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Ford Explorer Air Conditioner and Heater Problems



  • Depend on what temperature control arm you are referring to. The blend door actuator arm is located under the dash and is accessed by dropping the glove box door and locating it. Usually tricky to find, but I don't know exactly where it is on the 96. It is vacuun operated, and by moving it manually under the dash, you can usually control the heat and cold just like using the rotary dial for temperature control on the outside dash panel.
  • I completed the blend door replacement and it successfully fixed the problem. It took a little longer than the instructions indicated, but the end result was worth it. The extra time I needed was mostly used trying to remove the old blend door because the vertical axis top was only halfway broken and not completed severed. I would recommend it. It is important to watch the online instructional video and read the paper instructions so you know exactly what to look for when you complete the installation. Several steps are done by touch and feel inside the blower box as opposed to being able to visually see a certain part to be removed or cut. The flexible attachment for the rotary tool is also absolutely necessary. I don't think I could have done it without that attachment due to the tight working space on the passenger side floorboard. The entire replacement kit is an excellent engineering concept.
  • A couple of weekends ago my husband and I replaced the blend door in our 2003 Ford Explorer. Now I have another problem my heater barely blows out luke warm air. With winter coming I am getting nerves that it will not heat up enough to even defrost my windshield. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Even if/when you turn the system up to MAXIMUM heating (temperature)..??
  • ronkeyronkey Posts: 11
    Check and make sure there is enough coolant in the radiator and that the
    air is bled out of the coolant system and a new thermostat ,(195
    degree),make sure the heater control valve is working also,the heater hoses
    should get really warm to touch ,or hot.
  • ronkeyronkey Posts: 11
    Check and make sure there is enough coolant in the radiator and that the
    air is bled out of the coolant system and a new thermostat ,(195
    degree),make sure the heater control valve is working also,the heater hoses
    should get really warm to touch ,or hot.
  • Possibly the blend door is not all the way open. Drop the glove box door and reach to the left and you should feel a metal dash brace. Just below the brace is a lever that must be all the way down to produce maximum heat. It is not easy to find the lever, but don't give up trying to find it. Good luck.
  • A mechanic told me it would be over $500 in labor for a $30 part to replace the "oscilator" in my heating / cooling system for which the motor was no longer working. Living in New England we had our first frost last night and I don't have any heat. We had my dash pulled apart last night and a repair manual in hand with no luck in finding the "oscilator" to manually change to heat from air. Any suggestions? Help???? Anything is REALLY appreciated!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you have the repair manual and you're still looking for an "oscilator" there's no one out here that can be of help.
  • Never heard of an "oscilator"--think he made that up!
    Did you change the heater door as in "heater-treater"--I did --now have heat and cool. It was quite a job! Look for "heater-treater" on internet. When door breaks you will have all cool air or all hot air.
  • i have a 2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer AWD 4dr SUV (4.6L 8cyl . , and my my ac only blows cold air on the passenger side, and warm air on driver side . can anybody help. im trying to find out if its the blend door or motor.
  • Hello,

    I have a huge problem with the heater in my 2002 explorer. I have replaced the theromostat, heater control valve and the blend door in my dual control system with the heater treater door. The door works fine opens and closes as should. The problem is I get very hot heat out of the low vent on the floor, ice cold air out of the vent near knees and luke warm air out of the vent on the dashboard. The car seems to not want to make heat at all when the AC compressor is on such as when defrosting. Temperature of coolant through heater core is 154. The car engine warms up to normal temperature. The heat is there but can't get it to come into the cabin of the vehicle. I have looked under the dash at all of the vacuum controled doors and all seem to be working as to where the air comes out. Just can't figure out why it is not hot. Any ideas? I'm open to all.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Welcome to the modern day world of horribly FLAWED automatic climate control systems complements of NipponDenso, Denso US.

    What you describe is SOP for one of their designs.

    Google for:

    wwest denso "two-layer" -dfg
  • gunner0331gunner0331 Posts: 2
    edited November 2010
    I have a 2005 Explorer and my heat will not work. When it first started it would only blow out on defrost no matter what setting it was on. I didn't have the funds to fix it and now its escalated where the heat wont turn on at all. It makes a repetitive clicking noise when turned on and will blow nothing but cold air out. I was hoping someone could tell me what I could do to fix it. Heating/AC isn't my thing. It's almost winter and I'm stressing since I have a 7 month old that will have to drive 12 hours back to Ohio with me when I get out of the Marine Corps in December. The guy at the shop said it would be at least $700 to fix and I definately don't have that. Especially after putting $700 into the transmission. I will never buy Ford again. Any help would be appreciated
  • Hi Gunner,

    I had the same exact problem and I have the same exact care as you! Someone on this forum actually told me exactly what to do and it works. It may take you a short while to find it, but once you do it will be very easy! You need to open your glove compartment and squeeze the two sides so that it will drop down and give you access to inside the dashboard. Place your hand inside and to the left side and a little bit down until you feel a lever. You will need to push that lever down (towards you). The heat dial needs to be turned almost all the way to the hot side in order for the lever to stay down. If it doesn't stay down, shimmy that dial just a little either way until it does. You may need to do this each time you restart your car. Sometimes it stays, other times it pops out each time you turn off the car. Below I am pasting the exact wording that the guy that helped me posted, because I think it was a very good description. I know how terrible it was having this problem last year. I'm sure your heat will work like this as well. Here was the guy's wordage:

    "Just found the lever an hour ago.......I have a 2003 explorer. you have to release the glove box ( not all the way out) and put your right hand inside toward the a/c heat controls right inside and toward the bottom of the left side of the glove can feel a small lever vibrating slightly.......its about 4 inches down....i pushed the lever down and my heat started working..........(had the car running and the heater turned on)...............hope this helps. Have to figure out some way of tying a string on it though as the lever wants to move back to the shut position. "
  • hash_pennihash_penni IndianaPosts: 13
    ok i figured out what the prob was in my 2002 ford explorer. we thought that our blend door was the problem, but turns out it wasnt. the knocking noise you are all hearing, or at least what i was hearing, was the gears in the blend door actuator, which is connected to the heater controls, which makes the blend door move. we took out the box, which in my truck, was located on the drivers side


    It is really kinda hard to get to, but if you can manage to get to all the screws loose great! we only had to take off the panel near the floor to get to it, but when you get the screws loose, and take out the box, you have to open it up and look at the teeth of the gears, if they are not broken off or chipped then thats not your prob. my gears were broken. you can do 1 of 2 things. if the gears are broken, you can go to an auto store and order a new actuator, which is around 40 some dollars, and then just put the new box in, replace the screws, and your i actually have a quick fix solution while your waiting on the part to come in. when you open up the box, there is a piece that sticks out of the box, that fits into a slot in the dash that connects to the blend door. if you take that piece out of the actuator, just that one piece....and stick it back in the hole in the dash, you can manually turn the heat on by flipping the piece either forward or backward, but the blower will have to be turned on for it to stay on. but this is a quick fix and it will give you heat, until you get that box replaced. if you have any questions, or this doesn't make sense let me know...

    I posted this last year sometime and I hope this will help you, this problem has not come back for now...they have the part I am talking about above at any auto parts store for 40 or 50 bucks, which def beats the $700 your talking about...I also put in there a quick fix to help you until your part comes in, or if you just don't have the cash. Please email if you have any questions :)

    Thank You,
  • hash, elv thanks a lot! I'll give it a try as soon as I get a chance and let you know the outcome. This is a huge help. Any questions i'll shoot you a message. have a good one fellas
  • Hi Gunner, Elvoolz is exactly right, in fact I probably told the person what to do when his was out. Be sure to have your Ford running, parking brake on,and the temp control all the way to hot so it will continue clicking or thumping. The clicking helps you locate the lever, as it's a bit hard to find. Don't give up. Another tip is the lever is very close to the verticle dash brace that you will feel under there.Let us know how you make out. Clusterbuster.
  • Wow! I've got a 2006 EB that is doing exactly what you are all talking about. Haven't seen anything that addresses the problem until I stumbled on this forum tonight. Mine is doing just about everything that everyone has talked about here. I've located the general area of the problem and the method to choose either hot or cold... but not a happy medium. I can get hot or cold when I manually switch... but no in between. Lots of clicking and thumping.

    So... there's this "blend box" were the amount of cold air and hot at is controlled with a motor and some kind of interior door.? I have located the blend door actuator on the drivers side and decided not to tackle that monster until I have more information. Very difficult to remove. I've also located a lever directly across from the motor on the other side of the blend box on the passenger side. It is accessible a lot lower than behind the glove box. Mine is a little higher than just behind the middle console cover that is removed next to the passenger floorboard. Its hard to find. It basically sticks Up when the temp control knob is in the cold position and can be moved, towards you and down, when the engine is running, in park and the as other have described for heat. This will control the hot and cold so at least I can get it to work.

    I've known that this problem is going to cost me a fortune since it happened. and I'm pretty good Mr. fix-it. I think I'll look at the blend door fix from and also talk to the part dept about the blend door actuator replacement and see if the problems I am having are symptomatic of what they might see regularly. I'm also going to see if I have simply missed a lever or vacuum hose that is broken. It sounds to me that Ford has multiple problems here and I want to make sure I get the right one. I'll keep you posted as I find out more.
  • mike504mike504 Posts: 1
    edited November 2010
    Hi Jim,
    I have a 2003 Explorer XLT and currently having the exact same problems. I started with the blend door fix from Heater Treater, last March. I recently started snooping around for the reason that the heat doesn't make it to the dash. Here's what I found.
    If you pull the instrument cluster,(speedo and and fuel guage and things) out of the way. To the far right there will be a little hole. Shine a flashlight in the hole and move the selector for the hvac controls to defrost clicking one at a time work your way to off. There is a vaccuum actuator there that connects to a door,(similar to the blend door), mine is broken off. If you see a lot of movement in and out as it moves front to back, I bet you have the same problem.
    I am working right now to see how involved this will be to change. It looks like you have to remove the whole dash. I will let you know what I find.
  • I too have a 2006 EB, but my heater does not work at all. My air conditioning works awesome and gets real cold. However, when i change the temperature off cold (anywhere off the blue), the console sounds like it's knocking or clicking. i tried running the heat with the knocks to see if it works, and it doesn't. i called my warranty people, and this part isn't covered (shocker...). I'm sure it'd be at least $1,000 to replace a $40 part, and i'd rather be bold and do this myself. Does anyone have a step-by-step instruction on how to change this thing out? I have the Hayes book, and it will only get me as far as taking off the console. Is this the blend door or do I try that thing i found on youtube?
  • I also have an 03 explorer, performed the Heater Treater fix last winter and have had piss poor heat ever since. Have torn it down 3 times now. I get good heat on the floor, cold out the upper vents. Barely good till -10c then unbearable past that. I tried your fix and i cant determine what part you are talking about.

    With the glove box open and looking in to the left there is a steel bar hooked up to a vacuum actuator that points forward towards the rear of the car. This actuator is triggered by the movement to defrost and appears to be working a-ok. Also in that extremely sharp and hard to see space is the exposed hinge of the blend door that has the lever on it that triggers the heater core when in full cooling mode.

    What am i missing? Could someone take a picture - i desperatly want my heat back as its getting cold up north!
  • I would HIGHLY suggest against the HeaterTreater fix if you are only getting the clicking problem. Just look on the Explorer Forums for posts about replacing the actuator, its a pain, but only 1/4 the hassle of replacing the blend door. The blend door ultimatly causes the actuator motor to bust, however for the 100$ for the actuator. I'd replace 4 before having the pain of the blend door i've endured. (Others have as well) The problem is that after replacing the door, something happens and nobody seems to know what, but the heat out of the upper vents stops working and if you are in a cold climate this is unacceptable. I had to destroy the old door to get the new heatertreater one in so there's no going back now :(.
  • I too have a 2002 Exploder, and I'm unable to locate this blend door actuator. I can hear it behind the Center Bezel. Where exactly is it and do I have to remove the Center Bezel and/or Knee Bolster.
  • hash_pennihash_penni IndianaPosts: 13
    When I replaced the actuator, we had to take off the panel underneath the steering column, as well as the paneling along the console in order to reach the actuator. I have to be is a really tight fit and really hard to see, but being that I am a woman it was a lot easier for me to squeeze in there haha. You will have to lay on your back on the floor board on the driver side and use a flashlight to look up into the dash, almost next to the radio, and it is a white box, i will put some pictures here to help.




    I really hope this helps you :)
    If not, please feel free to get ahold of me!

  • my explorer has freon ,, compressor runs,, everything turned off but hot air is coming out ,, no a/c at all any ideas ??
  • I have a 2000 ford explorer and for the past two years or so, the heater has refused to blow heat. Apparently it had the same problem before it was given to me, but they took it into the dealership while it was still under warranty and when they got it back it worked again. I had it for about a month, and then all of a sudden it would no longer blow heat. It blows just great and the AC works awesome, and even when the temperature gauge reads that the engine is warm it still refuses to give me some warmth. Any suggestions?
  • Thanks guys!!!! It worked just as you stated:) I came to visit my sister who is having the same problem. Pulled the glove box out, stuck my hand in and and pushed down-heat came out the dash. It took about 5 minutes. Just stick your hand where it can fit towards the dash. Thanks again!
  • umd357umd357 Posts: 1
    edited November 2010
    I have a 1997 ford explorer during the summer a/c works only on max high and when set on low a/c it blows hot air.Now I have no heat .A friend of mine said I have no vacumum pressure.What can I do to fix
  • pbr13pbr13 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 Ford Explorer (EB) with a heater that will not blow out warm air. The feed and return water hoses are warm to the touch, the vacume lines appear to function correctly, and the damper opens and closes. please help...
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