How-To: Clean the HVAC blower wheel (mouse cage)

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2008 Mazda5 Touring
I had some issue yesterday with the blower vibrating badly. The culprit seems to have been a small rodent nesting in the blower housing. Sorry I didn't take pictures of removing the cowl, I was just curious if I could do anything to it without ripping out the dash. The answer - YES you can! The cowl comes off by removing the wipers, 4 plastic screws/plugs and 4 (I think) push plugs that hold the weatherstripping to the car (passenger side only). Here's some pictures of what I did...









 

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2008 Mazda5 Touring
Haha. It wasn't home. I'm thinking that it made a run for it once it's nest started getting sucked away, piece by piece. If this happens again, I'll be installing some screening over the grid opening. I started to, but I was running out of daylight and I still had to wash the thing.
 

jimp

05 MZ3 HB/09 MZ5
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2005 Mazda 3 HB 5 speed
thanks for the tip, wife's 5 is making a noise when the fan is turned up past 3/4, so maybe we have uninvited guests as well.
 
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2008 Mazda5 Touring
I don't recall a sponge filter, just the grid you see from above.

There are drain holes over the struts that I assume are simply for water, but they are definitely large enough for a rodent to enter. Therefore, this wasn't debris collecting over time from washing down through the cowl, something carried this stuff in there.

Edit: actually you can see the hole on the left side of this picture, and I don't think this was the only one. I suspect a mouse.

 
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2006 Mazda 5
Wow, I am so glad I found this post, thanks flcruising for putting this up. I had the exact same problem, out of the blue major vibration started with low fan speed, I thought the fan bearings were suddenly shot or something. I was just about to take the 5 into Mazda where I'm sure they would have charged me hundreds to figure it out.

Here is dead mouse:


Removed with garden hose vacuum attachment


There was a nest in there too, so I decided to improve on Mazda's design. I took an old plant pot tray and after
measuring the dimensions of the air inlet, cut it to size.


Then I trimmed to fit and wedged it solidly over the existing opening. It fit perfect and very tight, the holes
are smaller than my finger, just over 1/4", so no more mice will be getting in there again.
 
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PGCist

Inside the Beltway!
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2007 Mazda5 Sport 5M
Brown's Fairfax Mazda charged me $100 to clear the housing. Mice and other small critters love that space, unfortunately.
 
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Toronto, ON Canada
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2017 CX-5 GT
Wow!. So if you have vibrations, you're breathing mouse parts? (lol2)

Good to know about this. Thanks
 
I had a mouse a few months back though mine apparently went through the cabin filter (hole chewed through it), then it built a nest in the blower motor. What happened was that when I would turn on the blower no air would come out.

So I took it to the dealer thinking it would be covered by warranty - they claimed it took 3.5 hours of labor to take the blower motor out to clean it, then put it back. $350, and not covered by the warranty, because of mice. Next time obviously I'll do it myself, the only reason I took it there was because I thought it would be covered. At least I got a chance to rip them on the post-service phone interview - hopefully it was Mazda corporate and not the local dealer's person calling.

I have never heard of a vehicle having mouse issues before the Mazda5.
 
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'07 Mazda 5 & '05 Mazda 3i
I have never heard of a vehicle having mouse issues before the Mazda5.
It actually just happened a couple of months ago to my 2001 Nissan Sentra, so unfortunately this is not unique to Mazda5s.
Blower started making noises past 2nd or 3rd setting, then died entirely. I brought it to a local mechanic who said they found some animal had climbed in and destroyed the motor.

Meanwhile, I noticed a vibration on my Mazda when the AC is on. Not the blower, but the air conditioner. I figured I had run over a rock or something that might have dinged the housing around the compressor, but maybe I should be suspect of some sort of rodent (especially after my Nissan)?

The sound and vibration were infrequent and seem to have mostly gone away lately so I forgot about it until reading this thread.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
My newly acquired '08 also has a terrible vibration when turned up to max or near max fan speed. I didn’t think to test fan speed when test driving and only confirm AC works. I actually and turned it off to listen in on engine and other misc noises. I max out the air today and hear this terrible vibration/rumble and though it might be the fan motor or bearing going bad. Then I remember this post! I hope there is simply some object causing this b/c it is quite and operate fine on low speeds. Will have to check out the vent. Thanks again flcruising!

For those who had this problem, what did the fan sounds like? Wanted to see if it matches my experience. Anyone know or took the effort to take apart the fan motor to really clean up the inside?
 
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2009 Mazda5 Sport
The wife's 2009 Mazda5 blower recently started making noticeable noise, more so on higher fan speeds. You can hear debris inside the blower after first turning it on. That noise dissipates, but then the sound pitch that the blower motor makes, while running, is lower than normal. (The blower/motor doesn't sound like it's running as fast as it normally does. But, the lower pitch sound may be misleading me in regards to the actual blower/motor speed).

I looked at the wife's Mazda5, with the intent of accessing the blower from the engine compartment, but I didn't see how you could remove the cowl on this 2009 Mazda5. The OP stated removed the wipers (okay - can do), remove 4 plastic screws/plugs (I can't find these). Nor, can I find the 4 push plugs to remove that hold the weatherstripping to the car (passenger side only).

Can anyone provide a photo indicating where these 4 plastic screws/plugs, and 4 push plugs are.

Thanks!
 
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2009 Mazda5 Sport
Anyone with insight on how to access the blower motor from the engine compartment, please advise. The local garage said, the blower in my Mazda5 requires replacing and around $500 for just the labor.

The guy at the garage said, he has seen some weird and hard to get to place for the blower motor, but the Mazda5 beats them all. :(
 
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2012 Mazda 5
Anyone with insight on how to access the blower motor from the engine compartment, please advise. The local garage said, the blower in my Mazda5 requires replacing and around $500 for just the labor.

The guy at the garage said, he has seen some weird and hard to get to place for the blower motor, but the Mazda5 beats them all. :(
In the original post the guy means accessing for cleaning from outside. If you need replacement it is from the inside.
Mazda 5 is by far not the worst. My mom actually had Acura Vigor and we got a bill for $2k to replace a blower, we did not, just sold the car. Apparently it is 12-14 labor alone to get it in and out. $500 is almost free :)
I just had to do a blower cleaning on friends Suzuki and it was a 8 hour job with all the dashboard needed to come out.
 
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