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Old 09-01-2015, 09:08 PM   #1
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Blower motor resistor

The dash heater/air conditioner fan in my 03 alpine is not acting correctly. When the fan is on HIGH, it works fine. Any lower speeds, the fan rpm's fluctuate. A mechanic friend of mine tells me it is the blower motor resistor. Does anyone have any information on this?

Thanks,
Frank
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Old 09-01-2015, 09:56 PM   #2
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The resistor 'pack' are a group of large resistors that drop voltage to lower fan speeds. If one or more resistors burns out, the whole pack is replaced. Often 4 wires run from the dash control to the resistor pack. It is located either in the plenum so moving air cools it or on the firewall in front of the windshield. You can find it by tracing the wires from the HVAC dash control to it's location.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:33 AM   #3
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Had to replace my ran motor several years ago--bad bearing. Did not see the typical resistor pack near/around the air box where the fan motor is mounted. Have replaced resistor packs on older vehicles [eg, 87 Vettte] before but not sure if newer vehicles still use this technology. Given the issues you are having, could be the resistor or the switch on the dash controls. Let us know what you find.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:48 AM   #4
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Resistance is still the easiest way to reduce voltage. Some newer resistor packs have resistors in different configurations than the old 'toaster coil' appearance, but they still have resistance.

Many resistor packs also have bimetallic strips in them that kick the fan speed up a notch when they get too hot. This behavior is called the "Magic blower syndrome" because the fan changes speed on it's own. If you're a tinkerer and if all the resistors are doing their jobs and you still have all the fan speeds, you could bend the bimetallic strips a tiny bit further apart and reduce the jump in speeds.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:55 AM   #5
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If there is a bimetallic strip in the mix I suspect it is there to keep from burning out a resistor step or some other version of overheating. I would not mess with it. YMMV.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:57 AM   #6
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Frank,

FWIW ... the air flow coming from the AC (or even when heating) is very inconsistent while driving down the road. In particular, passing cars and especially semi's in adjacent lanes going either direction significantly affected the air flow for a few seconds at a time. I believe cross winds also affect the air flow. Someone previously posted that the AC selections use outside air EXCEPT when using the "MAX" setting which recirculates inside air. I only use the "MAX" setting from now on which provides consistent air flow.
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:03 AM   #7
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Problem solved. I found the resistor way up under the dash (passenger side, generator slide opening). I removed it (coil toaster type) and took it to Napa to get a replacement. They spent a good 45 minutes trying to find it, but no luck. They even called Ford (it has a Ford part number on it). Guess what, that resistor is the same resistor that was used in 1980 thru 85 Ford panel trucks. Obviously obsolete and probably unavailable. They has a similar looking one that had the exact same coil configuration and plug tabs. Tried to install this one, but it did not work. Then I looked at the old one that I had removed. No broken coils or wires, everything seemed in tact. Sooo, a little wire brushing, and electrical cleaning spray, and plugged it back in. Works great. If anyone ever does find a usable replacement, please post it for the greater good.

Frank
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:14 AM   #8
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If you have part numbers--Rock Auto is a good place to look for "old and obsolete"....
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:59 AM   #9
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FWIW I have also heard of using commercial fixed value high power resistors in place of a burned out step. Use crimp connections to install them to the broken wires.
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