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Old 01-05-2013, 01:02 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Azusa, CA
Posts: 393

2008 Astra XR
Default How To – Astra Recirculation Door Housing Removal/Repair

Taking apart my cowl for some spring cleaning I noticed my recirculation door was hanging a bit askew.

Should look like this:

With no gap along the top.

Did some testing with the recirculation button on the HVAC Control and found it was not moving at all. You can see what normal operation look like here:

This is a good item to check when you are replacing your cabin air filter as you can see the door movement with a flashlight up in the dash with the glove box removed.

I will attempt to explain how to remove the recirculation door housing. With this info you can either replace with a new assembly or repair your current one if possible.

Lift Hood
Disconnect negative battery cable (working near air bags, DO IT) – 10mm nut.
Remove Wiper Blades – Pull or pry of plastic caps on wiper nuts, Remove 16mm (5/8 in.) Nuts, Pull off wiper arms.
NOTE: The arms may be very hard to remove as they may have seized onto the motor posts. Try Soaking with a penetrating oil overnight or using some wedges to get some leverage under them to pop them off. In extreme cases a puller tool maybe required. Just Google “wiper removal tool” to see the range of tools available. Usually available at local parts stores. Worst case if you can only get the passenger side wiper arm off I would bet this would give you enough room in the cowl area with the cover moved up and tied off out of the way while still installed under the drivers side wiper arm. Maybe.
Include some anti-seize lubricant on the splines of the motor posts when reinstalling the wiper arms.
TIP: Put some tape on your windshield to mark where your wipers fall in the resting position so when you put them back on you can line them up in the same place you took them off.
Remove Cowl Cover – Remove rubber weather strip from front of cowl cover by lifting it straight up and off. TIP: Also mark the drivers side with a piece of tape so you put it back in the right way.
The plastic cowl cover is mainly secured by clips that run along the base of the windshield. Just get you hand under the cowl cover near these clips and pop them out with upward pressure. Disconnect hose for washer jets.
Remove Air Inlet Screen – Remove the four T40 torx screws on the air inlet/screen assembly that is located on the passenger side of the vehicle in the cowl area.
Unbolt recirculation door housing – The recirculation door housing is held to the top of the blower motor assembly with three 7/32 (or 5.5mm) screws. Two are accessible from inside the car and one is present in the air inlet area. You should be able to see the outside one now that you have removed the air inlet screen from the cowl area.


Remove Glove Box - Four T-20 Torx screws and a good tug. Disconnect the plug for the glove box light.
Remove lower dash cover - Two "body hold rivets" 1/4 turn with a screwdriver/fingers
Remove foot well air duct - T-30 torx plastic threaded rivet holding right side of duct. Pull out other side from airbox.
-------- The preceding items are explained in further detail if needed here: ---------

Remove Blower Motor – There are five 7/32 (or 5.5mm) screws and one clip holding the blower motor in it’s housing. Save removing the clip till last as it will hold up the motor as you remove the screws. Leave wires plugged in, Just let the fan motor hang to the side out of the way.

Remove Module bracket – This bracket will be in your way when removing the housing. It is not held in with any fasteners. Just move it to the left and it will come down and out. Also just leave plugged in hanging to the side.
Video of removal here:

Unbolt recirculation door housing – The recirculation door housing is held to the top of the blower motor assembly with three 7/32 (or 5.5mm) screws Two are accessible from inside the car and one is present in the air inlet area on the outside of the vehicle. You should have already unscrewed the outside one now there are two left in the inside. They are on top of the blower motor assembly pointing down. They are also 7/32 (or 5.5mm) sized screws.

Unplug Recirculation door motor – The plug is held in with a clip on the top of the plug. Not to much room to get anything up there to unclip it. If you can’t get it try to remove the recirculation door housing with the plug still attached and you can unplug it when it is in a better position to get to.

Remove Recirculation Door Housing – The housing should now move around on top of the blower motor housing a little. Bend down the blower motor housing (do not worry it is quite flexible) to allow the recirculation door assembly more room to move around and to be removed. You can see me bending the blower motor housing a bit in this video:

Remove door actuating motor – the motor is held in with two 7/32 (or 5.5mm) screws.

Test Recirculation door motor – Once removed from recirculation housing plug the motor back in to the wire under the dash, reconnect your negative battery terminal and test motor for proper operation. Should move freely in both directions when pressing the recirculation button on the HVAC control.
Video of that here:

If your motor is bad the GM part number is:
93196654 ACTUATOR,AIR INL VLV. Around $100.00 U.S.

If it tests out OK line up the motors arm for re installation - You may notice a yellow crayon mark at the base where the arm comes out of the motor. There should be a corresponding crayon mark on the arm. Line those up and your motor will go in to the flap correctly and line up with it’s mounting holes. Just unplug it when the crayon marks line up. If you have no crayon marks you will have to play with it a bit so the arm is at the correct rotation position for assembly. The motors arm is square but there is a key on one side that corresponds to an opening on the door flap.

Disconnect your negative battery terminal once again.

If your flap is beyond repair or you just do not want to hassle a repair , replace the entire assembly. The door does not come as a separate piece you can just swap out. Rather it comes as an assembly. You will remove the motor from your old unit and install on the new one.
GM Part Number 93181045 - HOUSING. Air Distributor
Seeing street prices of around $70.00 U.S.

What I found broken on mine was that the plastic around where the motor arm inserted into the flap cracked. I was able to find the broken piece inside the housing. It may even fall into the bower motor so check there. First fix attempt was some super glue to put it back together then some epoxy to create a shell around the area of the broken piece. Came out like this:

That did not last a week before it broke again.
So this time I thought a mechanical fastener would be a better solution. Once again super glued the broken piece in place then wrapped metal around the repaired area. Using a piece of plumbers strapping that is a perforated metal strapping used to hold pipes in place I formed it around the end that was broken. Then drilled a hole and inserted a bolt and nut to secure. Had to modify (read: Grind away) the housing a bit to make way for the metals thickness and the nut. Ended up looking like this:

I applied a bit or waterproof grease at each pivot end of the door and reassembled and re installed.

Maintenance: If you were able to get both wiper arms off and the cowl cover off this would be a good time to check the areas at each end of the cowl area to make sure no debris is blocking up the drain holes that take water from the cowl area and deposit it behind each front fender.

Please post your shortcuts and alternative fixes!
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:34 AM   #2
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: How To – Astra Recirculation Door Housing Removal/Repair

Oh and found a picture of the door that was broken:

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Old 01-05-2013, 10:03 PM   #3
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Thumbs Up Re: How To – Astra Recirculation Door Housing Removal/Repair

Awesome write-up!

I know my door works freely because I often use the recirculation mode to heat up the car faster in the morning, and the eventual build-up of condensation quickly reminds me to turn recirculation off. Still, I'll know who to thank if my door ever fails.
"That's a Hruck Bugbear, manufactured in Eastern Europe in the eighties and imported to the States. People mock it as a poor man's Yugo. I consider it the pinnacle of Cold War Balkan engineering."
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: How To – Astra Recirculation Door Housing Removal/Repair

This No dash removal recirc door repair kit does rely on attaching the broken recirculation door to either the interior or the exterior intake vent. There are pros and cons on which side to attach the recir door. If you close off the exterior intake vent, you will be recirculating the interior air. You would have to open the window to get fresh air, and the glass could fog faster and take longer to clear. Blocking the exterior air intake is good for keeping out odors, smoke, dust etc., the heating and cooling works at peak proformance re-circulating the interior air.
If you block the interior intake vent you will be circulating the exterior fresh air, much like the system worked before the recirc door broke. If it is very cold or very hot outside the HVAC system might not be able to work at it's peak performance level. You could not stop odors, smoke, dust, etc. from entering the HVAC system. Just as the normal system worked without turning on the recirculation mode.
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Old 10-23-2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: How To – Astra Recirculation Door Housing Removal/Repair

Cool, didn't realize how the recirc door worked. Nice fix.
2008 red astra xr:
FK coilovers, Opel Grille, VXR intake,HIDs,LEDs everywhere,12" sub,shorty antenna, hard wired xm radio.
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