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

jimborasco

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middle of nowhere in the mountains of southwestern VA
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2003 Explorer
Tired but Happy!!

Well, after having bought the part last fall and putting this off until my wife finally got tired of waiting on me and decided to do this herself, we got it done! I do mean WE. I did most of the work with the wrenches to remove the screws in the actuator and she removed the console and got the old piece out and the new one in. Her smaller fingers/hands came in very handy to wiggle that little plastic piece of crap out of there and put the new one in. We managed without having to cut the dash. The only difference from your writeup is in removing the console. Ours, a 2003 had pop out pulls/plugs at the front instead of velcro and for some reason the console/air vent was a bit different inside. We removed the actual storage compartment along with the back end of the console and it left the sides and actual vent in place. We removed only the driver's side of the console side from the front and it wasn't attached anywhere else by anything once the back/storage compartment was removed. She did have some trouble lining up the 'keyed' shaft end. She had it lined up but it was off just a fraction so as she held the actuator and shaft in position, I SLOWLY turned the temperature control knob and in just a second, it slipped right in and we turned it off. I was able to then put the screws in and now it's all good! It did take us a little longer than a lot spent on it, but in all honesty, we're both a bit short tempered and took breaks to keep from breaking something besides a sweat. All in all, actual time spent working on it was probably 3 1/2 hours, (not counting our breaks) and at least 45 mins of that was getting the new piece in and that shaft lined up. We would NEVER have been able to do it without this write-up. Thanks Big Rondo. Kudos to you and your excellent post!:notworthy
 
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BigRondo

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2002 XLT V6 4x4
Well, after having bought the part last fall and putting this off until my wife finally got tired of waiting on me and decided to do this herself, we got it done! I do mean WE. I did most of the work with the wrenches to remove the screws in the actuator and she removed the console and got the old piece out and the new one in. Her smaller fingers/hands came in very handy to wiggle that little plastic piece of crap out of there and put the new one in. We managed without having to cut the dash. The only difference from your writeup is in removing the console. Ours, a 2003 had pop out pulls/plugs at the front instead of velcro and for some reason the console/air vent was a bit different inside. We removed the actual storage compartment along with the back end of the console and it left the sides and actual vent in place. We removed only the driver's side of the console side from the front and it wasn't attached anywhere else by anything once the back/storage compartment was removed. She did have some trouble lining up the 'keyed' shaft end. She had it lined up but it was off just a fraction so as she held the actuator and shaft in position, I SLOWLY turned the temperature control knob and in just a second, it slipped right in and we turned it off. I was able to then put the screws in and now it's all good! It did take us a little longer than a lot spent on it, but in all honesty, we're both a bit short tempered and took breaks to keep from breaking something besides a sweat. All in all, actual time spent working on it was probably 3 1/2 hours, (not counting our breaks) and at least 45 mins of that was getting the new piece in and that shaft lined up. We would NEVER have been able to do it without this write-up. Thanks Big Rondo. Kudos to you and your excellent post!:notworthy
You're welcome, glad I could help out. Nice job getting it sorted! :thumbsup:
 

mranderson214

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Brooklyn, NY
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2002 XLT
Hello,

Firstly, thank you for your very long and detailed writeup. It took me about 2 hours to complete this today.

Prior to this, I had a clicking sound when you turn the dial from Hot to Cold or vice versa. After the installation, the clicking has gone away. The only strange thing now is that I only get heat from the vents, even when its set to AC. I waited until the car was completely warmed up just to be sure.

I get heat from the vents, no matter which setting its on. It also doesn't matter if the dial is on Hot (red) or Cold (blue). Any ideas? I followed the procedure exactly. Is there anything that I might need to check for in order to get the climate control to behave properly?

Thanks,
 

mranderson214

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Please disregard my last post.

I seemed to have gotten a defective unit from the vendor. I was sent a replacement and all works well now. No more clicking from the dashboard, and no more manually flipping the blend door to compensate for hot/cold air!
 

Skip_Nj

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NJ
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I registered just to say thank you to BigRondo for making this tutorial.
I got this job done in 2 hours flat, including a beer break after the new actuator was in and tidying up some wiring from a sloppy remote start install. I didn't cut into the dash at all, used a regular wrench, and installed a motorcraft actuator purchased from Amazon. It had marks on it like it was a used or refurb part but it was factory sealed and works so I'm happy.
The heat works perfectly thanks again for this
 

Westkane

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Kane,PA
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Awsome directions, I applaud and thank you

This was probably one of the best do it yourself explanations I have ever encountered/done. I thought it was way above me, not being familiar with all the underdash stuff. But with the clear narrative and associated pictures, I decided to try it. Following your directions, just like a cookbook, I was able to accomplish it myself and save some serious dollars which I hope to put towards going on a mission trip to the outskirts of Puebla Mexico. Thank you!
 

geojag

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I followed this write-up and completed the job in less than 2 hours. A shop had quoted 5.4 hours at $100 an hour. I got the part from ford, it was 96.22 and was in stock at the local dealer. Definitely saved some money, thanks!

I didn't have to cut the dash, just pulled it out enough for the part to slip by.
 

omagasohe

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Portsmouth, VA, USA
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03 Explorer XLT
First off Thanks,

I went with the aftermarket dorman for speed(like $43 at advance in stock). I drive early morning and with the temp dropping, i like having defrost to see out of my windows :D I'll revisit in spring when the knob might get turned. though i might yank the plug and let every one suffer in the summer while i save on gas. :thumbsup:



Big Rondo,

>>>>>>>>>I believe the orange connector is for the cigarette lighter if you have the smoker's package:>>>>>>

I do not have a cigarette lighter on my console (not a smoker anyhow), so that must be what that orange colored plug is for. Thanks for the tip. All of my plug connections to the console are now connected to their power sources and working fine. When I removed the upper console, I found every plug harness disconnected and the plugs were just laying loose under the console. This the reason my Advance Trac off button never worked when I tried activating it a few months ago, but it works fine now. I think the person who owned this vehicle before me must have had kids or something that were playing with the buttons on the console so he disconnected them. The strange things you find when you buy a second hand vehicle. Thanks for that photo by the way.

>>>>>>>>>>I was real happy that the B's won the cup! Good luck to the Sabres this year. ;)>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thanks, same to you on the Bruins as defending champs.
speaking of strange things.
I found a gps locator/remote kill under my steering wheel, common at the "Pay here" places. it look like it didn't belong. i figures an entire roll of electrical tape and 20+ feet of wire the, the relay spliced into the ignition is sitting on my passenger seat.:eek: that would have been an awesome trouble shooting session if it failed and opened the relay.
 
Last edited:

rudymags

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I see the step by step and your pics are great...however, on step 7b, you state that the shaft on the motor should be turning or rotating when you turn on the air.
I am on my 2nd motor from the auto parts store, & my unit's shaft DOES NOT turn or rotate when I turn it on and move the knobs to heat or cold. I returned the first unit because I thought the shaft should turn. It doesn't turn at all, either manually or when I plug in the power to it. Do I have the wrong part?
When I installed my motor, & turn on the A/C, all I get is hot air from the A/C vents. What am I not doing right?
 

omagasohe

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I am on my 2nd motor from the auto parts store, & my unit's shaft DOES NOT turn or rotate when I turn it on and move the knobs to heat or cold. I returned the first unit because I thought the shaft should turn. It doesn't turn at all, either manually or when I plug in the power to it. Do I have the wrong part?
When I installed my motor, & turn on the A/C, all I get is hot air from the A/C vents. What am I not doing right?

Fist did your original actuator have the dreaded click click click when you turn on the vents? if yes then the actuators could be bad. if not, well you could be chasing a unknown fault.

Shaft will not turn by hand, Worm gear to round gears make that part hard.

Plug the harness into the new part

Start your explorer

turn the hot cold knob left or right the shaft should turn. if not, then you have an issue some where else and not (only) in the blend door actuator.
the temp cluster would be my suspected assembly.

Some one should have schematics to help out. you should post in a new thread in the forum so the knowledgeable people will know you have an issue vs commenting on a how to.

if you figure out a solution, maybe post that here so people with similar issues could learn.
 

rudymags

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Thanks for the reply. I was getting the 'thumping-thumping' sound from my vehicle when I turned on the heater. I researched it and it was (blend door) the issue.

I did plug in the power to the unit and it did not turn the shaft. Where on the unit do you think I need to start looking if the actuator is okay?
 

GO Dawgs

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Great write up, as I started this repair last night. Do you still have the photos of the procedure? They are not available on page one of this thread past the 3A photo. I've removed all the center console and glovebox.

Thanks
 

rudymags

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Gentlemen! My issue is fixed with the actuator.... Turns out the auto store gave me the wrong unit (twice).
For future reference, there is a manual unit and an automatic unit.
I was trying to make the automatic one work & after several frustrating hours, I called a local radio auto show & he gave me the answer within seconds. So if anyone has this issue, make sure you know if your Explorer heater/ac is manual or automatic.
 

Doug 66

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Excellent post! Other than cutting bottom of console followed directions and it was very easy . Thanks for posting the procedure!
 

Joe in NY

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Gentlemen! My issue is fixed with the actuator.... Turns out the auto store gave me the wrong unit (twice).
For future reference, there is a manual unit and an automatic unit.
I was trying to make the automatic one work & after several frustrating hours, I called a local radio auto show & he gave me the answer within seconds. So if anyone has this issue, make sure you know if your Explorer heater/ac is manual or automatic.
Don't think it was Click and Clack was it? haha. Sad that they had to retire..
 

GO Dawgs

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Once again thanks for the great write up and photos. I completed the install last night, I HAVE HEAT AGAIN!! Except only majority of heat or cold for that matter come from the defroster not the vents no matter the setting. What is my next issue to conquer?
 

Doug 66

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got a question I followed your instructions and getting the old actuator out was easy but I have gotten 2 new actuators and I plugged them in before installing them put knob on cold and the both turned 1direction when I turned key on but wont turn back the other direction . Do I have something else wrong like the temp control ?
 

rudymags

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All...... since I have now fixed my problem with the actuator, this has lead to my 2nd dilema.

I have managed to loose my lower cover panel below the steering column and in trying to find another panel, I fine that the FMC has discontinued this item!

Can anyone out there tell me where I can find another cover panel? The OEM web sellers do not have it & the local Ford dealers do not have it in stock. Now I am stuck having to call wrecking yards but no luck so far, Does anyone have one for sale????
 

scotch4ever

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just finished putting in my new blend door. Your write up was a bit help. I had no need to cut anything but wish I was a wee bit smaller in my own frame as I am a tight fit to get the work done under the dash.
 
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.


Wasntmee

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This has been right on to replace my actuator. Sadly, my replacement also went out and it was a ford new part. So, in short, I needed a fix immediately for a trip my wife had to make up north with temps down in low 30's. Searching the internet I did find one that seemed too easy to be true.

I don't want to add an outside link but it is a link I would like you to explore for the forum. I searched the problem and found this video where a guy is holding his cell phone while fixing his problem same as mine, it was stuck on cold air.

He simply pulls down/out the glove door. He puts his hand behind the harness and assists the actuator in closing the door. That was it. I found it to be even easier than that as I fixed my problem in less time than it took for me to view his video.

I tried to find a forum covering this simple fix but would really like to see your opinion of it.
 

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