I had to replace the plenum box on my '96 XLT a few weekends ago. The dash (and console) does have to come out to remove the box. It is a fairly time consuming repair, but I was able to do it myself with some assistance from a Haynes Manual.
The manual does not cover replacing the plenum box specifically (mainly just assists in dash removal). So be prepared to wing it on some issues that arise. BTW the box at my local dealer was around $110. A lot of headache for a simple piece of plastic (the blend door shaft had broken where the actuator fits into it).
I seriously doubt if you could fix the problem with epoxy. The part of the blend door that had broken off ended up in the bottom of the box, so I don't think you would ever be able to retrieve it without removal of the box.
I did email Ford to see if any financial assistance was offered on what seems to be a known issue... no such luck!
I also had the same problem. It put me $700 in the hole to get it fixed. The dealer kept my explorer 2 days to replace the heater box and a blender door motor. The shop manager acknowleged the comonality of this repair. I'm really surprised that a savey lawyer has not picked up on this for a class action.
I had the very same problem 1 month ago. I took my 1997 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer to the dealer for a diagnosis ($60.00). They told me that the Bend Door actuator was stuck in the close position which would not allow heat to escape. They wanted $1010.00 to fix. I said
"no thanks".I then took it to a recomended mechanic who replaced the entire heat box unit. He told me that it would be cheaper to replace the entire unit rather than just the bend door itself. He charged $720.00. It works good but I still don't get the right tempurature all the time. If I have it set to 82 degrees, it will heat the truck up for a little while then the air turns cold. I then have to turn the temp. to 90 degrees to get heat out. I wish I had the same heat as my Ranger, that works awsome.
A freind of mine has a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the electronic heating system and it works great, easy to use and never once had a problem with it.
Ford should suck it up and call Jeep for suggestions.
hank_48 - You seem to have forgotten to include the link to the site you mentioned above. Can you post that? I'm currently in the midst of a fight with Ford over the defective blend door in my 96 Explorer.
I have the Eddie Bauer edition, with the electronic thermostat control, and the problem I'm experiencing is that if I set the thermostat to a specific temp. (let's say 68), then the a/c will blow cold until the temp. gets down to that desired temp.; but once it hits it, it then blows flat-out hot. So it sways back and forth from hot to cold with nothing in between.
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 16-May-02 AT 01:52 PM (EST)]This is actually a post on the current link. Its back a page or 2 and dated Apr 24, 02 by author "fyrtrks". It doesn't look like it updates the date whenever someone responds to the poll.
Good luck on your fight with Ford.
I just found an excellent article about the blend door issue: http://www.mightyap.com/Data/otl1200.pdf
At the end of it, there is information on how to report this as a SAFETY ISSUE to the NHTSA. You'll need the VIN, then go to www.nhtsa.dot.gov/hotline or call 1-888-327-4236.
Okay, now everyone who has this problem - get online or call. Let's get Ford to do the right thing!
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 01-Jul-02 AT 04:01 PM (EST)]Yet another Ford owner with the same problem. The blend door on my '97 Explorer Sport with only 57,000 miles broke this past March. I've been quoted $500 for the repair, which I refused to pay for a defective part.
Three phone calls to their customer service line, two trips to the local Ford dealer, and an appeal to their dispute resolution board have yet to solve the problem...my latest try has involved letters enclosed with an inch of supporting documents to Ford World Headquarters, Ford Executive Offices and the CEO and Office Operations Manager of their Minn. customer service division.
It's ridiculous that Ford won't take responsibility for what is obviously a very prevalent problem that stems from their manufacturing plants. So, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not beneath involving a lawyer if my letters don't result in a satisfactory outcome.
I'll be sure to fill you all in when my problem is solved so you know the shorter route to take to resolution.
PS. Thanks for the info, fyrtrks, I too filled out at complaint form at <!-- bigclassaction.com. --> Guideline violation removed.
>I've got the Alldata on this.. if anyone wants it, email me.
>anyhow, here's the useful test I'll do later on:
>Drive actuator in both directions while visually checking
>actuator for movement.
>1. If there is movement, remove actuator and visually che6k
>blend door where the actuator rod inserts for cracks. The
>instrument panel does not have to be removed for this
>operation. If the door is cracked, order a service plenum.
>Refer to the Service Plenum Tips in this article.
>2. If there is no movement, diagnose system according to
>pinpoint tests in the appropriate Explorer/Mountaineer