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Old 01-09-2021, 09:44 AM   #1
rfisher
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Default another revisitation on old actuator trick

hi sages- moe said in the war better learn more than one way to skin a cat to stay alive. still wrestling with finding a replacement mode actuator . many sources including gm who has abandoned saturns support have dried up . contacted 2040-parts .com who listed having a nos actuator but they wouldnt respond to my efforts to order. in this war thought of an alternate catskinner. the actuator will sound and then stops and stays on dash vents. heat ac and vent work, but i need the defrost position for safety on the dark and damp tobacco road. figure circuit board in unit must be clusterf!@#ed. since each of the hundreds of actuators available have this circuit board(ford, chev , dorman etc. etc) but each one is different maybe the answer is fixing board in my unit. has anybody here fixed this board or know of a source who could. electronics and computer intrigue are not in my toolbox. gm supermechanics even with many certificates on office lobby walls dont know jack . anybody here know jack . ?need clear and defrostable windshield to evade coppas on thunder road . thanks tons bob f
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:50 PM   #2
02 LW300
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

There is a cam setup on the flappers, my car gets stuck a little between floor and defrost this winter. So my question is does your car switch from floor to both to dash ok? I am going to tear my car apart and lube the cam for the defrost and see if it helps. This might be all you need to do for your car also. I have a couple complete heater boxes out if you really need an actuator.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

Here are some pictures of a hvac unit I have out. The picture of the flappers show the larger center one which is center, the two on the sides are defrost. There is also a picture of the floor arm. The motor turns the cam and the three arms run in slots on the cam to open and close the various flaps. I suspect that my car is as dirty as the one pictured. Some aerosol cleaner and lube should restore proper operation. This can be viewed by removing the glove box assembly and maybe the passenger seat for easier access.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

hi lw- never saw those pictures of the flappers. i am going to take out the glove box and see what i can see. those pictures wil help. my car has the manual hvac system , not the automatic climate control. mechanic told me that the mode actuator had failed(not the recirc actuator). will try to blow it out as much as i can and then lube the flapper mounts if that is binding. mechanic tried to get an actuator and couldnt find one . this led me to an unsuccessful search for one. i may very well be in touch with you if you have a mode actuator. do you in fact have ones that work? right now heat, ac and vent air
come out the from dash vents when the blower motor is on . that function can be regulated, but other air directions cant. mechanic told me he manually turned the cam plate so i could get air from the front vents. if i turn the mode wheel on dash to defrost i get no air as if the vents are closed. thanks tons i appreciate your help. bob f
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:32 PM   #5
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

I have several units out so I can test one and let you know. So you have no movement of air flow just temperature adjusts? Sounds like everything comes out the dash vents. The floor vents suck on these cars but the defrost works great when it gets there. I use defrost and blend in the winter and dash vents the rest of the year.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

02 LW300, according to my '03 service manuals, the mode control actuator controlling the door position for defrost/face vent/heater (floor), is a four wire unit. Two wires for the feedback position sensor and two for power to the motor. If I can presume the L-series share the same actuators, perhaps repairs are possible.

Testing actuators out of the hvac box depends on whether or not the wiring harness is long enough to command the actuator into one or all three positions. The feedback position sensor operate on a 5v circuit. The wiring diagram doesn't show operating voltage to the motor other than stating SOLID STATE. This may mean a digital pulse from the hvac control head to power the motor. I don't know unless I have to troubleshoot mine. In theory, the only two failure modes of actuators are either the motor or position sensor. If a broken or intermittent connection is found anywhere within the actuator, this can be easily repaired.

My L300 blew its solid state resistor card a few years ago. I don't remember where I bought the replacement but it solved the blower speed problem. The finned aluminum box acts as a heat sink for the power transistor and a few components, one of them a thermal fuse or fusible link. On a hunch, I cut one connection and measured an open across it. It blew. Specs are silk screened on it if I ever get around to replacing it for a spare. I don't remember if I made cursory measurements on the replacement for comparison purposes but the original shows no visible signs of heat damage or bulging components. The fusible link is a standard part available from electronic distributors.

If anyone is willing to send me their damaged but intact actuator, I may be able to disassemble it for show and tell. And determine if it can be repaired. There may be actuator motors from other GM actuators, gears if any, and feedback position sensors for swapping. The only way to know is by disassembling one then determine what failed. This is by no means the only solution as service manual diagnosing procedures use flow charts to systematically troubleshoot wiring, and actuator using a simple test light to determine if the hvac control head is faulty, wiring damage or actuator fault. No mention of binding mode/temperature doors but that is another possibility.
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Old 01-12-2021, 09:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

hi lw- need my defrost position to work on the rotary wheel . do you have a mode actuator spare that works and you would sell? mine may have failed due to mysterious crapout on the resistor sensor card. seems no one left in america who can repair that item and inventory is depleted. wondering if a push pull cable could be reverse engineered to actuate the defrost air direction. even thinking of mounting a semi truck dash fan on the dash top to blow air on the windshield when fogged. my enemies will then think the L is a true bohemianmobile. i say to hell with these impossible to fix or acquire actuators, interference engines and hydraulic clutch release bearings. bet you think my attitude is the worst. thanks tons bob f
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Old 01-12-2021, 10:42 AM   #8
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2002 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

I will look this weekend, and yes you could move all the flaps with three cables. You can have dash only, floor only or defrost only plus any combination of above.
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Old 01-13-2021, 08:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: another revisitation on old actuator trick

hi lw- thanks will look forward to what you find. bob f
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