Question about 1996 Dodge Stratus

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AC and Heating vents that direct air flow have jammed closed, air flow goes to front window, some to floor, none to driver or passenger. How do I access to free up? In addition, AC doesn't blow cool, heater does blow warm. Also, dial to interior/exterior air flow has broken. But I will be happy if air flow restored.

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Thanks for using FixYa. Try and check if the heater core is plugged. Find the 2 coolant lines going to the heater core. They are right next to each other with approx 3/4" hoses going to the engine. Now, warm up the engine with the heater on max (don’t turn on the fan). Next, feel if the hoses are warm (maybe HOT!) If they are not warm, then you most likely have a plugged core. A back flush will resolve the issue. If your hoses are warm, turn on the fan. One hose should go cold (or cooler than the other, actually should be about the same temp as the air from your air vents, if there is a plug). If both hoses are hot and stay hot, and you have no heat, then the problem is not with the heater core but with the blend doors.

There are electric motors that operate the "blend doors" inside the dash directing air flow from the heater core and A/C evaporator core to the cab of the vehicle. If you feel a drastic difference in one of the radiator hoses, then try replacing the thermostat and see what happens. If all the heater and radiator hoses are pretty much the same temperature I would suspect a control problem in the dash controls or in the blend door operation. You’ll need to remove the dash to check these. Please do accept the solution if the issue is resolved or else revert for further assistance.


Posted on Feb 05, 2010


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On the heater/AC case assembly under the dash are several vacuum or cable operated doors that direct the air flow where it is supposed to go. One door will close off air flow past the AC portion and direct it past the heater core. When you change from defrost to floor vents or dash vents, one of your doors is not operating properly. So yes, it can be fixed, but depending on the model it may be relatively easy, or horrendously complicated.

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SECTION 412-01: Air Distribution and Filtering 2001 Focus Workshop Manual DESCRIPTION AND OPERATION Air Distribution and Filtering The new heating and ventilation system ensures even air distribution.
The temperature control and air distribution flaps are controlled by two operating cables. All vehicles have a recirculated air function, with the flap controlled by a servo motor.
Air is supplied to the windscreen and side windows regardless of the air distribution setting.
The clean air filter is fitted as standard in most countries. This cleans the incoming fresh air of pollen and dirt particles. It must be renewed after every 40,000 km under normal operation conditions, or after 20,000 km under difficult conditions. If no clean air filter is installed, a plastic grille is fitted over the air intake. This can easily be replaced with a clean air filter.
Air distribution operating switch
Face level The main flow of air enters the passenger compartment at face level.
Face level/floor level The main flow of air enters the passenger compartment in equal parts at face level and floor level, and a small amount flows to the demister nozzles of the side windows.
Floor level The main flow of air enters the passenger compartment at floor level, and a smaller amount flows to the demister nozzles of the side windows.
Demist/floor level The main flow of air enters the passenger compartment in equal parts at the windscreen and at floor level, and a smaller amount flows to the demister nozzles of the side windows.
Demist The main flow of air enters the passenger compartment at the windscreen and a smaller amount flows to the demister nozzles of the side windows.
Air distribution operating switch Air distribution operating cables
NOTE: The Bowden cables for LHD and RHD vehicles are identical. However, they are fastened to the air flap operating mechanism with the respective reverse side of their connectors.
The air distribution switch operates with two Bowden cables. The cables operate the air distribution valves in the heater housing.
To remove and install the cables, the rotary switch must be turned as far as it will go to the left. The air flap mechanism engages easily in this position, making the installation of the cables easier.
Air Distribution Cable Control Assembly Removal
s1y~us~en~file=ani_caut.gif~gen~ref.gif CAUTION: Disconnect the battery ground cable. For additional information, refer to Section 414-01 .
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  1. Remove the bezel with heater/air conditioning controls (continued).
    • Pull off seven electrical connectors (six shown).
  1. NOTE: To remove the Bowden cables, turn the rotary switches as far as they will go to the left.
    Remove the bezel with heater/air conditioning controls (continued).
    • Unclip the Bowden cables.
  1. Remove the lower driver's side footwell trim.
  1. Unclip and remove the air distribution Bowden cables.
  1. Unclip and remove the temperature control Bowden cables.
    • Unclip and remove the temperature control Bowden cables.
  1. NOTE: Route the new Bowden cables without kinks and check for easy accessibility.
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    NOTE: The Bowden cables are identical for RHD and LHD vehicles, although they are fastened to the air flap operating mechanism with the reverse side of their connectors.
    Install the components in reverse order.
  1. Check operation of the Bowden cables.

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