Estima interior fan noise intermittent

extrayda, May 12, 12:56am
Hi,
I have a 2003 Model Estima which makes a strange noise behind the dash which seems to be related to the fan / A/C system.
When you change the vents in the car (e.g. from face to feet) you can hear the various flaps etc. inside the system moving around as you would expect. The problem is that quite often that noise doesn't go away, it just keeps on going. It *sounds* like it is behind the centre console / more on the drivers side, but hard to tell exactly.

Turning the A/C / fan off does not stop it.
Turning the A/C Fan off and then turning the car off and on again does stop it.

If I use the car with the Fan / A/C off, it never makes this noise.
Within a short amount of time turning the fan or A/C on and changing the vents it often does it. A/C isn't as cold as it could be, but works, as does the heater, and the vents do re-direct (to feet / windscreen / face etc.).

It doesn't always do it, but does it quite often. My thoughts were that there may be some sort of a switch to tell the system when each vent is fully open / closed (which could need adjusting), but that seems a bit overly clever.
The other option is that the Fan / A/C controller unit is a bit faulty.
I've only got as far as taking the glove box out to have a look at the one vent lever that I can see (looks pretty basic).

Has anyone experienced this / got any ideas?

intrade, May 12, 2:34am
you should put it on a factory level diagnostic tool and see if there is calibration stuff for it, you be surprised how much stuff needs calibrating , like steering angle sensor on a 2003 holden barina , i can calibrate it to the combo van or the normal car and thats just your steering wheel , everything is computer controlled start to mid 2000 on almost any make and model oem level diagnostic probably have a self test mode like i got on my scanner for vw it runs tru a cycle of comanding flaps and tests , so i would guess toyota likely have stuff like this on a 2003 as they already shut off fuel injectors down hills in over-run on a 1995 model

extrayda, May 12, 5:40am
Thanks intrade, sadly I don't have one of those (only the cheap ELM327 which doesn't look like it has that info). I could take it to Toyota, but would hope to be able to fix it myself if it isn't something too complicated. Will see if I can see the various flaps and maybe disconnect them then reconnect one by one and see when the problem comes back.

intrade, May 12, 5:50am
disconecting stuff will just cause trouble codes , and yes elm will be more then usless , elm is only global-obd2 emission related stuff and the heater has in no way even the slightest to do with emissions.

kazbanz, May 12, 6:49am
extrada-my experience with funny noises "back there" is usually theres a parking ticket/leaf etc stuck down somewhere it shouldn't be

bigfatmat1, May 12, 7:47am
It could be what kaz says which is common or a stepper motor for one of the flaps with a gear that is stripped and cannot get to its correct position

extrayda, May 12, 8:38am
It definitely sounds mechanical. Very much like a small motor with stripped plastic gears actually. Thanks everyone for suggestions. Hopefully will get a chance to look this weekend.

kazbanz, May 12, 9:00pm
Does it sound like a mirror retractor gone wrong?
is everything shifting as it should?--ie flaps changing direction

extrayda, May 12, 10:08pm
Funny you should say that - the Drivers mirror went out about a year ago (motor kept running when the mirror was retracted / extended).
Yes, it sounds very much like that, but quieter (maybe because it's behind the dash). Haven't been able to see the flaps directly yet, but the airflow does seem to change between front window (defrost in the mornings) and face / feet etc. It is possible that one of the vents doesn't I suppose.

kazbanz, May 13, 6:04am
-with the mirror retract you cut the from memory blue wirre and everything else but retract works.Can't fix the darn thing -ive tried many times.
You might be able to move the teeth on the flaps "sprocket" up a bit so a non stripped bit is pressing against the drive cog.
You might also find that the stripped bit is right at one end so you might be able to make up a limiter so that flap can't reach that end

extrayda, May 13, 6:25am
Yep, I just cut a wire for the mirror. There was some bit broken / worn inside, but I can't remember what it was.
Hopefully get time to crawl under the dash this weekend.

intrade, May 13, 10:12pm
if you would have cut a wire on a wingroad nissan you would have not drive it another inch after .I dont know about your toyota functions but its possible that your workmanship is making the ghost action in the heating cuircuit now . looking at the wiring diagramm would be what i would be doing befor i pull anything apart to go and cause more problems."requires knowing how to read the wiring diagramm"
a stripped plastic cog is of course also possible .

extrayda, May 28, 7:49am
Update for anyone that cares.
Noise finally drove me crazy today, so I stopped in the middle of the drive and looked at it.
Noise seemed to be mainly coming from the lower centre of the dash and for a change it was only a couple of tabs to get the cover off.
There is a motor and levers there which seem to control a floor vent which was just thrashing back and forth. Gave it a poke and it settled down. Did the same thing again as soon as I changed flaps though.
For the moment I have just disconnected that motor - all of the fan functions still work as expected. Will try adjusting the levers in the weekend, but at least it is quiet now !
Apologies for the novel.

intrade, May 28, 7:52am
i flipped the hot cold lever on a isuzu mu today from cold to hot as it was not working the rats have eaten most of the womens wiring and she has no money and i use the one 12 volt battery from my broken down ups to wind up her driver door window as that was open during summer so she would not boil to death .

kazbanz, Sep 1, 7:11pm
Big fat mat will be better at explaining it than me but I bet the limit swits is kaput.

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