Thread: The great blend door teardown (with pics)

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    Default The great blend door teardown (with pics)

    So a week or two ago I drained my coolant and refilled it and turned the heater to full on to make sure the heater core purged any air (which I later found out was unnecessary). In doing so, I suddenly lost the ability for my HVAC system to blow cold air. I wasn't sure what was wrong initially, so I went through as much troubleshooting as I could. There is not water valve in the heater core plubming, so that ruled that possibiliy out. Turning the temp dial made noise at the servo, so it appeared to work. I later snaked a boroscope on top of the HVAC box and could just barely make out the plastic coupler that connects the servo to the blend door (seen later) and saw that it appeared to be moving. I finally put the boroscope down the dash vent and into the HVAC box and saw that the temp door wasn't moving, so it was time to dig into the dash to see what I could do.

    I have a service manual and would suggest that anyone who enjoys wrenching on their own cars gets one. It is a great piece of literature and has some very good info in it. Not only does it tell you about removal and installation for components, but a lot of the time it will tell you the method and theory of operation as well, which is fun for an engineer like myself. Reading through it, the dash had to come out to get to the HVAC box, so I got everything ready and dug in.

    I have done half of this job a few times now as I replaced all the lights in the car with LEDs I bought as a kit, so it wasn't really that bad of a job. I had the whole dash out in about 1.5 hours and pretty much the only "special" tool you need is a set of torx bits. The rest is just a phillips screwdriver and typical sockets. A trim stick can be handy too to help prevent damaging the plastics with metal tools.

    The first step is to remove the center console cover and shifter boot. It's just held in by snap clips and can be pulled straight up. Be careful to not pull too far though as you have to unplug the cigarette lighter and window switches. Next, the center instrument panel comes out which is held in by the visible allen head screws around its perimeter and the oen phillips screw at the bottom that is normally hidden by the center console trim. As a side note, strictly speaking I don't believe the seats have to come out, but it gives you so much more room that I would recommend it (which is why they aren't in any of my pictures).

    DSCN0889 2.jpg

    Next, the center tunnel needs to be slid back, though in the end it's easier to just remove it as well. There are two screws at the front that attach it to the main instrument panel trim (the big black plastic piece that goes around the steering wheel gauges), four screws under the arm rest storage compartment, and two screws at the back that attach it to the rear waterfall panel. I didn't remove it initially, but when I went to pull the dash itself out I just took it out to get it out of the way.

    Afterwards the sill plate trim pieces and kick panels can come out. The sill plate trim is just held in with clips and can be pulled straight up to remove.

    I'm talking about these panels:

    DSCN0924.jpg

    The kick panel on the driver's side has two push pin christmas tree things holding it in down by the pedals and a single phillips screw that is under the sill plate trim. The passenger side only has one push pin and the same phillips screw.

    With those out of the way the lower dash panels can come out easier. The driver's side is held in with two screws on the bottom and a few press in clips. Remove the screws and start at the outboard side pulling back towards you and down just a tad to remove the clips. Then pull sideways a bit to release the clip that holds it to the tunnel. Remember to unplug the pedal adjuster switch as well.

    You can remove the passenger side next, but it is a bit easier to remove the main instrument panel surround first. And to remove it, it helps to pull the steering column cover and lower the column. There are two screws at the front of the column cover (go in from the bottom), and the back of the shell just clips together. Pull the screws and press in on the bottom half of the shell towards the back to release the two halves. Aftwards, you should be able to see two nuts that hold the steering column up if you look down in there. Loosen these are far as you can without taking them off and it will let the steering well come down to give you more clearance to get the instrument panel surround off.

    The nuts are where the yellow arrows point.

    DSCN0922.jpg

    There are three screws that hold the instrument panel surround trim in under the driver's side lower panel that we just removed. Otherwise the rest of the panel is held in with press in clips. Be careful here and pull gentle and directly near the clips if you can as this piece is large and could crack. It's also got that soft touch finish, so you don't want to hit it on stuff on the way out.

    DSCN0891.jpg

    On the passenger side you'll need to remove the glovebox door first to remove the lower dash panel, which is three torx screws on the hinge along the bottom and the two plastic tethers that just clip out. With that out of the way there are two screws that are under the center instrument panel trim and two (I think) screws along the top edge that get removed and the panel can pull out in a similar motion to the driver's side (down first then to the side).

    DSCN0893.jpg

    As a side note here, you may notice I have tons of felt patches on my car that you will likely not have on yours. I have been dealing with a bunch of squeaks and rattles in the past and tried to quiet them down by felting where panels attached. So far it seems to have worked reasonably well.

    With all the panels removed, the last piece to come out before the dash itself is the steering column. The Viper has a neat feature here. The column actually has a joint inside the car, so you don't have to remove anything from the engine bay (which can be hard to get to). Before removing anything though, you'll need to unplug the 5 connectors that go to the steering column. After that, go under the dash to find a u-joint with a pinch bolt. Remove the pinch bolt and the two nuts at the back of the column, then finish removing the two nuts that we loosened earlier to lower the steering wheel. You may have to get a screwdriver in the gap of the u-joint to spread it a tad, but the column should just pull back and out once you've lowered it enough to clear the front studs.

    DSCN0897.jpg

    Okay, now that your car is looking a little more barren, it's time for the big daddy, the dash itself. First things first, we need to disconnect all the electrical connectors and ground wires. On the driver's side, up under the kick panel is the BCM. It has 5 connectors on it that need to come off. There are also two connectors that go to the door as well as a large connector with a latch style lock and one more larger connector. There are also two ground wires on a single bolt on the outboard side, and two more on the inboard side on individual studs. The two large connectors are mounted on tabs that you'll need to remove them from. The white connector pulls down (I think) and the black connector pulls back I believe. You also need to unplug the pedal adjust motor and the brake switch, which are easily visible from looking down the hole where the steering column used to be.

    DSCN0913.jpg

    DSCN0912.jpg

    To be continued on next post (due to picture limitation).
    Last edited by MoparMap; 09-06-2017 at 11:50 AM.

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