Dakota Fan problem

On Monday morning, just as I was beginning the drive home to Waterloo from Ottawa, about six hours in the sweltering heat, I discovered that the blower in my truck had stopped working properly. Between the time I gave the truck to my friend Jeff to drive for a day, and the time I got it back, something in the fan control broke. Jeff of course denies any wrongdoing, knowledge of, or involvement in this startling development. I think the facts speak for themselves.

Truck: 2001 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab.
Symptom: Fan only works at highest speed setting. In all lower settings, the fan just turns off.

I suffered with the A/C at full blast the whole drive home (better than turning it off), then hit Google to see if anybody else had encountered this. Turns out it is a somewhat common problem. The fan speeds are controlled by a high-power resistor in series with the fan motor. Apparently it is quite common for these resistors to burn out. This problem affects many makes of car, not just Dodge.

Resistor card installationFortunately, the resistors were quite inexpensive at my dealership’s parts department, and very easily replaced. The resistor comes as a module that is bolted into one of the air plenums in the passenger footwell. On the outside is a wiring connector, similar to the connector on halogen headlight bulbs (and similarly difficult to unplug). The resistors themselves are on a card that sticks inside the air plenum, presumably so the resistors will be cooled by the air flow.

Old-style resistor cardThe original appeared to be a card of fibreglass or mica or something, presumably with the resistive elements printed on it, and then painted black. Seemed very cheap to me, I’m not surprised it burned out. When I removed it, it was covered in moisture. And the paint was flaking off in one corner, which probably allowed moisture to seep in to the resistive element and corrode it. Tests with an ohmmeter showed that only two of the five pins appeared to have continuity with each other, the others were all open circuits.

New-style resistor cardThe new resistor card cost me $13. It was somewhat different in design than the original. The replacement is using a ceramic core, with resistance wire wound around it, and dipped in epoxy. This is more like high-power resistors are supposed to be made. On the top is what appears to be a thermal fuse. The new module has continuity with all pins, the resistance to pin 1 from subsequent pins steadily increasing, up to pin 5 which had I think 2 or 3 ohms resistance.

I suspect that the fan speed selector provides power to one of pins 2 through 5, representing speeds from highest to slowest. Pin 1 is then used to supply the motor. Pins 2 through 5 appear to be a 2 or 3 ohm power resistor with multiple taps. The first tap (pin 2) is actually at 0 ohms resistance (pins 1 and 2 are shorted together), giving full voltage to the blower motor.

On the whole, this is actually quite an inefficient motor speed control. At speeds other than off and full-speed, considerable power is wasted as heat in the resistor. A more modern and efficient design would use a switch-mode transistor control. That would allow infinite variation in fan speed, waste less power, and probably last longer too (if implemented properly). It could probably be implemented on a plug-compatible module. That would be an interesting aftermarket part: an infinitely variable fan control. The hard part would be replacing the knob on the console.

349 Responses to “Dakota Fan problem”


  • Smitty…

    I did NOT wreck the fan speed control in your truck! Sabby and I drove from home to Merivale plaza to buy some groceries and bits and bobs for the new house. I admit we used the AC and that we used it on a setting other than MAX, but I noticed no malfunciton during my journey.

    Note: Had I intended to wreck your truck, I assure you, it would have cost you in the thousands to repair, not $13.

    Note also: It’s about time you got back to some electronics and hacking about like the old days — you’re getting soft. We should build a new locust car or some thing bigger and buggier. The world is ours for the taking!

    I’m glad it’s fixed and you can thank me later for teaching you something about Dodge trucks.

    Jones.

  • Thanks for posting this information. Google found your blog for me! I couldn’t find this in any of the enthusiast web sites – but there were plenty of messages showing how to get 5 more HP.

    FYI the part number from Dodge for the resistor pack for my 2002 Dakota is 5174618AA. It cost me $12.71USD in Fairfax, VA, US

  • Thanks for the info, I was looking for the answer to the same problem in mine. Also thanks Richard for posting the part number.

  • This is GREAT! I have an ’01 Dakota, and you’re right Ron – speeds 0 and 4 are safe, otherwise you’re CONSTANTLY burning out the resistor. Smart. They need an electronic speed control that you can steal from any RC car. Anyway – I was told by my brother (full sized Dodge) that the heat would use TWO resistors — so I bought two. I have yet to install, and can’t tell a lot from the photo (thanks for posting ALL of this by the way) – but saw only one the other day when I peeked under the passenger heater area. When I picked up the parts from Dodge in Portsmouth, NH – they were only $9.45 EACH! Buying two’s fine! Anyway, the jamoke at the parts counter didn’t know squat about installing. I’d already (mistakenly) replaced the heater control unit and didn’t wanna pull a dash apart again.
    I said: ” Lemme make my question direct: DO I HAVE TO RIP APART THE WHOLE DASHBOARD?” He replies: “Oh yeah – of course.”

    PLease tell me he’s wrong or my whole weekend will be a bummer (no garage and freezing out in NH).
    Thanks guys!
    -JA

  • I only had one resistor to replace. I guess the Ram is different. It was right there in the passenger footwell area, no need to pull the dash apart. I had to unbolt one plenum to move aside, just so I could reach the second screw on the resistor. On the whole, a very easy job.

    I know the picture sucks, but it was the best I could do. I would need a much wider-angle lens to get a decent shot in there.

  • Great post, thank you! I live in the same area and have a 2001 Dakota Quad Cab and I just had the same thing happen to me (in winter so only having the high setting really blows!). I am going to go get that part tomorrow and fix this ASAP.

  • Anthony D. SOVA

    I have not fixed my problem but it is the same on a 2001 ClubCab. What is the Part Number for a 2001? And thankyou for this post, i have been looking for a while and havn’t pin pointed the problem, i was about to replace the controls.

    Please email the information, thank you.

    -Anthony D. NC

  • Thank you for the post. I purchased the HVAC resistor card and it worked perfectly. Installed it within 20 minutes. Only 2 boltes + the plenum, which I was able to get by with undoing just 1 bolt.

    I asked the dealer for a fan blower resistor and he gave me the exact part. The only thing I had to do was clip the ears off.

    Thank you again for you post.

  • Thanks a bunch to all you guys who posted. This saves me a lot of money and posterior pain. Having only one setting (high)is excruciating in this Florida heat.
    Thanks again!

  • Thanks for the post – we were able to fix the same issue on a 2001 Dakota (the pics above are great!) The resistor was $19.95 – a cheap alternative to a dealer repair.

  • Thanks for the info above….just fixed my Dakota using it. The dealership charged me $102 the last time this happened. It cost me $13.01 for the part and took 12 mins to replace.

    I have another question if anyone has any input. My truck just started idling high, then low then high, low….etc…. anybody have an idea what it could be?

    • could be the throttle position sensor which is right on the intake tube under the big plastic cover on the top of the intake manifold. easy to replace and only cost me around $60 at local napa store.

  • Thanks for saving my marriage! I had been living without #1 fan speed for a year and then lost 2 & 3. My wife wasn’t going to leave me alone until I fixed the problem. I didn’t want to take it to a dealer so I started looking on the web for a fix. Thanks to you it cost me $10.63 for the part and about 10 minutes (mostly on my head) for replacement.

    Thanks again!

  • This site was very helpful. Thank you for posting it. I just fixed the exact same problem in my 2003 Dakota club cab. I wanted to give everybody a tip as well with respect to getting the plug undone, as it was a bit of a challenge. There was a red tab on the one side of my plug that had to be slid to one side before the connection could be undone. Once this red tab is slid, then you can undo the plug the same way that you would for a halogen bulb for example. The part was priced at $14.95 (Cdn $) in Calgary at Renfrew Dodge. Interestingly it was $21.50 at Crowfoot Dodge. This is not a surprise considering the bad reputation that Crowfoot has with respect to taking advantage of customers.

    Thanks again!

  • I just installed the resistor in my 2001 Dodge Dakota. The part # for the HVAC Resister Card is 1-05174618AA. The resistor fits 2001-2004 Dakota and 2001-2003 Durango. As mentioned above, Dodge is using an updated version of the resistor. $10 at my local Dodge dealer. Made in Slovenia, the original was made in Mexico. So much for made in America. This was a really easy fix. Thanks so much for the info!

  • I am no mechanic, but this post has turned me into one. The total time to replace was under 20 minutes, including 5 minutes spent looking for something to clip the new part. Thank you for this post, it has been a gigantic help.

  • For Timmy J,
    I just fixed the idling problem on my ’01 Dakota. The IAC (Idle Air Control) motor/valve is most likely the culprit. On the 4.7L V8, it is on the right side of the throttle body as you are looking at the engine from the front. There are two connectors there, I forget which one it is. I needed a torx-head driver to remove it. After you remove it, clean all the gunk off of it and clean the inside on the throttle body as well. After I cleaned it, I put it back in and the truck quit “hunting” at idle speeds. Note: I was told after you put it back in, you might have to rev the engine with the accelerator until the IAC valve “reprograms” itself. Hope this helps. I am glad to find out the blower resistor is only 12 bucks.

    • you can also unhook the battery for 30 seconds and it will clear the program. it will reprogram itself quickly as you first drive it. I ended up replacing both the IAC and TPS (throttle position sensor) also replaced the air flow sensor right in the same area as I broke it trying to unplug the TPS. truck ran like new after.

  • I’ve got an ’01 Dakota Quad. Last week the fan quit altogether…none of the speeds work. There’s power at the fan harness and the fan works when I hotwired it. I pulled the resistor card and the coating doesn’t appear damaged. I’ve got full continuity on pins 1,2,3 & 5, but when I hit pin #4, I get a half second of continuity, and then it cuts out – Every time. Anybody think that could be the problem? I’m sure I’ll gamble on the $13 bucks on the part anyway, I’m just wondering how that could be happening, and if that could be causing a complete failure of the fan. By the way, this posting probably saved me a days worth of head scratching already. Thanks.

  • Hello, I have an ’01 Dakota Club cab SLT and I got the part down here in Florida, $12.84 w/tax. It took about 10 minutes to install and works like a charm.

    Thank you SO much, you need good AC control down here in the summer for sure…

    PS The old part looked like a plain black card, when I first pulled it out I wasn’t sure if I pulled the right part.

  • Jim RE: Rick's POst

    Rick, I have the same problem with the fan not working at all.
    I had a Caravan that only worked on the High speed and found a similar post about the replacing resistor pack. I replaced it and it worked fine. Just not sure if it the same with my Dakota as I have not taken the pack out yet to check. If you get anywhere with this, OR if you replaced the pack and it worked, please let me know.

    If anyone else has any suggestions, I’d love to read them.

    Thanks

    jimmylee@adelphia.net

  • hey thanks for showing that pic i have same probly fan only works on high but now that i seen the pic i know were to go and replace my resistor

  • Thanks for posting this. New resistor worked like a champ on my 2001 Dakota. I’m sure it saved me at least $100 from bringing it to a dealer for repair. I love the Internet… 😉

  • Thanks for your information, $10.85 and 15 minutes of mostly trying to get the screws back in.

    JD

  • Thanks for the posts. I had the problem with none of the blower settings working. Picked up the part and it works like a champ!!! Thanks again!

  • I just replaced mine today, cost me $17.84 cdn. at Wendell Motors in Kitchener, works great.

    I thought it was funny when i was reading the original post because mine stopped working (1,2,3) after I let my dad borrow my truck, then 4 when I let somebody else borrow it, haha, wierd.

  • THANK-YOU for the posting. I couldn’t believe it when I started calling around to get this fixed. The local dealership wanted $120 for part and installation. I thought there’s no way so I bought the part for $15.79 came home and Googled the issue. Lo and behold your page came up and 10 minutes later problem fixed. My wife said, “seriously that’s it?” I spent most of the 10 minutes looking for the right socket. My opinion charging labour for this is criminal. Makes you wonder what else they try to hose you for!

  • Great info here. I had this problem on my 2002 Dakota and was figuring on spending over a 100 bucks to fix it. I found the part at the Dodge dealership in Kearney, NE for $10.50. Everything was exactly as you described! Only took 5 minuted to fix. Thanks again!!

  • Good thing I googled this before going to the Dealer. I have the same problem with my 03 Dakota club cab. The last time I went to the dealer it cost me $9.87 for a plastic gas cap and $49.95 for them to put it on because of an engine check light was on and my inspection was up. They said I had a rusted gas cap. (plastic dont rust) My wife put gas in the truck the night before and didnt screw it down tight.

  • I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota and the fan speed only works on high. I replaced the resistor and the fan still only run ons high. If you have any suggestions I sure could use the help.

  • I just wanted to thank everyone for this information. I was driving home on Sunday when all of a sudden my cabin fan stopped and all that was left was the smell of burnt electronics. First thing I thought was that the entire motor went bad. After reading this site though I went to the dealership and got a new reisistor. Cost me 21 bucks and took about 10 minutes to install. Only reason I tell my story is to reiterate that even if you loose all fan speeds (such as I did) rather than loosing everything but the high speed, it still may be the resistor. So go spend the 21 dollars or check it with an ohm meter before ripping the entire blower motor out. Thanks Again!

  • I have a 2004 Dakota. My fan would only work on ‘High’ for the past couple of months. This morning even that stopped working. I thought I”d have to be without my truck for a day or two while it was being serviced under warranty, but after reading these posts, I think I’ll do it myself. Thank you!

    PS-The air flow while driving is sufficient to heat/cool the cabin, but defrosting/defogging would be tough while driving 🙂

  • Ok, follow-up…I just unbolted the part, but I can’t figure out how to remove the wiring. Any tips to make it easier? Thank you.

  • It’s a latching connector, very similar to the ones you see on modern-style halogen headlamps. You just have to find the magic little tab you have to push to release it. I can’t really help much with that.

  • Thank you Piper, that should help…I’ll try again tomorrow.

  • Ok, bought the part, installed, smiled when the fan started pumping out air! Thanks for information. BTW, seeing the new part completely cleared up any question about how to remove the wiring from the old part. $16 for the part, 10 minutes for the install.

  • Well this is just the help I needed. My problem is I have a 1996 Dodge Dakota and it does not appear that the resister is in the same place.

    Anyone have an idea or a pic of the layout?

    Thanks much..

    Ray

  • Thanksa for the great help. Easy part to get, fairly cheap, $18.00+GST (Tower in Calgary), easy fix. I unbolted everything before removing the harness. Made it real easy, maybe 10-15 minutes. Thanks again.

  • This site just fixed many problems with my 01 Dakota.
    Fan doesn’t work–will try resistor pack change, no dealership parts department open on Saturday.
    “Hunting” idle–cleaned IACV, idles great now!
    Another problem I was having–rpm’s going up and down as I drove down the road. Transmission seemed to be downshifting and then upshifting for no reason. Really it was the torque converter unlocking and locking. Gas mileage going down the tube. Checked the throttle position sensor with an ohm meter. Sending very dirty signal, replaced with a new one ($80.99) and the truck runs like a champ. What a difference a couple simple procedures have made.

  • Hello, I wanted to thank you for providing this information.
    My fan quit working just as the snow started to fly. I got on the internet and googled your site. Armed with the information provided I bought a resistor at my local Dodge dealership for $14.95 CDN. It took me 15 minutes to replace the resistor. My fan was completely inoperative on all the fan settings, now the fan is functioning at all levels, I’m ready for the snow and ice. Thank you so much for posting this information, I’m sure my local Dodge dealership would have charged me an arm and a leg for the repair bill. All the best!

  • Thank you so much for posting this , I live in Minnesota and do to the temp changes we get here I have already had this part replaced once before. This time I wanted to do it myself and save the money. your pictures are very helpful. I should have looked sooner because my dash is now on my garage floor, I thank you deeply for this posting!

  • Fan now fixed. $12.70 from dealership and 15 minutes. Thanks.

  • Your info is greatly appreciated. I replaced my resistor board and got all my fan speeds back. But after a couple of days, I only had high speed again. I changed the board again, and after a few days, it only worked on high again. I think I might have an electrical problem. Mayby the fan motor is drawing too much current? Does anybody have any ideas on a solution to my problem?

  • Same issue here with 2001 Dodge quad cab. Replaced what you said and worked perfectly. THANKS MAN…..I love GOOGLE

  • great post. exactly the same symptoms, same problem part, accurate assessment of the failure mode. thanks much

    greg

  • Haven’t tried this yet… Kinda stumbled across the site while researching a P0442 code. My blower has only been working on the high setting for over 2 years. I’ve been able to ignore it all that time because I wasnt about to pay the dealer to fix something that shouldnt be broken to begin with. And after reading about just how many people are having this problem (on this site, and others), I am a bit disappointed (but not surprised) Dodge did not issue a recall for this.

    I will be visiting my Dodge dealer ASAP to buy this replacement part! Thanks Guys!

  • Thanks for the info, i had this same problem twice now on my ’02 Dakota SXT. The first time was at only 19,000 miles and just again at 49,000 first time it was still under warranty so no cost to me. When it happened this time i suspected it was the same problem and sure enough it was. just replaced it with the updated card for $11.25 from the dealership hopefully the newer style resistor card holds up better than the old “wich was what it was replaced with the first time”

  • Thanks for the information on how to fix the fan issue on my 2001 Durango. I did a google search on the issue, not expecting to get any results and was very happy to see you created this web site. My part cost me $11.99 including tax in Minnesota, it took me about a 1/2 hour to change it out. Thanks a million!

  • Piper,

    You are THE MAN!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I lost all fan speeds for the first time two days ago at about 90K miles on my 2001 Durango. I called the Dodge dealer to get some intel on what could be going wrong. He ran through the usual suspects and this resistor pack came up. He said it was really hard to get to up in the dash and would take about an hour and a half of labor to change out. I did a Yahoo search and found your site, paid 15$ for the part and it took me about a half hour to replace. It would have taken only 10 minutes if I’d had a 1/4″ universal for my socket set to get to that pesky back bolt.

    Again, thanks a million.

    –LAD
    –Chicago

  • I have a 2001 Durango with rear air in addition to front control. Last week, front and rear both would only work on high and I assumed that the resistor would fix the problem since I had run into this 3 years earlier. Replaced the resistor and front control works fine now. However rear control still only works on high. I assume that there is another resistor for the rear but don’t know where resistor might be located. Ideas???

  • WOW, Nothing excites me more the not being gouged by my local dealership. The fixed worked exactly as stated above. Two things I can offer is the newest part number is 5174618AA. One dealer wanted $40 another $27 and obviosly the one I bout it from was $11.93 with tax. The other suggestion I can make is for better visibility when working is place a small mirror on the floor and it is easier to see the screews and align the holes
    Regards, Chris

  • Wish I had seen this before replacing heater control unit Which by the way was not that difficult to do Just a few screws along bottom of dash and 2 screws above instrument panel and the whole dash pops off.Thanks for the info on the resistor because thats probably the problem. I was able to locate the resistor so replacement should be easy.Thanks for saving me a trip to the mechanic!!

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