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Billowing Smoke From Vents!?!?

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Jan 29, 2009, 9:18 PM

Post #1 of 4 (4756 views)
post icon Billowing Smoke From Vents!?!? Sign In

1993 Ford Explorer
156000 miles
Automatic Trans

So I got into my car this morning. Started it up and smoke started pouring out of the vents. I shut the car off and popped the hood. The heater core had a little smoke coming from underneath it but not much. I got back in and continued to go to work. Half way there the same smoke started pouring out again. It smelled like a campfire. I popped the hood again but this time there was no smoke coming from the heater core? The smoke also stopped. I went on lunch break and it smelt like smoke, but there wasnt any coming into the truck. Do you think something couldve been jammed in the vents or what? I couldnt figure it out?

Thank you in advance,

(This post was edited by socialdking on Jan 29, 2009, 9:23 PM)

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jan 30, 2009, 1:58 AM

Post #2 of 4 (4752 views)
Re: Billowing Smoke From Vents!?!? [In reply to] Sign In

?? Smoke as in fire - electrical? Heater core has antifreeze in it and if leaking there it can make a fog and smells but usually would fog windows with a sticky fog and you frequently will find a wet passenger's side floor as well. That has a "burnt Gatoraid" type smell but who knows how exactly to describe that? It doesn't wipe clean off windows well is a better clue.

Check coolant level at the radiator as well as tank. Check everything and note anything that's low. Heater core is not visable to see it make fog/smoke but could blow out vents - defrost, panel or floor and the tell-tale drip on floor not so much underhood.

If this was some electrical item then something probably doesn't work or work properly. There's a resistor in there for fan which might default to just high blower speed and I suppose it could make a smoke and smell AND would quit as it would blow/finish and be done with - I think.

A maybe: If there's been lots of rain/snow/ice where you are and particularly if that's rare for this vehicle then maybe fine debris/dirt leaves, pine needles in cowl up by wipers has allowed enough junk in to trap water and freeze not allowing drainage for a while during warm up and created a smelly fog when warming up. That could explain both the smokyness and the "campfire" like smell of heated organic matter in there.

If fluids all check out ok and this doesn't repeat itself then there isn't going to be much to do right now,

Long retired now

Loren Champlain Sr
Veteran / Moderator
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Jan 30, 2009, 2:32 PM

Post #3 of 4 (4748 views)
Re: Billowing Smoke From Vents!?!? [In reply to] Sign In

A long shot, depending on what's causing the smoke...I've run into this twice; Mice had packed bird seed so tightly around the heater blower motor resistor that it would heat up, smoke, and smell terrible. Had one in today, mice had packed the intake manifold full of mouse poison. I'm assuming the little guy died before he could eat all of it. If it turns out to be something like this, we tell our customers not to store bird food or dog/cat food in the garage. I've had cars towed in that wouldn't run because the air cleaner assy. was stuffed full of dog food.
SW Washington

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Jan 30, 2009, 8:36 PM

Post #4 of 4 (4740 views)
Re: Billowing Smoke From Vents!?!? [In reply to] Sign In

Here you go TSB for it FORD: 1991-1999 EXPLORER MERCURY: 1997-1999 MOUNTAINEER

This TSB article is being republished in its entirety to change the Causal Part number. ISSUE:
A burning odor or smoke, and/or "rustling" noise may occur when the blower motor is running if leaves or foreign material enter the blower case. Noise complaints may result from debris coming in contact with the blower fan. In some cases, the debris may also come in contact with the blower motor resistor which may be hot enough to cause a burning odor or smoke. ACTION:
Clean the debris out of the blower case and install foam grommets around the wiper pivots to seal out further debris from entering the system. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details. SERVICE PROCEDURE

  1. Remove blower motor (refer to the appropriate Service or Workshop Manual for procedure).
  2. Remove blower motor resistor.
  3. Clean the blower motor, motor cooling tube, blower housing, resistor, and inlet duct of all debris.
  4. Reinstall resistor.
  5. Reinstall blower motor.

Refer to Figure 1 for grommet installation.
  1. Remove the wiper arms from the splined shafts.
  2. Place a beveled Grommet (XL2Z-78021A32-BA) with the offset hole, around each wiper shaft. Place the smooth side of the grommet facing up and the thin portion toward the windshield. Using the handle of a plastic knife, spoon or similar object, tuck the foam grommets under the sheet metal all the way around the shaft. When properly placed, the grommet should seal to the sheet metal.
  3. Install the wiper arms on the shafts in their proper position relative to the windshield.
  1. Remove the wiper arms from the splined pivot shafts.
  2. Remove the two-piece (left/right) plastic cowl grille by removing the one (1) screw in the center of the grille and then pulling on the grille to unseat the clips.
  3. Place the round symmetrical Grommets (XL2Z-78021A32-AA) around the wiper shafts.
  4. Replace the cowl grille by resetting the clips and installing the screw.
  5. Install the wiper arms on the shafts in their proper position relative to the windshield.

PART NUMBER PART NAME XL2Z-78021A32-BA Grommet (Beveled) XL2Z-78021A32-AA Grommet (Symmetrical)
Eligible Under The Provisions Of The Basic Warranty Coverage OPERATION DESCRIPTION TIME 992006A Clean Debris From Heater Case And Install Grommets 0.8 Hr.</TABL

Billowing Smoke From Vents!?!?

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