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Cabin Air Filter & Fan Speed

Hi, I have a 2001 Subaru Outback. I removed the glove box & its plastic frame & then the cover over the 2 cabin air filters. Surprise! The filter area was empty; so I installed 2 new air filters and reversed the process replacing the frame and then the glove box. Everything seemed to work fine until I turned on the heater fan. For the first time ever, the fan does not run on the lower speeds, only works on high speed. Since I had just installed the new (and only) cabin air filters, I have to consider the possibility that I did something in that process to affect the fan speed control. Does anyone have an idea on why the fan speed only works on high & if I did something in the filter process to cause that? I appreciate any help anyone can give me. Thanks, Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I made a mistake and first posted this in the general section, so I will repeat it here.
I have a 2001 Subaru Outback. I removed the glove box & its plastic frame & then the cover over the 2 cabin air filters. Surprise! The filter area was empty; so I installed 2 new air filters and reversed the process replacing the frame and then the glove box. Everything seemed to work fine until I turned on the heater fan. For the first time ever, the fan does not run on the lower speeds, only works on high speed. Since I had just installed the new air filters I had to consider the possibility that I did something in that process to affect the fan speed control. Does anyone have an idea on why the fan speed only works on high & if I did something in the filter process to cause that? I will appreciate any help anyone can give me. Thanks, Dennis
 

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Not familiar with the 01, it has 2 cabin air filters? are they stacked or side by side?

Probably on the 01, like others, the filter is just above the fan assembly.

Is it possible (and it did happen to me), that something dislodged during the install process and is interfering with the fan in such a way that it can't overcome the obstruction at low speed? Remove both filters, use a flashlight and mirror to look down inside the fan assembly. You might be able to reach in with your fingers and move the fan - it should move freely.

The other thing is that the fan motor might be dying and it's a coincidence. Try turning on the fan and tapping the fan housing to see if it breaks loose. This generally only works when the motor is going bad and won't start on any speed, but it's worth a try.

Other than that, there is probably some cable that connects the fan motor to the speed control. Look around behind the glove box with a flashlight to see if any wires got knocked loose.
 

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The connector to the fan motor "resistor" might have been dislodged. The resistor is mounted on the air duct between the fan and the main heater box, in the vicinity of the glove box. The resistor is used to control the three lower speeds, but based on the wiring diagrams, I believe the high speed setting bypasses the resistor, and that would explain why the high speed works.

See attached diagram
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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@KansasMatthew
It's so strange how earlier Outbacks had 2 filters and placed them where half the dash had to be removed to replace them...
I think my 2009 had a similar crazy setup.
My 2015, while still a pain to get to, isn't all that bad, but I digress...
I'm with Matthew, It could just be coincidence, or it could also be that you knocked some kind of debris loose, and it fell down into the fan impeller.
It could also be that you installed the filters incorrectly, and one of them are making contact with the impeller.
The chances of it being that the filters have restricted air flow and the motor can't handle it.
My guess would be, on a 16-year-old car, bumping around has caused the old motor to give up the ghost. That's worst case. Best case is that you've knocked something loose and it's fallen into the impeller, or, as I said before, one of the filters is making contact with the motor, causing it to work much harder.
Time to take it apart and get in there with a good bright flashlight.
Good luck!
 

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The connector to the fan motor "resistor" might have been dislodged. The resistor is mounted on the air duct between the fan and the main heater box, in the vicinity of the glove box. The resistor is used to control the three lower speeds, but based on the wiring diagrams, I believe the high speed setting bypasses the resistor, and that would explain why the high speed works.

See attached diagram
Probably this makes the most sense.
 
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