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Where is the blower relay and blower motor resistor in a 2009 Subaru Forester?

Was driving to visit my sister in the hospital when the a sound came from the front of the passenger compartment that sounded like a stick got caught in the blower or something. It was snowing and nightime, and I didn’t stop. The car started smelling like insulation or something burning, really stank, but I got to see her in the hospital and even was able to drive back. The next day the battery was dead.

Got the battery recharged at the auto parts store and then took out the blower motor to get the stick out. No stick or any sign of damage to the fan basket. Checked the hole the blower was installed into and all I saw was something that looked like filter paper in there, otherwise clear.

Put the battery back and tried to hook up the blower motor which was still physically detached from where it was mounted, only the wires were connected. Blower would not work. but the fan basket circulated freely by hand. Haven’t tested the blower motor yet by hooking it up to the battery, I will tomorrow morning.

I’ve been told by the auto parts store the problem might well be either the relay or the blower resister. I looked under the dash where I took out the blower motor but did not see anything like the blower resisters I’ve seen pics of. Maybe I’m missing something, but could someone tell me where exactly the blower resistor is located in a 2009 subaru forester, manual control?

Also, where the relay be?

Any help I can get on this would be appreciated.

When you apply voltage to the blower motor and it doesn’t run, take the handle of a screwdriver and rap on the blower motor.

If the blower motor starts running, replace the blower motor.



Thank you for replying. I checked the blower motor by hooking it up to the disconnected battery directly via small wire testing clips. The blower works fine. So I guess I look at the blower resistor and relay next.

It’s not the resistor.

If all the resistors burned out in the resistor block, the blower would still work on high speed.

The relay directs the voltage either thru the resistor block for the low speeds, or directly to the blower motor for the high speed.


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Since you can reach the motor’s connectors, use a voltmeter top measure the voltage at various speeds. If you get 12V at the highest setting and lower voltage at lower settings your motor is shot, even if it runs intermittently by connecting a 12V battery. Guess how I know…

Follow Tester’s recommendation and use a wooden tool handle to give it a good tap to the blower motor. If it changes speed it is the motor.

From what I see the relay is located near the blower motor. Under the instr panel lower cover and the ECM cover. There should wires you can follow directly from the blower motor to both the resistor ass’y and the relay.

Good idea to first measure the voltage at the blower motor (with it connected) before assuming there’s a problem with the resistor or the relay. The relay is likely a low failure-rate item. When the resistor fails, it usually only fails at certain speeds, usually it fails at only the lowest speed. If the voltage at the blower motor is correct and the blower doesn’t spin you know the problem pretty much has to be the blower motor itself. Caution: Be sure to disconnect the battery before mucking about with the electrics, to avoid inadvertently damaging the ECM.

Okay, I suspected it was the blower resister, and getting off the glove box/dashboard and sundry took some doing. In fact, the whole front of the dash is off in pieces, since I didn’t think the job would be that much. I’m not a neat worker, all screws etc are on the car’s floor, and it’s going to be a miracle to get this all back together.

I got the blower resister off, probably could have done it without taking off the front of the dash. I tested things with a digital voltmeter. Below is a diagram of the resistance readings between the thick copper lead, (which I assume to be ground or negative), and the three little points which I presume to be the resisters.
blower resister 2

Are these typical resistor values? Offhand, it looks to me like the blower resister unit is all right. Also, there was no evidence of burning or insulation melting at all around the blower resister.

Anybody got any ideas on what can cause the distinct and smell of burning plastic and smoke coming into the passenger compartment?

Tomorrow, I am about to try the suggestion of hooking the motor up to the battery via small jumper cable and, once the motor is running, hitting the body of the blower motor with a hammer handle to see if the rpm goes up. I already know the blower motor works when hooked up to the batter via jumper, but don’t know yet about hitting the motor while it’s turning.