Question about 1998 Toyota Camry

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Heater box air flow problem on 1998 Camry CE V6

I have a 1998 Camry CE V6. Recently I found that I am unable to get air flow through the center console vents. When I switch to the center vents only, there is a loud high pitched whistling noise so obviously, the air damper is barely open for these vents. When I switch to defrost or floor everything is fine and I get decent air flow.

I looked at the servos that are visible from the driver side floor area and they seem to turn freely when I switch positions on the vent selector. At this point I took it to a dealer. They told me it could be just a jammed damper from something falling into the heater box or it could be a broken plastic part, in which case they would have to replace the whole heater box since there are no separate orderable components. I was told that it is a two day job for an experienced tech to remove and re-install the dash and the charge would be $775 for labor and another $531 for the box if it is needed.

If this was a case where I didn't have any heat or A/C I would definitely do it. But since it's just an annoying inconvenience, I hate to spend that much money. The car also needs struts and strut tops so I'd rather spend that money on those.

I would appreciate any recommendations. I am definitely no mechanic but am reasonable handy with tools. Is the dash removal really a two day job? I would consider trying it myself but I definitely don't want to break an expensive part or get to the point where I have to take a pile of pieces to a mechanic to put back together. And I am curious about the heater box-- do these break regularly? Are they hard to replace or is it possible to repair one? As for my experience level, the closest thing to this that I have done was to install an alarm in a 2004 Toyota 4WD pickup that involved removing and re-installing the entire dash. It took me quite a while (about 13 hours) but I did get it back together.

Thanks in advance.

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  • wtm3 Sep 05, 2008

    Thanks. I just ordered a fiber scope (actually, a Ridgid SeeSnake) to take a look down inside before I decide what to do. If the door is warped, is it an easy fix?



    Thanks,

    Bill

  • mhnada2001 Oct 13, 2008

    my car did not get hot fast

  • Anonymous Oct 14, 2008

    the Rive Shaft (RH) loosness

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  • Toyota Master
  • 60,769 Answers

It is likely the air diversion door has something jamming it or the door has warped from heat, I have seen both issues.

Posted on Sep 04, 2008

  • yadayada
    yadayada Sep 05, 2008

    No easy fix, 5-6 hours, you will have to pull the dash out to service that part.

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