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2003 toyota highlander: my heater is full on all the time

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i have a 4cykl, 2003...
i have a 4cykl, 2003 toyota highlander. my heater is full on all the time. i have been told that there is likely a problem involving the "blend box". i am primarily an amateur mechanic. is this something i can work on myself?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Toyota
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
7/6/2011
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Mastertech 1
Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 2,261
Experience: ASE Master Technician with over 30 years of experience, including Toyota and Toyota Hybrid.
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I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING JUST ANSWER, AND FOR ALLOWING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASSIST YOU WITH YOUR AUTOMOTIVE CONCERNS.Is the issue you are having, Is it a blend door that is bad or stuck, or is it a blend door motor that is bad? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX know
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i don't know whether it is a stuck door or a door motor. how can i figure that out. when this first started happening i could sometimes play with the temperature control and get the heat to stop. any adjustment ie fan speed or direction, like low, high and low defrost, even truning on the ac woudl start the heat again requiring playing wit it some moe. i finally rerouted the heater hoses because i couldn't get the heat to stop.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Do you have the automatic hvac system?
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i don't know. how can i tell. before it began to fail, manually moving the temp knob smoothly changed the heat temp. depressing the ac button stopped the heat and the n the temp know smoothly changed the coldness. i do not have a temp that i can set and have it adjust automatically to a set temp.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Then yours is a manual control Does the temp control feel normal (no binding or stiffness when changing from hot to cold?)
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
it feels normal. no stifness or binding and it doesn't feel loose. it feels like small clicks as you rotate it. i had a 2003 tacome with a similar heat/ac set-up (at least visually on the dash) that worked without problems and it felt the same as my highlander does now-just no response now.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
This sounds to be a blend door motor issue,These are what control heater door to open or close, And not to hard to replace! Can you send me your VIN# XXXXX I can supply you with all of the correct info,you will need, And then I can get back to you around noon (after I get to my computer terminal)Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX know!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
looks like vehicle no. is JTEGD21A130051903

thanks, XXXXX XXXXX save me between $500-$1000, depending whether the dash had to be removed or not according to my local mecanic.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
I will get back to you about noon tomorrow, If that works for you, Thanks!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
works fine for me, no hurry. heater is not needed on the coast in san diego until colder months. ac works fine although without temp adjustment but i can work around that with a crack of a window an dnot to needed if i hang around the coast anyway. where do i click for acceptance? i opted for the extended question period for $27. how do i access you after you have given me advice and there are pauses when i can work on the vehicle?
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
When I provide you with the needed info,tomorrow I will send you an answer and then you can see the accept (I like to wait untill all info, you need is provided.) Thanking you in advance. Talk to you tomorrow
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i was hoping to hear more about my heating system today. i'm not in a hurry but i would like to know if you still want to work on it. hope i didin't make some pprocedural mistake with the website. thanks, neil
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Sorry my mistake, I got very busy at work today, I will provide you with info on Thursday early afternoon ! Thanks for your understanding!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
hi, no problem, i might not be able to do much until the weekend anyway. i wrote just to make sure we still had a connection. this is the first time u used such a service and i don't know the procedures. absolutely no problem with the timing, in fact if i hear by saturday sometine that would be fine. thanks, later
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
graphic
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Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
I sent you in the last post a pic. of the mode damper servo and the Air damper servo, With key on (engine running) see if these move posistions when you turn the control from a/c to heat, and from fresh air to rec. You can see the mode damper from the drivers floor board area (look towards center of dash) the other can be seen by removing the glove box assembly. Thanks, Let me know!
Mastertech 1
Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 2,261
Experience: ASE Master Technician with over 30 years of experience, including Toyota and Toyota Hybrid.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i don't know if i cna look at the servos until tomorrow, sat. i think i see what you are getting at. if they dont move it could be the motor assemblies or the maybe what controls the motors. i will accept your answer at this point but i did opt for the $30 for extended help. i thinking that it may tkae a few attempts to pinpoint the exact pproblem. once pinpointed i also imagine the fix could invllve multiple steps, for instance if parts of the dashboard have to be removed i definitely eill need help with that procedure.

please advise me how to accept and still have a way to ask you questions as they arise. thanks
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
If you chose to accept the answer, I can leave the question open so you can get back to me this weekend, Thanks
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
sounds good, i will click the reply and then the accept and i guess keep this thread alive as i can provide further information.
Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i hit the "accept answer" and the saw the tip screen but before i could do anything it went away and showed a box with "your question has been thrown open to all expert ".
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
No, Its showing on my end ,that you have accepted, And is open in my frame so you can get back to me like you just did. Thanks again I will leave it open!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
sorry it took me so long. i have removed every nut and screw i could fine surrounding the glove box, within the box and underneath, inclcluding a vertical flat plastic panel that would be to the the left of the passengers left foot. so far no luck in removing the glove box or the glove box assembly. any more hints on how to proceed?. with the help of a mirror i believe i could see what you called the air mix damper sub assembl (on the passenger side). i did start the engine and put the a/c on and off and the circ on and off and moved the knob that positions the flow from low to low and hi to hi to def. i couldn't see anything move but what would i see move? is it something on the outside of the servo that i should see move or something on the bigger unit the servo attaches too?
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Basically you will see the center of the air mix damper move (where the small round hole that the shaft goes into, Yes, you need to use a mirror and lots of light to see,on drivers side you will have to look somewhat upwards of the accel, pedal to see the other,Thanks
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
can i see the small hole, where the shaft goes into (and whether it moves or not), without moving the air duct #2 if i have enough light and use a mirror? on the drivers side do i have to remove anything to see it move (or not) if i have enough light and use a mirror?
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
The hole you are seeing, then turn key on, and move control panel knob and see if the hole turns, as far as the drivers side as long as the under shield is removed you will see it, but you have to look close (will make your neck a little sore!)
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
hi, well i did find the anangle to observe the "mode damper servo sub-assembly" as akward as you predictid. i could feel the with my finger the shaft or axel move when i turned the right side knob on the dash, the one that directs the air flow between from low,low-high, high, def. i could also see a dick maybe 5" dia x 3/8" rotate behind the sub-assy. there was no movement when i changed from a/c on or off, or a/c to rec, or res on or off. i ran out od time to check the passenger side but i can get into a position to see and feel it when in the morning. so at least somethin definite was discovered.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Sounds like making progress, let me know tomorrow Thanks
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
ok i am working with a friend wh ofits under the dash a bit better than i do. he has also taken apart dashboards, glove boxes etc. so i suspect we will have to coninue disassembling as we get further into what is wrong. as of yesterday, the driver side servo seems o be working. when the knob that directs airflow is mover from low to hi-lo to hi to defit does direct the air correctly. however turning the recirc on and off or turning air on or off make no visual change. remember that the water hoses coming into the heater radiatror are not flowing due to me recirulating that water flow from the block back into the block.
i can't get to the passenger side servo. it is blocked by a whitish plastic duct. it appears that that can be removed by one screw and some points that seem to clip together. my friend, who can't help again until thursday, says he can uncouple tthe duct. he said he is also comfortable with removing the center counsel. it looks like this will have to take place to get to the whitish plastic unit (shown on your diagram) as two halves, and to which the servos and air duct 1 and 2 attach.

am i at least partially orrect in thinking that that assembly houses the doors that block the heater radiator air flow or allow differing amounts into the interior? i am imagining they may be stuck, or that the motors that move them are failing? are there electrical or electronic components that could have broken wires or other component parts?

i am trying to get feeling as to how deep into this assemblage of parts we will have to go. my friend seems comfortable disassmbling parts and we are taking pictures to help us reassemble.

what is the next step? i imagine taking the ducts off and maybe the servos. glad winter is not around the corner. thanks for the help and thanks in advance for what i am sure remains.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Yes. move the duct out of your way,after you move the duct work then you should be able to see if the motor is moving,Did the other move?
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i could never get into a position to see. i will get the duct work off maybe tomorrow or by thur when i will have some help. thnaks
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago

Keep me informed, Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX good night!

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
at last we got off the opaque plastic ducting air duct #2 on the right, passenger side under the dash. removing the #2 ducting exposed the air mix damper servo sub assy. with the engine running, there was no motion, no rotation of the white colored axel, (as there was on the left side) when i moved the right hand knob that directs flow from hi to lo to hi-lo to defrost. there was no motion at all. tunrning on and of the a/c and or the redcir also produced nothing. might i hope that this now easily accessed part is the problem? i await your opinion and directions for the next step. as always thanks and appreciation. neil
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Ok, remove the screws that retain the air mix damper, and then replace the damper servo assy, Sounds like you have a lot of fun, LOL, I know its not an easy job, But my hats off to you! Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX informed,
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
mr mastertech, it aint exactly a whole lot of fun but saving hundreds sounds like fun.i am sure it is cheaper than having toyota do it and i hope this replacement will fix the poblem. however, with cars there may always be something else. feel free to predicts things that might follow. i certainly wont hold t against you if we don't solve before the worst possibility. thanks again, nice to have a friend by my side, neil
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Yes, to start with we would get about 6 hrs @ $105.00 + $297.67 (for the part) So yes, you are rocking! Just make sure that you disconnect the neg. battery cable, after you replace the damper motor, And then it will relearn posistions after you connect the battery. (after you remove the damper, make sure you can move the door ,just to make sure that there is not some thing blocking /or binding the door! Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX me know, We will fix this issue!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
cool my tech, i just tried to find a price for the part, haven't yet. but it is accessable and if it is teh problem wonderful and you will habe earned your bonus. but more to do. thanks for yo r help, i have already told another friend of your service. talk tomorrow.
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Go to www. Toyodiy.com for this.Thanks
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i managed to get the right side air mix damper servo removed. the electrical connection is disconnected. the white arm won't move. i don't know if it is stuck or needs to me activated by an electrical impullse. the lever on the servo appears to move a part in the main central unit which freely moves. at least that part is not stuck or jammed. any idea how to test the damper to see if it is defective without buying a new one?
Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i tried one more thing with the damper. i replugged the electrical connection and with the engine running ran through all the possible dashboard knob positions - a/c on and of, rec on and off, flow positions - hi , hi-lo, lo, defrost. no motion out of the damper. could i be so lucky that it is thsi part that is defective and replacing it will fix my porblem?
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Yes , the damper is bad, You might check with wrecking yard for part, Or try www.partstrain.com for the damper! Thanks
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
ordered new damper, should be in by tomorrow. hopefully i will have time to install it and then how cool willl it be for my delightul vehicle to purr again. when it all works a bonus will be deserved..
Toyota Mechanic: Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician replied 6 years ago
Sounds great, have a great weekend!
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
i bought the damper (non-returnable) plugged it in and it did nothing, same as the one i replaced. i am kind of bummed.

give me my money back!

you say satisfaction is fully guaranteed. the advice i received solved nothing, give me my money back

where can i ask follow up questions until i am fully satisfied?
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Mastertech 1
Mastertech 1, Toyota Technician
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