4th gen camry A/C minimal air from center vents 97 98 99 00 01 - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Camry 3rd & 4th Gen (1992-1996 & 1997-2001)/1st Gen Solara (1999-2003) Toyota Camry Discussion for years 1992-1996 & 1997-2001, as well as Solara discussion for years 1999-2003. Topics of discussion range from fuel economy, safety, modifications, performance all involving America's favorite family car, the Toyota Camry.

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post #1 of 19 Old 07-02-2013, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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4th gen camry A/C minimal air from center vents 97 98 99 00 01

Kinda surprised this has not been addressed yet here. If it has, I cannot find a thread through the search button. Too bad that the 3rd/4th gen camry section is not further divided into categories. For example, all the different systems of the car similar to the shop manual.

OK, here is my new problem. Our 2001 camry HVAC system (should be the same 97-01) blows nicely through all the vents except for the center vents. When turning the fan above 2, the center vents sound like a nose whistle. Very little air coming through makes me think there is some kind of restriction to flow. I casually mentioned this to my A/C guy, he quickly said that happens over time with the ductwork. The felt that is used for the joints and seams in the ductwork becomes weathered over time and will loose it's adhesiveness. The ducts will either come apart or collapse. He said the whole dash needs to come out to repair it.

So I looked into the center ducts with a bright flashlight. I wasn't able to view any duct joints or felt. But I did notice a mesh screen door with some lint (felt?) build up. I checked the function of the actuated dampers and noticed this screen makes a slight movement but does not fully open or close when changing the control from face to foot.

I also viewed the air outlet servomotor function. It appeared to move along smoothly to each control point without getting hung up. It's in a real pain of a location to pull out to test. Air is coming out of every vent strongly per the control settings except for the center vents. I'm at wits end trying to figure this out. I'm surprised no one else has run into this here.

Last edited by nationalyoda; 07-03-2013 at 08:01 AM.
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Problem solved. Equally strong air blowing now from all vents again like new. After much thought and a little work, this became a 5 minute fix.

I want to give a big shout out to the one person who was most helpful in resolving this issue...ME!!!

As usual, I learn the most when I figure things out for myself.
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-05-2013, 10:10 PM
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How did u fix it? :-P I'm curious if i have any buildup but no idea how to get to the mesh

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post #4 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 11:24 PM
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kudos! please share!

yes, I would love to know the 5 minute solution! please share! thank you.
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-23-2014, 07:38 PM
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PLEASE LET ME KNOW I'm experiencing the same problem!
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-24-2014, 05:54 PM
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How did you do it? I have a 99 camry and its doing the samething, it kind of sucks since I live in Florida, and its in the high 90's and going higher next week
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-24-2014, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omarmcknight View Post
How did you do it? I have a 99 camry and its doing the samething, it kind of sucks since I live in Florida, and its in the high 90's and going higher next week
I performed this last week. I didnt pull out the dash. My troubleshooting showed me that air was passing through center vents but was severly blocked. I popped off the swivel vents and with a long screwdriver i pushed through the silver grate at the back of the vent channel. I then used needle-nose pliers to pull off chunks of the grate until the passageway was clear. I get tons of air passing through now.

Looking that the grating that I pulled out it was completely clogged/blocked with lint.
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-24-2014, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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I took some pix while removing those gnarly screens.

the last pic shows after vacuuming the lint off of the screens
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-25-2014, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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Directions for Gen4 Camry's with little or no air flow from center vents with the air doors seem to be switching OK. The problem may be blocked screens behind the center vents. Look into the vents with a bright flashlight about 10" straight ahead to see the silver screens.
On my 2001, they were plugged up on the back side. Simply but carefully
pry out the vents near the round pin on the right side (Pin allows vent to tilt up and down). Push top of screens in with a long screwdriver to get a free edge then rip them out with long needle nose pliers.
The screens are there to catch condensate droplets but get plugged up. Later models (2002+ ?) have cabin air filters that may prevent this problem.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-26-2014, 09:09 AM
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What's the exterior color of your car? And do you have LE or XLE
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post #11 of 19 Old 11-28-2015, 05:49 PM
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Thanks so much. Your system worked exactly as you had described - no more whistles from the middle registers and lots more air.
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post #12 of 19 Old 03-12-2016, 06:45 PM
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I tried popping my vent out on the center drivers side and I cracked it and stopped. Is there a trick to popping these out and not breaking the vent?
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post #13 of 19 Old 03-21-2016, 05:36 PM
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This is why I love this site. I was hearing a whistling and reduced airflow from the center vents. This was the fix.

I tore mine out as well. Curious as to what the potential negative impact of doing this is, but on a 19 year old car I figured its not a huge deal.

1997 Camry LE, I4, 253,000 miles
2007 4Runner SR5 V6, 168,000 miles
2019 Avalon XLE 2,200 miles
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post #14 of 19 Old 03-21-2016, 06:46 PM
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I might try some shots of compressed air before ripping it out.
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post #15 of 19 Old 03-22-2016, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Men in Black View Post
I might try some shots of compressed air before ripping it out.
I thought about that too. But I figured all that junk will end up being blown back to the screen anyway. I noticed some debris coming out of the vent when I put it on high the first time, but since then its been ok.


I

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2007 4Runner SR5 V6, 168,000 miles
2019 Avalon XLE 2,200 miles
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