Dodge Ram Low Air Flow from AC Vents

12:06 pm Air Conditioning, How To Auto Repair


©  Summary: This article is about Dodge Ram pick up trucks that have a common air-flow problem with the HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system. The problem causes little heat (or AC depending the time of the year) to flow through the vents. The blower fan can typically be heard with no abnormal sounds, although no air seems to be making it out of  the vents. We go over parts that need to be removed to gain access to replace a common failed component.

A common problem for the Dodge Ram pick up truck is to have low airflow even though the blower fan can be heard loud and strong. Usually the problem is because of a broken fresh air door – AKA recirculate door. The fresh air door is located behind the glove box area. What can happen is the door can break and fall down covering the blower fan, essentially sealing off  all air-flow. That’s why the blower can sound normal on all speeds, but little air can be felt from the vents. The broken door below shows the point at which the break is common.

8/17/2012 Update *Important – since this article was first written we have discovered and started selling a kit that allows the repair to be done right in the vehicle. Click on the image to the left or the following number AAA9 DLT, for more information on the replacement door kit. The replacement door has steel construction instead of the weak composite material used from the factory. So it’s built to last. The kit works on 2002-08 Dodge Ram pick up trucks. Installation is done after removing the glove box – the dash does NOT have to be removed. 

In the image below, the x’s mark most of the trim pieces that need to be removed to gain access to bolts which hold the dash. One that is not marked is on the top of the dash, it’s the large trim panel which is not visible in the picture. This can be an easy job to do at home since the air conditioning system does not have to be discharged. In fact nothing on the firewall side has to be disturbed.

Note that the steering coloumn is unbolted and allowed to drop down and is not unbolted at the steering coupler. Undo the stop light switch to prevent stress on the wiring when the dash is swung.

Once the trim panels are out of the way, it’s fairly easy to find the bolts that need to be removed to pull the dash. The fresh air door or recirculate door assembly located directly behind the glove box can now be accessed. There’s only two Phillips screws securing it to the case. After removing those, unplug the actuator and give the door assembly a slight tug. Be sure to remove any debris from the blower fan cage before installing the replacement door assembly. The picture below shows how far the dash has to be pulled back to remove the door assembly – notice it is actually removed.
Below the new door assembly can be seen back in position and the dash can now be re-installed.
Reverse the removal process of the securing bolts and trim panels and the job is done.

The tips in this article are very basic and NOT intended to be a complete guide for servicing your AC system. Please refer to a repair manual for further instructions.

Related Car Repair Articles and Products

Basic Car AC Gauge Set Hook-Up

Adding Freon to Car AC – Gauge Readings Explained

Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air – Charging Tips and FAQ’s

Other AC Articles


295 Responses
  1. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 3, 2015 @ 10:57 am

    Brandon, this article and our fresh air door are for the 2002-2006 model years. The dealer should be best equiped to handle a problem like yours especially a 2014 with 13k under factory warranty. Sorry I couldn’t assist. Feel free to comment once the dealer figures out the fix. Good Luck.

  2. Radar :

    Date: April 26, 2015 @ 10:35 pm

    Hi, I have a 2012 Ram 1500 ST Express. I have a problem where my A/C will work fine, until I’ve been driving for about 15-20 minutes. The air will stop blowing out of the vents, but I can here the fan blowing hard. If I stop and turn the engine off for a few minutes, it will work fine again for another 15-20 minutes. Sometimes, if I move the knob to the defroster and back, it will work again, but that doesn’t work all the time…help, please!

  3. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 27, 2015 @ 7:32 am

    I have an article that covers most likely causes of a car’s AC to stop blowing cold after a few minutes. I talk about an old 1980 Chevrolet that my parents owned when I was growing up. The problem can occur on just about any vehicle though since most have expansion valves. Check it out for more information.

    Car AC Blows Warm After a Few Minutes

  4. jimD :

    Date: May 24, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

    Hi Dennis. I have an 05 dodge ram 1500. A/c is cold on drivers side and warm to cool on passenger side. I pulled the whole dash and the actuator and recerculator door are both in good shape. I can see both working fine. Any ideas? After driving for a period of time the passenger side gets cool but not cold

  5. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 26, 2015 @ 10:02 am

    Hey Jim, I would check the refrigerant charge. Just a little low on refrigerant can cause this problem, especially on dual zone AC systems. Good Luck.

  6. Mike :

    Date: June 6, 2015 @ 9:16 am

    Hello Dennis,
    I have a 2007 diesel Ram mega cab, the passenger side AC blows colder then the driver’s side, I do not have zone control AC. We took a long trip last weekend & on the way home the air was hardly blowing no matter what speed the blower was on & it was making a fluttering noise. We stopped to fill up then it started blowing properly but still with the variation in temperature. I have the dash partially pulled, but there is still something holding it in that I cannot find. The fresh air door at the top of the dash behind the glovebox looks as if it moving freely when the AC mode is changed. Any information would be appretiated.

  7. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 8, 2015 @ 11:15 am

    Mike rather than pulling everything, if you suspect a bad door, I’d remove the actuators and try turning the doors by hand. If you can spin them completely around rather than just 180 degrees, it’s probably broken. Good Luck

  8. Zac :

    Date: June 18, 2015 @ 11:24 pm

    Hi Denis I have a 2009 dodge ram 3500 my problem is I have A/C on and it’s single zone I don’t have dual zones. the driver side is not cold it feels like room temperature it’s not hot but not cold like it should be.the passenger side is cold I just bought this truck from a private seller I noticed the A/C didn’t work so I took it to shop they vacuumed Freon out they said it was a little low so they put correct amount in. It ran great for 2 weeks. now I am having that problem with driver side not cold. I changed out blend door actuator just to be safe the recirc door looks good just don’t know. You think I am low on freon again. Any help would greatly be appreciated thanks

  9. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 19, 2015 @ 7:57 am

    Hey Zac, I would suspect a leak, since it worked ok for awhile after the correct charge was put in. Common leaks on those trucks are the evaporator. It’s not easy to detect a leak there sometimes because you can’t visually inspect them. A good reliable refrigerant leak detector may help but sometimes still difficult to diagnose. On faster evaporator leaks you may see a little oil and/or UV dye at the drain. Good Luck.

  10. SSINC :

    Date: June 22, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

    I have a 2004 Ram with this exact issue. I mean the above photo of the busted piece is an exact match to mine. 1st of all I’m a Dodge guy all the way but what a poor design cheap weak link piece of junk that door is to break like it did. Anyways since I got a 04 with 100,000 miles I was not gonna spend the time or the $ to pull the whole dash so I did what many of the above guys did take out the blower motor with 3 T-20 screws grab a light & sure enuff found the broken door blocking all the air so with some careful twisting & turning & shaking & good hand work I got the whole door out in 1 piece. Total time about 15 min & it works just fine now. Had my truck been newer I would of prob wanted it fixed to oem specs but I plan to trade it in within the next few years so it will be just fine for me no need to stick any more $ into it. I just want to thank everyone on this website for all the great advice I now have working AC in my truck & it cost me no $ at all. THANKS GUYS !!

  11. BillyGoat :

    Date: June 22, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

    2008 Dodge Ram 1500. Took out glove box and could see the fresh air damper/door is in place and pulled the blower fan motor, nothing broken in there. I felt back inside and the evaporator core and it felt iced. The problem is 80F on drivers Side. 60F passenger side. I checked the door that blocks heater core and it seems to be moving good. What am I missing? One thing I noticed is the liquid line is iced over and fan on condenser is new. Everything under the hood is new.

  12. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 23, 2015 @ 7:19 am

    Iced over evaporator core usually means the expansion valve is bad or moisture in the system. I’d check the low and high pressure readings and go from there. See our AC gauge readings explained for more on diagnosing, going by the pressure readings. Good Luck.

  13. Juju :

    Date: June 24, 2015 @ 2:31 am

    Should make a short video.

  14. Fred :

    Date: July 26, 2015 @ 10:42 am

    I have a 2006 Dodge 2500 SLT 4WD 5.9 with a similar issue to the others, but not exactly the same. The A/C will blow cold air out of both sides when the truck isn’t moving. When it is moving the passenger side air is significantly warmer than the drivers side. It happens with the control set on either recirculate or regular. Does this sound like a broken recirculate door?

  15. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 26, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

    No. I would check the refrigerant level. Good Luck.

  16. Robert :

    Date: August 9, 2015 @ 11:45 pm

    OK I have read most of this and have not come quite across the problem I am having. I have a 2001 Dodge 2500 the Ac was charged by a certified shop. We turn the air on and we can hear the fan blowing but at times nothing comes out of the vent. But then if we switch things around or turn it off for a bit and turn it back on we finally get the air flow back out of the vents. But if we turn down the speed of the fan for to long and go to turn the speed back up we start to not get the air flow we had. Any ideas?

  17. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 10, 2015 @ 7:31 am

    Evaporator Freezing up. Normally the water that collects on the evaporator exterior fins drains off and drips under the vehicle through the drain tube. If the evaporator reaches 32 degrees for an extended period of time this condensate/water freezes. The ice will form a shield not allowing the air to be blown through, which could be the reason the air is not blowing out of the vents sometimes. 1. Check the drain. Too much water collecting is not what you want. It needs to drain off quickly. 2. Check the readings. If the low side is getting too low, the evaporator temp may get to freezing temp. Good Luck.

  18. Mike :

    Date: August 22, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

    I have a 2004 Dodge Ram. The recirc door was broken, and while replacing it I noticed that the motor for the door was turning a 1/4 turn one direction and a full turn the other direction. I replaced the motor with a new one and it did the same thing. Could something else be wrong like the HVAC control module or is this the way it is supposed to work?

  19. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 22, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

    It self calibrates after you install everything. Can’t calibrate if it’s not hooked up. Good Luck.

  20. kevin :

    Date: August 28, 2015 @ 7:29 pm

    I have a 2001 dodge ram the compressor kicks on and off, the pressure for Freon is good, thought it might be low pressure switch so I replaced it still kicks on and off any ideas?

  21. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 29, 2015 @ 10:15 am

    Kevin, It’s normal for the AC to cycle on and off. If it’s not cooling and cycling too much, the most common cause is low refrigerant. I’d check both low and high pressures – see our Car AC Gauge Readings Explained article. There are two pages to this article, the second page has gauge readings and explanations. See what the pressures are when the compressor kicks off. If the low side is too low and the AC is not cooling and the refrigerant charge is NOT low, then it could be a bad expansion valve. If the high side is approaching 500psi, the engine could be overheating or the condenser fan may not be working. Good Luck.

  22. Bill :

    Date: September 1, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

    Fantastic Information! I appreciate you taking the time to answer everyone.
    I have a 2003 2500 Diesel and the air flow on the a/c goes to almost nothing when towing under a load. If I drive easy it does not go out. It is cold, just no air. If I stop for 30 min it works again. My two thoughts are either freezing up and or a vacuum problem?

  23. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 2, 2015 @ 7:52 am

    As you know, this article is on Dodge Rams. Diesel engines don’t create a lot of vacuum so I would guess (without checking any literature) that your mode door is controlled by an electric actuator. It could be affected by lower voltage when there’s high demand on the electrical system or by an inadequate ground. The blower itself could be slowing down also for the same reasons. Since you don’t have the problem when driving normally without a heavy load, I wouldn’t think the system is icing up. It could freeze up regardless of the load the truck is pulling. I’d check the manual to study the system and see what type of actuators it has for sure. And also listen for the blower motor sound in case it’s slowing when the problem occurs and go from there. Good Luck.

  24. RAM :

    Date: January 20, 2016 @ 6:34 am

    I have a 2010 big horn edition 4×4 4 door Ram. I am not able to get my Defrost to come on. All the other vents work except the defrost. I have notice that on start up my vents automatically circulate air on its own to different vents. Only on start up. But none of the vents include the defrost vent. 10 minutes after start up the system operates normal except feeding the Defrost vents. The problem on start up doesnt always happen. Please help.

  25. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 20, 2016 @ 8:23 am

    There could be a bad actuator or door. The cycling through modes on start up is the control module trying to calibrate. Since it never can make the defrost operate during it’s calibration set-up, that indicates a problem. There may be a code stored that a scan tool that can access HVAC control codes can retrieve. The actuator may be hard to get at. Good Luck.

  26. 06MegaCab :

    Date: February 15, 2016 @ 9:09 am

    06 MegaCab 3500 – Low air flow, found evaporator coil clogged with dust due to no cabin filter. 99% of time i use recir. Is there another ac system that can replace this manufacture poor ac system, or even another year where Dodge improved air flow and cabin filter? – I’m tempted to replace it with an RV rooftop ac. Thanks

  27. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 15, 2016 @ 9:17 am

    Replacing an AC system in a vehicle is not like changing out a window unit. You have components in the dash, under the hood and in front of the radiator with lines connecting everything. The best bet is to not re-invent the wheel. I’d keep what you have in condition, full of refrigerant, keep it clean and it’ll be fine. Good Luck.

  28. Chuck :

    Date: March 11, 2016 @ 12:20 pm

    2003 Ram 5.7 Hemi. AC/Heater works only when it wants to. Replaced the switch in the steering column, the blower resistor, and the hvac control module. After the control module was replaced all worked fine for couple of days, now back to not working except when it feels like it. Any ideas. Thanks

  29. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 11, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

    When it’s not working check using a wiring diagram and DVOM. Good Luck.

  30. Grant :

    Date: June 24, 2016 @ 7:53 pm

    2002 Dodge Ram 1500

    A/c blows out cool air but very little air flow comes out of the vents. I took out the broken recirc door that usually blocks air flow a few years back. The vents still do not have a lot of air flow coming out of them. Any suggestions on what else it might be? The blower motor works but would it make a difference on replacing it with a new one?

  31. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 25, 2016 @ 9:28 am

    Hello Grant. A system that has a missing recirculate door (also called MAX air door) will never have maximum airflow. If the blower motor is working at normal speed, replacing it with another that does the same, would make no difference. Another cause of low airflow could be a blocked evaporator core. Leaves or other debris past the blower stops at the evaporator core and can restrict airflow. I’d replace the recirculate door which will enable the air to be circulated in the cab rather than just trying to constantly cool air entering from outside. So the air can get cooler and it blows with more volume. Also check to see if there’s any leaves or anything else blocking the core. Good Luck.

  32. jack :

    Date: July 13, 2016 @ 9:19 pm

    I have a 2010 model Dodge 3500 max air door is in place and working but air is cold and not much air flow blower is working fine but the evaporator core has muddy stuff on it what can we do to fix this problem thanks

  33. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 14, 2016 @ 7:12 am

    Jack, dust and dirt turn to mud when wet. The moisture is from normal condensation. I’d remove the blower motor and use a garden hose to clean the evaporator core. Be careful not to drench anything else! Good Luck.

  34. jack :

    Date: July 15, 2016 @ 1:24 pm

    thanks a bunch dennis

  35. Steve quate :

    Date: August 5, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

    I would love it if someone could comment on my problem. My door is not broke it operates good, opening closing to allow fresh air in. but I don’t have any air whatsoever coming out of my vents. I can hear the fan blowing but I don’t have any air coming out of vents. I changed the blower motor washed the blower wheel. I cannot find a diagram of any servo motors or other doors in the duct work I don’t know what else to do.

  36. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 5, 2016 @ 3:26 pm

    Sometimes aftermarket blowers come wired backwards (wires reversed). This would make the blower go backwards. I’d look into that possibility. Good Luck.

  37. Jake :

    Date: January 12, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

    Dennis, on 2005 dodge 3500 diesel am trying to get dash around glovebox loose to check for door vent problem but can’t seem to get the dash loose enough to inspect. Seems the dash extends across above cup holder and have removed all screws but still tight. Suggestions. Have airflow output problem on pass side.

  38. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 12, 2017 @ 3:10 pm

    Glove box should come out not dash between 2002 and 2008. Also if just checking could remove blower assembly and check that way. Good Luck.

  39. Dougb :

    Date: July 12, 2017 @ 10:05 pm

    2011 Ram 1500 , 5.7 quad
    When i start my truck, turn on the act it blows warm air for a long time. Then it will start blowing nice and cool. When I accelerate it goes back to warm. Still blowing the whole time. Put gauges on the system. The high pressure went from 325-375 while my low pressure pegged my gauge. I released the pressure and it took a long time for it to start to build pressure. 10 psi in 10 minutes.
    Any suggestions.

  40. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 13, 2017 @ 7:17 am

    This article is on airflow. See our AC gauge readings explained for more info on pressure related issues. The low side should never peg, if it’s truly on the low side port and the gauge is accurate. There’s never a reason to “release” pressure. Intentional venting of refrigerant is not only illegal it’s the wrong thing to do for our environment. The MAX pressure on low side should be static pressure of around 80-100 PSI. I’d try a known good set of gauges. Blowing warm for a long time could mean a blend door issue (lazy actuator or binding door) or an expansion valve slow to act (sticking). An accurate gauge reading during the time it’s acting up would help determine which direction to look.

  41. Tricia R. :

    Date: August 18, 2017 @ 12:35 am

    I have a 2010 Ram 3500 6.7 the a/c went from freezing you out of the truck to still blowing cold but not having enough air flow to cool the cab and when switch it over to the heater it has no air flow at all like you turned it off. Help it’s August in South East Texas!!!

  42. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 18, 2017 @ 6:58 am

    Someone has to actually check the system in person. And the recirculate door we sell does not work for a 2010, it works for 2002 thru 2008 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 series. Good Luck.

  43. Roger :

    Date: August 20, 2017 @ 3:01 am

    Why did dodge not install cab air filters? I work in very dusty environment and my floor from vents got weak. I investigate this and find no filter and my evaporator core clogged with dirt (mud). Would have been nice to know the kit cost$30 but now more telling how much it will cost to clean out replace

  44. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 20, 2017 @ 9:54 am

    I think all vehicles should have cabin filters. You may be able to remove the blower motor and clean with evaporator core cleaner purchased at your local home improvement store. Rinsing with a garden hose will be necessary, so you need to be very careful with over-spray not to damage anything – can be done though. Good Luck.

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