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Ironmike, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
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Experience:  30 years ASE Master tech L1 . Ford master
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Ford Crown Victoria LX: My 85 yr old father has a 1996 ford

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My 85 yr old father has a 1996 ford crown Vic with 74k on it. Run great. However he can only get cold vent air or a/c cold to blow. He cannot get heat either through the fresh air vents or if the a/c is operating. The car is an LX. Any clue. He seems reluctant to spend much on it.


I would start with checking the temp blend door actuator. There is an electric actuator that moves a temp blend door and they are known to fail. Let me know if the vehicle has manual climate control or auto climate control. The Ford procedure to replace it is to remove the dash assembly but there are ways to cheat and remove it without removing the dash board. I have done a few newer model crown vics going through the glove box. The temp blend door actuator is left of the heater core mounted on top of the HVAC(heater core case/assembly)

If the vehicle has auto climate control we can run a self test to see if there are any trouble codes. I try to change temp and put my hand on the actuator to see if it wants to move. I have seen in some rare cases the temp blend doors then selves break. The actuator needs to be removed to check the door and to replace the door the dash needs to come off. Most dealers will have a guy that is good with this stuff and has done a few. A good dealer will split the labor if they fix it the cheating way, full procedure removing the dash is usually 6-8 hrs.

let me know what you find

lets start here

good luck

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It does have automatic temp control. I'm not much of a mechanic. Frankly I'm an accountant. Do you think this can be fixed via the gove box. A local shop quoted me $900 labor. Ouch. Don't think the cars worth that. I use to install car stereos in my youth so I guess I'm not scared by the dash area but if it gets too involved I may find myself over my head. Something I can tell a mechanic that might provide a lower quote??? Thank you! Bart

It is a tight fit to get your hand in and a small ratchet and 8mm socket will be needed. To get a good view many times the radio needs to be removed. This year crown vic is older than the few I have done recently but I do not think much has changed. You could try and ask a shop and see if they are aware of this repair and cut some off the price. It is tricky and there is a chance the door is broken.

circled screws for heater core removal, temp actuator is white



good luck

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the reply and will be sure to rate at the highest level. If and it's a big if I can get the actuator out and replacement in is there any particular reset procedure I need to go through? Thanks again, Barry

Just allow the controller to reset for 40 seconds. With the key on allow the controller to do a sweep, do not hit any buttons for 40 seconds.

let me know if you get you hand on the (old)actuator if you feel it try to move as you go hot to cold first. Sometimes they get weak and you can remove them and keep them hooked up and as you change temp they move very slow. I use a mirror to check if the slot in the top of the door is broken.

good luck

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
One last thing before I attempt this. I went to my fathers and sat in the car. In all the pictures I've seen including yours it hey show a nice opening behind the dash piece that hides/encloses the airbag. I'm able to pull that piece away just enough to peck inside and well, there is the airbag. One how do I get that piece off without a crow bar and terminating the piece and two I don't see an airbag in your picture. Will it block me from seeing inside? I'm preparing for the broken knuckles already. Barry

the glove box needs to be removed and then the passenger air bag if you have one.

Again not so sure on this year but sometimes air ducts need to be moved or removed.

you can see by the picture that it is really in there.

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