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Ford Explorer Air Conditioner and Heater Problems



  • 1998 ford explorer 5.0l. I cannot get any vacuum to the heater control valve so it opens or closes when the temperature is changed. As a result I have cold air only. If I push it closed I have heat, Unfortunately there is no vacuum to hold it closed. Does anyone have a clue where I can begin to look to find the solution.

  • I dont know how it is on a 98 (not sure if its any different thana 96) but there isnt a vacuum that holds the blend door shut. It is mechanically moved by a motor thats is placed on the top of the door.
  • I had a 96 and had to replace the entire heater box due to a broken blend door.
    The blend door is controled by a motor that sits on top of the heater box. The heater control valve is located against the fire wall on the passanger side. It is an inline diaphram devise that controls the flow of water into the heater via of a vacuum. My blend door is working fine, the issue I have is lack of vacuum to the valve. Thanks for your reply

  • Did you ever get this issue resolved. I am haviing the same problem with my 98 explorer,

  • This is BJohnson. Can you tell me exactly how your husband got the glove box out? After you open the glove box, what do you do to pop it out, and did you say that the lever you need to close will be to the left? I havent had any heat or defrost for 3 months and am almost desperate to get it fixed. Shops want like $900 to fix it! Thanks for any help you can give me.
  • this is bjohnson. I am trying to close the blend door as you spoke of. I got the glove box out and I can clearly hear the ticking, but I dont have a clue what I am looking for in order to push a tab forward to close the door. Can you please tell me anything to help me find it? Thank you for your time.
  • bb:
    I did the fix described at the web link on my followup message (#64). It's working so far. The only thing I did different was to get an aluminum bar about 1/8" x 1/2" and bend it in an L--shape, so that I could use it as a lever to move the door to one side before putting the motor back on. Once I figured out which way the V-notch was oriented (see the picture in the web link) I tried to drill the hole for the finishing nail to bridge across the top of the V. That way, when the white post rotates to move the mix door, it has something to push against in both directions.

    I hope this helps and makes sense. Good luck! -H
  • I just bought this truck. I have replaced the water pump and thermostat. Now the temp guage rises then lowers. its running hot then cold and the heater is blowing cold air.
  • Thanks for the info. Yes, I tried this it got it to work as you did but the fix only lasted a couple of days. I just purchased the heater box for a full replacement of the unit. I did a 1996 Explorer a few years ago, it was a pain, took the entire weekend. The dash has to come away enough to slide the unit out. In the engine area your work is also cut out for you just to get the nuts that are holding the heater box in place. I do understand why it cost so much to replace (labor) but with the number of issues with this part going bad, Ford should replace for free.
  • I have a 1997 Explorer XLT V6
    The heater is not working, The blower motor is running, both lines going to the heater core are hot. I noticed that the a/c compressor is cycling on and off,I pulled the a/c system fuse #18 and the compressor stopped cycling, but still no heat! The engine is getting warm and at idle the temp gauge is running in the middle of the h and the c? any thing else I can check?
  • i just had the very same problem i have discovered that the radiator and heater core were plugged up there isnt enough circulation of fluid,, is the temp guage going up then back down?
  • No my temp gauge stays in the middle, but both of ny hoses going to the heater core are hot, if the core was plugged wouldn't the hose coming out be cooler than the one going in?
  • Sorry it took so long to reply. I had to fix it myself the other day without my
    husband around. I took out the glove box. (of course the car was running
    with the heat on so I could hear the clicking.) Then, without any light to
    expose what I am working on or headroom to even look, I felt towards the center
    consol until something pushed and made the noise stop. It is done strickly
    by feel, not by sight. I don't think there is anything moving to catch your hand
    on or anythign that might shock you. Just be careful!!! Then you can feel something
    that can be pushed either in or forward. Hope that works.
    It has for us for the past 4 months.
  • Thanks for your help. I will try that and see if it works. Ive tried to feel around in there and my boyfriend has tried to find it with no success. Everyone is telling me we have to take the whole dash apart. But I will try again. My son said he found something like you described, so I will see where we get. Do you have and XLT model or is it something else? Once again thanks alot.
  • I HAVE HEAT!!!!!!! I tried what you said twice with no luck, my son tried with no luck yesterday and today I asked him to try again and I had him read your message and he went out and came back 5 minutes later and said he found it. I went outside to the truck and there was heat coming out of the vents. Hallelujah! Thank you sooooo much for helping me with this. I have 2 teenagers and a 6 year old who will be so happy to have a warm truck to ride in now. I cant thank you enough! God bless you. BJohnson
  • If you are having the problem with the ticking noise in the dash when you try to turn your heater on, go to message #84 in this forum. This lady knows what she is talking about. I havent had any heat in my truck for 4 months and me and my kids have had a miserable winter without it. I saw her first message explaining her problem and asked for more details, she responded with message #84 in detail and now my heat works. All Hail Harkess!!!
  • I had a broken blend door in my '99 Explorer and I fixed it with a heatertreater that I bought on ebay. Works great and was an easy and cheap fix. I found these guys becuase I also had broken blend doors on my '01 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I used one of their kits to fix that car too.
  • My explorer has no heat, Im in the military so not much cash, and I have a 3 yr old. I NEED HEAT. When the heater is turned on, the rear center counsole blower works but blows semi hot air, the front makes a knock sound once when turned on and then nothing. I took out the glove box and I can see the blower fan when I push up the flap, but its not running. What can I do?
  • Hi, I was wondering if you had any luck fixing your heat. I have a 95 Ford Explorer and my heat is gone. I've check the thermostate and all the lines and vents but everything's good, but still no heat. I was told I might need a Coolant by-pass kit, but the print out I received on the issue doesn't sound like my car. I have to noise coming from my system. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
  • bbelascobbelasco Posts: 12

    The blend door was broken, as a result you must change the entire heater box.
    I did it myself, but it is not a job to be taken lightly. This involves removal of the the dash as well as air conditioning items located in the engine compartment, passenger side on the fire wall.

    There are other "temporary" fixes. But if you plan to keep the vehicle its the only way to go.

    To see if it is a blend door issues, open up the gove box and lower it to expose the top of the heater box. You will see the motor that operates the blend door. Unplug and remove. Now take a mirror and look at the hole were the blend door motor goes into the box. It should look just like the part that fits down into it. If not, it has broken and entire box must be replaced.
  • Bought the car and loved it, drove for a few days with no problems except for the beer smell. One cold cold morning must have been 19 degrees out I noticed the ride to work was a little chilly..30 miles. I took it for not letting it warm up enough and went about my way..
    The next day it was 19 degrees out so I started it early so it was plenty warm. I went out at 7:30am and let it run with all the heaters on 10… full blast front and rear… it ran for 40 minutes!... still froze my [non-permissible content removed] off. I started getting a real bad pain in my right leg from the cold but it was like no cold air, it was radiating from the dash. I felt the dash around my legs and it was ice cold so was the steering column, back of the steering wheel, top of the dash and my feet were burning… Pass side was normal nice and toasty…

    Took it in and was giving the run around… nothing wrong HEAD MECHANIC could not verify the complaint… So out the door they pushed me. Never got a “lets keep it over night so we can road test it when it’s cold out” nope just “it’s the way ford designed it and we can’t fix the design”. I told the chump at the service department that I was an X ASE certified technician and me telling him what was wrong was all the verification he needed. Please fix my new car… Sorry have a nice day …..

    So now I have to verify the complaint myself so I am going to video tape the temp reading of the dash while driving in cold weather. I have one of those point and shot thermometers, it records the temperature of any surface you point it at. I already did the vents… with the heater on High and full hot I get 134 degrees at the foot vent and 72 out of the side window vents with it being 35 degrees out… I would think they would be the same or close to it…

    Anyways next time I go back to the dealer I will have done my homework…

    By the way for anyone reading this I bought my 2007 explorer at a little place in Concord NH right at the end of RT 89…
  • Just got back from the store... 35degrees out, after running it for a while I took my thermometer and checked the very top of the dash..On the pass side far right it was 90 degrees and just a few inches over the top of the glove box it was 60 degrees. My left leg was 90 and my right leg was 72 … pass side under the dash was 114 and on the drivers side it was 72…

    Plus you can feel a cold draft coming from the steering column where the release is for the tilt.

    That’s normal I guess….

    It really burns my [non-permissible content removed] is when they don’t take the time to diagnose the problem, that’s the one thing I was well-known for when I worked for Exxon as a tech… verify the complaint… people just don’t make this [non-permissible content removed] up… drive it …drive it everywhere you go until you can verify the complaint… I know when I worked at Subaru warranty would only pay ½ hour for diagnostic time and then what ever they paid for that particular part to be replaced… so I’m sure they drove it around the block and said “it’s fine nothing wrong with it”

    I asked the service writer if they pulled the dash apart to check the actuators or moving doors, he said they can’t verify the complaint so they can’t rip and tear… because someone has to do it for nothing… that’s the biggest problem, it might take 4 hour to find it but they only get .5 hour pay for it… so they take the .5 and tell you your basically crazy and there is nothing wrong…
  • My 1997 Explorer has developed a problem that you can’t blend the temperature. I live in Montana and for the past several months having the temperature cooler has not been an issue, and I didn’t notice that when I turned the dial it was not cooler. I have been advised that it could be heater plenum and that having it repaired by the dealer will be very costly. They also thought that it could be the blend door that is stuck. Is there anything that I can do to find out the problem myself? How much work is involved? Any suggestions would be great!
  • ExplorerX Enthusiast

    Group: Members
    Posts: 7
    Joined: 15-March 08
    Member No.: 2,997

    Ok here’s the whole story…….

    I bought the 07 knowing it needed a good cleaning, the sales manager that was driving it spilled a beer in it or it belonged to a drunk… who knows. Anyways I took it to the dealer for a recon and to check this cold dash problem I have. I told the service writer what was going on and that I was an X ASE tech and that I had an idea what was going on… I told him up straight “don’t call me and tell me there is nothing wrong with it” but he did anyways!!!

    Went to pick it up that night and went to the sales managers office told him we had a problem and I was not liking it at all! He tried to smooth it over by using the fresh air/recycle option but I quickly took over the conversation and straitened him out. It got to a point where he offered to let me fix it and he would pay me back lol Not….

    Anyways I got home with it and when I went to get my launch bucket out of the back…(oh ya when I got it back from the dealer both drivers’ side doors were open…and this is why)… and when I closed the rear door there it was staring me in the face. A nice little ding, looks like it was made with a spring loaded center punch right on top of the rear door…

    WTF… I could not believe it. I thought about it for a while and decided not to *censored* about it because I was already the big *censored* down there and I know accidents happen but they could have told me… I brought to the shop with me the next day to install some mud gauds and give it a bath. Got the guards on and had to call the sales man to see if I left something in the truck they let me use. I told him about the ding and that I was more upset about them not telling me about it than someone making a mistake. He got upset and said he was going to talk to them about it but I ensured him that **** happens and not to worry about it I wasn’t.

    I hung up with him and started washing it…
    Got all the way around it when I came to the pass side fender… there they were two more dings…WTF but these they tried to hide with some lighter color blue paint… I could not believe it…. I could go on forever, just use your imagination…
    So I load up the video camera and off I go to the dealer… I counted to 100 before I went in… I walked up to the nice little (not) receptionist and said to her… “Hello I have a major complaint who would I talk too” Hold on please… I excused myself and went to the bathroom so I could start the camera… no vid but I got the conversation…
    Got to the General Manager told him what was going on, who I was and what I wanted… Bla Bla Bla
    I got to talk with thier head technician, he seemed to be ok..... it was going to be 19 degrees the next day so I left it with them to have in the morning (something I mentioned to the service writer the first time)… I called today and they said they confirmed my complaint and had a regional technician on his way to look at it… Haven’t got to the dings just yet… he had the recon guy retouch it up thinking that was going to be good enough. He never let me finish my answer when he asked me if it would be ok to just tough up those spots with the right color. Not…. I’ll keep you all posted….


    Well.... They confirmed my complaint... but they said they drove another 07 and it too blew cold air on the driver’s legs... normal!! Sorry come get your truck... and all they did was touch up the paint, I told them that was unacceptable and they needed to fix the dents...

    ... So ford designed the 2007 explorer that way...I think not.

    Any ideas what I should do...??

    I'm at the point where I am going to let the finance company repo it... I don’t care anymore I’m getting tired of this, it has consumed my head to a point where I just don’t care… why should I be stuck with a truck that’s freezing cold in the winter and has three dents in it…

    Here’s the message that was on my phone when I got to work..

    YouTube - 2007 Explorer cold air on drivers legs
  • bbelascobbelasco Posts: 12

    The blend door is broken, lucky for you it stuck in the all heat position,but as you are finding out as it warms up you are screwed. You cannot just fix the blend door the entire heater box must be replaced. Depending on were you get the plenum, it will cost you around 160.00. If you are replacing this you might as well replace the heater core (aother 45 - 60 bucks.) The rest of the actuators that control various fuctions can be transferred from the old to the new plenum.

    I did it myself, but it is not a job to be taken lightly. This involves removal of the dash as well as air conditioning items located in the engine compartment, passenger side on the fire wall. A shop manual is very helpful if you have one. You don't have to remove the dash from the car, just far enough away from the fire wall to slide the box out from under the dash.

    There are other "temporary" fixes. But if you plan to keep the vehicle its the only way to go.

    To see if it is a blend door issue, open up the gove box and lower it to expose the top of the heater box. You will see the motor that operates the blend door. Unplug and remove. Now take a mirror and look at the hole were the blend door motor goes into the box. It should look just like the part that fits down into it. If not, it has broken and entire box must be replaced.

    If you want to do it yourself and need some extra info let me know...

  • wmullewmulle Posts: 1
    PLEASE HELP. I have a 2003 explorer with identical problem I looked and felt under dash for the suggestion in post 84 but no luck. The only thing I feel that moves is the opening to the adjuster to decide ac,defrost etc.. What am I missing?? Please email at
  • morinsfmorinsf Posts: 1
    Tried your fix and it does work. I do think that this is temporary as soon as I switch back to AC my problem re-appears. I do think this is a blend door issue. You can manualy fix this each time but this can be a pain in the neck, Thanks for the info.
  • I have a 2003 Ford Explorer and was told that the it could be the entire heat box or just a small little part . . . but the dash has to be torn out to fix it. Do you have any schematics on how to tear it apart and put it back together? If so, email them to me at Thanks!
  • I don't have the same problem but I can verify that the Ford mechanics at the dealer ship are stupid. I had a whistling sound in my 2003 Explorer in cold weather when I accelerated. It was under warranty so I took it in about five different times and they couldn't "duplicate" the sound. I told them it happened every morning when I pulled out of my driveway so come over to my house and then drive it. It was all set up (and I only live about 1/2 mile away) and then they called at the last minute to just have me bring it in. Of course, it made the noise on my way there but not when the guy got in and drove it 10 miles. I finally took it to another dealership and it took them a full week to even figure it out. It was the alternator so they replaced it and now it's doing it again and I don't have a warranty!
  • I have a 99 explorer that had the broken blend door problem. No help from Ford on the issue! I found a kit on ebay called Heatertreater. It was easy to install, and saved me a ton! This guy is a genius. :)
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