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NOTE: Be sure to review the "Related Questions" for additional information and tips on fixing these heater problems.A few things to check:
  • Check coolant level
  • Heater core may be plugged or restricted
  • Heater core may be air bound
  • Thermostat may not be operating properly
  • Water pump may not be circulating coolant
No heat from heater

I have a 2001 Windstar which had the same problem. At first when you adjusted the temperature selector you could hear a slight thumping noise coming from the temperature selector. I dismantled everything to get to where the noise came from. After hours of messing around, this is what I found. In front of the housing for the heater and air conditioning, right behind the radio, there is a white plastic module about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It is mounted with 3 screws I believe. This unit has a wiring harness on it that has to be unplugged for removal. It also has an D shape actuator about 1 1/2 inches long protruding from the back side that fits into a damper for the heater core. This unit has a circuit board and motor that rotate the actuator, which in turn opens and closes the damper allowing the air to pass through the heater core. What happens is that the motor drives a couple of plastic gears that strip and do longer drive the actuator. I believe the unit is called a heater damper module, dealer item only. In my neck of the woods it's about $75

When removing radio it is MUCH easier to buy "radio removal tool" from Autozone, about $2

I have a 2001 Windstar with the same problem (thumping behind the dash,no heat)I was able to remove the module without taking out the radio by removing the bottom trim under the heater controls and reaching up behind the radio.. An 8mm socket did the trick. The name of the module is a "blend door actuator" I was able to pop it open and sure enough one of the little plastic gears was stripped.

The answers I found on this site saved me some $$ and time. So I thought I would add my 2 cents worth. Situation:1999 Windstar, thumping under dash, no front heat, rear heat worked fine. Per above, I removed lower trim piece and found the actuator, took it apart and found same stripped gears. Ordered part # 655-1552 from Napa "Heat and AC Actuator" for $44.77. Works perfectly now!

I have a 2000 Windstar with this problem. My husband removed the trim under the controls & replaced the blend door actuator. Problem solved. THANK YOU so much to all those responses above. You saved us tons of money & TIME! I will use this site more for advice.

October 29th, 2008- We also have a 2000 Windstar with the same no heat problem. I took our van to a trusted local mechanic and he agreed the blend door was in fact broken. Being a hands-on guy with a need to know more before I spent ~$800 for the repair I found this site. THANK YOU THANK YOU!! The information about the Heat and AC Actuator was correct and easy to replace. I got the replacement part from Advance Auto parts for $48 and a lifetime warranty to boot. Thanks again

November 5, 2008: Last week, we started seeing the same problems described (cold air only, faint clicking sound when changing the desired temperature on the controls) in our 2000 Ford Windstar. I was able to access the blend door actuator (easily identifiable ... white plastic, size of a pack of cards, three screws) by removing the lower plastic panel. This is the plastic panel that is on the floor and includes the small compartment that opens to store sunglasses, etc. (not the black trim surrounding the radio or temperature controls. I had to remove four plastic screws and anchors (two on each side by the drivers legs and the passengers legs). I had to disconnect the passenger side cigarette lighter to remove the panel completely from the car. Once unscrewed and lighter disconnected, I just pulled hard until the two friction clips gave way. In this way I did not have to remove the stereo. With hindsight, I might buy the stereo removal tools next time as removing and replacing the blend door actuator from below requires that I lie upside down on the seats with my head on the floor ... doable but awkward. Hint: while accessing the part from below is awkward, simply opening the cup holder/ash tray did wonders to make the part more accessible. Once I had removed the old blend door actuator, I opened it to see that the plastic gears had in fact stripped. I went to two auto parts stores and was unable to find a suitable replacement. Napa Auto Parts could have ordered one of the parts I read about above but he said it may not be the exact same part. He recommended I go to the nearby Dealer. The dealer did have the part (he keeps several in stock). It cost me about $70. He warned me that the gears may have stripped because an object may have fallen in the vent and could be blocking the blend door. If that is the case, replacing the part will only result in another broken blend door actuator. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to investigate this so I simply used a screw driver to rotate the blend door manually until I was satisfied that it had the proper range of motion. I replaced the blend door actuator (again, upside down on the passenger seat with my head on the floor) and the heater now works perfectly.

Blend Door Problem

Your problem sounds like the common blend door problem on the Ford Expeditions, and Ford Explorer. The door is on a vertical axis and when it breaks, it can swing back and forth randomly giving heat or AC or nothing. The difference on acceleration is the force placed on the door swinging it one direction.

You can check the operation by fully opening the glove box, removing the actuator motor on top of the plenum box and examining the blend door axle. Pictures of the common fail signature are available on the web site. There are several "free" fixes that mostly are worth what you pay for them. The solution on the web site is solid and proven over hundreds of vehicles and will resolve the problem once and for all.

The "Related Question" below is an extensive discussion on the 1999-2003 temperature control valve / heater control valve.

It is likely the information will be similar to the 1997 / 1998 Windstar

A Fuse?

This happened to my 95 Windstar-I just replaces the fuse for the air mixture door.

On my 1999 Ford Windstar, the blend door itself broke. This repair is more costly and more difficult, perhaps $700 to $1000 to replace. I just tied a shoestring to my blend door.

When you insert the blend door actuator if there is no slot for it the door is broken and you are up sh... creak. Hope it is the former.

Another option is from a company called HeaterTreater - a method to repair a broken blend door without removing the dash. I haven't tried it, but the ideas behind it seem to make sense - and they have lots of videos showing the processes.


April 11, 2009: Your diagnosis was spot on! I removed the lower plastic panel (4 screws, unhook cig lighter), pulled out the ashtray/cup holder, and access wasn't too bad. Got a new actuator at Advance Auto ($46) and the whole job took about an hour. Thanks from Bay City, Michigan!

Checking the Thermostat


I won't get into too much detail.

This forum saved me a few hundred bucks. How you determine its the heater actuator versus a stuck thermostat is simple. Most Windstars ( I have an 02) have 2 zones. The front zone will only blow cold air, but switch to the rear and turn on heat. If hot air flows, your thermostat is good.

If you hear a clicking sound behind the radio, it's your actuator and it's probably defective.

I ask my son in law to repair it ( he tinkers with cars all day ) and he repaired it 45 minutes.


The part you are looking for is a blend motor. It is made of plastic . The gears teeth are broken or missing. This part moves a flap from normal cold air to the heated air. Only get heat when blend motor is engaged.

I just repaired this problem on my 2001 Windstar. The problem is usually the damper motor which is located behind the radio. The motor has a plastic gear inside and it wears out. If you know what you are doing it takes 30 minutes max to replace the motor. If this is your first attempt, plan on an hour. Go to a auto parts store and purchase the Ford radio removal kit, $5. Place the prongs into the holes on the radio until you feel them engage, no more than an inch and a half. Pull both wire hoops towards the doors and then pull the radio out. Once you have disconnected the radio, you will see a flat plastic unit about 3 x 4 inches. Remove the screws, I think there are three of them, using an 8mm socket with extensions. and one is not the same size as the other two, and pull the motor out, be careful not to break the stem. Remove slowly Get the replacement part from your favorite rip-off Ford dealer parts store. Usually about $70 bucks. I found that by calling around, I saved 10 bucks. Now do the reverse and you are good to go. I had the job quoted to me for $270 bucks so the 30 minutes spent is well worth it.. I hope this helped. edit.......I got the part for $48 at advanced auto parts. I had to plug the electric back up to the new actuator to get the"D" shaped peg to line up with the "D" shaped hole. The peg turned to exactly where it needed to go once plugged to electric. Took about 90 minutes to change out.

I am glad I can actually help someone else for once! It is your blend door actuator. It gets stuck between heat and cool and it breaks. That's what makes the clicking sound. I had to replace mine on my 2000 windstar and it was really easy, about 20 minutes to fix. It goes right behind your stereo and the part was only like $20 online. Just do a search for how to fix a blend door actuator and there are step by step instructions on a few different websites. I ! my 1999 winstar was doing this and it was the blend door


the water pump might be going bad and not circulating as good as it should,i had that happen to an older Buick of mine. i replaced the water pump and it worked like new

That is the mix door actuator trying to move the door, it may be stuck or you might have a vacuum leak coming from the engine. The actuator may be bad as well. Feel the heater hoses in engine compartment if one is hot and other cool try flushing heater core. there is a actuator that moves the temperature blend door,the door that controls hot to cold.the gears in the motor are it makes a clicking noise after you turn the heater on ,it broke answer a flapping sound is usually caused by a leaf or other matter falling down thru vents pull fan cover off and clean debis out, mostdoors are are controlled by cable or vacuum,not you didnt say a clicking sound i doubt very much it has anything to do with motor or gears It's the blend door on the HVAC box. It's what controls what temp air comes through the vents.

have the heater core cehecked out

I found this site when it got to the low 40's in southwest Florida last night and discovered I had no heat in my 2003 Windstar. I picked the part up at NAPA and installed it in less than 30 minutes. The only improvement I will add is to connect the electrical connector to the new part prior to installing it. Start the car and set the temp control to cold. This will position the actuator arm in the proper position to slide in easily. Shut the car off after this step, before finishing the installation.

This site saved me a bunch of money. The Ford garage wanted almost $100 for the part and said it would take 4 hours to install and not to attempt it myself. Thankfully they did not have the part in stock!


2000 Ford Windstar SEL: Problem: Clicking sound behind radio and no front heat.

Solution: Replace "Blend Door Actuator."

Follow the instructions listed above but pay attention to the following:

I would just like to add that if u do this yourself make sure that u use the radio removal tool that u can buy at any auto parts store. And even though I had that I still had a hell of a time getting the retaining clips to disengage and release the radio. It took about 30-40 mins. Once I removed the radio I found out why (And this wasn't explained in the instructions that came with the tool). When u insert the u shaped tool in the 2 holes on each side of the radio, make sure to insert them about one to 1/2 inches and then pull each tool towards the right and left doors (respectively) of the van b4 u pull it out towards you. If u don't u won't disengage the retaining clips which hold the radio in place in the dash. I kept pulling towards me and that was futile b-cuz the clips were still locked in place.

Once I had the radio removed I had no trouble removing & replacing the blend door actuator motor. If this is the factory motor that u are replacing, then finding it will be easy because it's housing is an off white color and it is mounted to the black plastic duct work behind where the radio used to be b4 u removed it. It is held in place by 3 small bolts. Plan on using a long ratchet extension (I coupled 2 together) because it is a long reach to the heads of the bolts.

If the heating/cooling system is blowing cold air, make sure u hook up the electrical connector to the new part and set the front temp. control lever to full cold. This will facilitate placement of the shaft of the replacement part to line up with the "D" hole in the blend door control shaft. This is the part that pivots and moves the door to open, close or somewhere in between depending on where the temp. control lever is positioned. Total time to replace: 90 mins.

December,11,2010 Houston tx,grait tip I had the same problem with my windstar 2000 no heat blowing from the vents and a thumping noise and it really works did't take more than 40 min to raplace and get the part I got it from advance autoparts the part number is#604-203 the name is (air door actuator)this is how they have it named, like it help me

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โˆ™ 2015-07-17 17:36:57
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Dale Rice

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โˆ™ 2021-02-11 20:47:12

I own a 2002 Windstar SE and had the "no heat" issue. A new blend door actuator fixed it. It's located behind the radio/CD player on mine. A bit of contortions to remove the three bolts and replace but not terrible. After market folks sell for around $25.

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Q: What could cause a Windstar to have no heat - or not be able to adjust the temperature?
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Where would the flap be at for the heater on a 2000 windstar?

This "flap" is the temperature blend door which directs air over & through the heater core.The "Related Questions" below are intended to help explain some of the basics of Windstar heating/cooling functions and terminology.That should help in the investigation of the specific problem on the vehicle, and ultimately leading to a fix.Start with the "Where is the heater control valve located on a Ford Windstar" question and then move on to the "What could cause a Windstar to have no heat - or not be able to adjust the temperature"

What could cause a Windstar to have no heat or not be able to adjust the temperature?

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