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help!! electrical smoke when heater on

Old 02-03-2008, 01:15 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2
Default help!! electrical smoke when heater on

I have a 1998 town and country, 3.8l motor, 4 wheel drive, long version. Had it warming up the other day (here in the Bavarian foothills at 28F), idle motor, full heat, recirculation on. About 20 minutes or so. When I then drove off, I took out the recirculation and immediately had the smell of an electical fire. Minimal smoke from vents. Stopped, turned off fan and engine, transferred to another vehicle and had the van outside over night. No further damage. Now, runs fine, all lights on dash normal. When I turn on the blower motor I immediately get the smell of smoldering cables (or motor?), stopps when I turn it off again. The back blower is fine. When I turn the engine off and turn on the blower motor, no smell. Who can help? Where should I start looking for the problem? I need the blower/ heat to defrost in cold winter in Bavaria.
Old 02-04-2008, 10:58 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 123
Default RE: help!! electrical smoke when heater on

This is likely the blower fan resistor-- the resistor has a couple of coils that are inserted into the airflow inside the vent for cooling purposes. When it burns out it can send an electrical burning smell through the vents.

On my 01 it is very easy to replace the resistor-- just release the glove compartment so it's hanging all the way down and the resistor is right there and can be removed with a screwdriver. I don't know if it's in the same location for your year.

The alternative isn't good-- if the fan motor itself is bad, I think you have to take the dash out to replace it-- a major job.
Old 02-04-2008, 03:48 PM
moe is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 695
Default RE: help!! electrical smoke when heater on

yours is located outside the car on the pass.side right behind the strut .under the need to pry it off with a screwdriver.
Old 02-10-2008, 07:26 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2
Default RE: help!! electrical smoke when heater on

Hi Rick, hi Moe,

I have in the meanwhile worked on the van and have found the following that might be helpful for other readers: after taking the grille over the air inlet in front of the windshield off (remove wipers, take out 6 screws, and remove the tin nuts (16mm), you get a good look into the intake widows at the back of the plastic wiper mechanism tray. The 6 windows have paper filters installed which are BEHIND the firewall. I first wondered how I would be able to get them out. No way you can get to them from the inside. But really easy from the engine compartment. Take out the screws holding the wiper tray to the firewall, and the whole tray comes loose giving you good access to the intake openings. Quite easy to remove the filters - which by the way (in my case) were full of dirt and grime ... I am surprised that any air at all could move through them. Took them out for right now, awaiting new ones to put back in. Huge difference in the blower performance and no more electrical burning smells. Didn't see the resistors - thanks for the picture, moe, I had not seen your comment when I took the van apart. Will check on them when I reinstall new filter elements Also, underneath the glove compartment is a plastic cover for the ventilation system which comes off by taking out the 4 8mm screws. This - in my model (1998)- gives you immediate and easy access to the blower motor (without the need to disassemble the whole front of the car). I could not find the resistors in the locations described by rick, however. I guess that they changed the arrangement in the 2001 model Thanks again, Mike
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