Lexus Service

December 20, 2013

The heater fan on our 2005 Lexus ES330 was noisy on its highest setting and I had learned to live with it. But lately it seemed as though its output was diminishing so I looked online for fan prices and videos on changing it out.

The job promised to be a lot easier than on a Volvo. I remember taking the entire dash apart on the 1984 wagon (including steering wheel and speedometer removal) in order to extract the very expensive fan. I don’t remember its cost, but it was enough that I tried to repair the old one.

The Camry/Lexus fan seemed cheap online, and the video showing the replacement procedure ran for only 15 minutes. Because Toyota parts are often surprisingly inexpensive at the dealer, I called Kingston Lexus for a price on the job. Service manager Tammy had charged me a very reasonable $850 for a timing belt job, and hourly rates slide lower on older models, so I figured she was worth a try.

I stammered my explanation until Tammy broke in and told me to remove the cabin filter and vacuum the cavity behind it clear. Then reach in and fish the maple leaves out of the squirrel cage. She suggested there’s no need to take the fan apart and that my heater would be fine after cleaning.

When I removed the glove box and filter (I’d watched a video on the process the day before) I discovered a plugged cabin air filter and a squirrel cage beneath it which was about as well-stuffed as a foam pillow with bits of maple leaves and miscellaneous fibrous material which made me suspect the actions of a mouse. Indeed, the top of the filter seemed to have been chewed a bit, though the fine gray fibres may have been filter material rather than mouse hair.

My coarse vacuum hose wouldn’t go into the air box so I blew the material out to the vacuum with compressed air. Everything went back together as it should. Heater fan action improved immediately.

The fan repair’s total cost? Twenty minutes of effort in the shop.

Not bad.

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