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There's Something Dead in the Blower Box (and I Need Help Getting It Out)

Sounds like a Click-and-Clack song title, doesn’t it?

The other day my wife complained that the heater/AC blower fan in her 2007 Subaru Outback was making a terrible rattle. Sure enough, it was. “Got something in there,” I said, figuring I’d deal with it on the weekend; “let me know if it starts to smell.”

This morning she left for work, but came running back in, announcing, “It smells!”

So, as I feared, there’s something dead in the blower box. I climbed in the cabin this afternoon, took off the panel underneath (just three clips and a couple of screws), and then looked at the bottom of the blower motor. “How do I get this out?” I wondered. Since I had long planned on getting a service manual, I went online, and discovered no one seems to sell one.

Instead I signed up for a five-year subscription to, and figured I was all set. But when I went to the listing for the heating system, selected blower motor, I got no instructions, no diagrams, no nothing except a sketch of the motor (and a price), and some wiring diagrams. Where’s the R&R instructions? How do I open the box? Nothing.

Maybe I’m missing something; I emailed AllData (no response as yet). If anyone knows, please tell me. The subscription cost $45.

Or if AllData ain’t for real, a link to a repair manual would be welcome. I could just start taking stuff apart, but it’s sort of a new car, and I really would like a diagram or two, or better yet step-by-step instructions. And soon; it’s not going to get better.

/Mr Lynn

Was The Removed Panel The Glove Box Lower Cover And You Could See The Blower Motor ? My Sources Say To Disconnect The Blower Wiring Harness And Remove The Blower Motor Mounting Screws . . . Voil? !


No, it was a panel below the blower box; just cosmetic, I guess.

So if I pull the glove box out, I can see the motor? Do you have an exploded diagram?

Thanks. How come you capitalized every word?

/Mr Lynn

CAPITALIZATION and bold face are two very different things.

Every Word Was Capitalized.


Every Word Was Capitalized. and bold.

‘Capitalization’ is when you make the first letter of a word Upper Case.

‘All caps’ is when you make every letter of a word UPPER CASE.

But true, ‘common sense answer’ not only capitalized every word, but made them all [i]bold italic[/i].

That’s OK. What I really want to know is what’s wrong with AllData?or is it me?

/Mr Lynn

The blower motor is held to the box with 3 or 4 screws. Remove the screws and the blower motor will drop out. DOn’t forget the wire connector and there may be a rubber hose used to channel air to the motor to keep it cool.

I don’t envy you with the potential mess you’ll find in there. The blower fan can chop things up pretty good. I did this to my Ford Explorer when the blower started making a horrible sound. Turns out a drink straw got sucked up into it, and it was partially chopped up.

And, for CSA, I got nothing but love for you. Keep doing what you do, brother.

Thanks, CSA and BK! Got the blower motor out with only a little trouble reaching the back screw.

It was a mouse. It was quite dead, but fortunately more or less intact, except for a number of very large maggots feasting on the poor critter. They actually looked like grubs, about 1/2 an inch long. The fan blades were encrusted with hard-too-remove goo; I spent about two hours scrubbing with soapy water and alcohol. Hopefully I got most of it, so the smell will disappear.

It was only Tuesday when the mouse hit the fan. How he got in there (the intake holes in the cowl are not large enough for a mouse, I think), and how the insect that found him got there I don’t know.

There is a cabin air filter above the fan, which according to the one illustration I was able to find on AllData, should be accessible with the glovebox door released down out of the way, but in fact it is not. I can’t figure out how to check that. I’m thinking there may be a hole in it. I need a manual, dammit!

/Mr Lynn

The dealership will soak you for about $100 just to replace the cabin filter. Quick and easy instructions are here:

The set-up for '06s should be the same as for '07s. Takes all of about 15 minutes. The tabs on the filter housing can be snapped off pretty easily, so use care when you’re unclipping the housing and when you’re snapping it back into place.

Thanks, Riggyrow! That’s a useful link.

I don’t know if my '07 Outback is very different, but even after pulling out the upper glovebox compartment, the insulator and a couple of metal brackets (that don’t seem to do much), I couldn’t get the filter carrier past the divider between the upper and lower sections of the glovebox.

However, I was able to get the filter out, and sure enough, the little bugger had chewed a nice big hole right through it! Then, once he got into the fan, it was all over.

Danged if I know how he got through the holes in the cowl, but he did.

An '04 manual that someone on another forum accessed for me says that to change the filter you have to remove the glovebox, which is a lengthy procedure, requiring you first to remove the console box and other interior trim panels. So I guess I’ve managed to avoid that, and Autozone says they have the filter, and they’re open today. So off I go!

/Mr Lynn

Yeah, the “official” instructions that come with an 06/07 replacement filter from the dealer will also tell you to remove the center console and trim panels, but unless you actually need to remove the housing for some reason, those other instructions I linked you to are way easier and, like you said, allow you to get at the filter without all that extra labor…and “labor” is right, because I made the mistake of using the dealer instructions the first time I replaced my filter and it was a major p.i.t.a. I had to use a breaker bar just to get the center console loose, and probably cursed every god known to man in the process of removing the other pieces of trim.

It’s hard to believe they would make a regular maintenance item so hard to get at. This is our first Subie, and I thought they were supposed to be ‘user-friendly’ cars.

Apparently it was easier on earlier models. On our '07 Outback the right side of the glove box is too inflexible to get the filter carrier past it. I managed to bend and twist the old filter to pull it out, and danged near destroyed the new one getting it in. But I did.

The filter I got had an instruction sheet for various model Toyotas, but no Subarus. However, it was the right STP number, and seemed to fit.

I swabbed as much of the blower box as I could reach with Clorox cleanser, so I’m hoping I got the odor out.

Never had a car with a cabin-air filter before.

/Mr Lynn