Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chrysler Town & Country Heater Not Heating Properly

NO heat mode door wont change


2005 Town & Country  heater that isn't heating correctly. The engine temp gauge comes normally, but the air in the cabin stays cold, until I get lucky doing one of several things: 

Tried sliding the temp controls back and forth.
Tried turning the fan control switch off and on, pausing about 5 secs on off, 
Tried going to defroster for 10 sec, then back to vent, or I turn the van off and restart, or I step on the gas somewhat hard while driving..

Any One of those options will usually get hot air blowing and the heater working normally, and it will work correctly for the remainder of the time the engine is warm, but when the van is shut off, and restarted say the next day, it does the same thing. 


Vehicle Details:

Make: Chrysler
Model: Town & Country Touring
Year: 2005
Engine: 3.8L


Expert's Reply On This Problem:

First Understand How The Hot And Cold Air Gets In To The Vehicle:

The Bled door and blend door actuator are the main parts:
The blend door controls the mixture of hot or cold air and is located in the airbox tucked up against the firewall on the floor just under the radio. 
The blend door is moved by an actuator (servo) motor and moves according to the position of the manual heat control position. 
You can check for blend door actuator operation by turning the ignition on, engine off and have everything else off that makes noise such as the blower fan. 

How To Check The Operation Of Blower Fan?

Get down low near the floor, turn the heat control dial in either direction and listen for the motor to actuate. It should move for a few seconds depending on how much of a temperature change you are trying to accomplish. You can do the same thing for the actuator motor for the vent control. 

What If There Is No Motor Noise Heard?

If the blend door doesn't make any noise then it could be bad wiring (unlikely) or the motor itself went bad. If one motor works and the other doesn't then consider replacing the bad motor alone. It isn't too difficult. Both motors are on the driver's side of the airbox above and right of the gas pedal. 

Ok, And What If Motor Is Working Properly?

If the motor seems to be working then either the heater core is clogged or the the blend door is probably broken.

Ok,But How To Confirm If Heater Core Is Working Or Faulty?

You can check the heater core by feeling the input and output coolant hoses on the firewall in the engine compartment. Both should be hot. If one is cool then the core is probably clogged. If it seems OK then the blend door is the probable culprit. 

How Does Identify blend door?

The door is about the size and shape of a long envelope with a shaft on one end that connects to the actuator motor. The shaft seems to be the weak point and it snaps. When it does, the door falls into a default position, which is full cold and it blocks all warm air from the heater. The problem is you cannot get to it or even see it, it is buried inside the airbox.


But as You Mentioned That You Can Heat After Trying Various Things,This States That May Be Heater Core Or Blend Door Actuator Is Not The Issue.

On That Basis The Further Troubleshooting Details Are As Follows:


Intermittent heat problems like yours are usually caused by low coolant level on these vans. So first get the coolant level checked and inspected.
But if the engine temperature seems perfectly normal and coolant level is fine.

Then it actually sounds like there is air in the cooling system causing the lack of heat if the problem happens on both sides at the same time. Running the engine longer and having it at higher RPM's will force the air out of the heater core and coolant in, and then you have heat until it cools down again.


Ok,So From Where To Start?

I would start with bleeding the cooling system. Here's the basic procedure to bleed the cooling system.

With the radiator cap off make sure the coolant level is near the top. Start and run the engine until it's at full operating temperature. Raise the RPM's to about 2,000 and hold it there for 10 seconds or so, do this periodically while it's warming up and especially after the thermostat is open and staying open. Once the upper radiator hose is too hot to hold on to, no air is seen coming from the radiator, then you can do a final top off and cap it. At that point see if you have heat, if you do then it was very likely just trapped air in the heater core.


Ok,And What If There Is No Air In The System?

If there is no air in the system and you are losing heat on both sides at the same time then it sounds like the control head has failed. There is a blend door and actuator for each side of the van and it's extremely unlikely that both of the actuators and doors would act up at the same time and then start working again at the same time.

This Details Will Help.
Thanks.,

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