'97 TJ Fixed Blend Door arm today - Jeep Wrangler Forum

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Old 03-02-2013, 07:52 PM   #1
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'97 TJ Fixed Blend Door arm today

With the assistance of the good people here on WF I was able to fix my broken blend door actuator arm today! During this time I was also doing an LED swap on my dash and gauges. Knowing the dash was going to be partly disassembled I figured it was time to fix this HVAC system.

I am posting this to help others who may suffer an HVAC that fails to blow through the correct vents. Mine failed to work on the dash vents but did work on the defrost and floor..

If you suspect the blend door arms are broken you should have already inspected all of your vacuum lines to make sure one of yours hasn't fallen off.
A particular culprit is the one located under the battery tray.
Alot of people solved their blend door issue by reattaching this hose.

If you haven't heard, this job can be extremely daunting due to the awkward positioning the blend door is, in relation to the dash. It is to the right and up from the gas pedal on a 97 TJ.

Upon inspection I found it was one of the two upper blend door actuator arms (yes there are two upper arms and one much lower). The lower arm appears to be a different part number (don't quote me).

I used this part, from this website-
Jeep Parts, Jeep Tops And Jeep Acccessories


Mine had broken off inside the blend door. Half of the arm was still stuck, broken and sunken a bit inside the blend door. To snatch it out, I stuck a long skinny wood screw into this remaining piece and ripped it out with a pair of pliers.

Once removed I installed the new arm and reattached the metal bar onto the hook end of the new arm. On top of that I reattached the locking washer.

I had heard and read about people removing seats and dismantling their dashes pretty extensively to do this repair. I had an easier time by getting completely upside down like so


Lol I know! Still pretty torturous but not as bad as laying on the door sill with your feet on the ground and cracking your back. This saved me what could have been alot of extra work and agony.
I hope this post helps some people out. I dealt with this busted heater/ac for a full year. Using this upside down maneuver I had this job done in about 40 minutes. Well worth it!
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:35 PM   #2
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Off topic, do you like the hurst shifter?

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Old 03-03-2013, 03:19 AM   #3
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Wow man, good job. I couldn't fit like that if my life depended on it...
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by RepairMan View Post
Off topic, do you like the hurst shifter?
Yes it came on the jeep but it is every bit a hurst shifter. Smooth shifts and looks great.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:09 AM   #5
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Thanks fellas. Glad to have gotten that out of the way.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:34 AM   #6
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My body hurts just from looking at that pic.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:31 AM   #7
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Ouch! Doubt my 6'5" big a$$ could fit like that either. Nice job!
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:33 AM   #8
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Hahah, yeah I'm 6'2 and it still hurt but not as bad as ripping out most of the dash to replace a $13 plastic blend door arm. First I tried doing it with my feet on the ground and back bent on the door sill, I'm in good shape but that still crushed my back pretty hard. I don't know how guys normally fix this commonly broken part on the TJ but this is how I did it and once I figured it out it only took minutes. Even if you can't do it you can probably direct someone a little more flexible on what needed to be done.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:56 AM   #9
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Hopefully yours doesn't break again. That's the problem I'm having. I've fixed it twice already and they keep breaking. Glad you got yours fixed though.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:03 AM   #10
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Man, that pic is awesome. Sums up working on a TJ quite nicely
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CJ7GoldenEagle View Post
Hopefully yours doesn't break again. That's the problem I'm having. I've fixed it twice already and they keep breaking. Glad you got yours fixed though.
Which one of yours keeps breaking? Where at does it break? Whose arm are you replacing it with? The one I installed, the arm part (not the post that goes into the motor) was slightly shorter than the one I removed... Hope this stays working. I think I will leave it on vents from here out!

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Man, that pic is awesome. Sums up working on a TJ quite nicely
Oh yeah. Even still I enjoy turning wrenches on the Jeep more so than any vehicle I've worked on in the past.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurlySoldier View Post
Which one of yours keeps breaking? Where at does it break? Whose arm are you replacing it with? The one I installed, the arm part (not the post that goes into the motor) was slightly shorter than the one I removed... Hope this stays working. I think I will leave it on vents from here out!
The ones for the defroster and the upper vents. The "starred" part that presses into the door itself is what keeps breaking off, leaving the rest of it dangling off the metal strip coming off the actuator. They are the plastic Omix-ada pieces like you find on the internet. I can't remember what site I got them from though.

Are yours still holding up?
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Old 03-19-2013, 06:26 PM   #13
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I know this old shade tree mechanic that has an old ironing board that he made an adjustable leg for the wide end of the board. He would lay the board in the floorboard of the vehicle and adjust leg to the desired height. It made working under the dash a breeze.
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Old 05-03-2014, 02:01 PM   #14
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First, thanks a million to BurlySoldier for the photo and position recommendation. Luckily I'm only 5'9", so other than my side aching a bit, I completed the job in 30 minutes. I only had to replaced the upper defrost door lever (e Just a couple of tips for the future. Hope mine holds up!

1. Pliers did not work for me. I'm right handed I could get enough leverage. After banging up my left hand, I grabbed a L-shaped tool for pulling nails. First yank and it was out!

2. I had read that the omix-ada part numbers were backwards. I ordered both 17910.01 and 17910.02 from extremeterrain.com. Turns out, 17910.02, labelled the upper defrost door, was backordered. I went ahead with removing the broken piece from the door. I compared what came out of my 1997 and sure enough it matches exactly the 17910.01 part they sent me. So, if you are not getting air from your defrost vent, order 17910.01 as the replacement part.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:50 AM   #15
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You are so welcome! I'm glad it helped. I'm currently trying to figure out what is wrong with my vents (again). They are only blowing out the drivers side window vent. Annoying as hell!
Also my completely new AC system I did last summer (compressor, dryer, hoses, o-rings and flush professionally done) ain't even cold. Thousand bucks at least on that one and it don't work worth a shit.
F&$kin Jeep!!
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:24 PM   #16
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I know this is an old thread but can someone tell me if the actuators just pop in and out of the hvac box? I have a 97 and only have defrost blowing on any setting. Thanks!
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:10 PM   #17
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They do just pop in but they do not just pop out. If you can get a hold and pull real hard they will come out. You can also push them in (If they broke inside) and they will fall out the bottom. I have replaced one of mine (1997) and fixed two others.
I must say if you are doing this it is much easier to do if you take the drivers side seat out. Then you can lay down in the jeep and work. The two I fixed (I wish I had took some pictures) I took the actuators out ( the broken part) drilled a small hole through it that a Small wood screw would go through, the found the correct position that in needs to be in and screwed the screw in the the part still in the heater unit.
I hope this helps.
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Old 12-18-2015, 08:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomhelzer View Post
They do just pop in but they do not just pop out. If you can get a hold and pull real hard they will come out. You can also push them in (If they broke inside) and they will fall out the bottom. I have replaced one of mine (1997) and fixed two others.
I must say if you are doing this it is much easier to do if you take the drivers side seat out. Then you can lay down in the jeep and work. The two I fixed (I wish I had took some pictures) I took the actuators out ( the broken part) drilled a small hole through it that a Small wood screw would go through, the found the correct position that in needs to be in and screwed the screw in the the part still in the heater unit.
I hope this helps.
Thanks!
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Old 12-19-2015, 02:27 PM   #19
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well today I fixed my defrost only problem, mine was considerably easier than fighting with blend doors. I had a vacuum issue, as in, no vacuum. Traced the lines and discovered that the feed was not connected. It got over looked during a motor swap and a plug was made for the intake man. port. Plugged feed line in and Viola! dash air once again!
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Old 08-13-2016, 04:00 PM   #20
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I know this is an old forum but the problem is the same. I have a 97 wrangler also with the broken leavers that attach to the metal arms of the actuators. Air will only blow at the floor and the side window defrost. I can hear the air blowing at the vents of the dash but air does not come out because the door for the dash does not open and the windshield defrost does not blow air out.

I purchased new leavers but part of the leavers are broken off inside and I have tried all suggestions to get them out. Tried connecting the pieces with the screw which was impossible, I am tempted to use super glue to reattach the broken pieces but if I get the glue in the wrong place I may cause further damage that can not be fixed.

I called the Jeep headquarters and filed a complaint in hopes to get the makers of Jeep to do a recall on this very common problem; it is a very big safety issue when you do not have any air, heat, or can't defrost you windshield. According to Jeep, I am the only one that has filed a complaint regarding this; also stated if they get enough people calling with complaints they could possible do a recall on certain models, years, or even certain vin numbers.

If you have had a similar type problem please, please, call 1-877-426-5337 open 24 hrs. a day and file a complaint. Have your vin. # ready they will ask for it and be sure to ask for a case number for your records. If we get them to do a recall you will receive something in the mail. We should not have to pay $500-$1000 labor to replace a $15 dollar part; or we should not have to lay on our backs practically standing on our heads for two days trying to fix these things, after all if were not for you and I they would not even be in business. Please make that call. Thanks
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:55 AM   #21
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Hammer

Did you get this working yet? I'm attempting to get under the dash and have a look tonight to see what part I need to order.

Thanks for all the help peeps!
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Old 08-26-2016, 01:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerhead55 View Post
I know this is an old forum but the problem is the same. I have a 97 wrangler also with the broken leavers that attach to the metal arms of the actuators. Air will only blow at the floor and the side window defrost. I can hear the air blowing at the vents of the dash but air does not come out because the door for the dash does not open and the windshield defrost does not blow air out.

I purchased new leavers but part of the leavers are broken off inside and I have tried all suggestions to get them out. Tried connecting the pieces with the screw which was impossible, I am tempted to use super glue to reattach the broken pieces but if I get the glue in the wrong place I may cause further damage that can not be fixed.

I called the Jeep headquarters and filed a complaint in hopes to get the makers of Jeep to do a recall on this very common problem; it is a very big safety issue when you do not have any air, heat, or can't defrost you windshield. According to Jeep, I am the only one that has filed a complaint regarding this; also stated if they get enough people calling with complaints they could possible do a recall on certain models, years, or even certain vin numbers.

If you have had a similar type problem please, please, call 1-877-426-5337 open 24 hrs. a day and file a complaint. Have your vin. # ready they will ask for it and be sure to ask for a case number for your records. If we get them to do a recall you will receive something in the mail. We should not have to pay $500-$1000 labor to replace a $15 dollar part; or we should not have to lay on our backs practically standing on our heads for two days trying to fix these things, after all if were not for you and I they would not even be in business. Please make that call. Thanks
I have thee strongest suspicion that Jeep/Chrysler will not do a recall on a 19 year old vehicle for a blending door. Dont get your hopes up.
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:38 AM   #23
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I know that getting the recall would have been a long shot but I am one to voice my opinion anyway.

In answer to some of the response, I took the knee panel and the metal plate knee panel off; taking the front seat out is a good ideal but what I did was to use a narrow piece of plywood and put one end on a ladder to hold it up outside the Jeep, even with the front seat all the way back it was a tight fit for me and note that I am a small person.

I had worked two days with no luck and had given up, which is not like me. After deciding to give it one more shot, I took a deck type screw about 1.5 to 2 inches and screwed it into the piece that was broken off inside the hole, it does not have to be screwed in very far. I then used a sturdy needle nose pliers and got a death grip on the screw from the side and pulled with all my might while praying and got the sucker out, this was for the panel vents the one with the red vac. line. I had more difficulty with the one for the defrost but was able to get the pliers on that screw thru the opening while standing up and got that one out as well. While doing this you will have to select different positions on the control panel to get the metal arms out of the way.

Also note the position of those metal arms to the leavers, one side of the metal arms is raised in the center and that side will go towards the lever. The retainer washers would not fit the new leavers so I used a small lock nut type washer and pushed it on real tight.

I got the new leavers from www.Extremeterrain.com however, they do have the part numbers reversed and this is what you will need to order depending on the lever you need. 17910.02 is for AC Plenum Door Lever Lower AC Panel 97-01 Wrangler, 17910.01 is for AC Plenum Door Lever Upper Defroster Door 97-01 Wrangler. The Panel lever is shorter than the Defroster lever.

Let me encourage you, I am a 61 year old female and if I can do it so can you. It is sweet victory, the prayer helped!! Good Luck
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:15 AM   #24
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Question Blend Door Arm Positions









So the blend door arms that go to the Blue and Red cylinders appear to be connected. I have floor and the outer dash vents working. Defrost and center console vents do not. Is there an arm that's missing for the Yellow cylinder? I can't see where that would connect. Is this my problem? Thanks!
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:05 AM   #25
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BuhlScat,
I responded to your duplicate post here:
Defrost not blowing
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:52 AM   #26
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BuHLScat: The blue and yellow are on the same actuator and that should work the floor and windshield defrost. The red is on actuator by itself and works the front panel vents. My problem was the floor and side window vents blowing as well. Your picture looks a little different on the arms and levers. My red actuator went to the closest of the arms and that lever hole was lower than the second one that was further away. I would make sure the lever with arm that is connected is not just stuck in the hole and still could be broken off from the other piece in the hole, other words it could look like it is working but still broken off on the inside. If you do not hear that door opening when you work the control knobs the lever could be broken off inside. You could take the arm loose and see if you can pull the lever out as well.

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