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2001 Windstar Blend Door Access

02-05-2008, 02:37 PM
Does anyone know how to access the blend door on the heater to verify that it is not broken? I am hoping there are some directions and/or pictures? I know the actuator is moving, but I still can't get heat in the front and I do have it in the back and my thermostat was just replaced which helps, but very little (if even noticable) heat at the front. I am suspicious if the door is broken off? I read in one thread that you could cut an access hole instead of removing the dash, but I am not sure where to cut.


02-09-2008, 08:54 PM
Andrew1941 -

Here's a copy/paste of a Word doc I made detailing what I followed to replace the blend door actuator, which I bought off eBay cheaply. Try searching title and description for part number XF2Z19E616FB. FYI I am not the author of this procedure; I found it somewhere on the web then I made the Word doc.

Dunno if there's a procedure to check if it's broken, but mine was definitely broken and needed replacing. I had the knocking noise coming from the firewall.

HVAC Blend Door Actuator replacement for a Windstar climate control

The whole thing took about two hours. It is a very easy repair and I definitely would do it myself if I were you. The part number is: XF2Z19E616FB

The first thing you need to do is remove the stereo. Now unplug the antenna and other cables and put the stereo somewhere.

Now you will need a socket set. I don't remember the size but it is pretty small, perhaps 8 mm or 5/16. There are two screws at the top of the HVAC control panel. You should be able to see them after you remove the stereo. There are two more screws at the bottom of the HVAC control panel. I think you have to slide out the cup holder to get to them.

Once all of the screws are out you should be able to slide the HVAC control panel out. There are a bunch of wires and vacuum lines so just be gentle. If the wires are long enough, they were in mine, you should be able to slide it out and just put the whole thing off to one side. I didn't have to disconnect anything. But you can if you want.

Now you should be able to see the black plastic ductwork. On that there will be a small off-white plastic module about the size of a pack of cigarettes. That is the actuator. You will need a socket again and there are three screws. Take out the screws and the module should slide out. There is a power connector to the module, make sure you unplug it.

If you want to make sure the module is the problem then you can leave it plugged in. Turn on the car and move the blend door lever. The one that goes from hot to cold. That should move the shaft coming out of the module. If it moves one way and doesn't stop it is broken. If it doesn't move it is broken.

I think if this is your problem then you should pry open the old module, pull out the shaft and slide it into the hole on the duct. Then move the shaft back and forth to make sure that the door is not jammed before you put the new actuator in. I did this cause I didn't want to put the new one in and have it jammed and burn out the new actuator.

Good luck to you and let us know how you made out!

02-09-2008, 09:15 PM
I just replaced the Blend Door Actuator on my 2000 Windstar (101K miles)today. When you remove the radio, it is best to purchase the DIN Radio Removal Tool. I bought mine at WalMart for $4.00. (found it in the car radio section). This tool consists of two "U"-shaped wires with notches on the ends to release the radio. Some posts on the internet say you can cut up an old coat hanger for this job and I wasted more than an hour (and some colorful language) trying that approach. This special tool, when you push outward, latches onto the radio so it slides right out. Best $4.00 I ever spent.

Once the radio is removed, everything else here is just as described. It was helpful to open the glove box, push in the catches, and let it completely drop open. It was easier to get to the right-side bolt from up through the glove box.

After you remove the actuator unit, you can open the plastic case to examine the gears inside. I found one tooth broken on one of the little gears. One broken tooth on a $0.50 gear forces you to buy a whole new actuator unit. I paid $60.00 plus tax at the local Ford dealership. I also found one on the internet at an O'Riellys for $31.00 but the store was 50 miles away, so I didn't want to waste two more hours driving back and forth.

This is actually the second time I have replaced this unit in my Windstar. The first unit was replaced at 42K miles. That time, I had the dealer do the job. It was $48.00 for the part and $181.00 for the labor. So the good news is that I saved $181.00 today. Good luck with your repair.

03-18-2008, 08:20 PM
I just did the repair tonight. It took me about 1.5 hrs. A couple of notes. The bolts that hold the heater controls is a 7mm while the bolts that hold the actuator is 8 mm. I did not find lowering the glove box to be helpful. I was able to reach all the bolts directly from the heater control opening.

I did open up my old actuator and indeed, everything is in great shape except for one little gear. Time to go look for a new gear so that when it breaks again, I don't have to buy a new actuator. Just put the "refurbished" old one back in there.

I hope this helps someone else who might have this problem.

03-18-2008, 08:49 PM
Sounds good mundy5! Feels great to have heat again, and save the parts and labor they charge at the "stealership"!

03-18-2008, 08:55 PM
agreed tbirddmnd. I can't believe they charge $181 for labor. That's just outrageous. Not to mention that I got the part from Ford for roughly $37 including shipping. I bought the brake pressure switch part also but it turned out that my 2003 already had the new design.

03-19-2008, 12:49 AM
Mundy5, where do you think you can get a replacement gear? I had to replace the blend door actuator motor assembly on my Taurus. Rebuilding my old one would be nice for next time?! And God forbid I have to do it on my Winy too!?!

03-19-2008, 09:44 AM

I can't say for sure where I will find the part. I am pretty sure I'll be able to find it at an hobby store. Those tiny gears are used in a lot of RC cars etc so an hobby store would be ideal. I'll get back to you guys about it. All I had was 1 broken tooth and it practically scuttled the whole actuator. Actually, it would turn from pretty warm to pretty cool but it wouldn't turn to either extreme in the heat setting.

03-19-2008, 03:08 PM
Sorry for the confusion guys, but I wanted help with getting at the door, not the acutator. I have no problems with the actuator. In fact I had mine out and the gears inside are fine. I did test the movement of the door without the actuator installed and I am fairly confident that there is nothing wrong with the door itself and that my problem is more likely that the heater core is plugged. I had the system flushed twice and there was a bit of improvement, but it just won't make hot air anymore. It gets warm when the outside temp is not too bad, but if it gets cold, then it can't keep up. Has anyone got instructions on how to change out a 2001 front heater core? Pictures are helpful for me too?

03-19-2008, 08:35 PM

I went to a hobby shop today and found some similar gears but the problem was that most of the gears has English units (i.e. inches) rather than mm or SI units. So I guess if I end up getting the parts from there, I will have to replace both gears, in order for them to work with each other. The 1/4 gear should be big enough and spaced apart enough to work with these other gears (I'm crossing my fingers). I did not buy them yet but will try it in the near future.

03-19-2008, 09:07 PM
The heater core is mounted horizotally under the ac/heat plenum ... kinda behind the radio. It is covered by a plastic cover (below) that must be removed simultaneously with the core. Not the easiest thing to get to ... lotsa trim stuff to be removed first. 7 screws hold the cover in place, I think.. I remember one against the firewall ... hard to find. Best to remove the windschield cowling to get to the heater hoses.

You might be able to flush it out without removing it ... dunno. Of course, if the air side is dirty, you need to remove it.

04-20-2008, 02:05 AM
I finally got around to pulling the Heater core out today. It wasn't all that bad of a job, but it did take a while. I took about 5.5 hours start to finish. It was relatively easy to get the heater core out, but I was surprised that the new heater core did not come with the foam gasket around it like the one that came out! I went to the a couple of local parts shops and called Ford, but couldn't get anything, but one mechanic told me to just carefully remove it from the original and wrap it around the new one, which I did. My old heater core was plugged up with crap. I ran some water though it and then did the same with the new one so I could see the difference and it was significant. I put everything back together. One thing that was difficult was reassembling the heater core plenum. It has clips near the firewall that you have to get behind the upper plenun. I tried to push it back behind the upper plenum, but gave up. I then went and got a 12" steel ruler and slid it in between the upper and lower plenun using it to push/bend the clip back into place and then the two halves went back together. Other than that it was relatively simple. It just sucked because it was windy and freezing cold out today! I never took any pictures, but if anyone wants help, just ask because it really is pretty easy, just lots of screws and bolts to remove to get at the heater core and then lots to put back when you are done.

By the way, now I have lots of heat...the old lady should be happy now!

04-03-2010, 02:02 AM
thanks guys, about a month ago i heard a funny noise from my dash then the next day or so i lost heat. i was thinking the heater core but then i tried my heat in the rear and still had it so i found your opinions. i did a dry run to see if it was as easy as said or if i was gonna order the part or pay the $180.

here's some extra tips for the next guy... Mundy5 was so right. 7 & 8mm. 4 screw retainers hold the bottom storage compartment and slide it back. to take the cupholder/ashtray out slide it open then slide a flathead screwdriver right in the middle, push down and release the tray.(you can skip that step) then 2 7mm hold the ashtray bracket in the front and 2 inside. remove the radio. then the 2 7mm behind the radio. pull the heater bezel straight out and lean it over on the seat. no need to disconnect the controls. 3 8mm hold the actuator in and it slides right out. with the last step a wife/girlfriend w/ small arms would be a plus. knowing what to do i had it done in less than an hour and paid myself $180!

bob duggett
11-16-2010, 11:37 PM
If you remove the glovebox and locate the plenum box, you can make an incision to reach the blend door. There are a number of online DIY kits that save over the dealership. I used a heatertreater and it has been working great for a year. They include instructions on locating the actuator motor and plenum box as well as guidelines for the incision. All in all it was pretty easy and saved me a bundle. If you just need an actuator motor replacement you can source one from a number of online vendors and replace it through the glovebox as well.

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