ANSWERS: 25
  • I have the same problem with my 03 Windstar. It requires an expensive repair. A complete replacement of the blend air unit. $600 to $800
  • Here's another choice, I found it on another website and I used it successfully: FordBoss88 AF Newbie Join Date: Oct 2006 Posts: 17 Re: 2002 Windstar Heater Problem Same Thing happened to me. This is a five minute repair (if it is the actautor). Remove the radio (using removal tool), disconnect antenna lead and power lattice. Remove the lower shroud below the ash tray. You do not need to remove it as in disconnecting the extra power supply plug, but rather remove the for plastic screws and friction holders. Pull the shroud forward and to the left. Using an 8MM 1/4 drive socket, remove the top left screw and right side screw from the radio access hole. Pull out the ash tray and you can easily remove the bottom screw. Once the three screws are out, pull the actuator forward, but keep it plugged in and set to the side. Start the vehicle and set the climate control to Vent. Attach a 1/4 2" extension to the 1/4 drive and place into the D shaped opening of the Blend Door. Roll the D-Shaped slot to the left for heat. If you are now blasted with heat, you have a faulty actuator. Once the climate control is set to "Off" the blend door will return to the cool position without the actuator. Now if you ar waiting for Pay Day (like Me), you can choose the position of the blend door while it is still plugged into its power source. If you want heat, roll over the the actuator arm to heat and then disconnect the power supply. The motor will stay locked in that position. Re-install (without power to the actuator), because you will need the actuator to hold the blend door open for heat. Replace the actuator on Pay Day. Very easy project!
  • hi i just had same problem,it was the small wheel inside unit made of plastic worth about 10 cents, the teeth wore off, so unit would not open and close vent ,now i am trying to learn how to reprogram all my remote does not respond now or radio go on ,i am sure i figure it out just need to seach tc hope this helped all ,unit is very cheaply made parts of plastic not steel sad to see my guess is everyone will have this headach tc !
  • its you actuator my guess, the sound you are hearing is teeth on the wheel inside unit are broken, i just had same problem,cost me total 98 dollars for part from ford dealer, easy to install 3 bolts undue glove box and you will see it on fire wall a white box ,listen to noise and follow !
  • i have an 05 ford windstar the front heat is bringing in only cold air. there are no sounds when trying to change the temp; the rear heat is bringing some warm air but not too much. my rear and front deforst are also not working. could this be a fuse problem or something much more expensive? can someone help please. thanks.
  • 2003 Ford Windstar Blow Only Cold Air on Heat Setting change Setting to Cool and get knocking sound. Hit bump in the road and now no heat. Need direct solution. Sounds like vent cannot close to allow heat vent into cab, slip gear sound.
  • In my 2002 Windstar I took off the storage bin cover below the ashtray and saw the control box there behind the radio making the thumping noise. I pulled the plug and it stopped. I plugged it in again and pushed the control knob all the way to cold (summer now in New Mexico) and with my fingers I helped the motor twist the white shaft going into the airbox. Once the shaft had gone as far as it wanted to go it stopped thumping. To keep it there I unplupped the wire and we have AC and no thumping. The noise could be controlled by sliding the temp controller to a point where it stopped but that was in the warm range so there was no effective AC. This is a Sunday afternoon fix and I will look for the parts later. This is as by bobl4u said above. I have a picture to attach.
  • I had same problem.. actuater was fine, but blend door was broke. i had to have door wired open in winter and closed in summer, till i could afford to get it fixed.
  • I just had the same thing happen with my 2003 windstar. Mine is also knocking it acts like it is stuck on a/c.
  • Someone is trying to get out.............or come it????
  • I have the same problem.I have a 2001 Ford windstar and I took it to a shop and they to me it was the climate control unit which will cost between 350.00 to 700.00 to get fixed.
  • I have a 2001 Ford Windstar with same problem. Heater won't work and knocks if you move the temperature control. Ford dealer also told us $500 to fix. So I drive in the cold Northeast. Also the ABS and brake lights go on randomly and driver window won't work. Last Ford I buy.
  • blend door actuator is bad-remove radio and you should see a small white box about the size of a cigarette pack mounted-a little tricy to get the bolts out-had the same problem with my windstar and replaced actuator-made with cheap plastic gears inside and the teeth break off-good luck
  • I have a 2002 Ford Windstar, am a 50 yr old woman who never tried anything like this before (well I have changed radiator hoses and wiper tubes but under the dashboard -never! Thanks to the detailed info from Bob4u and the picture from grdbrg and one other site's info I took a crack at it and it was exactly as stated. I was able to access the actuator by taking out the cd storage compartment rather than removing the radio - that would be too intimidating for me! Thanks for your help. My part cost $75 from Ford and the heat is working like a dream!
  • Answer 4 out of 14 by John1 on Nov 29, 2008 at 8:33 pm Permalink I have a 2001 Ford Windstar with same problem. Heater won't work and knocks if you move the temperature control. Ford dealer also told us $500 to fix. So I drive in the cold Northeast. Also the ABS and brake lights go on randomly and driver window won't work. Last Ford I buy. +1
  • The squirrels are trying to escape!
  • You've probably got something caught in the cage fan, or the cage fan is broken. I had an article on it a few weeks ago, and I can't find it again to post it for you. The fan is inside that round case on the passenger's side under the dash.
  • 1995-2003 Ford Windstar HeaterTreatertm This is a product developed by the HeaterTreater Engineers for the common blend door failure problem on the Ford Windstar. Please check our feedback to get an idea of the product line integrity and customer reaction to our products. We are committed to customer satisfaction and successful repairs of blend door problems. The HeaterTreater replaces the plastic blend door with steel. Replacing the existing door with another plastic door is at best a stop-gap solution. The failure is a result of excessive forces in the operation of the blend door. The HeaterTreater attacks the root cause of the failure by constructing hardware that is designed to meet the rigors of normal operation of the HVAC system, and last for the life of the automobile. The kit includes detailed instructions and all hardware required to complete the fix, including dremel bits and metal tape to seal the cut. This is a kit to do a complete repair on the blend door malfunction that is common to the Ford Windstar. Every Windstar in this range either has, or will have, this common failure. The pictures show the hardware provided for the fix. The repair is done through the center console opening and the glove box opening. The work to install the fix is relatively simple and can be accomplished by the average shade tree mechanic. The work could easily be done by any local independent garage. Product returns are accepted within three weeks for a full refund(minus shipping). The standard fix for the blend door failure is to remove the heater box and replace the plastic door. Removal of the box requires removing the dash panel, evacuating and disconnecting the AC compressor, draining and disconnecting the heater hoses. Fixing the door is relatively easy, but the labor(and cost) of getting to the door makes this a time consuming and expensive job. The HeaterTreater avoids the hard work by providing a kit that allows the repair to be done with superior components without having to disassemble the automobile. 1-2hrs work vs 8-14 hours of work, and no specialized mechanical skills or tools required. The Problem: - The Windstar is built with a Blend Door to control the heater and AC function. The blend door controls air flowing through AC evaporator and diverts it into the vent system or through the heater coil, or any combination in between. The doors are controlled by a DC motor. The issue with the design is that the system has to calibrate itself and find the end points of movement before the computer can understand the two closed positions and regulate the temperature. The motor is geared to move the doors slowly and with a good amount of force. The door has to withstand the force of stopping the motor, and like bending a coat hanger back and forth, will eventually break. Do you have the problem? The usual symptom is an inability to effectively control the temperature of the HVAC system. The door hangs on a horizontal axis and total breakage will allow the door to fall to the bottom of the box, blocking air from flowing through the heater core…no heat. Continual or intermittent failure to control heat or AC generally indicates a blend door problem. The Windstar has problems with blend door breakage and with the actuator motor. The automobile is also susceptible to problems with the re-circulation door. Here is a list of things to check in order to diagnose temperature control problems. The list is a little long, so feel free to pick and choose. <!--[if !supportLists]-->- <!--[endif]--> BLEND DOOR The most common symptom is no heat. The door breaks and falls to the bottom of the box, blocking any air from flowing through the heater core. It is not a perfect seal, so there will be a small amount of heat, and it will impact the AC efficiency since some small amount of air will leak into the heater core with AC on. Repairing the door will restore heat and improve AC efficiency. If you fully open the glove box, you can see the actuator motor to the left of the opening. It is white and held on with three 8mm screws. To get a full view of the plenum box and actuator motor, it is best to remove the center console control panel. The hard part is removing the radio. There are two holes on each side of the radio module. These holes accept a special tool from Ford that will disengage the clip mechanism and allow the radio to be removed. It’s not hard to do if you have the tool and have done it before, but otherwise is frustrating. The tool is just a “U” shaped wire that is inserted into the two holes and pushed together to disengage the clip. You need two U’s. The tool is available from any parts store, or make your own with a fairly heavy gauge wire(a coat hanger is too thin). A good car thief can strip a radio out in seconds, so it’s not difficult and with a little practice, you could also become proficient. You can always go down to any car radio installation place and they can pull it quickly and probably won’t charge anything if they think there is a chance of selling you something. With the radio out, there are two screws at the top of the center bezel and two at the bottom that have to be removed. On some models, the console between the seats may have to be unbolted and pulled back. The panel will pull out and can be completely removed by disconnecting the different wiring connectors to the HVAC control module and the different lights and functions. With the center console panel removed, you have fairly easy access to the actuator motor. Remove the screws holding the actuator motor module in place and pull the motor back to remove it. Watch for plastic bits that will indicate a broken axle. With the motor removed, you can use a large screw driver to turn the axle, checking for smooth movement and a hard stop with about 90 degrees of movement between the full open and full closed positions of the door. If there is a “spongy” feel at either extent of movement, this is a good indication that the door is in the process of breaking and needs to be replaced. One more unique thing to look for on the Windstar. Notice in the picture that there is a metal tube that connects to the AC evaporator core. If you look closely, you can see a scrape mark where the door hits this tube. This is a design flaw in the Windstar and the lines going to the evaporator core do not have enough clearance for the door to avoid scraping the line. When you are checking the door, you may feel the door scraping against this line. This is a confusion point for the computer system since it will detect an intermittent resistance in door movement and can incorrectly calibrate door movement. When this happens, the extents of movement are set incorrectly and the system will drive the motor past the normal stop point, creating excessive force on the door and causing breakage. Note that the HeaterTreater replacement door is notched to avoid this problem. MOTOR FAILURE You may also find that the motor is not working and appears to be dead. This is a common mistake and leads to a lot of motors being replaced when this is not the real problem. You can check operation of the motor independent of the computer control with a 9V snap connector battery. Check the tech info on our HeaterTreater.net web site for details. Another reported fail symptom is a “clicking” sound coming from behind the HVAC system. This occurs when the motor gears get out of alignment and are slipping against each other, making the noise. Sometimes you can make it stop by pushing down on the back of the motor and getting the gears to catch. The failure usually occurs with a broken blend door that allows the motor to get out of alignment and twist slightly, causing the gears to disengage. The HeaterTreater will put the system back in alignment and correct this problem. RE-CIRC DOOR The re-circ door has two positions, block external vent forcing air to be pulled from the internal port, or block internal port forcing air to be pulled from the external vent. When the door breaks, both the external vent and the internal port are open and air will flow into the external vent and out of the internal port…like having a window rolled down all the time. The internal port is visible under the passenger side dash in the far right side(see picture). On the bottom visible grate, you can see the door move back and forth if it is operating properly. Since the Windstar is a mini-van and you probably have access to kids, this is a good job for them. With the engine running, have the youngest put his little finger into the grate and turn re-circ on and off. If you hear a loud scream when it pinches his finger, the door is OK…….WAIT,WAIT, WAIT, sorry that was for my kids. For yours, squeezing under the dash and watching the door through the grate will also work. The door is vacuum controlled and you can also see the vacuum actuator move to control the door. When the door breaks, you can usually see the broken axle where the vacuum actuator connects to the re-circ door. If the observation is inconclusive, the final test is the “foot test”. Have your kid sit in the passenger seat(seatbelt on) and take off his right shoe and sock. Take the Windstar up to highway speeds and have the passenger feel for air coming into the passenger compartment through the grate to the far right under the dash. If he can feel air coming in, the re-circ door is leaking and this may be the cause of a cold passenger compartment on cold days. We are developing a fix for this door and if you need to replace yours, pestering us through email will speed things up. The HeaterTreaterTM Solution: This kit replaces the plastic doors and axle with steel components. All work is done under the dash and no removal of the dash or evacuation of the AC system is required. Tools required are a screw driver, socket set, and a Dremel tool(if you don't already have one, this is a good excuse and the tool has many uses. The area under the dash is confined and you will need either a stubby Dremel tool(~6” long), or a flexible extension for a larger industrial rotary tool. Target has a new rotary cutter product from Durabuilt for ~$30 that includes a flexible extension, variable speed motor, and every grinding bit known to modern Chinese technology(except the one you really need which is included in the HeaterTreater kit). The repair will take 1-2hrs, and once you have experience you can do another car in about 45min. No extensive mechanical skills are required. The picture shows the metal replacement kit. All functionality is duplicated in metal in the HeaterTreater kit and the system will maintain full functionality (only better with unbreakable components). The plastic door is accessed by using the Dremel tool and bit to cut into the plastic heater housing from the front through the glove box and center console control panel(after removing it). The picture shows the cut pattern. It's a very simple process. The broken plastic door is removed and replaced with the HeaterTreaterTM. The instructions are written with multiple pictures and dual level instructions. You can read the bold print only for experienced mechanics or read the bold and standard for full "instructions for Dummies". The instructions are almost insultingly simplistic for those who care to read the entire document without admitting that they did it. The fix is not difficult and MUCH preferable to disassembly of the entire dash and engine cooling systems. We have designed fixes for multiple automobiles and this one is medium difficulty to install. The hardest part is getting the radio out. Ford obviously did not anticipate blend door failures as a wear out mechanism and did not engineer easy access to the system for replacement. The factory fix requires complete disassembly of the dash and HVAC system, so this is a shortcut process that will save big bucks over taking the Windstar back to the dealer. We provide support via email or phone if required. Our goal is to make sure that every installation is successful. To date we have achieved that goal and have no intention of letting up. This will solve the problems with the blend door and is over-engineered to outlast the Windstar. All our products are designed by degreed professional engineers and manufactured to exacting specifications. This listing is fairly detailed and complex. If your eyes haven’t glazed over yet, there is more on our web site with additional pictures. We have successfully developed blend door fixes for multiple automobiles and if for any reason the hardware ever fails it will be replaced at no cost. Our solutions are tested for ease of installation and reliability and we WILL make sure that your repair is successful.
  • I managed to get the cd compartment off, as well as the ash tray so I could access the actuator. I finally got the actuator screws off and when I tried to turn the little "D" shaped knob, the black plastic piece fell into the casing. There was nothing that was keeping it from falling back into there. I barely touched the thing. I thought I was gonna have this problem fixed, now I may need to take it in to the mechanic to get it fixed. Any suggestions before I do this? PLEASE HELP!!!
  • I have a 2000 Ford Windstar with the same problem also. My neighbor is a mechanic and said is most likely the actuator since the heat in the rear works. Well at least my kids are warm when I am driving with icicle's hanging off of my nose. (live in Wisconsin). I hope I will be able to fix thanks to all the great answers on here. Thank you all.
  • i had the same issue with a 2000 ford windstar and i replaced the air flow actuator and it did fix the problem. i took the old one apart and found when i took the old one apart there was a broken gear inside. i did not remove the radio but i removed the housing under the radio and was able to remove by lying upside down from the seat on my shoulders. and when you open the cup holder it is very easy to access. thank you for the help from everyone else who posted responses on hear.
  • If you can change from cold to hot and vice versa in the rear of the vehicle but not the front, it is almost certainly the temp control device called the "air door actuator." Autozone has the part for $45.00 Dorman part # 604-203. You will also need a very strong flashlight, 8mm socket - 3/8 drive with at least a 2 inch extender, preferably longer, and the ford radio removal U tools (another $4.00 at autozone). Don't push U tools in too far. Insert gently until they stop, then push firmly another inch or so. Grip each tool tightly and apply strong hand preesure outward, pushing each of the U tools toward the respective doors. While maintaining this outward pressure, firmly shimmy the radio up and down and at the same time pull it toward you in short jerks. Once it is out get the flshlight in there and you will see the old acuator, a rectangular hunk of white or black plastic the size of a cigarette pack with a small arm that sticks out the back and into a receptacle in the firewall. Three 8mm screws hols the actuator against the firewall. Use the extension to get an 8mm socket back there. Once you have the screws out, grab the actuator and pull it out. It is a good idea to break off the old actuator arm and duct tape it to a long long scredriver. You can then use the old actuator arm to manually adjust the actuator receptacle in the fire wall so the female receptacle will match the position of the new male actuator arm. You will understand when you see it. Look at the end of the actuator arm see how it is "U" shaped, now visualize what clock position the bottom of the U will be in when you place the actuator arm into the receptacle. Now use you long screw driver with the old actuator arm tapped to it. Insert the old actuator arm into the receptacle and turn the receptacle to the clock position you have visualized (it doesn;t have to be perfect). Now get into the passenger side foot area and remove the two plastic screws and bend out the plastic console sheetng as far as you can without breaking it. You will be able to see the receptacle pretty well. With left hand reaching through the radio compartment and holding the actuator, use your right hand reachin under the passenger side of the dash to guide the arm into the receptacle. Make sure you get the arm firmly seated, then tighten up the screws. Put the radio back in, put the screws backin the consol sheeting. You have saved yourself about $300 bucks.
  • Our 2001 Windstar started making the same noises and no front heat on Thanksgiving. After doing some research I have found that it is indeed the blend door actuator. I have seen several sites listing Autozone as the cheapest site at $49 give or take a dollar. However, might I suggest checking Advanced Auto. They have the exact same thing "Dorman Air Blend Actuator" model # 604-203 for $35.99. I know it's not a great big difference in price, but in today's economy every dollar counts.
  • That happened to me. That knocking sound is a stripped gear in a little plastic motor that his behind the radio. The sound drives you crazy after a while -- it won't turn off sometimes no matter what you do, and of course no heat. Or no cooling - whatever position it was in when it broke, it stays in that position. Why they made this piece of out plastic, I don't know. Other people with Windstars had the same problem. The Ford dealer wanted 250 dollars to fix it, but luckily for me, the service agent said his Windstar had same problem. I looked as poor as I am, so he told me I could fix it. He sold me a 62 dollar part, and told me how to fix it. You need to get the radio out -- and he took it out with a tool they had, it about 10 seconds. No charge! You dont need to take it completely out - just get it loose and out of the way. You slip it back in no problem, so don't worry bout that. Then I had to take the heater controls out -- the switches and plate. Dont worry -- there is no water involved. It's just little motor or actuator. Simple if you can get to it. I had to get cowling off around that whole heater area. It was held in with screws on my 2000 Windsttar. The service guy told me it just pops off -- he was wrong. It's held in by screws too. Its pretty easy once you get the screws off -- you will see them no problem. Use a flashlight to find them. The heater control is easy to get off -- two screws. The knobs and stuff just pull off, easy. Then you can see behind there, cause the radio will be off to one side, and the heater control will be off. You will see the white - cream color plastic box about the size of a deck of cards, only thinner, attached to the wall by three screws. You will buy the new part before you even start this - so you will know what it looks like, don't worry Its not real easy to see -- and its hard to reach. Especially one screw, you have to turn that by the smallest possible fraction of a turn at one time. The first two screws will seem like a piece of cake compared to the third. I used a 5/16 little wrench Wow that's a tight fit. I bet the Ford mechanics have a smarter way or a special tool. Anyway, you take the old motor out -- very easy. Its a plastic encased device -- with a protrustion that goes into a little whole in the firewall. Once those screws are out, the old one just comes right out -- you will have to unplug the electric to it -- its like a phone jack, but bigger. Easy. Putting the new motor back in is a little tricky cause you cant see what you are doing, you have to feel it. The protruding part goes thru the wall -- it will be super obvious which way it faces. Then hook up the electrick supply, put the screws back in, and there you go. The trick is to act like its very complicated and dangerous in front of your wife, so you get brownie points for fixing it. Actually if it wasn't hard to get to, it would be a three minute job. It took me longer to find the right sized wrench. You can expect to drop your little wrench a time or two, and you will drop the screws once or twice, so be careful, or you will have to get the shroud (or whatever it's called) loose. That shroud is held in by some plastic screws. Not a big deal. Then find the piece or tool you dropped. I could do it again in half hour -- but the first time thru, it took me two hours cause I had no idea what I was doing.
  • I just had that problem on a 2000 ford windstar. After following the directions already listed and removing the white control box and yes a gear was bad. I removed the lighter inserted a 1/4" square rod that a pair of vice-grips was clamped on to. The vice-grips weighted enough to counted the weight of the door so it stays in the heated position. I had to use a wooden rod but I'm sure a steel one would be much better. You could hook up the lighter if you need to use it for a power supply the wire jack fits outside the opening. BUT NOT FOR A TRUE LIGHTER. My rod was enough that I could hold it in the heated position while clamping the vice-grips then trimming it shorter so I can still use the cup holder. With a wooden rod I do not plan to operate the door.

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