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Old 12-06-2017, 08:00 PM   #1
paulsome
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Heater/AC controls malfunction

Hey everybody.

I seem to have a problem with my heater/AC blower. Speeds 1-3 on the control knob do absolutely nothing (on any setting - defrost, panel, floor etc), and speed 4 gives me a very anemic flow of air, probably comparable to what speed 1 should be.

I had read that the highest fan speed was directly connected to the battery, which would explain why it still works, but my questions are thus:

What happened that speeds 1-3 died completely?
Why is speed 4 a fraction of what it should be if it still getting power?
What is the best course of action to fix it?

Being in upstate NY, winter is rearing its frosty head soon, and I would love to get my heat and ability to defrost my windshield working again.

Any insights into this strange problem would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 12-07-2017, 02:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Heater/AC controls malfunction

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsome View Post
.....
I seem to have a problem with my heater/AC blower. Speeds 1-3 on the control knob do absolutely nothing (on any setting - defrost, panel, floor etc), and speed 4 gives me a very anemic flow of air, probably comparable to what speed 1 should be.

What happened that speeds 1-3 died completely?
Why is speed 4 a fraction of what it should be if it still getting power?
What is the best course of action to fix it?
You are correct, high speed is a direct fused connection to the blower motor but doesn't explain the slow speed. Sometimes wiring burns and decreases power flow - examine main wires to blower their connections for wire discoloration. Blockage of debris, critters nesting in the air intake to the blower? You may have to remove the blower to check for debris, test motor direct to battery to determine whether or not its worn out. The lower three speeds are powered thru a resistor card that's mounted in the housing to provide air cooling and may have blown.

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Old 12-08-2017, 11:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Heater/AC controls malfunction

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
The lower three speeds are powered thru a resistor card that's mounted in the housing to provide air cooling and may have blown.
It sounds like the resistor card might be the first thing to check based on the symptoms I am having. I found a few videos on removing it, and the blower motor.
Is there a way to check if the resistor card is functioning, like with a multimeter somehow, to verify that it is in fact malfunctioning? They are only about 25 dollars for a replacement so it's not like it would break the bank to replace it, but if there is a way to diagnose it while I have it out I can least rule out whether or not I have to look into other issues within the blower itself without having to wait until I order and install the resistor.

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Old 12-08-2017, 01:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Heater/AC controls malfunction

Remove the resistor card and examine it. It may be obvious or not. If not, a multimeter can help to measure pinouts. Pin-C is output with one probe on it while measuring pins D, A and B (highest to lowest resistance).
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Heater/AC controls malfunction

Problem solved!

So with the plug for the resistor card taken out, I was able to put the multimeter on it and see that nothing was showing a reading except for the pin for speed 1, but while the knob was set on speed 4, which suggested something was mixed up with the switch itself.

Upon removal of the heater control switchgear panel, I was able to unplug the wiring harness and access the back housing for the fan speed switch where the plug attaches.

It turns out there is a copper colored metal disk that acts as the circuit connection within the switch itself; as you turn the knob for each fan speed, raised nubs on the disk complete the connection to the corresponding fan speed wire, which then connect to the resistor card.

What had happened was that metal disk had rotated within the switch (probably from just turning the knob), and fell off its mounting point and down a little bit within the plug housing. So basically turning the knob for the fan speed did nothing until I moved the knob to speed 4, which was moving the disk enough to make the connection for the wire for fan speed 1, which is why there was such a low amount of air on the highest fan speed.

After the disk was reset and everything put back together, the switch worked good as new. And all without having to order new parts, which seems like a rarity for me. Thanks for the help!

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Old 12-10-2017, 11:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Heater/AC controls malfunction

A faulty fan switch not completely broken? Just had to put it back together to make it work? That's unusual and as you stated better than buying replacement parts.

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