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

naharris

Lovin' life and buildin' stuff...
Joined
December 24, 2007
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Northern VA
City, State
Manassas, VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 Mountaineer AWD V8
Awesome. Glad to help. What toy did you get? :dunno:
I got a set of Bell Tech lowering springs and hi po struts... Thanks to your post!
 
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BigRondo

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cloviskid

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2005 ford explorer
Blend Door Actuator

Thanks, BigRondo. I would not have known where to begin or end without your excellent post. Tried to do it without cutting, but it just wasn't possible. Kudos to those who have been able to do so. Lost my top/rear bolt tab off the new unit, was trying to get the screw started and somehow chewed up the plastic tab. Clueless how that happened. But I got in the bottom rear screw and the front screw. Don't see why that won't hold just fine. The section on setting the new part to the right index using the cold/hot control was super valuable. Don't know that I would have thought to do that.
Still, one of the most frustrating repairs I have ever done - access and angles. AllData books this at 5.4 hours labor and a $112 part through a dealer or repair shop. That's over $600 and I have $50 into it and about 5 hours time. I don't mind the cut even though it is visible if you try to find it. I have 185k miles on the best vehicle I have ever owned, so it's long past being a show car. Should I add the cost of the ratcheting box set of wrenches? Nah, I needed them anyway and it sure made the job easier.
 

BigRondo

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Thanks, BigRondo. I would not have known where to begin or end without your excellent post. Tried to do it without cutting, but it just wasn't possible. Kudos to those who have been able to do so. Lost my top/rear bolt tab off the new unit, was trying to get the screw started and somehow chewed up the plastic tab. Clueless how that happened. But I got in the bottom rear screw and the front screw. Don't see why that won't hold just fine. The section on setting the new part to the right index using the cold/hot control was super valuable. Don't know that I would have thought to do that.
Still, one of the most frustrating repairs I have ever done - access and angles. AllData books this at 5.4 hours labor and a $112 part through a dealer or repair shop. That's over $600 and I have $50 into it and about 5 hours time. I don't mind the cut even though it is visible if you try to find it. I have 185k miles on the best vehicle I have ever owned, so it's long past being a show car. Should I add the cost of the ratcheting box set of wrenches? Nah, I needed them anyway and it sure made the job easier.
You're welcome. Glad I could help out. ;):thumbsup:
 

pwallace

New Member
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December 22, 2011
Messages
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City, State
Roseann VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer Limited 4.6
Big Rondo, am I doing something wrong because I cannot find any reply (pm?) from you with the trouble shooting info. I have been out of town and when I saw our last post I thought (hoped) that they would be here. What I am having trouble figuring out is why the same issue is happening on both sides of the dual control system. I have trouble believing that both actuators failed at the same time. It also sounds to me like when the actuator does fail you have no heat. I have heat just on the higher temperature settings. I don't mind changing the parts but I would like to know which one is the defective part before I start spending bucks for the wrong part. If you have sent me something and I cannot find it I apologize for my ineptitude.
THANKS AGAIN
Pete
 

BigRondo

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Big Rondo, am I doing something wrong because I cannot find any reply (pm?) from you with the trouble shooting info. I have been out of town and when I saw our last post I thought (hoped) that they would be here. What I am having trouble figuring out is why the same issue is happening on both sides of the dual control system. I have trouble believing that both actuators failed at the same time. It also sounds to me like when the actuator does fail you have no heat. I have heat just on the higher temperature settings. I don't mind changing the parts but I would like to know which one is the defective part before I start spending bucks for the wrong part. If you have sent me something and I cannot find it I apologize for my ineptitude. THANKS AGAIN Pete
PM is Private Message. It is accessible from your Control Panel with a link in the upper right corner of the page.

I can help you find it tonight when I get home.
 

BigRondo

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As it turns out, I didn't PM you any info, but did make the offer.

Instead of a PM, here is a link to the Climate Control System troubleshooting from the shop manual:

https://app.box.com/s/0lum363y5v1u1iza87n6

Good luck getting it sorted. :biggthump
 

pwallace

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City, State
Roseann VA
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2002 Explorer Limited 4.6
Rondo THANKS a million for the info. Can you (or anyone) clue me in to the interior location of the outside air inlet door and where is the DATC module located on the system? These seem like two areas that might possibly be the culprit for my issues.
 

thebraves

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Virginia
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Explorer
Thank you for these steps

These steps were invaluable in helping me fix my wife's car. I will say that I found it helped to remove the front bezel that goes around the radio and a/c-heater knobs. It allowed me to see the inside screw easier. Also, I bought an 8mm gear wrench and that really helped save me time. It was worth the investment. Also, just because you don't hear the clicking noise does not mean your actuator is not broken. I did not hear the noise and mine was definitely broken. I did not need to cut the panel either. Just pull panel out with hand, it won't break, and slide the old actuator out and put the new one in. Hope this helps someone else. Thanks again for taking the time to take pics and write down the steps.
 

BigRondo

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These steps were invaluable in helping me fix my wife's car. I will say that I found it helped to remove the front bezel that goes around the radio and a/c-heater knobs. It allowed me to see the inside screw easier. Also, I bought an 8mm gear wrench and that really helped save me time. It was worth the investment. Also, just because you don't hear the clicking noise does not mean your actuator is not broken. I did not hear the noise and mine was definitely broken. I did not need to cut the panel either. Just pull panel out with hand, it won't break, and slide the old actuator out and put the new one in. Hope this helps someone else. Thanks again for taking the time to take pics and write down the steps.
You're welcome. Glad to help out. :D:thumbsup:
 

BigRondo

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Rondo THANKS a million for the info. Can you (or anyone) clue me in to the interior location of the outside air inlet door and where is the DATC module located on the system? These seem like two areas that might possibly be the culprit for my issues.
If you follow the pinpoint tests for your particular issue, it will let you know exactly what is wrong, no guesswork.
 

jimborasco

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middle of nowhere in the mountains of southwestern VA
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Ok, I was sick late fall and didn't get the actuator replaced before winter but I'm on vacation next week and plan on doing it then. I relied on the quick fix for the winter, but still had cold air coming in from behind the glovebox. The driver's side stayed warm, but the passenger side had hot air in the vents but cold air through the glove box. Hmm?? Anyway, I have noticed that though the AC is good and cold most of the time, but then it takes spells where it just doesn't seem to blow as hard and/or as cold. I'm guessing it has something to do with this actuator not working correctly and possibly allowing the air flow to mix or divert at times. Anyway, I AM going to do it and I'll be sure and let everyone know how it turns out. I believe with this great post/write up that it will be more annoying than difficult. Thanks again.
 

kmanning

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'02 XLT
Thank you, BigRondo. I used your tips to make this repair in January during the worst winter I can ever remember. What a wonderful thing to have the heat working! Thank you, thank you for going to so much trouble for the benefit of everyone else.
 

D Hook

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06 Explorer Limited V-8
Just finished this repair and it went pretty smoothly. Getting in that last bolt in the blend door was the only tough part. Didn't want to cut the plastic so had to get a bit creative but finally ended up using fingers to get it done.

Took the old one apart and sure enough, one tooth was broken on the smallest diameter gear.

Nice to have something between freezing and cooking now.

Thanks for the great write up!
 

JBorghoff

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I made this repair last fall, and the heat works great again as I posted at the time. But I just read jimborasco's post above and noticed the comment about cold air coming from behind the glove box. I've noticed this too, almost feels like a draft while hot air is blowing through the vents. Any idea what may be causing this Big Rondo?
 

BigAl90

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I have followed these instructions this past weekend and it was a big help. Getting to the actuator was a pain without cutting any of the trim but it definitely is possible.

Write up was great and photos were amazing. My heat works again and doesn't click when switching the temperature.

:thumbsup:
 

BigRondo

USMC 1371
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Ok, I was sick late fall and didn't get the actuator replaced before winter but I'm on vacation next week and plan on doing it then. I relied on the quick fix for the winter, but still had cold air coming in from behind the glovebox. The driver's side stayed warm, but the passenger side had hot air in the vents but cold air through the glove box. Hmm?? Anyway, I have noticed that though the AC is good and cold most of the time, but then it takes spells where it just doesn't seem to blow as hard and/or as cold. I'm guessing it has something to do with this actuator not working correctly and possibly allowing the air flow to mix or divert at times. Anyway, I AM going to do it and I'll be sure and let everyone know how it turns out. I believe with this great post/write up that it will be more annoying than difficult. Thanks again.
Thank you, BigRondo. I used your tips to make this repair in January during the worst winter I can ever remember. What a wonderful thing to have the heat working! Thank you, thank you for going to so much trouble for the benefit of everyone else.
Just finished this repair and it went pretty smoothly. Getting in that last bolt in the blend door was the only tough part. Didn't want to cut the plastic so had to get a bit creative but finally ended up using fingers to get it done.

Took the old one apart and sure enough, one tooth was broken on the smallest diameter gear.

Nice to have something between freezing and cooking now.

Thanks for the great write up!
I have followed these instructions this past weekend and it was a big help. Getting to the actuator was a pain without cutting any of the trim but it definitely is possible.

Write up was great and photos were amazing. My heat works again and doesn't click when switching the temperature.

:thumbsup:
Nice job getting it sorted fellas! Glad I could help out. :):thumbsup:
 

turborich

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2004 Ford Explorer
You guys are going about this the hard way. Watch this video, No cutting the dash required.

 

D Hook

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It's a good video but he doesn't show the time it took to get those bolts started for reinstall. I can see where making the cut in the dash would help with that process. I managed to get mine back in without cutting but it took some time to do it.
 
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 advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.


BigRondo

USMC 1371
Elite Explorer
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Joined
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Messages
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It clearly states in the beginning of the write-up that cutting of the dash is your choice. I know it was easier for me to cut the dash!
 

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