front of console away from center and toward door to disengage velcro

2mPullpasssidefrontout.jpg


2.k. Pull driver side front of console away from center and toward door to disengage velcro

2nPulldriversidefrontout.jpg


2.l. Lift console lower half up and out of vehicle

2oPullupandout.jpg


3. Remove Lower Dash Panel

3.a. Remove 2 bottom screws – 7MM socket required

3aRemove2bottomscrews.jpg


3.b. Pull from top

3bPulltopout.jpg


3.c. Clip may come off - No worries it can be put back when panel is reinstalled

3cClipmaycomeoff.jpg


3.d. View with panel removed

3dViewwithpanelremoved.jpg


4. Remove Dashboard Brace

4.a. View of dashboard brace

4aViewofDashboardBrace.jpg


4.a. Remove top screws – 10MM socket required

4bRemove2topscrews.jpg


4.b. Remove bottom nuts – 10MM deep socket required - Pull carpet back to reveal bottom nuts

4cRemove2bottomnuts.jpg


4.c. View with brace removed

4dViewwithbraceremoved.jpg


5. Remove Lower Heater Duct

5.a. Pop off harness with screwdriver – be careful not to damage any wires

5aPopoffharness.jpg


5.b. Remove 2 screws – 8MM socket required

5bRemove2screws.jpg


5.c. Wiggle duct out – it seems like it won’t come out but it will – pull front of it down

5cWiggleductout.jpg


6. Remove Blend Door Actuator

6.a. Locate top screw - Arrow indicates area to look for top screw

6aLocatetopscrew.jpg


6.b. View of top screw

6bViewoftopscrew.jpg


6.c. Remove top screw – 8MM socket & 6” extension required - Picture shows how to access top screw

6cRemovetopscrew.jpg


6.d. Locate bottom rear screw - Arrow indicates area to look for bottom rear screw

6dLocatebottomrearscrew.jpg


6.e. View of rear screw

6eViewofbottomrearscrew.jpg


6.f. Remove rear screw – 8MM box-end wrench required - Ratcheting box-end wrench will be easier but not required

6fRemovebottomrearscrew.jpg


6.g.1. Locate bottom front screw - Arrow indicates area to look for bottom front screw

6g1Locatebottomfrontscrew.jpg


6.g.2. Locate bottom front screw - Red dot indicates approximate area of bottom front screw

6g2Locatebottomfrontscrew.jpg


6.h. View of bottom front screw

6hViewofbottomfrontscrew.jpg


The following steps involve cutting the dash. Some have removed the old actuator and replaced the new one without cutting the dash. I recommend trying without cutting the dash and only cut the dash if the actuator cannot be removed and replaced with the dash intact.

6.i. Cut dash – Utility knife required – WARNING ATTEMPT AT YOUR OWN RISK - Arrows indicate area of dash to be cut

6iCutdash.jpg


6.j. View of cut dash with foam removed - Cut vinyl then remove foam with utility knife

6jViewofdashcutwithfoamremoved.jpg


6.k. Remove back plastic - Cut remaining plastic with utility knife - Red arrows indicate area to be cut - White arrow indicates bottom of Blend Door Actuator

6kRemovebackplastic.jpg


6.l. View of cut dash to reveal bottom front screw

6lViewofcutdashtorevealscrew.jpg


6.m. Remove bottom front screw – 8MM box-end wrench required - Ratcheting box-end wrench will be easier but not required

6mRemovebottomfrontscrew.jpg


6.n. Wiggle out the blend door actuator - Red arrow indicates shaft - White arrows indicate direction to pull first: away from heater box - Yellow arrow indicates direction to wiggle Blend Door Actuator out

6nWiggleoutBDA.jpg


6.o. Turn actuator so shaft it facing upward

6oActuatorshaftupward.jpg


6.p. Disconnect blend door actuator - Arrow indicates tab to be press to release connector

6pDisconnectBDA.jpg


7. Install New Blend Door Actuator

7.a. Connect actuator

7aConnectactuator.jpg


7.b. Turn ignition key to run position

7.c. Rotate temp selector from cold to hot to verify operation of actuator – shaft should be moving

7cRotatetemptohot.jpg


7.d. Rotate temp from hot to cold setting – shaft should be moving – leave temp set to cold

7dRotatetemptocold.jpg


7.e. Wait for shaft to stop moving! Then turn ignition key to off and remove key - LEAVE TEMP SET TO COLD

7.f. Wiggle actuator into position – this takes some patience – be careful not to damage shaft - Shaft is keyed and will only go in one way - DO NOT FORCE SHAFT - Red arrows indicate direction to wiggle in Blend Door Actuator - White arrow indicates where shaft is inserted

7fWiggleBDAintoposition.jpg


7.g. Install bottom front screw – 8MM box-end wrench required – Ratcheting box-end wrench will be easier but not required - start threading with fingers then use wrench – DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN

7gInstallbottomfrontscrew.jpg


7.h. Install bottom rear screw – 8MM box-end wrench required – Ratcheting box-end wrench will be easier but not required - start threading screw with fingers then use wrench – DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN

7hInstallbottomrearscrew.jpg


7.i. Install top screw – 8MM socket & 6” extension required

7iInstalltopscrew.jpg


7.j. Tape screw to socket

7jTapescrew.jpg


7.k. Start threading screw

7kStartthreadingscrew.jpg


7.l. Pull extension out

7lPullextout.jpg


7.m. Reach up and remove socket - Arrows indicate where to reach up to remove socket from screw

7mReachupremovesocket.jpg


7.n. Remove tape and replace socket

7nRemovetapereplacesocket.jpg


7.o. Tighten top screw – DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN

7oTightentopscrew.jpg


8. Test Blend Door Actuator

8.a. Start vehicle and let it reach normal operating temp

8aNormaloptemp.jpg


8.b. Set selector to vent (engine must be running since this operates on vacuum)

8bSettovent.jpg


8.c. Temp setting should be on cold

8cTemponcold.jpg


8.d. Turn fan on

8dFanonhigh.jpg


8.e. Test temp of airflow – it should be cold

8eTestcoldairflow.jpg


8.f. Rotate temp setting all the way to hot

8fTemptohot.jpg


8.g. Test temp of airflow – it should be hot

8gTesthotairflow.jpg


8.h. Nice job! You are now ready for winter

8.i. Turn vehicle off

9. Reinstall Lower Heater Duct

9.a. Wiggle duct into place - Arrows indicate position to wiggle in duct

9aWiggleductinplace.jpg


9.b. Install 2 screws – 8MM socket required

9bInstall2screws.jpg


9.c. Push harness into place

9cSnapharnessin.jpg


10. Reinstall Dashboard Brace

10.a. Install 2 bottom nuts – 10MM deep socket required - Pull carpet back for access

10aInstall2bottomnuts.jpg


10.b. Install 2 top screws – 10MM socket required

10bInstall2topscrews.jpg


10.c. View with brace reinstalled

10cViewofDashboardBracereinstalled.jpg


11. Reinstall Lower Dash Panel

11.a. Set panel in place and push in top section

11aPushtopin.jpg


11.b. If clip fell off, then replace clip

11bReplaceclip.jpg


11.c. Install 2 bottom screws – 7MM socket required

11cInstall2bottomscrews.jpg


12. Reinstall Center Console Lower Half

12.a. Set console lower half back into place

12aSetinplace.jpg


12.b. Push console forward to close gap in lower duct

12bClosegap.jpg


12.c. While pushing console forward, Install passenger side rear screw – 8MM socket required

12cinstallpassengersiderearscrew.jpg


12.d. Replace passenger side screw cover

12dReplacepassrearcover.jpg


12.e. While pushing console forward, Install driver side rear screw – 8MM socket required

12eInstalldriversiderearscrew.jpg


12.f. Replace driver side rear screw cover

12fReplacedriverrearscrewcover.jpg


12.g. Install 2 duct screws – 8MM socket required

12iInstall2ductscrews.jpg


12.h. Install 2 front screws – 8MM socket required

12jInstall2frontscrews.jpg


12.i. Push passenger side front of console toward center to engage Velcro

12kPushpasssidefrontin.jpg


12.j. Push driver side front of console toward center to engage Velcro

12lPushdriversidefrontin.jpg


12.k. Push harness back into place

12mSnapharness.jpg


12.l. Push rear power point connector back into place

12nSnaprearpowerpointconnector.jpg


12.m. Connect rear power point

12oConnectrearpowerpoint.jpg


13. Reinstall Center Console Upper Half

13.a. Connect extra power source & front power point

13aConnectPowerSources.jpg


13.b. Set console lower half back into position and push downward to snap into place

13bSetintoplaceandpushdown.jpg


13.c. Install screw – 7MM socket required

13cInstallscrew.jpg


13.d. Replace rubber matt

13dReplacerubbermat.jpg


14. Blend Door Actuator Replacement is Complete!

14.a. View of cut dash with console installed - Arrows indicate area that was cut

14aViewofcutdash.jpg


14.b. You saved a bunch of cash

14bSavedcash.jpg


14.c. Grab a cold one

14cColdone.jpg


14.d. Enjoy the winter

14dEnjoywinter.jpg


:wavey: Thanks for looking :biggthump
 
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Hitchhikingmike

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Good work. Glad you fixed your problem and shared the knowledge. Should be made a sticky.
 




rumpledoll

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That is one of THE best writeups and howto! Kudos!

Rumple
 




Joe Dirt

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I agree- incredible writeup...













...but did you clean that carpet before you put your console back in? :D
 




mhamric

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Awesome write up! I'm saving this one just in case I ever have to do it.
 




my1zamboni

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First off Big Rondo great write up. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Second thanks to everyone on this forum, the money you have saved me, thanks to this forum I have fixed the broken wires in the driver’s door, an air bag sensor in the front bumper (dirty contacts so free fix), a vacuum line. My next 2 projects are from wheel bearings (entire hub seems easiest) and this blend door thing.
Now my question, how do I know if it is the door actuator or the blend door itself?
I have a banging noise when I turn the heat on or off that goes away when I put the fan on high (after a few more bangs) then is fine until the heat selector is moved to the other position.
Does anyone know which problem I have?
Thank you in advance.
 




BigRondo

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Good work. Glad you fixed your problem and shared the knowledge. Should be made a sticky.
That is one of THE best writeups and howto! Kudos!

Rumple
I agree- incredible writeup...

...but did you clean that carpet before you put your console back in? :D
Awesome write up! I'm saving this one just in case I ever have to do it.
Thank you all. I figured with winter coming up people that have been putting this off would need to get it done.

Joe, believe it or not, I thought about you and the carpet but I didn't have enough time. I also fixed my LED display when I was done with this. I burned a lot of daylight that day!!
 




jakedrew

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that is exactly how I did mine. I didnt cut that much of the dash.

Thanks for the how to! and glad you got it working again.
 




BigRondo

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First off Big Rondo great write up. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Second thanks to everyone on this forum, the money you have saved me, thanks to this forum I have fixed the broken wires in the driver’s door, an air bag sensor in the front bumper (dirty contacts so free fix), a vacuum line. My next 2 projects are from wheel bearings (entire hub seems easiest) and this blend door thing.
Now my question, how do I know if it is the door actuator or the blend door itself?
I have a banging noise when I turn the heat on or off that goes away when I put the fan on high (after a few more bangs) then is fine until the heat selector is moved to the other position.
Does anyone know which problem I have?
Thank you in advance.
Thank you. I know that when I put the temp to hot I could hear clicking under the dash. When I put the fan on high it would eventually blow the door shut and the clicking would go away. When I returned the temp to cold I don't think i heard any clicking. According to everything read on here, I had the symptoms of a bad actuator. So I changed it out and all is well now.
 




BigRondo

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that is exactly how I did mine. I didnt cut that much of the dash.

Thanks for the how to! and glad you got it working again.
Thanks. I really didn't know how much dash to cut out but I figured if it was going to be covered, what the hell!! Thanks again for your help.
 




my1zamboni

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I just checked it again and I defiantly get the banging both ways. When first turning the heat to “hot” it will bang a bit, turning the fan to high fixes this with one good bang then I can adjust the heat with the fan and opening and closing window.
Turning heat selector to cold also produces the banging which I can make “go away” by putting fan on high.
I Just was wondering what others experienced to determine if it was the door or the actuator.
Thanks for any help everyone.
 




my1zamboni

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Big Rondo....roughly how long did the actual fix take you start to finish?
Just wondering.
Anyone else that can offer what their sound was like so I can tell if it is the acuator or the door I would really appreciate it.
I am getting ready to do this either this weekend or next.
Thanks a lot everyone.
 




jakedrew

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I just checked it again and I defiantly get the banging both ways. When first turning the heat to “hot” it will bang a bit, turning the fan to high fixes this with one good bang then I can adjust the heat with the fan and opening and closing window.
Turning heat selector to cold also produces the banging which I can make “go away” by putting fan on high.
I Just was wondering what others experienced to determine if it was the door or the actuator.
Thanks for any help everyone.
that is the actuator . same thing I experienced .
 




BigRondo

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Big Rondo....roughly how long did the actual fix take you start to finish?
Just wondering.
I would say it takes about 2 hours. It took me longer because I took about 5 pictures of each step for the write up. It's really not that bad of a job. Good luck, keep us posted.
 




my1zamboni

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Thank you all for the suggestions and pictures.
After a little more digging into the sounds especially after looking at Big Rondo's wonderful write up and pictures (thank you again) I think it is the acuator as that is where the sound seems to come from and not behind the glove box.
Big Rondo, in your pictures the actuator doesn't seem broken, is it internal that it breaks?
I will keep you all posted, Next Saturday I am going to send the wife away for the morning and tackle this. I stay calmer that way.
Thank you all again for your help with this.
I called 2 dealers last week about this and they both quoted 4-6 hours and $800-$1000 if I can get out of this with $70 and 2-3 hours I am a happy person.
 




BigRondo

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Thank you all for the suggestions and pictures.
After a little more digging into the sounds especially after looking at Big Rondo's wonderful write up and pictures (thank you again) I think it is the acuator as that is where the sound seems to come from and not behind the glove box.
Big Rondo, in your pictures the actuator doesn't seem broken, is it internal that it breaks?
I will keep you all posted, Next Saturday I am going to send the wife away for the morning and tackle this. I stay calmer that way.
Thank you all again for your help with this.
I called 2 dealers last week about this and they both quoted 4-6 hours and $800-$1000 if I can get out of this with $70 and 2-3 hours I am a happy person.
The gears inside the "box" break. See Post numbers 41 & 146 in this thread: http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=198271. Good luck with the install. Let us know how you make out. :salute:
 




Scootman

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Big Rondo......this could not be more timely. 2004 Explorer XLT doing the same thing.

And I agree with all, best write up I have seen on fixing 'anything'

Good on ya!
 




my1zamboni

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Well, this is my project for next weekend. I now have no heat at all just cold air and mornings here in Maine are starting to get a bit chilly.
Ordered the part from Ford this morning will be in on Monday and was $69.53 plus tax, how can they really charge $800-$1000 for this repair. Did they see Big Rondo's pictures? Do they see how easy this is?
 




jakedrew

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8mm(or 7) ratching wrench instead of a just a plain open end wrench was nice to have for me when taking off the 2 actuator bolts.

Also you should have put up a picture of the old motor. Just pry it apart and you will see one of the little plastic gears about the size of a pencil tip busted.
 


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BigRondo

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Big Rondo......this could not be more timely. 2004 Explorer XLT doing the same thing.

And I agree with all, best write up I have seen on fixing 'anything'

Good on ya!
Thank you. :biggthump Good luck with the install. Be sure to let us no how you make out.

Well, this is my project for next weekend. I now have no heat at all just cold air and mornings here in Maine are starting to get a bit chilly.
Ordered the part from Ford this morning will be in on Monday and was $69.53 plus tax, how can they really charge $800-$1000 for this repair. Did they see Big Rondo's pictures? Do they see how easy this is?
I also paid $69.53 + tax. Good luck with the install. You're gonna love having heat again!!

8mm(or 7) ratching wrench instead of a just a plain open end wrench was nice to have for me when taking off the 2 actuator bolts.

Also you should have put up a picture of the old motor. Just pry it apart and you will see one of the little plastic gears about the size of a pencil tip busted.
Here you go, the arrows point to the broken gear. There is 3 teeth broken off:

BrokenBDA.jpg
 
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