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Barton Davis 08-11-2013 12:47 AM

1997 Jeep Wrangler dash blower fire
Whenever I turn my blower on, AC, heater or otherwise I've started to smell something like leaves burning, that is coming out of my vents.
It usually goes away and I forget about it. Last night (it's been really hot in TX) I went to run a short errand and smoke started to come out of all the vents to the point where I could not see and I thought the vehicle was going to burn up.
I am a wildland firefighter with the US Forest Service with 20 years experience and I didn't know how to put it out.
I pulled over, could not see a thing and managed to find myself in a small business parking lot that was already closed.
Poured a 16 oz bottle of water down the vent by the wipers but the smoke was already slowly fading but by the amount of smoke I thought the vehicle was about to be consumed.
Anyway after the smoke subsided i poured more water down the vent opening between the wipers and cautiously made my way home.
I want to fix the problem, I know it's a buildup of leaves, pine needles and what not, but I want to know how to prevent it.
My blower works only on high after this and I know it's due to my in dash fire.
I want to fix the problem as well as prevent it from happening again.
Any advice would be appreciated.

Nissantech 08-11-2013 01:55 AM

Same thing happend to a ford ranger I use't to have. Lol I had to do the same thing with the water it scared the crap outa me. The problem with your fan speed only working on full blast is the blower motor resistor and its usually under 30$, it must have burned up in the fire in your blower housing. The pile of leaves, acorns, pine needles and whatever else might be in your blower housing could be from mice, squirrels, or just debris coming in from the fresh air vent. If you normally park under a tree that's when it gets the worst. Just remove your blower should be easy never done it on a jeep wrangler tho but clean out the inside of blower housing. Hope this helps.

Barton Davis 08-12-2013 07:14 PM

Thanks for the reply, I've researched it a little more and I think your right that the fan blower resistor was part of the problem. The fan only works on high now which indicates its probably the resistor and the blower makes a rough sound. I'll replace the resistor and check out the blower as well. To generate that much smoke I'm sure I have collateral damage of some kind.
Sounds like the best way to prevent this is by keeping the debris out of the fresh air vent.
Thanks again for the feedback.

Barton Davis 08-16-2013 12:39 AM

Looked at everything with the cowl off and found a few things wrong.

The main drain to the back of the engine to the ground was stopped up, which meant the tray (everything under the cowling) backed up with water and leaked, spilled over where it could and I had water coming in the floorboard. Maybe I missed this in some of the forum conversation but at the same time I hope this helps someone else that has a '97 with the same problem. That fire could have been a lot worse I'm just surprised there is not more discussion a about it. Maybe there's not that many 1997 Jeep Wranglers out there.

flflash 08-16-2013 07:21 PM

Glad you saved it, could have been a lot worse. The Jeep in my avatar burnt to the ground due to the same problem.

ChasUGC 08-16-2013 09:03 PM

Wow, this is something to consider. I have a 1997 Wrangler Sport with AC, and I have never heard of this problem. I have heard a lot of clanking at times, like moving screws, when I turn on my AC. I am assuming that someone dropped some screws inside my AC somewhere. I did have this problem with my Mustang GTA years ago. When I finally got the repair experience, I removed the blower housing and removed the screws. Of course, the clanking stopped. I haven't got the repair experience with my 1997 Wrangler yet.

So, are you saying that the leaves and debris came fell into the AC system from the vent, under the windshield wipers, outside the car? If so, how can you clean it out, or check for debris? Is there a video that shows the access and re-assembly? I would hate to have my Jeep burn up. Thanks.

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