A Ford Explorer that has a full charge of refrigerant and is cooling, but is not quite cool enough may have a broken fresh air door. The fresh air door is also called a recirculate door, max air door or main air inlet door. The function of the door is to let fresh air in, or to recirculate the inside air. When the air conditioning control is set to the max position, the fresh air door seals off the outside air to recirculate the air in the passenger compartment. When the air is recirculated, cooler air temperatures can be obtained since the air is cooler to begin with, compared to the outside air.
Not Just Ford. Any vehicle with a broken recirculation door or actuator that moves this door can have this problem. However a broken blend door is a common problem with the Ford Explorer. This can be checked easily. First, listen for increased air flow when changing the the AC to max. If the air doesn’t sound louder in the max position, there’s a good chance the recirculate door is broken. Next open the glove box and look for movement of the recirculate door when switching from normal to max air.
Dash Removal. If the door is broken, dash removal is required to access and change the door assembly. Book time pays 6.9 hours not including check out time and evacuation and recharging. This job can be done by an experienced technician in about 45 minutes, with no need to evacuate and recharge the AC system. The dash is not completely removed, just unbolted and swung out to rest on the passenger seat to allow removal and replacement of the main air inlet door assembly.
Remove the Console. Remove the center console upper trim (one 7mm screw), unplugging the power outlet. There are two 10mm bolts securing the front of the console to the floorboard. Move the seats forward, from the back seat area remove two 10mm bolts from the sides of the console. Now the console is loose, place it to the side.
Unbolting the Dash. After disconnecting the battery, remove the trim panels from the sides of the dash and the defrost trim from the top. There are two bolts on each side and two on the top. Unbolt the steering coupler near the driver’s floorboard. There is one hidden 10mm bolt that is accessed from the outside.
Sneaking it Out. No need to remove the wipers and cowl trim. Gently pry the cowl trim up and leave it propped up about an inch and a half to allow access to the bolt. Have a magnet pick up tool handy in case the bolt falls out of the socket. Unbolt the wiring harness on the right side and unplug the antenna.
Swing It. Slowly swing the dash out with care not to put excessive force on the wiring. Once the dash is pulled back, remove the 8mm screws from the metal support bracket and the top of the door assembly. There are two 8mm screws that cannot be accessed, pull on the fresh air door assembly break it away from the evaporator case. Now remove the 8mm screws and remaining plastic, making sure no plastic pieces fall into the blower fan.
Right Stuff. Instead of re-using the two 8mm screws at the hard to access attaching points near the firewall, apply Right Stuff sealant or a similar substance to secure the fresh air door assembly. Then re-attach the remaining 8mm screws that can be accessed. By using the right stuff securing method, much time is saved. Now re-install the dash and console and an eight hour job is completed in about 45 minutes!