Dash Air: Repair- 1996 U270

by Jerry Whiteaker 96 U270 5/14/2009

No problem with cooling or heating, but the air didn’t go where it was supposed to go since we bought it on Aug 08. Took a while to figure out how to get to the dash air.  The lid with the 2 cup holders has to be lifted up and removed at the hinges, then some ducts on the right side. Next lift out the board with the electronic box (part of the backup camera display). I had to disconnect some of its cables to get it out.  Now you can get to the screws that hold the part with the snack table.  Once that is removed you have partial access to the dash air.  It’s just a sheet metal box that contains the ac evaporator and the heater core. Around the outside are several outlets for the air ducts.  Also inside the box are 3 flat sheet metal doors that divert the air to where it is supposed to go.  

I’m not sure where the blower is located as I could not see it, it’s either upfront or in the box. The diverter doors are operated by small 12v geared electric motors. Reversing the 3 motors to move a door in the other direction is done by changing the polarity.  This is handled by a simple printed circuit relay board with 3 small relays that switch the polarity.  Each motor is attached to a door by an arm of some sort clamped to a shaft with a bolt.  Not sure if there is a stop in the gear mechanism, but the motor stops when the door can’t move anymore. Current continues to flow to the motor, but evidently the motor can take it without burning out.  I had to remove several small sheet metal screws and a panel to be able to see what was in the box and what was happening.  Found that one of the doors never moved.

Testing with a voltmeter and some wire attached to a 12v power source revealed that the motor was ok and that a relay on the relay board was the problem. I had to unsolder 2 wires at the motor to test it. I couldn’t find a relay that matched, or I would have replaced it, but Foretravel had a relay board for about $70 with shipping.  Installing the new board fixed it and now air goes where it is supposed to.  

The problem could just as easily have been a bad motor, loose crank arm, etc.  Some other things I found out, even with the Dash air switch in the off position, the current is still going to the small motors until the ignition switch is off.  It takes the motors about 5-10 seconds to move the doors to the selected position.  The Fresh, blend, recirc switch is only 2 positions, not 3, and I couldn’t figure out which was which, but recirc seems to cut off most of the outside air. Leaving the switch in recirc before turning off the ignition in cold weather might help keep out cold air when parked (unsure of this).

Both full sides of each door is covered with a thin piece of foam that compresses to form a seal at the edges.  At 13 yrs of age the foam needs replacing, but I didn’t do it, just vacuumed off the loose stuff.  Passing this along in case you have the same problem. Your Foretravel could be built differently even the same model.