Blower or Blower resistor? (ECC fun)
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    1. #1
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Exclamation Blower or Blower resistor? (ECC fun)

      I am getting the 20 blinks from the recirc and A/C off lights on my ECC unit. I don't have VIDA, so I can't capture the code as my car is a 99.

      Symptoms: When the HVAC is completely off, the flashing never occurs. When HVAC is on the AUT fan setting and I turn the car on, the flashing lights occur. When the flashing occurs on startup, the ECC cannot regulate the fan speed anything past "low" and it makes for a chilly drive unless I manually adjust the fan speed.

      If the fan is ON but not in AUT mode, the flashing occurs as soon as I put it into AUT mode. Everything works fine until I use the auto climate function.

      Would this seem to be a bad blower motor resistor, or perhaps the entire blower itself? Or, does this point to a clear failure of the ECC unit?

      I've removed and cleaned the temp sensor in the dash. The fan on the temp sensor works 100%. Still a possible failure? About 50% of the time the AUT mode works flawlessly whenever I turn the car on and it doesn't throw 20 blinks at me.
      Last edited by burnout8488; 12-27-2012 at 04:21 PM.
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    3. #2
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Probably the resistor but also could be the cabin temp sensor (in the dash, behind those slots, next to the sunroof switch)
      There is a little teenie fan in there, they become clogged with dust and eventually fail over time.
      You can take a can of compressed air and blow it in there, sometimes that works, surely can't hurt
      Email: jrl1194 ( at ) AOL (dot) com
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    4. #3
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by burnout8488 View Post
      I've removed and cleaned the temp sensor in the dash. The fan on the temp sensor works 100%.
      Looks like I'm gonna go hunting for a resistor in the JY then as a first step!
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    6. #4
      Member BEJinFbk's Avatar
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      The power stage is generally taken out by a bad motor.
      Bearings or brushes - Usually bearings.
      You may just kill another power stage.
      '98 V70 R - Is the AWD worth it? You Betcha!

    7. #5
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Would it be safe to assume the power stage is the resistor? If so, the blower and resistor should be replaced in pairs?

      With 155k, should I be replacing the blower at this point anyways?
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    8. #6
      Member lookforjoe's Avatar
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      I'd go with blower. Excessive resistance in the motor (from bearings or whatever) will definitely cause issues. Mine would come & go, I finally replaced it at 150K.

    9. #7
      Member BEJinFbk's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by burnout8488 View Post
      Would it be safe to assume the power stage is the resistor? If so, the blower and resistor should be replaced in
      With 155k, should I be replacing the blower at this point anyways?
      Old school systems, like a '72 LTD or the Volvo MCC's use resistors.
      You get 3 or so fixed speeds and "OFF" that work with switch.

      ECC has what Volvo calls a "Power Stage" that provides fully variable speed.
      Connect that with some temp sensors and the brains in the ECC and you get
      stuff like a fan that doesn't start until the engine gets warm enough, AUTO
      mode and speed based adjustments. Crazy tech fun!

      But everybody calls it a resistor - So, yeah...It's your transistorized "resistor"...

      In most cases, the power stage will either fail in a fully on or fully off state,
      and that usually happens because the motor is on it's way out and starts
      demanding more current than the power stage was made to supply.
      ( If you really push it, sometimes smoke comes out. )

      Me? I wouldn't swap a power stage unless it was actually dead.
      But that's just me.
      Last edited by BEJinFbk; 12-28-2012 at 03:01 AM.
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    10. #8
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BEJinFbk View Post
      Old school systems, like a '72 LTD or the Volvo MCC's use resistors.
      You get 3 or so fixed speeds and "OFF" that work with switch.

      ECC has what Volvo calls a "Power Stage" that provides fully variable speed.
      Connect that with some temp sensors and the brains in the ECC and you get
      stuff like a fan that doesn't start until the engine gets warm enough, AUTO
      mode and speed based adjustments. Crazy tech fun!

      But everybody calls it a resistor - So, yeah...It's your transistorized "resistor"...

      In most cases, the power stage will either fail in a fully on or fully off state,
      and that usually happens because the motor is on it's way out and starts
      demanding more current than the power stage was made to supply.
      ( If you really push it, sometimes smoke comes out. )

      Me? I wouldn't swap a power stage unless it was actually dead.
      But that's just me.
      Gotcha! I had never heard "Power Stage" up until reading this thread. Just like my dad said: once something fails, you become an expert at it! Sounds like you may have experienced this one or two times in the past

      This makes me feel better about the ECC unit itself, as I finally found a perfect one without any knicks or scratches in it. Don't want to have to throw a cruddy junkyard unit in...
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    11. #9
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Frankly if you have it all apart, now is a good time to replace both
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    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by JRL View Post
      Frankly if you have it all apart, now is a good time to replace both
      True dat. Usually replace them as a pair. Blower and power stage. Have not come across a bad ecc in these cars in 7years. not to say it doesnt happen.

    13. #11
      Member Bearclaw's Avatar
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      Mine went out last summer. The fan started becoming intermittent; I lived with it for a while, and then it died. Can't say I ever got the 20 blinks, I was pretty sure what it was so I just pulled the blower fuse until I got the parts. Like Jim says, it's worth doing both regardless. At least it was for me. I balanced the $68 part from Tasca against lazy me possibly having to disassemble/assemble the thing twice.
      Barry
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    14. #12
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      It really makes sense
      If the blower is bad, the power stage has to strain to try to make it work.

      I ALWAYS replace both if one has failed.
      Takes an extra 5 minutes this way and you're done for another 100K miles
      Email: jrl1194 ( at ) AOL (dot) com
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    15. #13
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Oddly enough I just put in a new Volvo battery and the codes stopped flashing the past few days... However the blower still doesn't reach max velocity on AUT. Works fine when manually maxing it out.

      I'll budget a new fan and power stage shortly.
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    16. #14
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Just got the power stage from Tasca, now looking for the cheapest blower. $129 on FCP seems to be the best price for the Behr OEM, should I pull the trigger? Edit: Picked it up

      The one thing that scares me is that most people have the blower *stop working* and this fixes the problem, however mine always works. It's the speed that often isn't correct, only when I get the 20 blinks. If one of these doesn't fix it, there goes $200! My only comfort is that these parts will eventually fail, so I guess it's not the worst thing if I replace them now.
      Last edited by burnout8488; 01-05-2013 at 02:27 PM.
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    17. #15
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Finally got my resistor in today from Tasca, and they shipped me the one for NON-ECC. So, their price of $67 for the ECC resistor is incorrect. They said it was a catalogging issue. The correct one is $107 from Tasca. I'll install my new Behr fan and see if that fixes it, and go for a new resistor if this doesn't fix it.
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    18. #16
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Worse news! My Behr (OEM) fan from FCP makes a horrible noise, like a boat motor in the dash! So both my resistor and fan have to go back, and I have no solution to this problem despite buying both parts. However: I think when I spun up the new fan, the flashing lights on the ECC unit went away. Just need to wait for the replacement next week...again.
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    19. #17
      Member BEJinFbk's Avatar
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      Bad out of the box seems unlikely.
      Any noise out of the dash?

      Sure it's installed correctly?
      Is the duct clear?
      is the sound like a playing card in the spokes?

      Is the squirrel cage rubbing?
      Is it installed at the right height on the motor shaft?
      '98 V70 R - Is the AWD worth it? You Betcha!

    20. #18
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      When I install my old fan, it's as quiet as a mouse, so it's definitely something with the new one. Went back and forth twice, no foreign objects in the HVAC box. The old fan pops in and spins quiet every time. The new fan sounds more like a deep rumble coming from the motor. I also held it in the HVAC box by hand without screwing it in, and changed the way it sat multiple times - no change.

      The squirrel cage was installed slightly further down the motor's shaft than my factory fan, maybe a few mm, I don't know if that would make a difference? I don't want to risk breaking the cage when FCP agreed to send me a new one. If I screw it up, I'm screwed

      I took care not to touch the balancing weights on the new motor as well. If the next Behr fan comes and I encounter the same problem, has anyone used the TYC aftermarket with success?
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    21. #19
      Member BEJinFbk's Avatar
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      Sounds like you've been busy...Balance maybe?
      What happens when it's powered up outside the dash?
      '98 V70 R - Is the AWD worth it? You Betcha!

    22. #20
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      It almost flew out of my hand, don't try it unless you have a very grippy glove on... my fingertips almost came off! I couldn't tell the difference between the two fans outside of the dash. My guess is that the HVAC box allows the sound of either a bad balance, or a bad motor to be heard more easily. When it's in my hand, my arm probably absorbs whatever is wrong and I couldn't tell the difference.
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    23. #21
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by BEJinFbk View Post
      Sounds like you've been busy...
      This has been the most Volvo-centric week of my life. Starting an internship next week 100 miles away and I'll be commuting a few days a week. The Volvo needs to be *done*.
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    24. #22
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Update! The blower has been replaced by FCP with a new one, and it is quiet. So, my first one was a defect. My luck sucks!

      The 20-blinks error seemed to have gone away, but it came back tonight and my AUT mode was unable to control fan speed again. However, this happens more rarely now. I can manually adjust the fan speed all day, and no error code will come up.

      The fact that the "AUT" fan mode immediately makes an error code appear makes me wonder if it is a temperature sensor problem. I wish I had a way to scan the ECC, almost makes me want to go get a bootleg VIDA right now and find out what the actual problem is. It could be as easy as the interior temperature sensor failing.

      If the little interior temperature sensor fan spins, can the sensor be a failure point? It's just a little temperature sensing diode, not a moving part. I would really hate to spend the money on the power stage and have it not be the issue unless multiple opinions think it has failed based on my symptoms...my fan always works in manual mode, through all of the ranges. The fan never struggles or doesn't work, I have a problem with the automatic climate control side of things I believe.
      Last edited by burnout8488; 01-21-2013 at 01:52 AM.
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    25. #23
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      If I haven't already mentioned it... the ECC works great when it's warmer out (40ºF+). Ever since it got cold again (20º range) the error code keeps coming back. Really wondering if there is a fault in the ECC head itself, this is exactly how my ABS module acted when it failed. The cold made the broken solder joints contract and lose connectivity.
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    26. #24
      Member burnout8488's Avatar
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      Took a peek in my dash today and saw that the temperature sensor fan was not spinning after turning the car on in 16 degree weather. Maybe it only spins when it is warmer out, eliminating the issue. I just cleaned it out a few months ago and it spun freely. Must be a fan bearing problem.

      If this is the root cause of my issues, I guess I can't be too disappointed that I replaced the blower. It would have failed eventually.
      '13 BMW X1 35i M-Sport
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