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Stuck on vent Issues....


Well-Known Member
May 16, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Fayetteville, Ar
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 X Sport
I have a question, when you have the heater control to "off", does air still come from your vents like it would if these trucks had a "vent" setting? I'm talking about the little selector switch that has "off, max A/C, Panel, etc." on it? On mine when I have it on "OFF" it still has air coming from the vents if I'm moving. Blower is not on, only have air when moving. Today I had the dash apart replacing some bulbs and I had figured it was just an issue with the selector alignment so I looked into it. Seems my selector arm leaves the selector cable in the same position for the first 3 settings on the control. "Off, MAX A/C, and Panel" That seems to be by design, so for the life of me I can't see a way it could "close" a outside air vent anyway. Only thing I can come up with is it's a electronic servo somewhere that's maybe not working and closing the system from outside air, or maybe a vacuum servo ...any thoughts? Any input?

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Yeah My 1991 does the same thing as you described but i have just gotten use to it and it doesn't really bother me. i just make sure to leave the heat/cool on the cool side so i don't bake in the truck all the time.

i just close the vent themselves and leave it at that. doesn't eliminate the problem but it cuts down on the air coming in tho.

Mine does not have the off function so i only leave it on max ac. It does the best for me

Yeah...ive HATED that since I had my blows hardest when its on full ac or full heat, I would love to have an actual OFF setting lol

both my 92 and my 93 do it, it is normal

So this is flaw by design I guess, kinda sucky, there are sometimes I DON'T want the vents on. I live in Arkansas, and all I'm gonna say is chicken houses.... Sometimes it stong enough to make ya gag, so in other cars you close the windows and close the vents, and it' s not too bad. You can smell them even along the freeway in some places...

But even worse, is they blow somewhat warm air in mine at least. Like tonight it was a beautiful 70 ish out, but the air coming from the vents with it turned all the way cool was warmer then the outside air, and it started making the cabin kinda warm. i even closed the vents themselves, that made it better but it sill had a little warmth coming from them. I have just been keeping it on floor setting, and that doesn't seem quite so bad, just makes my feet sweat! LOL

/rant on

Seems like it would have been REAL easy to make it so "off" was really off, and then have a VENT setting, then the rest of the settings. You know, like most OTHER cars in the world :rolleyes:

You know it seems with Ford it's either designed really, really well. Or really, really dumb. And what's up with all the "tamper proof" crap anyway, seems every single item has at least 1 "special" screw or nut... Like the year after the "tamper proof" stuff came out there wasn't a tool to bypass it in every auto store in america... and someone probably gets paid a seven figure income to come up with this crap...

And I mean who's brainchild was it to put a BRITTLE, BREAKABLE plastic bump stop in the electronic transfer case shift motors, I mean come ON, like 90% of them fail!!!??? Someone in the engineering department really dropped the ball on that one! :frustrate

But I love my X anyway....:salute:

/rant off

The odometer doesn't even go to 100k, so how long do you think they figured on it NEEDING to last? I'm not going to complain about the plastic balls too much, its an easy fix.

Ford sometimes relies on the parts bin too much, giving us weird ass fasteners for no good reason. They do stick to one design forever if it works though, so usually the last of a series is the best as they keep improving.

I just noticed today on my 92 that there is an actual OFF setting on the fan knob, but its always on, no matter what speed. On my friends 93 (or 94?) theres an OFF setting next to AC, on the vent/floor (etc) lever

The odometer doesn't even go to 100k, so how long do you think they figured on it NEEDING to last? I'm not going to complain about the plastic balls too much, its an easy fix.

Ford sometimes relies on the parts bin too much, giving us weird ass fasteners for no good reason. They do stick to one design forever if it works though, so usually the last of a series is the best as they keep improving.

I've already gone off on the 100K OD rant on here before. But I've got to say, they sold a crap load of Explorers, even with the whole "turtling" issue with Firestone. I do agree with what you say, the best in a series is usually the last. Course in this part of the forum we all bought the first test run editions...LOL But I got to say, of all the Fords, GM's, or foreign car's I've owned this X is the best made one I've had. But it's also the first truck I've ever owned. But it just seems more.... solid then any other car I've owned.

And hell I can get under the thing without jackstands! And I can get my hand between all sides of the engine. Haven't had that since my 68 Mustang!! Well except for my 82 350 Trans Am maybe, but it's about equal to the X really as far as ease of access under the hood. But then the TA sits in it's parking space with it's busted tranny, and the X gets to play every day! LOL

But for 16 years old, and 160,000 miles I'm very, very impressed with my Ford, just wish I could turn off the vents!! :cool:

I guess it would have taken another flap in there somewhere to block the airflow, so they figured it wasn't worth it or it wouldn't fit, I guess we should be happy that the rant isn't "NO Air from vents, #&*@! air control door is broken, how do I remove the dash to get to it"

And even within a series, the 1st gen improved a lot from 91-94, they upgraded the electrical system, made many improvements to the A4LD, switched to different heads that are less prone to cracking, standard ABS, etc

Ok, reviving this old one from the dead. I finally decided tonight to investigate this. It's just getting nice enough outside to start rolling down the windows and the hot air blowing from the vents was ticking me off.

So Anime told me there was a "blend" door right behind the glove box, I'd had it off a couple of times but never looked into the venting stuff behind there. Sure enough there was a vacuum canister in the space behind the the glove box, and as vacuum is applied it pulls a lever down, and that lever closes the outside air feed! (I discovered through testing)

So I finally found the "vent" controls!!

Now, here's what I found out, when it's on OFF or MAX A/C, it applies vacuum and closes the outside air feed. On all other settings it seemed to leave the vent open.

I did notice that with the truck started that it took a LONG time to close the vent, and still didn't close it 100%. I also left the glove box open and discovered while driving there isn't enough vacuum to keep it closed even a tiny bit. So when moving it's 100% open, and only starts to close again once I'm at idle (when all cars have the most vacuum).

I figured it was the vacuum diaphragm(canister thingie) itself. I figured it had rotted with age. I was wrong, I removed it and it's fine (I can push it closed and put my finger over the hole, and it does't move even a tiny bit) so that means I have a vacuum leak. I know from what I wrote last year that there is no "mechanical" device that routes the vacuum to the canister. The CAM that is attached to the OFF-MAX A/C - A/C -FLOOR etc switch doesn't move in any of the last 3 slots (OFF MAX A/C and A/C) so I know it has to be a electrical servo somewhere that turns vacuum on and off to that canister that controls the outside vent.

And since the vacuum line runs into a bundle of cords, and those cords are routed up somewhere on top of all the venting and the dash itself, I didn't bother chasing down the leak anymore at this time. I might at a later time, what I did do is take about 5 rubber bands and put them on the lever and where the canister used to be, and held the lever closed that way and took a drive for testing reasons...

NO AIR FLOW FROM VENTS!!!! Woot!!! I can run with windows down and A/C off without sweating my socks off!!!!!!!!

Also the A/C works about 10X better, it's much quicker and cooler. And I bet the heat will work better this winter too. I think for now I'm going to just run it "vent less" and see how things work out. I also had some issues this winter with the heat not wanting to get hot enough. We'll see how this works.

I will post more if I find out any more details, or have any other results to report. I'll also post up if I ever decide to track down the leak, that will be next time I have the dash apart, I don't plan on tearing it a part for this alone. I don't need vent anyway!! LOL

I did test it and there is plenty of air movement with the fan and cabin only air feeding it. So I'm not sure why they didn't give us a "vent" choice but instead made the choice for us. But I took the choice back!! LOl

I'm gonna put this reply in both my threads about this, so you might see double post....

I "fixed" my vacuum issue today with the outside vent. I was spending a day on the vehicles and decided I had the time to mess around with the lines. I found my problem about 20 seconds into it. I had started following the vacuum line from that black cannister thingie under the hood, and the first one I couldn't plainly see where it went ended up going down into the engine about 10 inches and then it was cut. The cut looked like it had gotten caught between something and smashed in two. I got a flashlight and tried to find the other end, but I never could.

So I started the truck and sure enough, there was a vacuum leak right there. It wasn't enough to affect idle or anything, but I could hear and feel it at the hose. I tried to find a screw to screw into the hose to seal it (my goto move LOL), but I didn't have anything small enough. And I used to have a ton of vacuum caps, but I haven't seen them in years. I thought duct tape was a little overkill so some black electrical tape did the trick.

So I hooked everything back up inside, behind the glovebox, and it pulled the plunger down with quite a lot of force. I then turned off the truck, and it held the vacuum, I couldn't pull the plunger up. (I still had it removed at this point, just hooked to vacuum) So fixed it seems.

A couple of interesting points. It holds vacuum fine OUT of the truck and just hooked to vacuum from behind the glove box. But once I install it in the truck, it seems to slowly loose the vacuum. Not too fast, but maybe 5-10 mins? It seemed to be something about the angle the hose sits at once installed. When I was installing it it would hold vacuum fine until I started trying to get it back in place. Then it would lose all vacuum over a couple of second while I was moving it into place, and the hose has a pretty sharp turn right where it hooks up to the plunger thing. So I think there is a small leak that acts up sometimes right where the hose hooks to the plunger.

However after a test drive, it still holds more then enough vacuum to keep the vent closed while moving. So I'm calling it fixed and resolved. I did verify it ONLY closes the vent on OFF and MAX A/C..... All other settings the vent is open. I would rather have 100% control, but my other choice is 100% closed, so I'll play it Fords way. Really the only time it would matter would be on Floor Heat. There is not way to turn off the vent and have Floor Heat. You can just turn it to MAX A/C if you want Heat from the vents without outside air cooling it down. (it doesn't turn on the A/C, it's just the same setting as Panel except with the outside vents closed)

Oh, one other thing. I did track down the other vacuum lines from that "black canister" under the hood. Most lead into the firewall, but it is in fact "powered" from the vacuum octopus on the side of the intake.

Older post I know but this may help others down the line.

How it should work
The vac tank is to hold vac at low vac times such as WOT when there is little to no vac to pull from. The line that runs the inside /outside air dash pot is controlled by the temp controls. The tank lets it still run on max A/C even at WOT. There is a vac switch with two vac lines the temp controller. it lets vac come threw when on off or max A/C but shuts it off under the other settings allowing out side air to flow threw the system..

What go’s wrong.
There is a small button on the temp controllers Vac switch that is depressed when the lever is moved to the off or Max A/C detents. It is a metal plate and a plastic slider thing. They do wear and if that happens it can fail to depress the vac switch plunger button because it has lost its tension on it.

How to fix it
If you remove the control panel you can easily slip a washer under the plastic part but on top of the metal one to tighten things up and doing so will now depress that vac switch button.

Just did this to fix my 93 from always having out side air blowing threw the system.

This fix worked for me it may for you also and it’s a cheap one with almost no cost if you already have a washer you can use other wise that is the only cost.

welcome I just wish I had found it before I tore into mine and had to fig it all out on my own LOL. so simple that it is easly over looked .

Maybe somebody still reads old threads so I thought I would give this a shot. I saw in your original post that you used the words "selector alignment." and I assumed you meant the door that diverts the air DEF, DEF-FLOOR, FLOOR, FLOOR-PANEL, PANEL, MAX AC. The reason I ask is because every setting works like a charm except the PANEL and MAX AC setting. If I, If I have the selector switch set to DEF the fan blows really hard on the windshield or if it's set to FLOOR I get the same result. But however if I set the switch to PANEL or MAX AC, the amount of air out of the panel vents is weak and I can detect air blowing out the floor vents.

If you have a solution to what is preventing the selector for working properly, I'd love to hear it.


Hello doonze or huntman58 - I hope you can answer this issue for me because I have the same issue you described above. When the selector is on Off there is still air coming out the vents. I lowered the glove box lid and took the explorer for a drive. What I noticed is that the plunger arm moves down into vacuum canister when the engine is running and the selector is on OFF or MAX AIR ... but for all the other settings the plunger arm pulls up and "closes" the vacuum canister. But, when the selector was in OFF and the engine was accelerated above idle, the plunger would raise and close and then air would come thru the vents. I tried looking for a vacuum leak to see if that was causing it, but did not see anything.

Any suggestions ?

Thank you - John

would have pictures? will help a lot

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old thread. I solved this ( airflow through vents while accellerating) with part no d7oz-19a563-a, in the engine bay near the vacuum canister and ac accumulator. It's a vacuum check valve. You might have one with just 2 ends instead of 3, that would be a different part number. Take it out, lightly blow through both ends. Air should flow in 1 direction only. If it does not completely seal in 1 direction, it's bad.