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.

352 Responses to “Dakota Fan problem”

  • All I can say is that i went to start the truck in a terrible post IKE windstorm and there was no fan and no A/C. We ran on High only with A/c and then came home and looked up this post. What a time and life saver. Blessings to those who post this type of info and all they do for fellow drivers and owners.

  • 2003 dakota, High fan speed only,,,Tore dash apart remove controls, tore them aprart , all looked good, called dealer parts department for price of new control,,,,guess what Dodge parts guy said problem may be with this resistor saving 100 hundred dollars or more. Then I realized I should search web (normally I do first but many years ago wife’s pontiac had same problem and controls where replaced) then found this site and will het part tomorrow.

    Great post

  • i have a 97 dakota v8 and can’t seem to find this resistor…i’ve taking the bottom half of my dash off still i don’t see what everyone else eays is so easy less then 1/2 hr….i already bought the new resistor….just can’t seem to find it…also check on fire wall undarea under wipers…no go……please someone must have the answer to an easy question

    • look under glove box u will see a wiring harness follow wires from heater motor green and and one black wire there will be a junction splice ,follow splice to heater realay card

  • Great Fix, AI have been lookin gfor the repair on thi sfor quite some time. Now here is one I don’t know if everyone has heard of. 2001 Dodge Dakota, heater is set on the floor and it is still blowing up in the upper cabin area. Whatever I do it still blows in the upper area. Any thoughts?????????? The heater works great but the controls seem to only work in the upper or defrost area no floor.

  • Kevin from Canada

    Thank you VERY much. I worked on my buddies 2001 Dakota and couldn’t figure out why his blower fan wasn’t working and Your site NAILED IT. I saved my buddy lots of money and he bought me a case of beer.

    I just wanted to say “Thanks”

  • Thanks Piper, your blog just keep on giving. After testing my resistor and finding no connectivity between pins number 1 and 4, I didn’t think that it explained my complete loss of all fan speeds. But sure enough, a new resistor and everything works again. Now I only have to put the rest of the dashboard together, should have googled this right away. Thanks again.

  • Bill from New Hampshire

    Wow. That was awesome. I have a 2002 Dakota Quad Cab. I’m the world’s worst mechanic/handyman and that was the easiest fix I can remember. You just have to open the passenger door and kind of shimmy on the interior floor on your back. Make sure you have a light with you. Look up and the 2 bolts are right above you. Part cost me $13 Clarks Chrysler in Methuen.

  • THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! My hubby has been driving his truck since we got it two years ago with only the high heat, it crapped out on me two days ago, and of course i got the blame! as i was looking for a cheap way to fix the problem i found your site, and WA-BAM! i fixed it and couldn’t be more proud of myself! You all just got me out of a lot of hot water


  • Pat,

    After reading several sites, you should be able to locate your resistor on the top of the firewall, nearest the passengers side. Good luck!

  • same problem here 01 dakota fan don,t work at all I gona try new resistor tomorrow

  • Had the same fan problem on a 2002 Dakota Quad Cab-only high blower speed worked. Son found these posts. Part cost me $15. Dealer has them, but so do some aftermarket stores. In Minnesota try a NAPA store, that’s where I got mine. Thanks to all of you for your posts bunch. ps- install by removing 2- 8mm screws in lower air duct housing first. Back one is a &^$&%&*%*%, tools get hung up on the floor, but it is doable if you use some ingenuity. Front one easy. Then take out 2- 8 mm screws holding resistor in place. Whole housing drops out. Move red clip towards steering wheel (it will only go one direction!) Squeeze electrical fitting and remove. Replace with new resistor and reverse process, but note: use tape (I used a narrow slice of duct tape) to hold screw in socket-otherwise, you are going to spend a lot of time in an awkward position trying to get screw into correct hole. I hope this helps someone else. I couldn’t be happier about this!

  • I have a 2002 dakota quad cab, the blower on mine would not work on any setting. I pulled out the resistor and there is some obvious heat issue where one of the pins has melted the housing around it on the reisitor. the female receiving plug also appears to have some melting as well. Gonna replace the resistor, and hope that the female plug is ok, it seems like a much bigger deal to rewire that plug.

  • Tom from Michigan

    $16 at the dealership, and ten minutes to fix. 2nd time for this 2001 QC 196k. I remembered the %100+ fix from last time and put the power of the internet to work. Thank you.

  • I have replaced 3 resistor cards. 2 within the past 2 weeks. The Dodge dealer said it may be a wiring issue. The one connection was burnt up. However he told me to replace the 1 pig tail connection. I tried getting that out. After an hr it still wasnt out yet. I cut all five wires and out wire connections on them and slid them onto the heat resitor. Not suren how it may work. But now 2 and 3 are the same an 3 and 4 blow the same. Atleast I have heat but cannot seem to find the wire harness at all.

  • Thank you for the information $19 and a case of beer for my buddy saved me $175.

  • Have a 2004 Dakota with resister problem .Have gone thru two fo them in two weeks . Wire harness to resister has burned wire .Dealer claims i have to change wire harness and blower motor.anyone else have this problem with wires shorting out.

    • im starting to think this is a factory problem relay card keeps overheating and fusing plug together . have replaced harness and carde twice now. dodge tries to tell me that its a wiring fault in the system , so why does it melt or fuse the card to the plug. that would seem to me that a sending unit overpowers system to cause it to melt together

  • I have the same problem with my 2001 Durango. I have been through 5 of the resistors. The last two times the wiring harness has melted as well. Do we have enough people here to encourage a recall or to coerce the manufacturer to fix these for free? We are all obviously victims to some very poor engineering/manufacturing. I have put hundreds of dollars into this, not to mention lost 7 days of vehicle use. Enough is enough.

  • read your blog about 3hrs ago.2001 dakota no fan,drove to dealer and froze my butt off,picked up resistor and now fixed.. under $11.. mucho thanks

  • You are the man. Saw your blog. My 2001 Dakota went out last week. I am not rea hard pushed to fix it right now with beautiful weather in Phoenix, but I ordered the part from auto zone today for 10.56 and I removed the old one, a little bit of a pain at 51 with just having shoulder surgery. Thanks for your info….

  • This was exactly the problem….heater went out at -10, and with a half hour of work, it was back in buisness….great site. Thanks

  • Extending the problem with the 01 Dakota heater resistor. The wiring going into the resistor has overheated and welded the connector to the resistor. I have looked high and low for a used one at the auto wreckers with no luck. The new part at the dealers is $ 100.00 plus. I would be buying the dashboard harness apparently and I just choose the wires I want to use. There are not many wreckers with Dakota’s in them. Good truck, lousy heat control system.. Anyone out there offer a simpler solution ?? Many thanks to anyone who can offer help.


  • After reading a dozen websites on why i only get high speed on my bloer this was the one that helped me the most. Not only did it show the picture of the old one by the replacement. i removed mine with a klein tools 10-1 and it took 5 min.

  • Thanks for the post. I had the same problem with my 2001 Dakota. I looked in the Haynes Manual and found what the problem was, but their description and pictures did not help me fix the problem. Once I saw the Your picture and read the decription, I was able to locate and remove the old resistor within a few minutes. Amazing with all of these posts, you know there are thousands of others with the same problem. Dodge should just recall the bad resistors, but then they probably knew they were bad when they put them in. Thanks again.

  • 3 6 2009

    I looked high and low for amps pull at the different speeds on the blower motor, none found. Call a tech service to see if they had any numvers and someone who responded back from a shop that subcribes to their service said that 13 amps was ok 20 is bad motor. I plan on testing my new motor in all 4 speeds and record the pulls at each. This may help in both the need to replace the resisiter and or blower motor. Resister is cheep right now at a dealer for 7 dollars plus tax. Motor units are not cheep and they can run from 160- 250 dollars. When i contaced a dealer as the offical shop manial did not even show the motor and no amps numbers to test the unit i asked if this was such a common porb;om why not a recall? The answer was it is not a safty issue so no recall and you all get to eat something that is a bad part or design. I noticed that on the new blower the fan has cut outs in the bowl and i beleive that this will facilatae the removal of heat buildup from the motor as the original desing does not have this and heat exrtraction seems inhibited by design. Maybe this will eliminate the problem so many of us have been having. CarQuest had the most info and the best warrenty 2/24 that i could find. Thanks to all of you trail blasers who asked and maybe we have solved the problem and how to better diagnois the problem.

  • Ron,

    You are the man. I had a heater problem on my 2003 Dakota Truck and Googled for a repair. I found your site and it was just what I needed. Got the new fan speed resistor module for abot $16.00 and installed it and now I am back in business. I want to complemt you a your web site. It is professionally written and the pictures are well done and show exactly what everything looks like and how to remove the old and install the new.

    We need more instructional sites as good as yours

    Many Thanks,


  • Thanks for the info.
    Part cost $18.00 here in Coquitlam B.C.Canada
    Fairly easy to replace. Two hex head screws to undo and the
    remove the red retainer. Install new resistor and the I replaced the hex screws with Philips head screws for eaier replacement now and in the future.

  • This is a common problem with many vehicles. Note to all, if you are constantly burning up resistors and rerplacing often then you need to put some thought into replacing your blower motor. the reistors are burning up due to bad motor. I discovered this after replacing 4 resistors in one year.

    Upsate NY
    Best regards to all

  • I say, recall, this has been a complete hassle more than once. We had our resistor replaced…….$100. Then we went on a trip to BC at christmas, the resistor went again. Stuck with no heat in the middle of winter, we couldn’t find a dealership that had the part or could get one until after New Year…..That was a week after we had to be home (2500kms away). Luckily we found a auto wrecker that happened to be open on Christmas eve, bought a plug and installed it ourselves. 2 months later, it goes again…….now the dealer wants to charge me another $100 to replace the fan……..so, what happens when it goes again??????Another $100???? It is very rediculous I am so angry, especially since I haven’t even had the truck for 1 year.

  • MAN !! Thank God for the internet.

    2003 Dodge Dakota. Motor worked fine, when I found this thread I had to try and replace this thing. 2 MINUTES !!! AND only $8.56 with tax from my local dodge dealer. He even told me that those go out a lot, and about 50/50 the high speed will work.

    By the way, mine didn’t blow on high or any speed til I replaced the resistor.

    Thanks guys !!!

  • What a time and money saver finding this web site. SAme problem as all the rest here. Paid $6.70 plus tax for the resistor at Harry Lane Crysler/Kia in Knoxville, TN and just a few minutes replaced the defective part. The two screws that hold the harness come out with 5/16 drive socket; Remember to slide the red tab over. A mirror does help you with this job. Isn’t it awesome to avoid the dealer rip off to repair. Thanks to the guys that posted this!

  • great post! thanks for the info, this is the problem in my 03 dakota right now. only selection 4 works for fan speed, 1 2 and 3 the fan doesn’t even work. looks like i’ll be buying a blower motor resistor, thanks.

  • I would like to say I am a Mercedes Benz automotive Tech. I was always taught that if the blower resistor is bad you will only have the high fan speed. Although I own a 2003 dodge 1500 quad cab that has lost all fan speeds. I will try the resistor and update the results to verify if this corrects the problem..thanks

  • 2001 Dakota. Chrysler installed 2 resistors, I’ve installed 2, and am now ready to install my 3rd. However, the connector melted and fused itself to the resistor so I had to cut the wires. Dealer wanted over $100 for the connector and had it in stock. Said this was a common problem. I was skeptical and priced the connector at another dealer. It too was in stock and $100! Will go to the wreckers to find a connector.

  • Three wreckers did not have a connector. I checked the resistance of each terminal on the (rust free) inside and the existing resistor seemed good. Terminals on the outside were rusted bad! I believe the rust corrosion created a resistance which caused the melting.

    Removed some of the plastic so the outside terminals are exposed and cleaned the rust off with a file. Soldered 4″ long pigtails to each terminal and used Marr connectors to join into the existing harness.

    Blower works great! Ran it on a 2 hour trip and the soldered connections are cool. (Dealer said melting was due to a faulty blower motor drawing too many amps (without blowing a fuse))

    Total cost of repair – Zilch, zero, nothing!

  • 2003 Dakota 4 door 4×4 V8 73K. One fan speed high. Replaced the resistor card with new card worked great. Paid $7.30 at Dodge dealer Marion OH. We have the same 2003 truck at work and same problem at 38K but it was a zero speed fan that time. I also dropped the fan motor and found leaves and small sticks in blades.

    Thanks everyone for tips!

  • Thanks so much, I truly neede this info as my girls wont ride in the truck without ac and there’s a trip planned for next week so thanks again from all oaf us.

  • I have an 2005 Durango that had intermittent A/C blower problems. I found this site and was able to determine that the Durango had the same resistor as the Dakota trucks (no big surprise). I went and bought the same part for $13. It took 10 minutes to change!! Thanks!!

  • Eduardo From Argentina

    gracias caballero, estuve buscando ese aparatito como un loco, sin poder encontrarlo, gracias a tu nota, me agaché y lo vi, no lo podía creer, tan facil fue que no salgo de mi asombro, nuevamente gracias, este informe vale Oro para mi,Je!!

    Thank you, very very well, good note. you saved my helth!!!

  • Great site. Bought new resistor only to have it fail. One pin appears to have overheated. plastic is burnt. Lookes at female harness connector and slot has corrosion. Hope I do not need to change blower motor. Does anyone know the part number for the harness connector or do I need to replace the blower also.

  • Thanks – exactly what was wrong with my 2001 Dakota. New resistor fixed it right up.

  • Just replaced on my 02 Dakota. Great thread! FYI if your connector is melted or the resistor keep failing you will more than likley need to replace the blower motor. The issue is that the motor is drawing too many amps.

  • Thanks!! I have the same problem with my it was not working and then one day I turn it on and only the bottom blower worked and then the whole blower work, and the next day nothing, no blower no a/c. But I am about to check that resitor right away. Thanks guys that’s awesome of you guys helping us non-mechanical owners, this will save me tons of cash.

  • I’ve burned out at least eight of these in two years. Finally I
    decided to have a mechanic check the voltage. He said the voltage to the fan was normal but the harness plug was burning out. He replaced that. $ 150.00 later, I supplied the new resistor.. Two weeks later it burned out again. This time I took matters into my own hands. Cut out the resistor at the top of the unit.That the little diode type thingy, tinned the cut tips with solder. Then took a 20 amp Glass tube fuse, used in older vehicles. Tinned the ends of the fuse with solder. ( MUST BE A GLASS FUSE). Now with an electic solder gun solder the fuse between the two contacts you tinned in step one. check it to make sure the connetion is well soldered. Re-install.. I have not had any problems since April of this year.2009. Runs well on all speeds and even with the heater running it seems to be ok.. I’ll repost if it fails any time soon…..

  • Great fix! Thanks for all the people that took the time to post on this problem. Money is tight right now (I’m sure I’m not the only one) and I couldn’t put off getting this fixed much longer with out heat and defroster. On my truck, 2003 Dakota, it just went, didn’t even work on high. But though i would take a shot and replace the resistor 1st. It worked! cost only $17 in NJ at a dodge dealer. Probably saved at least $80-$120 easy. Took 15 minutes to fix. Thanks again!

  • Great advice!!! My 2004 Dakota quad cab had the same problem as most with the blower only working on high.After reading these blogs I went out and bought the resistor, $30 at the dealer. It was a little more than most paid but beats paying for labor. It now works like a champ! Thanks.

  • I must provide my story. Similarly, my 2001 Dodge Dakota’s blower/fan began only operating on high. I lost 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 speed. Not having a clue what the problem was, I inquired with my local Dodge dealer. They told me for (just) a diagnosis it would be $94.00, then the cost for whatever part was required, and at least 1 hour to install/repair (at $70.00 per hour). After reading all of the above I purchased a MOPAR Blower Resistor (PART #05061575AA)for less than $10.00 and followed the install instructions as outlined above. Must admit the rear screw was EXTREMELY CHALLENGING to get out; but all in all the problem has been fixed for less than 10 bucks. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And the new part looks EXACTLY as you showed in your picture.

  • Killer post, dude. Mine had the same problem. Got a replacement part for $25 at the auto parts store. 30 minutes later I had my motor working on all speeds again. Thanks!

  • Like many of the others I feel your advice was dead on. I bought
    the resistor for $14 and was told it has a lifetime warranty. The only info I would add is to be sure to remove the extra nubs on both sides of the screw holes. The salesman never mentioned that (but he also thought the resistor was located on the fire wall). 2002 Dakota
    Thanks Again

  • I had the same problem in my 2003, no low speed settings, then one day it just crapped out. Jumped the blower motor and it ran fine, did an online search and this is what I found. Thanks.

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