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Caca Cabeza

Camry interior fan anarchy

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2009 USA XLE. Over the past 2 days, the interior (heat/AC) fan has been MIA, slow to start (3-10 minutes), surging or other weirdness.

turning to high, defrost, Max cool, off for a bit and then back on seems to have no discernible change in the pattern of reliability.

Any thoughts on what or how to self diagnose? I know digging around in the dash is either a pain in the ass or expensive. I’d like to avoid both, but it is 10 years old with almost no problems.  

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Get an air compressor with a air nozzle, and a really high suction vacuum. Blow in one vent, and suck on the other. You probably have a bunch of dusty, gunky, smudge in there.....

 (Unlike household wiring, I'm pretty good at car air system stuff..... Blow it, suck it, spit it out.)

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Toyota uses “blend motors”  to change the routing of air in the HVAC system. As you select different functions, the motors drive the doors that route the air. You often hear a bit of squeaking or clicking when they fail. Dorman replacements are less than $30.00. Replacement guides are on YouTube. If the air goes where you want it but fan speed is low, a replacement blower is about $30. 

OEM parts for both are in the $100+ range. 
 

dealers will sometimes tell you that the dash has to come out to replace one or the other but with some ingenuity  and a flexible back, you can often do it without pulling anything significant.  As noted above, YouTube can help you find out if someone has figured out a hack to make it easier.  I have a private mechanic Who is a lot younger and more flexible that did the ones in my Lexus for about 2 hours labor. 
 

Always worth changing the cabin air filter and blowing out the vents as Lefty suggests. 
 

 

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Totally do-able with the likely dorman replacement.

Take out the seats for more access if it is easy enough to do so.

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Would it be the doorman thingy if I can definitely tell when the fan is running  and when it is not?

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do you hear the blower motor turning on and off randomly?  obviously it ain't a blend door or cabin air filter if that is the case.

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4 hours ago, Caca Cabeza said:

Would it be the doorman thingy if I can definitely tell when the fan is running  and when it is not?

Dorman is a brand that makes aftermarket plastic gizmos for vehicles.

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I had a Jeep that did that. The blower fan was slowly dying. It only worked when it felt like it. About $70 to buy the part and a very easy do it yourself job. I’m not sure how easy on a Camry, but I’m sure Google knows. 

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Usually the blower motor is tucked under the glove box in Toyotas. If you hook the fan directly to the battery, does it still surge?

That's where I would start.  It is free and easy. 

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