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Volvo 850 Floor Air Vents Not Working

The floor air vents on my 1997 Volvo 850 with ECC are not providing any air to my feet. How do I fix this 850 floor air vents problem?

You will need to repair the dampener motor aperture on your ECC unit. When broken, there is no air flowing to your feet/the floor. Py eloquently shares his solution with us, including pictures! Thanks, Py!

This inexpensive, relatively easy fix involves cutting off the tip of the black plastic piece to match the height of the steel driveshaft. Then, superglue that piece of plastic onto one of the flat surfaces of the square steel drive shaft. This prevents it from breaking off during reassembly. Py also had to file a bit of the plastic off so it would fit and provide a lead-in.

No more air to the feet on 97′ 850 wagon with ECC

Volvo introduced this entirely new series in June 1991 as a dynamic automobile with four important breakthroughs. These were:

  • Transverse 5-cylinder engine driving the front wheels
  • Delta-link rear axle combining the dynamics and ride comfort of independent suspension with the security of a live rear axle
  • SIPS integrated side-impact protection system; and
  • The self-adjusting front seat belt mechanism.
Fix broken Volvo 850 Floor Air Vents


Just to clarify- the wire is wrapped around the plastic shaft, which cracks at each inner corner because it is so thin in those areas (what a truly crappy design). So the wire just holds it all from expanding when the inner square shaft turns. All they had to do was put a little metal sleeve around the outside to reinforce it. Or make the plastic thicker. That would be a good repair kit for somebody to offer.

I did something a bit different. Once I discovered the problem (right side) I took off the motor and saw the broken plastic shaft. I had seem the plastic piece earlier on the floor, and tossed it or something- never did find it. So I took some solid core bell wire, wrapped it around a screwdriver about the same diameter as the shaft to form it, 4 or 5 turns. Then I worked it on to the shaft. The wire filled in some of the missing plastic section. I took it off again and twisted the ends together to keep it tight, and put it back on. The motor shaft went in fairly tightly and the flapper would turn after that. Make sure you have the motor set to the same position as the flap when assembling. e.g. if closed, then air should directed to the upper vents. I think it is spring loaded and normally closes.

For the left side, it was also not blowing on feet, so I had tried to push a screwdriver up to manually open the valve to see if it was stuck or something (not a good idea- I did this before discovering how it worked on R side). The valve opened and started blowing air. Then it worked fine after that. Not sure why. Maybe it was stuck shut. The plastic shaft is probably cracked but it still works. Didn’t see an easy way to get at it so I left it along.

I was able to perform this fix using standard nylon washers from the local hardware store. Just slip the washers over the female side of the shaft joint. In my case, part of the shaft had split completely off and I was able to “reattach” it using the washers only (no glue). The male side of the shaft is on the damper motor. It was a tight fit so I had to gently pound it in with a hammer. In my mind, a tight fit is a good fit. Works great. Thanks to original poster Py.

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