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 Page 1 of 2 12
Username Post: Replacing fresh air/recirculate actuator "how-to"        (Topic#170970)
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
09-28-07 02:31 PM - Post#1263591    

For search terms: dashboard makes knocking or ticking noise on passenger side / recirculate or max function on A/C does not work

This is a quickie step-by-step for replacing the A/C mode actuator motor on my '94 Chevy; will be the same for all the '88-'94 with A/C and probably extremely similar (if not the same) for the '95-'98.

The factory service manual says you need to remove the entire dashboard to access this part. Not true! It's not easy, but considering it took me exactly an hour - I'd say it's far better than removing the dash. Takes somewhat small hands and no small amount of patience!

Tools used: 1/4" ratchet, 8mm socket, gasket scraper, 1/4" wrench, 7mm nut driver style bit. Picture of old motor shown for screw location reference. The one to the left of the yellow label is readily visible from under the dash. The one to the right is the tough one, positioned above the motor when in place, and impossible to see. One towards the harness connector actually just slips over a plastic locator dowel, no screw used.



Remove the harness connector and the lower screw. The 1/4" ratchet and 8mm socket can be used.

For dealing with the upper screw, I pulled the glove box insert and crammed my flourescent work light as far back against the firewall as I could make it reach. While you're in there, pull the wiring harness for the actuator motor up out of the way.



Here's a floor's-eye view of the motor; you can just barely see where the worklight shines down from above without being in your way to reach in, but helps light up the area where you'll be working.



Here's where the fun comes in. Since almost nothing would reach up in there for the upper screw, I had to improvise. I put the nutdriver style socket onto the screw head by hand, then while laying on my back on the floor, positioned the gasket scraper with my right hand to press against the end of the socket to hold it in place. Then with my left hand, used the 1/4" wrench to turn the socket. A few turns and it'll be loose enough to turn the socket with two fingers. Then just gently wiggle the actuator off the flapper shaft to remove it.



Before mounting the new actuator motor, connect the harness to it, turn the key on. The actuator motor will run and position itself. Turn the key off. I found this easy to do "up top" with the harness connected to it in the glove box area, then disconnected it to mount into place.

Here's a quick post-mortem on the old actuator. I opened it up expecting to find stripped gears or other damage, but there was no visible problem whatsoever. While observing its behavior compared to the new actuator, all I can guess is that there's a dead spot in the electric motor. It got out of place due to stopping early, and the A/C control system isn't designed "smart" enough to know where the actuator position is; it just sends it juice to run one way or the other and expects it to comply. Once I manually bumped it past its knocking position, it no longer knocked, but wouldn't complete the sweep needed to open/close the fresh air flap.



Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
Low priced Genuine GM Auto Parts
Bad Bowtie 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 4559
Bad Bowtie
Age: 42
Loc: TX
Reg: 07-04-03
09-28-07 02:38 PM - Post#1263593    
    In response to someotherguy

WOW. Good job & thanks 4 the "heads up"...
GMC. We are Professional Grade.

http://www.cardomain.com/id/2004VHO


 
CDAUSA 
Needs to Get Out More Member
Posts: 12906

Loc: Texas Panhandle
Reg: 12-31-01
09-28-07 02:57 PM - Post#1263611    
    In response to someotherguy

Good job Richard, so I suppose this is going into the sticky file above?

 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
09-28-07 02:58 PM - Post#1263612    
    In response to CDAUSA

Already there partner.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
59 EWW 
Very Senior Member
Posts: 1871
59 EWW
Loc: Kansas City Kansas
Reg: 08-31-03
09-28-07 08:48 PM - Post#1263815    
    In response to someotherguy

Nice write up and pictures Richard.
Ernie

59 Biscayne 2dr
65 Elcamino
97 Z71,K1500,5.7
06 GMC Canyon


 
Big Steve 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1143
Big Steve
Loc: Riverside, CA
Reg: 04-17-06
10-01-07 08:28 AM - Post#1265192    
    In response to 59 EWW

Thanks for the great tips. Now I'll have no excuse for not replacing mine. If I may ask, how much was the motor? Are they still available from Chevy?
I may be getting older but I refuse to grow up.

'93 Silverado Extra Cab Sportside
'99 Suburban (My wife's but I get to wash and work on it)
'69 Buick Riviera project car


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
10-01-07 08:38 AM - Post#1265198    
    In response to BIGg Steve

That sucker lists for $85, if you can believe that. I got lucky though and had a buddy give me a good deal, so it wasn't nearly as painful.

I don't know how they can justify charging so much for that part; it's pretty simple inside. But such is the situation with parts for just about any vehicle, anymore.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
OldGuy 
Contributor
Posts: 126

Reg: 06-05-07
10-01-07 04:16 PM - Post#1265512    
    In response to someotherguy

Richard Did you tear the old one apart to see what stripped?
Old Guy
93 Z71 Basket Case Rebuild, the Never Ending Story


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
10-01-07 04:30 PM - Post#1265522    
    In response to OldGuy

Yep; that's what the last picture and the end of the post is about. As a test, I hooked the loose actuator to the harness first in case there may be a problem with the flapper (which incidentally, you can operate quite easily by hand once the actuator is off.) It couldn't find the "home" position. I gently forced it past where it had stopped to see if it could continue moving. It would run, but stop too soon. As far as I can tell, it has a dead spot in the electric motor itself. The gears look fine. It may be possible, in fact, to shoot some contact cleaner inside this motor and repair it. Problem is, it's such a bear to replace the thing that you really don't want to do it twice on the same truck!!!

At any rate, I didn't chunk the old actuator; one of these days I may play with it some more to see what I can make it do.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
OldGuy 
Contributor
Posts: 126

Reg: 06-05-07
10-01-07 04:41 PM - Post#1265537    
    In response to someotherguy

Damn Richard your causing me all kinds of work, now I gotta go buy an A/C mode actuator :-)
Old Guy
93 Z71 Basket Case Rebuild, the Never Ending Story


 
ratnfested 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2925
ratnfested
Loc: Rochester, NY. USA
Reg: 03-13-00
10-02-07 12:17 PM - Post#1266111    
    In response to OldGuy

on my 95 that part is actually in the center of the dash near the floor. Its very easy to replace on that truck. Now there could be another one over to the right but I don't think so. Let me know if I am wrong please.
Oh and I have repaired those units. The IC in it is available online for $2.97 and it is the only part that usually fails. On one or 2 occasions I have seen the motor develope a shorted spot in it which will fry that chip over and over again. So to save $100 its not a bad idea to test the motor and change the chip for a cheap fix.
Philip Ferrera
1977 Chevelle
1977 Malibu Classic
1986 Grand Prix
1995 Tahoe
2003 Impala LS
2004 Ski Doo REV
Street Machines of Rochester NY


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
10-02-07 12:25 PM - Post#1266114    
    In response to ratnfested

Philip, there's three of them on the entire assembly. The fresh air/recirculate one is the bear. The other two are reasonably easy to get to.

The one I replaced has no IC in it; it's quite literally just an electric motor and three gears. There's places on the circuit board for other components but none are installed.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
ratnfested 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2925
ratnfested
Loc: Rochester, NY. USA
Reg: 03-13-00
10-02-07 12:46 PM - Post#1266130    
    In response to someotherguy

Thats a weird unit. The control must all be in the dash I would guess.
now that I look more closely at the photo I see there are only 2 pins to the wire harness for it. So much for me paying attention.
Philip Ferrera
1977 Chevelle
1977 Malibu Classic
1986 Grand Prix
1995 Tahoe
2003 Impala LS
2004 Ski Doo REV
Street Machines of Rochester NY


Edited by ratnfested on 10-02-07 12:48 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Phazer 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 3004
Phazer
Loc: Armpit of the Universe
Reg: 10-10-03
10-02-07 01:23 PM - Post#1266169    
    In response to ratnfested

All three are different part numbers but look VERY similar exrternally to each other.
My "To Do List" for this weekend:
Nothing but womens names...
and drugs....

92 Bravada
96 Sunfire
00 Impala
05 Stratus
90 Wrangler
77 Cub Lo-boy
87 Intruder VS700
95 Intruder VS1400


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
10-02-07 01:54 PM - Post#1266181    
    In response to ratnfested

  • ratnfested Said:
Thats a weird unit. The control must all be in the dash I would guess.
now that I look more closely at the photo I see there are only 2 pins to the wire harness for it. So much for me paying attention.


Heh; no biggie - like Phazer said, they look incredibly similar from the outside.

It just has two wires because that's all it needs - fresh air/recirculate flap open or flap closed; no in-between. I would suppose the other two actuators for the temperature blend and floor/dash/defrost are a little more involved since they have a lot more positions than just simply open or closed.

Seems kind of funny that the one that goes bad more often than the others is the hardest one to get to.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
ratnfested 
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2925
ratnfested
Loc: Rochester, NY. USA
Reg: 03-13-00
10-03-07 05:05 AM - Post#1266604    
    In response to someotherguy

I have never had one go bad. Knock on wood. Although I wonder how that flapper door works. It probably sends power for a few seconds to move the door and when it hits the mechanical stop that will hurt the motor over time since it sits there with power on it and unable to move. That is likely where the dead spots come from. That is a lousy design.
Philip Ferrera
1977 Chevelle
1977 Malibu Classic
1986 Grand Prix
1995 Tahoe
2003 Impala LS
2004 Ski Doo REV
Street Machines of Rochester NY


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
10-03-07 08:08 AM - Post#1266713    
    In response to ratnfested

I ran the new one loose from the flapper to let it find its home position before installing it (as per the manual instructions.) It's my guess that it's a stepper motor, and the control head sends power to it long enough to let it move the necessary number of steps. Even with the key off, the control head runs these motors back to the home position. My limited playing around with both the new and old motor leads me away from thinking it depends on the flapper forcing it to stop, but I'd have to dig into it a little closer to be sure.

My thoughts on why it goes bad more often than the others? If you use recirculate a lot, but don't find yourself changing the other modes, you're running this actuator more often - because every time you turn the key off, the control head returns the flap to the fresh air position.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
spiderhole 
Contributor
Posts: 292
spiderhole
Loc: Radnor, PA
Reg: 09-22-07
10-07-07 06:20 AM - Post#1269172    
    In response to someotherguy

Want an interesting failure that I discovered on my 88 C/K last night??? This is great. I have another post open on this forum about this which you've been helping with, but I figured I would post it here. The actuator on the floor vent was disconnected I came to find out which was obviously problem number one why I was not able to change through the modes (wasn't blowing out of the center vents); however, I could also see that the plastic tab that is part of the vent flap inside of the lower box that the floor mode actuator connects to was broken off and hanging there (not good). So I pulled the mode actuator off and the bracket that it mounts to to inspect.

Get this: I plugged the mode actuator back in to inspect while disconnected. Without the truck even being on the actuator starts running the second I plug it in. It just turns and turns and turns 360 over and over and over again. Hence, the tab that the vent flap was attached to probably broke off due to this and obviously with that, the control of most of the AC functions! The guy who previously owned the truck probably realized when his battery went dead, and just decided to unplug the thing. Somehow this actuator had a failure that not only allowed it to constantly draw current, but also never stop running!?!?!?!?

I got a good floor actuator at the local truck junk yard for $2.50, but I still had to fix that tab that broke off. In my mind, that vent tab should have been made out of metal. I was not about to spend the time tearing apart everything to replace that flap with the tab which apparently required complete disassembly of the dash and AC. Long story short - I ran a pilot hole through the post that the actuator connects to, and made up a new metal post that the flaps would attach to. Reconnected the actuator, hoisted a beer, and regained control of all the functions of my trucks A/C.
1988 Chevy K1500 5.7L 700r4
2008 BMW 335xi coupe, 6 speed twin turbo
2006 Audi TT convertible 1.8 turbo
2001 Land Rover Discovery II

I'm trying to think, but nothing happens???


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
10-07-07 12:09 PM - Post#1269321    
    In response to spiderhole

Good fix!

Yeah; they could have made these stronger, but that would make the truck last too long, wouldn't it?

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
lyndon5 
Member
Posts: 1

Reg: 10-08-07
10-08-07 07:19 AM - Post#1269704    
    In response to someotherguy

Just recently purchased my 93 K1500, and found this site while researching this door problem. Accomplished the fix this weekend using the excellent instructions and pictures. For the reinstall, I speeded the process a bit by duct taping the screw to the nutdriver socket. Thanks again to all.

Lyn

 
55CHEVY 
Senior Member
Posts: 265

Loc: DALLAS,GA USA
Reg: 01-19-02
04-18-11 06:47 PM - Post#2078568    
    In response to someotherguy

after you install one of these actuators to do you reset it ?
1955 chevy 2 dr sedan 1955 chevy 150 utility sedan 1955 chevy nomad LEE THORNTON


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
04-18-11 07:11 PM - Post#2078581    
    In response to 55CHEVY

Reset? No...what I did with mine was turn the key on while the actuator was connected but not installed, let it go through its motions, shut the key off and waited for the actuator to stop moving - then adjust the flap to the position needed for the actuator to slip over it.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
Allan In NE 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 1585

Reg: 12-27-11
01-23-12 09:42 AM - Post#2182588    
    In response to someotherguy

Just an old man's take on this repair?

Just as soon as the top screw is removed, hold it very tightly in your hand until you can get to the nearest fish tank.

Then, with great precision, drop it in and let the guppies have their way with it until they are old and don’t need it either.

Allan
Lifelong GM automatic transmission specialist


 
homer2 
Member
Posts: 90

Reg: 02-10-04
07-20-12 07:36 PM - Post#2250430    
    In response to Allan In NE

Thanks.
I have gotten it off and new new one back on before I saw this.
That is a good idea.
So far I haven't put the top screw back in.
I will have to get that nutdriver tip.

Homer

 
bowtie44s 
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bowtie44s
Age: 31
Loc: wv
Reg: 08-29-12
11-04-12 06:05 PM - Post#2286078    
    In response to someotherguy

Sorry to revive this old post but it is a great write up. My fresh air/ air inlet actuator is bad. My truck is an 88 k3500. All the new actuators I can find say for 91-94. I can't find them on autozone or oreilly website. Is there enough difference in the 91-94 that I couldn't make it work? All 3 of the actuators look the same but I haven't had them out side by side to see.
Jeff

'88 chevy k3500 aluminum head 454
NV 4500

'84 chevy short bed dana 60 14bolt ff 383 stroker
44" boggers (rear) 44" tsl (front) hydraulic assist
welded front and rear 5.13 gears
th400 np205 twin stick -SOLD-


 
JJC 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 2

Reg: 11-10-13
11-10-13 02:09 PM - Post#2398341    
    In response to someotherguy

Hi! This is a great post and will help me repair my truck. I have a 1993 K1500 suburban and need to change the recirc. door actuator. My dash has the florescent display, not the traditional set of three knobs. I assume the replacement procedure would be the same but am concerned about the replacement actuator... will double check the part number of the one in my dash before buying a replacement but do you know if they're different? Thanks!

 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
11-10-13 02:23 PM - Post#2398347    
    In response to JJC

Welcome to Chevytalk,

Your 93 and the 94 I did the write-up on are the same in regards to this part. All the A/C-equipped trucks up through 94 used the controls with the flourescent display.

The knob style setup came in 95 and while I believe the actuator is the same for the newer trucks, anybody getting ready to replace theirs should check first.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
JJC 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 2

Reg: 11-10-13
11-10-13 04:38 PM - Post#2398392    
    In response to someotherguy

will, do, thanks! esp. since my factory service books says I needed to pull the whole dash..... :-(


 
someotherguy 
Moderator
Posts: 25739
someotherguy
Age: 44
Loc: Texas
Reg: 08-01-03
11-10-13 09:43 PM - Post#2398510    
    In response to JJC

My '94 factory manual says the same and it just ain't true. Great for shop billable hours but not needed. I've done a bunch of these now and while it's still not fun, it's way easier than pulling the dash.

Richard
94 C2500LD / 97 Suburban LS1 / 06 300C SRT8
Check out my truck shop projects


 
cheetoh 
Forum Newbie
Posts: 2

Reg: 11-17-12
07-27-14 09:35 AM - Post#2472169    
    In response to someotherguy

someotherguy... What part of Texas do you live? How much would you charge to change this part out for me? I have the Part, But can't get to the piece that need taken out, I just have it unplugged for now.

 
Low priced Genuine GM Auto Parts
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