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Blend door controller

September 13th, 2020, 7:21 pm

I have a 2011 E Limited with dual control temperature controls. A few times when I change the temperature with only the drivers side control active I hear a Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click...Click... that is very fast. The temperature adjust correctly and have not had a any problems other than the fast clicking sound. Sounds like it is coming from the drivers side or maybe the center, definitively not passenger side. In the past on my 97 Lincoln Mark VIII the blend air actuator just stopped working and was stuck on defrost (you have to remove the dash to replace the actuator) and on my 2011 Explorer when it failed I got just a slow click...click....click sound. Mine is still working just every now and then the clicking sound and winter is coming. I see some people list three different controllers. I can use some input on this.

Re: Blend door controller

September 14th, 2020, 4:23 pm

Well, if it didn't do that before, and is doing it now, irregularly with no apparent pattern(heat/usage/speed/???), then something is changing. Likely not for the better as far as costing money.
The speed of the clicks is likely due to design changes in the parts used. Back when, the stepper motors used were not so 'finely tuned', and were clunkier. They also were designed(in some FoMoCo vehicles) to crank all the way to the limit in one direction on EACH power up to figure out their tracking. If they know they are at the close or open limit, the KNOW they are 44 clicks to full lock in the opposite, so just count when told/directed to WARM vs COLD, etc.
Apparently, the bean counters figured they'd get less warranty claims, but the poor sod who had to pull the whole dash to fix on was going to be unhappy, but it likely would not happen to the first owner. enough. I think.
Either way, they have changed a bit, and it clicks faster now. But, same deal likely. You may be able to do some sort of diag test in the body computer diagnostics with the proper scan tool. Or some voodoo magic with the cluster/heat controls held on/off, press thisthat 3 times in 10 seconds, pause, open/close the glovebox door... you know, things that won't normally be done except by a 5-year-old kindergartener playing - you know, the ones that get your brand new TV to display "set bandwidth parameters " instead of channel two.
You pays me now, or pays me later seems to be the rule. You may find a good demo on youtube as I think you are experiencing a somewhat common problem. I can't wait.

Re: Blend door controller

September 15th, 2020, 8:41 pm

Well what I found out is that my E has three blend door actuators. I have duel climate controls and the left and right ones have the same part numbers and the center one has a different part number. The center one blends the air and the left/right ones directs the air. A video I saw on showing the internal components and their failures. Sure enough the gears in all the examples show covered with grease (plastic gears). Plastic gears do not need lubrication, metal gears do. The grease will soften the plastic gears and in the unit will fail . No wonder so many units fail. The last time I changed my blend controller in my Mark VIII I opened the unit and cleaned all the grease off. I ordered a blend door unit and plan on doing the same thing for my E.

Re: Blend door controller

September 15th, 2020, 10:08 pm

The failure mode is probably similar to the Mark VIII (I have a 97 that I since I live in the desert I just added a zip tie that I could manually pick hot or cold, mostly cold..) and that they don't stop at the end of travel, and try to continue, usually tearing off the teeth at the end.

They generally do go through a calibration every time the car is turned on. I don't think the Escape has this issue, but some vehicles have a plastic stop/flag on the shaft that shears off and allows the actuator to over run.

I swapped the BDA in my Grand Marquis, but could only get a Dorman, and...don't do it, go for Ford only. I don't think I got a year out of the Dorman.

Re: Blend door controller

September 16th, 2020, 9:02 pm

On your 97 mark VIII the problem is that the rod that connects to the controller to the door is slightly too long, take the rod off and egg out one end. This prevents tension on the controller and eliminates the need to replace the controller. But on the E a fair amount of grease is applied to plastic gears. Metal gears need grease and plastic gears do not. The grease will soften the plastic gears and cause them to fail. I agree Ford is better than after market but to replace the controller on the E is easy and does not require the removal of the dash to replace the controllers like the Mark VIII. I ordered a replacement from Rockauto at half the price of Ford OEM. Lets see what happens.

Re: Blend door controller

September 17th, 2020, 11:03 am

I doubt it is petroleum based grease, probably lithium based, which should be nylon plastic friendly. You are right, I have never seen the insides of an Escape failure BDA, but have seen plenty of Fords and it is almost always the last few teeth broken off. I am sure I have pictures of the carnage.

Re: Blend door controller

September 17th, 2020, 1:14 pm

Has anyone tried 'printing' a new gear? A 3D printer should be able to whip one up in a short time. Only problems are getting a plastic feedstock that will handle the wear/torque and doing the R&R of the gear itself. Might be better than OEM if a superior grade of plastic was used.
Then again, I do not know the cost of the printer nor the material. Nor how to import the dimensions of the old gear to instruct the printer.

Re: Blend door controller

September 18th, 2020, 7:44 pm

I bought a new controller and it cost $21.00 delivered. If it lasts 5 years that will be longer than I will own the E. Its the top center controller that if it goes bad will be a real problem trying to install a new one.
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