2nd Nov 2002, 10:17

Bought a 1997 Explorer (All Wheel Drive) in April of 2002. The SUV had everything my wife wanted, but a sunroof. Completely loaded with a V8 and only 42,000 miles. When summer finally arrived we found that the air did not work. Took the SUV to the dealer for repairs and was told that the door that opens to release cool air was broken. The compressor was also not working. Was told that the models around that year are notorious for that particular problem. The dealer replaced the whole air assembly under the dash as well as the compressor. We didn't make through this summer without the same problem evolving once again. What can you do? You can't continue replacing the air release door every time it sticks or breaks. When will Ford realize that there are issues like these that may affect future sales if nothing is done?

15th Jan 2003, 07:45

I have a 1996 explorer with an a/c and heat problems. I have replaced the control unit, actuator motor and the temperature sensor. Now I have found out the real problem. The blend door is broken inside the plenum. I will try to fix this myself, but wish I would have had more information two months ago before I spent several hours and dollars on this nightmare!

25th Mar 2003, 14:28

Same issue with a 1997...no control over tempature. Using ALLDATA troubleshooting (well worth the $$ for a year's subscription), I traced it to the blend door. I'm looking for a way to change the door without taking out the dash. The dealer wants $578 for labor and $120 for parts..geesh!

21st Jul 2003, 19:27

Yep, even I had the same painful experience with the blend door in my Explorer. Mine was stuck occasionally, until I brought the car for regular service to a Ford dealer. After the service, the blend door was permanently stuck in maximum heat position. To make matters worse, it happened to be middle of summer in Southern California!

Be careful when trying to fix it. Removing the entire dashboard to get to the heater plenum is a painful, 4 hour job. However, the nightmare does not end there! In order to remove the plenum, you also have to discharge the A/C, remove the evaporator, dryer and the blower motor (all located in the engine compartment), just to be able to access the screws that hold the plenum housing. That's right!

Finally, once you have been able to remove the plenum, you will discover that Ford won't sell you you just the blend door. They only sell the complete plenum unit, which costs around $140. What a rip-off.

My advice: If you do not absolutely have to fix it, don't do it. Else, good luck!

12th Aug 2006, 18:22

I own a 1997 Ford Explorer, Eddie Bauer, V8 AWD. I also had the problem of a sticking plenum door. I am sure it was a glitch that Ford should have checked out. It was expensive to fix. Around $300. It broke in 2005. However other than that the SUV has been great except for gas mileage. It has all the extra goodies. I love the sunroof and the information on milegage etc. I really love my Explorer, but need to find a vehicle with better gas mileage.

15th Sep 2007, 00:31

97 Explorer 5.0 AWD, 130K.

I had the same problem with the A/C in my Explorer this summer, only hot air would come out. I brought it to my mechanic. The blender door was broken. Told me it would be like $300 to fix, but there is a cheap way.

He removed the cover and used silicone to glue it into the position that the A/C worked (MAX A/C setting), and the heat still works too (use VENT setting). Defroster works hot or cold. Technically it didn't 'fix' the problem, but all I know is I have heat and A/C, and he charged me only for his time, $40. It works like it always did, and I have forgotten there ever was a problem.

Hopes this helps.

18th Nov 2010, 17:45

The failure of the blend door and the blend door actuator is very common in many Ford automobiles, namely Explorers, Rangers, Windstars, F150's, and E series vans.

I have had 2 blend door failures on my Explorer in the last 5 years, and after paying $800 to get it fixed the first time, I decided to fix it myself the second. I tried out a heatertreater, and installed it by removing the glovebox and making an incision in the plenum box. I would highly recommend this methodology over going to the dealer or disassembling the dash yourself (unless you like doing that sort of thing in your spare time, and then putting it back together and winding up with 10 leftover screws).

3rd Sep 2012, 14:41

My wife and I just bought a 97 Ford Explorer AWD 5.0L V8. We are very happy with our buy, other than gas mileage.

An hour after buying, I had to replace the fuel pump.

Our heat and A/C works great, and overall we are very happy.