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Heater blower missing speeds replace or repair post


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56 replies to this topic

#1 Skip

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 02:56 PM

This was again asked of me so lets start
a list of threads pointing to fixes.



This problem is for those that still have
at least high speed (as it by-passes the
resistor block).
And are missing one or more of the lower speeds.

The problem is burned out coils (resistors) in the
resistor block.

At the stealer new - ~ 40 USD
At the boneyard - ~ 5 USD


Please note: Power is fed to the blower motor from the relay.
The ground side of the motor is fed through these resistors
via the blower speed switch.

The relay providing power is another matter.
See below threads for possible fixes IF you have no blower speeds.



Here is a shot of the offending part.
The resistor block.
This taken looking up under the glove box

Hope this helps.
All comments and links are welcome.
Posted Image

#2 Bucky92

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 03:08 PM

Thanks Skip!!! You are the bestest ..thats another one of my Bucky projects..I only have 1 and 3 though and 2 if I hold the switch a certain way..4 is dead in the water though:-\

#3 Cougar

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 03:17 PM

It appears then Bucky92 that you have the exception to the common resistor trouble. Yours is a switch problem.

Thanks for the great picture details covering this common problem Skip. This is more good flatuous blather.

#4 daeron

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 02:33 PM

anyone want to post detail on building your own custom resistor block, so we can nominate this thread for the USRM? its got about 80% of EVERYTHING on this topic already.. may as well finish it off.

#5 beataru

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 11:28 PM

Thanks Skip!!! You are the bestest ..thats another one of my Bucky projects..I only have 1 and 3 though and 2 if I hold the switch a certain way..4 is dead in the water though:-\

Yeah, if Im thinking right, speed 4 is non resistive.

#6 Cougar

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 12:02 AM

You are correct. High speed is directly tied to power.

#7 Skip

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 05:49 AM

Or it could also be technically said

" This problem is for those that still have
at least high speed (as it by-passes the
resistor block)
."


#8 Gloyale

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 09:23 AM

A picture of the relay and it's location would be great too. Guess I'll go get the camera.

#9 Skip

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 09:37 AM

Guess I have to rewrite the original post.

:^(

Please note: Power is fed to the blower motor from the relay.
The ground side of the motor is fed through these resistors
via the blower speed switch.

The relay providing power is another matter.

This item (the relay pictured) is located above the ECU.
The ECU is above the driver's left
knee when in the driving position.
The lower panel must be removed to gain access
to this location.

Posted Image

#10 wesley willis

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 12:43 PM

thanks skip, i've been putting this fix off for quite some time...now it looks like i have no excuse. :lol:
seriously though, having only high fan speed sucks. thanks again.

#11 Skip

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 03:55 PM

For those 'Trisity types

Here is the skinny
Posted Image

#12 Singlecoil

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:02 AM

Here is a picture of the relay Skip was talking about for the fan motor. You need to remove the lower panel in front of the driver (six phillips screws-3 metal, 3 plastic, then pull the rear down firmly to release the big clip over the steering column), then remove the fuse box with three phillips screws. It is the relay with the colored wires as shown in the picture, green/white, red/yellow, white/red, and blue/red; I think it was the one furthest to the right (passenger) side. If your fan is totally dead, i/e won't work in position four and your fuses are good, this is a likely culprit. If your fan works in position 4, then you have a resistor block project, see below.
Posted Image

And if you want to make a custom resistor block, here is a link to a thread from a few years ago when I fixed my own with some electronics store resistors.
http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=18580
It has been going strong for 3 years or so without any problems, though my fan relay did just burn out as pictured above. That may or may not have been related.
The first pic in the thread of the two ceramic resistors are the ones that failed rather quickly. The second pic of the NTE one are the ones that have been going strong. I just used pliers to carefully crush the ceramic coating.

#13 Skip

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:14 AM

Well done Singlecoil, thanks for the photo, write up, and link.

The car year you are working on (86?) may help.

Gloyale may get some pictures of the 87 and newer cars
as the location may have changed?

#14 Singlecoil

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 10:19 AM

Good idea. Mine is an '86 GL wagon. The relay I got at the junkyard was off an '87 sedan. The numbers on it were identical to mine and it was in the same location as mine.

#15 beataru

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:08 PM

This needs to be stickyed in the USRM!!!!!

#16 Caboobaroo

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 07:21 PM

Thanks Skip! When I get some time, I'll have to hit up a yard and get the block so my blower works on more then just 3rd speed:banana:

#17 edrach

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 12:34 AM

Here is a picture of the relay Skip was talking about for the fan motor. You need to remove the lower panel in front of the driver (six phillips screws-3 metal, 3 plastic, then pull the rear down firmly to release the big clip over the steering column), then remove the fuse box with three phillips screws. It is the relay with the colored wires as shown in the picture, green/white, red/yellow, white/red, and blue/red; I think it was the one furthest to the right (passenger) side. If your fan is totally dead, i/e won't work in position four and your fuses are good, this is a likely culprit. If your fan works in position 4, then you have a resistor block project, see below.
Posted Image

And if you want to make a custom resistor block, here is a link to a thread from a few years ago when I fixed my own with some electronics store resistors.
http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=18580
It has been going strong for 3 years or so without any problems, though my fan relay did just burn out as pictured above. That may or may not have been related.
The first pic in the thread of the two ceramic resistors are the ones that failed rather quickly. The second pic of the NTE one are the ones that have been going strong. I just used pliers to carefully crush the ceramic coating.

Great picture; and I'm not trying to steal the thread, but it points out a common problem on 20+ year old cars. A bad connection in the wiring generally generates heat which turns the connector plastic brown and in some cases black. It's time to replace this connector---grab one from a suitable car at the boneyard and butt splice it in place of this one. That's the easiest fix; if you're really handy and have the tools you can replace just the offending terminal(s).

What are the symptoms of a bad connection aside from turning the connector brown or black? Heat is generated by dropping voltage across a resistance. You're getting lower voltage where you want it. In this case, the blower motor if it works at all speeds, will be spinning slower than normal since some of your 12 volts is lost in the connector.

The most common connector that has this symptom is the first connector (usually pink plastic) that carries current from the ignition switch to the starter. The bad connection shows up as intermittant not starting and eventually not starting at all. I've replaced a number of them on our older EA81 cars (generally after the owner of the car has already replaced the starter motor and/or the battery).

#18 edrach

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 12:39 AM

Thanks Skip! When I get some time, I'll have to hit up a yard and get the block so my blower works on more then just 3rd speed:banana:

Be prepared to pull more than one resistor block. I used to pull them every chance I got and found more than half had one or more of the resistors open. That's the bad news, the good news is that Subaru used this device in the Loyale series up to '94 so the newer the donor car you find, the more likely you'll find a good unit.

#19 Singlecoil

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 08:31 PM

Great picture; and I'm not trying to steal the thread, but it points out a common problem on 20+ year old cars. A bad connection in the wiring generally generates heat which turns the connector plastic brown and in some cases black. It's time to replace this connector---grab one from a suitable car at the boneyard and butt splice it in place of this one. That's the easiest fix; if you're really handy and have the tools you can replace just the offending terminal(s).

What are the symptoms of a bad connection aside from turning the connector brown or black? Heat is generated by dropping voltage across a resistance. You're getting lower voltage where you want it. In this case, the blower motor if it works at all speeds, will be spinning slower than normal since some of your 12 volts is lost in the connector.

The most common connector that has this symptom is the first connector (usually pink plastic) that carries current from the ignition switch to the starter. The bad connection shows up as intermittant not starting and eventually not starting at all. I've replaced a number of them on our older EA81 cars (generally after the owner of the car has already replaced the starter motor and/or the battery).


You know, I wondered about that. When I raided the junkyard for my relay, I grabbed the connector as well by just snipping the wires with my leatherman. I plugged the relay in and it worked so I figured I was good to go. Do you think it is worth taking the panel off and replacing that connector or should I be OK if it works? I'm generally from the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought.

Thanks.

#20 edrach

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 12:47 AM

Do you think it is worth taking the panel off and replacing that connector or should I be OK if it works? I'm generally from the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought.

Thanks.

I'm from the same school of thought. But in this case, I'd replace it.

You can check it yourself. Check your battery voltage at the battery terminals. Then check the voltage at the blower with it on high speed. It should be the same; likely it'll be 1 or 2 volts lower.

Bad connections never get better; they just get worse. Eventually they no longer conduct and the blower will not go. It's a matter of "fix me now, or fix it later." Your choice.

#21 edrach

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 01:00 AM

I just read your thread about making your own resistor block. Nice piece of work. However, you might be drawing too much current which caused your connector to overheat. But then again, I've seen enough of these connectors fail in this fashion. I'm beginning to think I'm over-thinking this whole thing.:slobber: :rolleyes:

#22 daeron

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 03:30 AM

You know, I wondered about that. When I raided the junkyard for my relay, I grabbed the connector as well by just snipping the wires with my leatherman. I plugged the relay in and it worked so I figured I was good to go. Do you think it is worth taking the panel off and replacing that connector or should I be OK if it works? I'm generally from the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought.

Thanks.


Okay, here is an easier (and I think better) option.

The metal terminals that compose that plug in the photograph are held in place into a plastic plug body. The Terminals look like everyday female spade terminals, but have a small wedge stamped into them, which is bent outwards. This wedge acts as a barb; when the terminal is slid into the palstic plug body, it stays there. However, you can examine the plug, and possibly use a precision screwdriver (the tiny eyeglass-type screwdrivers) to reach in and pry that locking tab flat, allowing you to slide out the corroded, poorly conducting terminal. You can do likewise on your plug that you have and find one re usable terminal, and splice just the wires needed into your harness rather than the entire plug. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge sourcing new terminals is virtually impossible for the typical consumer; but I hope to someday be proven wrong on that count.

#23 edrach

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 08:35 PM

I do have some of those terminals at work, but not enough. And yes, they are impossible to get even for the professional. When we tried to order them, it was 10,000 piece minimum quantity!:eek: Replacing the entire plug is fairly simple and practical. The other alternative is to hit up radio shack and buy a few of the insulated quick disconnect terminals in the proper size and splice around only the faulty terminal. In any event, the faulty terminal needs to be replaced sooner or later before it causes definite problems.

#24 DaveT

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 08:43 PM

However, you can examine the plug, and possibly use a precision screwdriver (the tiny eyeglass-type screwdrivers) to reach in and pry that locking tab flat, allowing you to slide out the corroded, poorly conducting terminal.



I do this all the time. I have a couple of the stainless steel strips from ano old windshield wiper refill with the ends ground to work as a tool for releasing the terminals. I also have the wiring harnesses from several retired Subarus as a parts source.

I have never looked into buying just the contacts.

#25 daeron

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 01:46 AM

Does anyone who does this regularly own a digital camera that might be able to take good photos of the process to get the point across? I would try, but my camera is el cheapo (no optical zoom) and can't do the whole "close-up" thing in focus. I referred to doing this in my relay write up, and some photos to add to it would be sweet.




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