Gregory Bender

Recirculation door motor

DIY and how-to articles on repairing the Saab 9-5 SE.


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Summer in Phoenix is a bit warm. I started to notice my Air Conditioner wasn't doing the job like it had in the past. A little investigation and I discovered the passenger side vents were putting out cold air, but the drivers side and rear seat vents were putting out air at close to ambient temperature. Just a few weeks prior, when temperatures were hovering around 100°, everything seemed fine. It wasn't until we got into the mid teens (around 115° or so) that the A/C couldn't keep up with cooling 100% hot outside air.

I pressed Auto + Off on the control panel to see if any ACC fault codes were generated. It came back clean. So, it was time to dig into the foot wells on either side of the car and see if I could figure out the cause of the problem.

I visually verified the blend door shaft and blend door stop arms were intact and functioning when I would manipulate the controls. I also visually verified the air distribution drum was rotating properly (feet, dash, defrost, etc). So those problems were out.

I was stumped for a while until I discovered the location of the recirculation door motor (high inside the right side foot well). It has apparently been broken for so long that I hadn't even realized it no longer worked. I removed if from the vehicle and found the shaft broken, the internal plastic gears striped, and the housing around the shaft broken.

Until I sourced a replacement, I used a small bungee cord to hold the recirculation door closed (so that all air would recirculate inside the vehicle). This worked very well and I was getting cold air once again.

I sourced a used replacement motor off of eBay and it works a treat.