Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby 888 [OP] » May 11th 2017, 12:50pm

I have a 97 Astro LT with 93k miles purchased from an old gentleman's estate. it sat in his dry heated garage for around 2 years while he was ill. It seems to have survived the storage just fine except for one thing.....the air from the HVAC vents in all positions is extremely weak regardless of fan speed.

I can hear the fan changing speeds and running it's little heart out but nothing is making it out of any of the vents. I don't believe the AC works because I can't hear the compressor kick on but again, so little air is making it out I can't be sure.

I did a search on here and came across a number of threads which were all very helpful,

From what I see, the vacuum lines etc in the engine compartment seem to be more concerned with hot versus cold air supply (I have both, just very little of either) and damper/diverter position to move air from one vent/duct position to another. Is this correct? I think the dampers are working to switch air around between vents but it's really hard to say because the airflow is so low.

Anyway, it seems most likely there is an obstruction like a mouse nest in the ducting after the blower but before the ducting diverter is installed or somewhere before the blower wherever it gets it's air. I've dragged a lot of vehicles out of barns and I know mice usually leave a pretty good stench behind when they build a nest and I don't have any of that but an obstruction seems to make the most sense.

I found the procedure below to remove the blower motor.

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=13764

I don't see where the blower gets it's air but that will probably be obvious once I pop the hood to pull the blower motor.

I'm guessing the place I need to check for something "inbound" of the blower must be down that small duct behind the motor? Is that something that can be accessed from inside the van under the passenger side dash? I need to drive back and forth to work daily so I'd like to know what I'm getting into before taking it apart.

Any other suggestions on places to look?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby chevymaher » May 12th 2017, 12:36pm

The inlet in in the passenger door jam. More likely the problem is dust and such in the heater core and evaporator coils.

So find cargo crawlers thread where he rebuilt the A/C system to see what the parts are and where they go. If this is it pack a lunch the dash is coming apart.

Shortcut that may help is doing what your talking about reaching in the blower motor hole and just clean what you can there.
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby 888 [OP] » May 12th 2017, 1:33pm

Thanks very much for the reply. I'll check for that thread but if it's not in the general blower motor assembly and ducting I can easily get to, it's headed to Carmax as it is when I'm done with it.

It's nice and I like it but it's a short term "rental" I needed for the automatic transmission until my shoulder heals enough post surgery that I can go back to driving my manual transmission car and truck. It's all I have to drive so I can't spare it long enough to take the dash apart anyway so I'll have to live with it.
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby chevymaher » May 12th 2017, 1:43pm

No unfortunately it is the biggest PIA to get to.
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby AstroWill » May 12th 2017, 3:15pm

The most common failure is the vacuum hoses/lines. I would start there first, for less than $10 you can replace the ones under the hood, usually it's the ones going to/from the vacuum reservoir. You should be able to hear the the diverters/doors moving when you change the HVAC mode switch. This is where I would look first. Also check the recirc door for operation as it can cause what you are experiencing.

You can also pull the access panel to the heater core, just a few cross-point screws and the large flat black panel pops off. Can use a shop vac or air compressor and blow some air through it. If you are getting lots of air through there when you pull the panel, then you wouldn't have a blockage before that point.

Blower motor is easy to pull as well, if you have a blockage, that is probably where it's at, as all airflow goes through the evaporator. You can pull the blower motor resistor pack and look inside for FOD before actually pulling the blower.

All in all, I'm betting on the recirculation door being the issue.

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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby 888 [OP] » May 12th 2017, 6:07pm

Thanks very much for the reply and explanation.

I'll look up where the access panel for the heater core is located, I'm sure that is on here.

I didn't think it was a vacuum issue or diverters/doors because I don't think ANY of the vents are passing significant air. However, I could easily be wrong, and I did not know/think of a recirculation door.

I called the local dealer and they did not stock the the GM vacuum line assembly, they checked the area and can order it in but they aren't open saturdays and I can't get there weekday hours.

I see Rock Auto has it so I'll just add it on to some other stuff I'm getting from there and dig into it then. I have a lot of vacuum tubing and hard plastic tubing in various diameters so I should be able to come up with something for whatever else may be needed.

I just need to be prepared in advance because I have nothing else to drive if I need more than I have, haha.
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby AstroWill » May 12th 2017, 6:22pm

Shouldn't need any vacuum line assembly, just regular vacuum hose/tubing. None of the vacuum stuff will keep you from being able to drive the van.

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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby 888 [OP] » May 13th 2017, 12:29pm

After further review as they say in the NFL all too often, I've determined that there is air from the defroster vents but nowhere else. Don't know how I missed that but I did.

I noticed that the washer reservoir is cracked where it attaches to the radiator support so I'll head up to the pick and pull this weekend sometime and see if I can find one of those and do all this at the same time.

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby AstroWill » May 13th 2017, 1:26pm

Might want to look into new vs used, they all break eventually, and the Dorman replacement is cheap.

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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby 888 [OP] » May 13th 2017, 1:45pm

Thanks, I don't have any experience with Astros (obviously!) so I didn't know if this was a common problem or not.
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888
Fueling (1/8 tank)
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Re: Area for debris to accumulate around blower motor?

Postby 888 [OP] » May 21st 2017, 2:43pm

I just wanted to wrap this one up so if anyone does a search, they have more to look at.

I ended up buying both the new Dorman coolant/washer fluid reservoir ($16 or so) and the AC Delco OEM vacuum line ($6 or so) from Rock Auto. I missed the fine print about there being no hole in the Dorman for one of the sensors, but I just drilled a hole and transferred the sensor assembly from the old unit over.

There was no vacuum ball in the area below/behind the coolant/wiper reservoir so I figured I was looking at photos of the wrong generation and started poking around. After looking at the OEM vacuum line and much poking around, I found the broken end of the plastic black line hiding up by the firewall passenger side so I knew I was on the right track.

I removed the air filter housing outer intake hose from the air flow meter via the hose clamp furthest out on the assembly. I then removed the innermost hose clamp and removed the inner intake hose and air flow meter together. That looked like all the room I was going to have to work with so I started looking around.

No sign of the other end of the black plastic line so I started feeling around on the right side of the intake bore and found it. Broken off just about even with the end of the intake bore, barely visible, most of the plastic part was gone. The PO said he installed a thermostat so I assume he broke it off doing that.

I couldn't get enough of a grip to pull the rubber boot off of the nipple back there to install the new OEM line, just not enough room. I ended up using one hand to steer a section of rubber vacuum line onto the broken off end. It took a large number of minutes and inventive words to accomplish this but it worked. I threaded the new rubber vacuum line as high up as I could get it and connected it to the end over by the coolant reservoir.

I now have air from all vents according to the position of the switch on the dash and I believe I have AC. I hear the compressor kick on and it may need a little recharge but it appears to work.

I'm going to be getting something else to replace the Astro but at least it's worth more now than it was before, thanks to the help I got on here.
Original Poster [OP]
888
Fueling (1/8 tank)
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Extra Info: RWD 4.3


 
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