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Old 10-14-2018, 12:56 AM   #1
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Blower motor replacement and Evaporator cleaning

Since this was requested, and I had been meaning to write this up, I'll try to share my notes now/here. It's late, please pardon any typos.

Most of how to pull things apart is covered in this well illustrated thread on another forum:

I ended up replacing the resistor harness, the resistor and the blower motor. The plug on the resistor harness was quite literally toasted and not re-installable on my van. I think the resistor and fan were still working correctly. However, the contacts on the resistor had seen better days, and the fan had run through quite a bit of its brushes.

One should probably not expect to be able to pull this all apart on an older van without replacing at least something. It's not that much work to do it multiple times, I did, but getting the fan in and out is a bit of a pain. I also cross threaded one of the bolts holding the accumulator in place and had to chase the threads in the welded on nut from the other side in the fender. There's not much room and that probably took more time than everything else put together.

I also discovered some long dead critter under the battery and had to clean that up.

Without making any mistakes, or encountering any project creep, it's about 10-20 minutes each to pull apart and put back together.

When this still didn't quite get the airflow and cooling I recalled having a couple of years ago, I pulled it all back apart and cleaned the evaporator.

I didn't go overboard on it, since I know most of what was in there was going to be sand and dust.

First I vacuumed it out as best as I could. My shop vac isn't super powerful, but I got most of the loose stuff out.

Then I flushed with large volumes of low pressure water. This does result in a little bit of water coming into the passenger footwell. I dealt with that by putting a couple of rags there. Doing this in the summer meant that it all dried up in a day or so. I left it all apart for a night and half a day to dry out.

I went with a high volume instead of a pressure washer since I did not want to risk damaging the evaporator. I'm not sure how serious that risk actually is, but didn't want to find out. I found some stories of folks pulling the casing apart with everything connected and was prepared to try that if I didn't get the results I wanted with this approach.

Once it seemed dry, I re-assembled everything and _finally_ had the airflow back that I wanted. Prior to this, even the top speed of the fan was much less than desirable. Another side effect is much colder air.

So, for my situation at least this was a hugely worthwhile project. If I had to do it again with another van, I'd just get all the parts to begin with and possibly pick up a high HP shop vac.

I may also stick a bit of foam into the air intake the next time I go anywhere really dusty. Since cleaning it, I've only been in the eastern Sierra and the Bay Area, which aren't really that bad.


'99 EB ex ENG KSWB news van, low rent 4x4 conversion (mostly fixed by now), home built interior.
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:32 AM   #2
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Those are all great points MadScience---thanks for sharing your project!

I'll reinforce removing any of the blower motor electrical components typically requires replacing something--the resistor network and/or the pig tail lead---those seem to degrade over time due the relatively high amp draw they experience. I would advise anyone replacing the pig tail lead connector to c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y rewire it according to chassis wiring. Any replacement lead connector will NOT be color coded according to the factory wiring. Simply matching each wire from the old connector to the same position on the new is the only way to do this properly. Don't ask me how I know this............

Cleaning the evaporator and heater core of any accumulated dust, dirt and whatnot is very wise. As there's no heating system intake filter the enclosed area of the evaporator case easily collects enough crap to eventually affect air flow and heat transfer whether heat or A/C. Time spent on that task is simply smart.

If using low pressure running water across the coils and you'd like to avoid water leaking onto the interior carpeting I'd tape a large contractor's type plastic bag just under the evaporator case and channel the water outside through an open door. That'd just make for an easier clean-up when all finished.

This is an area so often over looked, good that you bring this to our attention.

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Old 10-14-2018, 12:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the link and the post. Sounds and looks much simpler than I thought it would be.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:56 PM   #4
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That was great, thanks. I think I'll pull mine just to clean it out.
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:21 AM   #5
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JWA: good point on the harness. My replacement harness had no color codes either. Just note the location of the pins as you cut the old one free and connect them the same way.

FWIW, if you feel like your blower is no longer blowing as hard and cold as it used to, a dirty evaporator is very likely the cause. Initially I was really suspect of the other components, but in hindsight mine were fine, except for the harness once I unplugged it. Still, on a 15-20 year old van it probably makes sense to buy all the pieces and go through this only once.

In hindsight I could have saved myself the heater core on max AC bypass hack that I implemented in response to these symptoms, but now that it's there, stupid cold AC is a nice bonus.

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