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


mranderson214

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City, State
Brooklyn, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 XLT
Mine went dead right on one of the coldest days of last winter (5 degrees F with a foot and a half of snow). So I needed a fix fast. I ended up doing the glove box trick and just left it on heat for all of winter. Until around April-ish when it started to get warm. I then worked on getting it fixed as I don't have a garage myself so I couldn't get this done in the freezing cold in my parking lot.

In short, I think it's fine if you occasionally flip it but I wouldn't make it a habit to keep going back their every few days and flipping the door. Eventually I think it might break something on the door itself. In my case, I flipped the door once, which was to get heat until I can get it fixed. I got it fixed back in the summer and all has been well since. Flipping should be fine as long as its not becoming part of the every day routine.

Besides, since you fixed it already, you can probably do it in a fraction of the time if you had to do it again. :D
 


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Broke(n)

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2004 4DR XLS 4X2
Giving thanks to the OP for the detailed how-to, saving me hundreds.
A bit of a pain here and there for a first time but if it goes out again I know now what to do and can get it done half the time.
 




josefz

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2003 Ford Explorer XLT
Just Replaced My Blend Door Actuator

I just registered for the forum so I could specifically thank the author for one of the best step by step repair/replace instructions I've come across. The only thing I did differently was that I also removed the black bar below the steering column.That enabled me to use a 6" extension along with a knuckle to remove and replace the top back screw of the actuator. I did not need to cut the panel in order to get the failed b.d.a. out. Thank you and I hope to contribute to this forum in the future.
 




guy48065

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se MI
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2004 Explorer Limited 4.6
Are you saying removing the black bar gave enough extra room to extract the BDA without cutting the dash? Or is that unrelated?
 




josefz

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Removing the black bar gave me a clear view of the top rear screw. I was then able to use a 6" extension and knuckle to easily remove the screw. I don't believe it had any bearing on the removal of the BDA. I was able to slide the BDA towards the firewall to take it out. Placing the new one in required sliding it in from the firewall side of the panel, and then lining up the shaft with the slot. There was some slight rotation involved. The hardest part about putting it back in was to get the front screw started.
 




Moto Martin

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So. Cal
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02 xlt 4.6 & 03 xlt 4.0
Just did this fix today. Thank you very much to the original poster - that was the best write up with photos that I can remember.
I managed to get the BDA on and off without cutting the dash, I used a crow bar to make a bit of space (did not break anything), also popping off the radio bezel helps get at the front BDA screw.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year.
 




mountaineer2004

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If I don't mind cutting the panel, could the job be done easier? I have the dual system so I know there's 2 actuators.

Could I just snip around where the actuators are, to totally open up the space?

In the DATC, is the driver actuator in the same place, and the passenger in the mirror position?

All responses appreciated.
 




GO Dawgs

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Atlanta, GA
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2005 Explorer XLT
If I don't mind cutting the panel, could the job be done easier? I have the dual system so I know there's 2 actuators.

Could I just snip around where the actuators are, to totally open up the space?

In the DATC, is the driver actuator in the same place, and the passenger in the mirror position?

All responses appreciated.
I did have to cut mine to get the actuator back in. what i did was peel the outer vinly? cover off and cut the foam board behind it and replaced the cover material, unless you get really close you cant tell it has been cut. Plus the side plastic cover most of it.
Hope this helps.
 








Red.KW

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Wapakoneta, Ohio
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2004 Ford Explorer XLT
BigRondo

for some reason I can't see your pictures
 




turborich

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Las Vegas, NV
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2004 Ford Explorer
I just tackled this repair today and from all of the hype I've read I thought that it would be a very difficult repair. It was not. No cutting the dash, no prying anything out of the way and no special tools required. From start to finish it was an hour job and now that I've done it once I could cut that time down.

Remove the drivers seat, remove the center console, remove the lower dash plastic trim panel, remove the metal brace, remove the bolts with a regular 8mm wrench and a 1/4" drive ratchet with a 12" extension and 8mm socket, pull out actuator and install new one. Put it all back together in reverse order.

I would do this job all day long for $100 bucks a pop. Easy money. I didn't even use a gear wrench, just a regular open/box end wrench. I wish that all repairs were this easy.
 




dieselscout80

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Does blend door actuator make a ratching sound when they are getting ready to go out?
 
Last edited:








mranderson214

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2002 XLT
mine made a knocking sound from within the dashboard when it finally went out. the sound was from the blend door trying to engage properly but failing due to the bad blend door actuator.
 








mustnged

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2004 Explorer XLT V8
Performed this fix a few months ago. Never would have attempted without this thread!
Bought OEM blend door from ebay for $65 from Gaudin Ford in Las Vegas. Took me about 3.5 hours. Had to make one trip to auto parts store to get the box end wrench to fit on to the actuator. Didn't have to cut any part of the car. Thanks again for the writeup!
 




guy48065

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se MI
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2004 Explorer Limited 4.6
Why do some descriptions and YouTube videos Indicate a vacuum actuator for the blend door, and some show an electric motor-- supposedly for the same year & model?
Are there different versions of the heating system?
 




Curtis

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Orlando, FL
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04 XLT 4x4
I did this repair this past weekend and it was made easier by this thread. A lot easier.
I did not remove the console, just unscrewed the drivers side and pulled it away. Its flexible that you wont break it. Though removing it would have made the job that much easier.

The top forward bolt is easily accessible with the socket as shown
The other two bolts were easily accessed by a 8mm gear wrench.

The old unit slid right out, but getting the new one in was a chore. My had was very scratched up from trying to maneuver around. Once it was in the right position I had to start the truck and turn the temp selector to rotate the shaft so that it would go in.

Sure was nice to have a write up. Thank you!
 




mranderson214

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City, State
Brooklyn, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 XLT
Why do some descriptions and YouTube videos Indicate a vacuum actuator for the blend door, and some show an electric motor-- supposedly for the same year & model?
Are there different versions of the heating system?
From what I know (and someone correct me if I'm wrong), the blend door's actuator is essentially an electric motor with gears inside that spin a shaft. The shaft lines up with a "hole" in the dash. When you turn from Hot to Cold, the motor spins matching gears in that "hole" to move the blend door.

This was the case for my 2002 XLT. I haven't heard of a vacuum actuator on this model. I have the climate controls in the front only (no separate rear climate control). As far as I know, all 3rd Gen Explorers have a similar setup.

Again, someone correct me if I'm wrong.
 


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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 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.




guy48065

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This is the one I had just watched that had me going "wtf?"
Supposedly it's for 2002-2008 explorers and it shows some paddle thing snacking a button behind the center console stack. Everything about the problem and noise are right but what the heck is the part he claims is the problem?
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=H7xiRa2ZcCE
 




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