Air blows out all vents at once? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Air blows out all vents at once?

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by Jaschiero, May 5, 2013.

  1. Jaschiero

    Jaschiero FEOA Member

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    Is this just the blower motor that went bad or the control unit?
  2. millball

    millball FEOA Donator

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    Has nothing to do with either the blower motor or the blower motors speed controls.
    Trouble is with the blend doors/control mechanisms that are controlled by the climate control levers.
    Best that I recall, some second gen cars have a combination of vacuum and mechanical control, and some others have mechanical controls only. Consult the manuals to see how it should work and then tear into it.
  3. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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  4. gen2steve

    gen2steve FEOA Member

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    Not all 2nd gen Escorts use the same climate controls.

    1993 and before use a 3-lever system that includes a control for fresh/recirculate [the source of the air being moved]

    1994 and later do away with that lever and instead use a vacuum motor to control the fresh/recirculate door. This is the only thing that the vacuum does.

    The most knowledgeable Intuit has linked to an earlier thread that discussed the hiss from a vacuum leak at the later style control head. (My personal theory is that that the 1994 model year brought this "improvement" to prevent the ignorant from foolishly trying to defrost their windshield with recirculated air: "You are too stupid to know when recirculated air is good for you, so you'll only get it on MAX A/C!" :rolleyes:).

    Anyway, back to the O.P.'s issue. We can assume that you are asking about a 1996 from your sig line, but it really matters not. Your issue is with the position of the doors that control where the air is being directed, and this is a cable and rod function, no matter the model year. Even without removing anything, you should be able to see a large white control cam [and related stuff] down on the passenger side of things (just to the left of where the passenger's legs go). That cam should rotate and move other stuff as you work the mode lever (the TOP one that says A/C, floor, etc). The percentage bet is that things aren't moving, aren't moving enough, or are not adjusted properly. For things to work properly, the cable has be attached properly at both the the control head end and down at this cam, along with the cable housing being retained properly along the way.

    You probably have a cable [or rod] problem at the control head or down in the area of this cam.
  5. Jaschiero

    Jaschiero FEOA Member

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    I will go poke around and see what I can find. I didn't know 96's had a vacuum set up for the HVAC...
  6. Jaschiero

    Jaschiero FEOA Member

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    I cannot get the control unit out. I did feel behind it and after disconnecting a wire harness attached to it, the only thing left was a cable that was operated by the direction lever. It turns a white assembly on the passenger side of the console.
  7. gen2steve

    gen2steve FEOA Member

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    Hold your horses there, pilgrim!

    I am sorry if you took my observations and educated guess as instructions to start tearing your car apart...

    IF your goal was to remove the control head, you would need to be unhooking wire harnesses (probably two connectors) and the vacuum connector (CAREFULLY) from the control head, and then to release the OTHER ends of the cables and cable housings from the lower ends (one on each side of the console). The control head should come out of the dash with both cables still attached to it.

    But doing all this would still not necessarily solve your problem, it would only get you a control head to hold in your hand and a hole in your dash.

    Start by evaluating what that "white assembly" is doing when you work the mode lever. Is it rotating and in turn moving other stuff? If not, dig deeper (and perhaps THEN pull the control head) to see why the mode lever isn't moving the cable and/or why the cable isn't moving the white assembly. If the white assembly IS moving, look closer into the things it is supposed to be articulating. The proper movement of the white assembly and the doors it operates is the key here.

    Gather some more data before tearing stuff apart.
  8. Jaschiero

    Jaschiero FEOA Member

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    I'm not just tearing into it. I was VERY gentle when trying to get it out (not so much with the radio to see the under side of the unit). This DID lead me to one fix, which was the lights not working in the control unit (combination of 2 blown bulbs and the bulb harness not being connected.) I followed the cables down to find where they were supposed to connect, which is how I figured out what the white thing was. It is rotating fine. I did not find a vacuum line anywhere.

    I also was able to fix at least the floor vents, now air only blows out of the floor vents if the selection if for floor vents. I spent the last hour playing with the white assembly trying to figure out what else may be out of adjustment. I can't seem to get the air to blow out of ONLY the defroster or ONLY the panel vents.

    Sometimes I wish car manufacturers stayed in the 50's! So much easier to fix and work on!
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  9. gen2steve

    gen2steve FEOA Member

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    Here is a side view of what we are talking about. I think it is from a 1995, but I have no reason to believe it differs from a 1996. The next paragraph is a bunch of words that describe the function of the "white assembly". If reading lots of words tires you out, you can jump directly to the last paragraph, where I talk about adjusting the cable-to-cam timing.

    The "white assembly" (I will be calling it the CAM from here on) is acted upon by the cable that comes from the mode lever. (Since this unit is out of the car, the cable cannot be seen, although the cable retaining clip can be seen above the cam just before 12 o'clock.) The cam in turn acts upon two levers that work two rods. One lever is black, whose pin can be seen at 3 o'clock in the cam, riding in the longer of the two articulated slots. The other lever is white, has a pin just past 6 o'clock in the cam, and rides in the shorter of the two articulated slots. As the cam is rotated by the cable from the mode lever, it then acts upon (or DOESN'T act upon) these two levers, depending on the profile of that section of slot. You will note that each slot has a section that is a perfect radius of the cam, and doesn't move the pin/lever at all during that section. A properly adjusted and working assembly will move the white lever when the mode lever is moving in the right half (FLOOR, FLR/DEF, DEFROST), but won't over in the left half. Likewise, one should see the black lever moving in the left half of the mode stuff (PANEL, PNL/FLR, FLOOR), but not in the right half. One exception to this is when moving the mode lever between MAX A/C and PANEL, when NOTHING happens with the cam at all (since that is just operating the fresh/recirculate door, which is in a whole 'nother county). It is possible to fiddle with adjustment of the secondary rods, but unless your climate control assembly has been majorly kicked around, this seems an unlikely requirement. The only real adjustment you should concern yourself with is to make sure the cable from the mode lever has the cam doing the right thing at the right time. Here's how:

    Rotate the cam to the end of its travel in the clockwise direction. This is the DEFROST position, and will bring the keyhole into alignment with a hole in the case at about 9 o'clock. Place your handy Ford Locator Pin 18C408 through the keyhole into the hole in the case. (What?? You can't seem to find your 18C408? Use a 7/32 drill bit. Or perhaps even a #1 Phillips. In my photo, you will see the drill bit employed.) With the mode lever all the way to the right (DEFROST) connect the end of the cable to its home on the cam, and then clip the cable housing into the retaining clip. Pull the 18C408 out, and confirm that the cam rotates its full travel as you move the mode lever from DEFROST to PANEL, and then back.

    Attached Files:

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  10. gen2steve

    gen2steve FEOA Member

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    Hopefully, my above post provides some insight.

    After thinking about your original question some more, and looking closer than any sane person should at the climate control system in an almost 20 year-old used car, one of three possibilities seem the most likely explanation.

    1. Somehow, your cable and cam aren't in exact adjustment. Good news - you now have some instructions to fix this.

    2. Something is actually broken, like the cable has come loose from the top end at the control head, or one of the secondary levers is pooched, or an air door has broken off. If this is the case, you'll need to be digging deeper.

    3. You have too high expectations of an old used Ford. Between primitive design and tired foam seals, there is often SOME air coming out places you think it shouldn't be. The Ford FSM actually warns that some airflow will be felt from the defrosters when in FLOOR mode. In my 1995, I can feel some air from the defrosters in both FLOOR and PNL/FLR. If MOST of the airflow is being directed to where it should be, consider lowering your expectations.
  11. Jaschiero

    Jaschiero FEOA Member

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    I will be giving this a try. My only expectation is that when I move the lever, the air flow changes (moving the lever doesn't actually change the air flow, it blows the same no matter where the lever is)
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  12. 2doorLX

    2doorLX FEOA Member

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    Mine does that too. I am looking for answers.
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  13. joshuan

    joshuan New Member

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    I had a very similar problem with my vents on my 98 escort zx2. The defroster appeared to be the only working option no matter where I put the dial. I did a little digging and found a vacuum hose that came off behind the alternator. That hose apparently is responsible for pulling up the flap to enable the vents. Once I reconnected it, the vents worked again like nothing had happened. Take a look and see if it fell off or ripped.
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  14. gen2steve

    gen2steve FEOA Member

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    While a 1998 (third generation) zx2 might well use multiple vacuum motors to move more than one air door, the O.P. has a 1996 Escort.

    A 1996 (2nd generation) Escort's climate control system uses a single vacuum motor to control where the air comes FROM (outside or recirculate), and nothing else.

    Where the air goes TO is controlled strictly by a physical cable that moves a cam that moves rods and levers, with NO vacuum involvement whatsoever. A 1996 Escort whose vacuum hose came off of the intake manifold would simply experience no ability to change from outside to recirculated source air.
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  15. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Just an interesting anecdote.

    Just a few days ago on the highway I had to use a "scary" amount of force to move the slider.
    Honestly don't recall which slider or which mode for sure, but guessing was moving to recirculate.

    I've always noticed that it got stiff at highways speeds with the windows rolled down but only once before had I noticed it was THAT hard... and at the time had assumed my passenger's foot was in the way. (just gave up rather than say anything)

    Don't recall exactly but was probably >85 mph with the front windows rolled down.

    Aside from speeding, forcing, this seems to suggest that breakage can occur from normal use doesn't necessarily require "abuse."

    Either slowing down (<70 mph) or rolling-up the windows helps equalize internal/external cabin pressure allowing for the normal easy movement.
  16. bent_rod

    bent_rod FEOA Donator

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    Now that you brought it up I also recall having this same problem on my 93 LX.

    Other things were hard to move on that car at times. Like the drivers window crank when it was raining. Ford had a technical service article on that one.
  17. gen2steve

    gen2steve FEOA Member

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    I had to do a double-take to make sure I was reading this statement on FEOA, and not Moparts...

    :laugh:
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  18. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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