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  #1  
Old 02-19-2005, 07:37 AM
sfc2001 sfc2001 is offline
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99 Expedition Blend Door and Actuator Replacement

99 Expedition w/110k miles, electronic air (EATC)... Recently, my hot/cold mix capability failed -- I'd be driving and suddenly the airflow would go 'full hot'. After leaving the car sit for a bit, the hot/cold settings would work for a short while, but then go 'full hot' again, and would stay that way most of the time.

Either one of two things: Blend Door, or Blend Door Actuator. Since there was an excellent thread from lvmilkman available on Blend Door Actuator replacement for the 99 Expy, I tried that first, since it's clearly the cheaper of the two ($57 for the new part, and only about 30 mins effort)... Here is the link to that thread... It also contains detailed instructions on console removal, which is necessary for either repair:

http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/sh...oor+expedition

Unfortunately for me, once I got down there and got the actuator out, I could feel that the plastic input shaft of the blend door was shattered into several pieces (where the actuator shaft fits into the blend door). Crap!! While the blend door itself is only $28, this was a very expensive repair since getting to the plenum chamber where the blend door is located requires complete dashboard removal (dealer quote -- over $1000). In fact, dealer instructed that the plenum chamber needed to come out of the vehicle in order to open it -- requiring removal of the heater core and A/C evaporator (yikes!!! However -- I found that this was NOT necessary). I just couldn't bring myself to pay $1000 for replacement of a $28 part. So, me being an 'average' mechanical skill, I decided to give it a shot myself.

I renewed my subscription to ALLDATADIY, which I've found very useful for service-manual-type details of repairs (that $24 has paid for itself many times over). There was no way I'd attempt the dash removal without a step-by-step guide, with diagrams... After performing lvmilkman's steps above to remove console and replace actuator, I proceeded with the dashboard removal following the excellent and detailed step-by-step instructions I got from ALLDATA.

I was able to replace the blend door in about 11 hours of work on a weekend. It was a straightforward, albeit tedious, job. Below are some points/observations about this job:
  • The ALLDATA documentation, while superb and 99.9% dead-on accurate, had a couple of minor inaccuracies that you will figure out when you get there. A couple of screws/etc not necessarily precisely where the instructions suggest.
  • The passenger AirBag removal is simple, just a few screws and an electrical plug, and you don't need to remove the front trim cover (the piece you see on the dash).. In fact it's not supposed to come off -- I found out the hard way by prying away, since the ALLDATA docs make it look like it comes off. The whole unit just slides out like a drawer.
  • The headlight switch assembly on the left side of the dash has a special trick to remove it that isn't included in the dash removal instructions... It's amazingly simple, requiring no tools! Essentially involves removing the **** and reinstalling it 180 degrees, then turning it backwards... It releases a lock that lets it slide right out! You must use this trick to get it out, any other way will break it. That's what I did, trying to 'pry' the cover off (The details/diagrams are shown on ALLDATADIY, you can look up this specific repair).
  • Instructions on removing a few of the dash trim panels that aren't technically part of the main dash are not in the removal instructions. These would be the dash trim around the radio/EATC, the panel that wraps around the inst. cluster and reaches down toward the headlamp switch, and the panel that also surrounds the radio/EATC and forms the top of the drivers side dash. While you can find these individual removal instructions also on ALLDATADIY, I was able to figure these out for the most part myself, since they are all attached with pretty visible screws that aren't really rocket science.
  • When you finally get to the point of pulling off the dash to access the plenum, you will need 2 people since it is flimsy and can crack if you stress it the wrong way. I found that I did not need to remove it completely from the car -- just pull it back and set it down, tipping it towards the front seats... This will give you enough room to access the plenum in front of the passenger seat area.
  • Once you have the dash off, it will only take about 20 minutes to replace the blend door... The top cover of the plenum comes off easily with about 13 (?) screws... A couple of these appear very hard to get to in the back, deeply recessed, but they are actually not too bad, you can get your fingers in there. There are a couple of vacuum lines and attachments that I didn't remove, that you could if you want, that permit you to completely remove the cover -- I just left those attached, and had my friend 'pry' the cover up for a few minutes while I yanked out the old door and frame, and inserted the new one. Contrary to my dealers comments, the plenum does NOT need to come out of the car.
  • Be sure to feel around inside the plenum for any debris that might be in there remaining -- this is your only shot to have access to this tough-to-get-to area. The new door and frame just snap into place.
  • For reassembly, you'll need to get yourself a 20Nm-150Nm torque wrench or torque screwdriver set... All of the dash screws and fasteners come with torque ratings that you should follow to eliminate squeaks/rattles... I found one at Sears for about $60.
  • During reassembly, when you're reattaching the radio/EATC harness, there will be a stray-looking harness that might appear out of place... If your car is like mine, there are a couple of legitimate 'stray' harnesses back there for features/options that you might not have. Be sure you don't leave this one unplugged though -- it goes to the cabin air temp sensor, located on the bottom of the dash just above the console. I just left the harness alone thinking it was a stray/unused, only to have to break things down again to get it attached -- the EATC will not function right without it attached.
  • The innocent-looking glove box is actually kind of a pain. Following the directions tell you to remove it, though I'm not sure you have to having done it now. The spring-loaded clip that holds it on w/three screws is VERY strong, and removal/reattachment is actually a bit dangerous since the spring is under some serious pressure (Ford docs call for a special tool to get it off and reinstall it). I'd hold off removing it if you don't have to -- I think you can get away without it.
  • All in all, about 11-12 hours of work... Not complicated or difficult, just a lot of steps. Label your parts in bags with numbers as you work your way through the many steps.

I did take some pictures during this process, of the dashboard in it's nearly full disassembed state, as well as a few photos of the plenum that can be seen with the dash pulled back for access. Also, some photos of the broken blend door input shaft that appears to have just kind of 'shattered'. Drop me a note if you want to see these pix.

While it looks pretty scary with everything all taken apart -- the wife came out and nearly pooped a brick when she saw it all disassembled -- if you document your parts and follow the step-by-steps, you shouldn't have any problems. Also -- service manual or ALLDATADIY subscription is absolute must. Only special tools I had to buy beyond normal sockets/wrenches/etc was a complete Torx set, and the torque wrench I mentioned above.

Good luck -- I encourage you to do this yourself if you're moderately comfortable with mechanical things and have a weekend to spare. Was worth $1000 to me!
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2005, 11:17 AM
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SFC,

Thanks for the encouraging post. It's good to hear stories like this. Always helpful to have folks out there that have done a job like this so others may learn and possibly fall back to them for answers.

If you have any pictures of the proceedure as well as in progress, you may want to add them to a gallery so others may see them.

Thanks again,

Tim
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  #3  
Old 02-21-2005, 01:56 PM
mapman mapman is offline
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I have a 98 expy, had mine replaced in Dec. I could not find a door only from any of my local dealers. I had to order the whole heater box to get the door but the mechanic just pulled the door out of the new heater box and saved me the labor of replacing everything. It still cost me $680.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:48 PM
aerocolorado aerocolorado is offline
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(Sigh.....) I almost hate coming to the Expedition forum, its always bad news. I just finished repairing the blend door on our Ranger and then the Expy starts acting up. I was hoping the repair would be similarly, a quick, fairly straightforward procedure. After reading your excellent post, I gather this will be quite a bit more complicated. Thanks for taking the time to inform the rest of us unfortunate souls - it was much appreciated.
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Old 02-22-2005, 07:24 AM
mapman mapman is offline
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The blend door seems to be problem on a lot of ford products. I had a 90 towncar that also had the blend door fail. Seems like 15 years later they are still making the same faulty parts. You would think they could learn, there again this cheap part makes for a very expensive labor repair, more money for ford.
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Old 02-23-2005, 08:42 PM
sfc2001 sfc2001 is offline
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Pix on blend door replacement

Follow up folks...

I've been hit w/several requests for the pictures I mentioned above showing the dash removal and blend door replacement. I went ahead and just created a gallery here at FTE, seven of the key pictures with some comments on each shot highlighting noteworthy points...

Hopefully this helps... Here's the link to the gallery:

http://www.ford-trucks.com/user_gall...&albumid=15041

NOTE: The size and resolution on these is not near what I transmitted, I think FTE converts the photos down to size... If you really want the detail, you'll still need to drop me a note, these were large, clear shots... Hopefully these gallery photos will do for you though

Regards, and good luck
sfc

Last edited by sfc2001; 02-23-2005 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 02-23-2005, 09:15 PM
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SFC,

Thanks for the great pictures! I may be e-mailing you for the high-res versions just so I can add them to my little bag of tricks.

Thanks again for the info,

Tim
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Old 03-22-2005, 11:26 PM
searsk searsk is offline
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Hey thanks for the info, I recently found I need to do this. Could you send the pictures it would make life alot easier. Was it easy to find a new door?
Kevin
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Old 04-27-2005, 02:20 PM
ralphpolanco ralphpolanco is offline
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Ok, guys, thanks so much, you all put me in the right direction. I did have a shop look and they did tell me that it was an "air distribution module". $2000 later, and I will have cold air again. I'm a tightwod, soooo? Here I am.
I like your terms better. Plus, I like that you all said that it could be the motor or the door itself.
Thanks for the help and look for me in the upcoming days.
I'm diving, I need help. If you can send me pictures and info to:
ralphpolanco(AT)hotmail.com

I would really appreciate it.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-09-2005, 05:01 PM
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Blend Door Pictures

Thanks for the great info on the Blend Door replacement. I know it has been several months but I was wondering if you still had the pictures, I would like to see them. My husband and I are going to attempt this on our 1998 Expedition and I would like to have any information I can find.
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Old 05-09-2005, 05:50 PM
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:03 PM
sfc2001 sfc2001 is offline
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Hi --

The pictures are still available in the gallery found on this site, check out the message a few below the original post... There is a link to the photos.

If you need the larger, hi-res images, drop me a note and I'll send them over.

Regards
Scott
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Old 05-10-2005, 05:21 PM
aerocolorado aerocolorado is offline
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I have yet to affect these repairs but thought I would post something I found in the meantime. During a recent trip I discovered that if I just slowly and repeatedly "nudge" the temp control **** I can get the blend door to move from cold to hot and vice versa. I can "feel" a resistance through the **** and as long as I did not move the **** past the resistance point, the blend door would move. It takes maybe 2-3 minutes of repetitive nudging to go from one extreme to the other but when I think of how many hours it takes to change out that door, this seems a small price to pay.
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Old 05-10-2005, 09:49 PM
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Its funny that I my wife's Expy has 110k miles and the blend door goes bad on her truck. The sad part is that I just spent $600 in parts replacing the brakes (front/rear), shocks, trans flush, & oil change. The repair shop told me that it was going to run about $1k. I don't have a free weekend (National Guard) so I'm forced to shell out the bucks. Thanks for the info.....great post!
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:42 PM
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Talking

Blend door fix: Aeorcolorado posted about 2 posts before this. After reading all the GREAT info posted by all of you, I tried what aero said and it worked for me!!! COLD air coming out right now. Took less than five minutes. Thank you all for the info. Great site and lots of help.

Ron
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Old 06-07-2005, 08:42 PM
 
 
 
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