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2002 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Victory is mine!!! :D

It feels so good to do something yourself and save a bunch of $$$$ doing it. This past weekend I replaced the driver’s side temp door actuator and did it without tearing my dash out. It took me a couple of hours because it’s about a hundred million degrees outside here in the valley of the sun stroke so I took several Mountain Dew breaks, but I got it done.

For those trying to diagnose an AC problem, a bad drivers side temp door actuator can result in your system blowing only hot air out of the front drivers side vents. This really sucks in the Phoenix summer. My actuator started going out a few months ago, and after changing my battery it was gone. I think it tried to recalibrate itself, and looking inside, the large white gear was garbage (not sitting on the shaft right and had a visible stress crack).

So, to the part you’re looking for. The step by step how to.

Step one, load up fridge with Mountain Dew

Step two, start stretching... I'm serious. I forgot to and the next day my back was hurting like hell. You’re going to be working in a tight area and in awkward positions.

Step 3, obtain the following tools:

1/2" and 3/8" socket wrench
10mm, 7mm, and 5.5mm sockets
3 inch extension

Step 4, disconnect battery

Step 5, remove the driver’s side lower floor panel using 7mm socket. There should be two screws near the top. See picture #1. Once the panel is loose, you will need to disconnect the components connected to the panel so you can get the panel out of your way. this includes the small light assembly (simply pop it out), the square grey box (lift and slide off), and the tech connection port (see picture #2).

Step 6; remove the panel below the steering wheel. There will be four screws, two on the front, and two underneath (see picture #3).Once the screws are out, give it a good tug and the panel will come off (held in place by some metal brackets).

Step 6, using the 10mm socket; remove the screw from the dash assembly as shown in picture #4. Sitting in the driver’s seat, the screw will be facing you to the lower right of the steering wheel. This will loosen that portion of the dash and make it easier to remove and replace the actuator. With that same socket, remove the metal cover below the steering wheel. There will be 4 screws (see picture #4B). Removing this piece will expose the actuator to the right.

Step 7, identify the actuator. Directly behind the plastic piece you removed the screw from in step 6 is the actuator. It is behind a metal bracket. See picture #5. But... lucky for us, the screws holding the actuator in place are in plain site and accessible (see picture #7 & 8).

Step 8, disconnect the electric cable from the actuator (see picture #9)

Step 9, using a 5.5mm socket and a 3 inch extension; remove the upper and lower screws holding the actuator in place. Pull back on the plastic dash piece from step 6 as far back as you can without breaking it off. Use your other hand to reach up and grab the actuator. It will be a snug fit, but just pull back on it and maneuver it out.

Step 10, when you take out the bad actuator, the mode door will fully close (gravity I guess). When you go to put the new actuator on, everything has to line up just right. The actuator fits on a uniquely shaped white knob.

You may get lucky; try putting the new actuator in at this point. Here's where you need patience. Pull back on the plastic dash piece from step 6; you need to work smart here at take your time, because it’s a pain in the butt to get the new actuator on. You’ll have to go by feel and get the actuator up and onto the white knob. If you are having trouble, the white knob may not be lining up with the setting on your actuator. This was my case.

What I did was take the cover off the bad actuator. Pull the gear out as show in picture #10. I then put the actuator back in place with the cover off. This allows you to turn the large white gear until the actuator falls back into place on the white knob. I then put the gear I removed back into the actuator to lock in the position. Then remove the actuator being careful not to bump the gears out. Now, look at the metal piece on the actuator with the hole in it. There should be some grooves and some small point of reference lines (see picture #11). Now, using the old actuator as your guide, mirror the position of the metal piece exactly. You may have an easier way to do this, but I took the cover off the new actuator, pulled the same gear from picture #10 and moved the large gear until it was in position. Now, you shouldn't have any problem getting the new actuator installed and screwed on.

Step 10; reconnect electric cable to the new actuator.

Step 11; put everything back together by reversing steps 4-7.

Step 12; turn the ignition to the on position. Allow the new actuator to calibrate (you'll hear the actuators moving). After about 90 seconds you are good to go.

Step 13, drive around the block a few times with your AC cranking:cool:. For me, this also included several victory chants.

That’s it. 13 steps. I purchased the new actuator for $100 and saved myself $800.

It not too hard and man you'll feel good when you get it done.:thumbsup:
 

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2002 olds bravada
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2,369 Posts
Nice Write-up! this will def. help a lot of members here! thanks!
 

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2004 gmc
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26,181 Posts
As time goes on, these actuators are dropping like flies. You've done the community a big favor with this writeup. :thumbsup: I worked on my mode actuator a long time ago and was so annoyed about the failure I neglected to document it.

One warning - if you pop the lid on the new actuator, and remove that smaller gear to allow the large white one to rotate, don't disturb the relationship of the large output gear to the blue one. The blue one is the position feedback sensor (a potentiometer on the circuit board), and proper calibration of the endpoints depends on a factory-set relationship.
 

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where to buy the actuator

Where do I get new one and what is the name I should use to search for one?
Anyone have a website that they like for parts?
I also need a new rear wiper arm, it has a stiff joint and does not put pressure on the blade
 

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2002 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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12 Posts
Victory too!!

I followed the steps posted by KJ_SanTanValley and was successful in replacing my driver’s side temp door actuator also. I deviated a little, though. I couldn’t slide the original actuator out because the metal bracket (original post picture #8) was in the way. There wasn’t enough room to slide the actuator out and I didn’t know why. So, I removed the black plastic air duct under the dash (to get it out of the way so that there would be more room to work) and used a ¼” drive with a 10mm deep well socket and 3” extension to remove the two bolts holding the metal bracket (picture #1). The metal bracket can’t be removed without taking other things apart. But once the bolts were taken out, it became easy to move around. I moved it out of the way then had plenty of room to pull the actuator out. When it came out, the round metal piece in the actuator stayed on the door shaft (picture #2). That’s why I didn’t have enough room at first. The actuator didn’t have to just slide off of the door shaft but, had to slide off of the round metal piece which was stuck on the door shaft and, for all practical purposes, extended the length of the door shaft.

The round metal piece pulled off easily and then I was able to see the white door shaft (picture #3). The position of the door shaft wasn’t aligned with the slotted hole on the new actuator. In other words, I couldn’t place the new actuator in its correct mounting position and slide it onto the door shaft. So, I angled the new actuator to align with the position of the door shaft and slid the actuator onto the door shaft. Then, I turned the actuator to its correct mounting position. Because the actuator was on the door shaft, the door shaft turned also. (The door shaft turned quit easily. Before I slid the actuator onto it, I turned it with my hand in order to see how tight it was to turn. It wasn’t hard but, easy to turn.)

Once the actuator was turned to where the screw holes were aligned with their mounting holes, I screwed the top and bottom screws in using a 7/32 socket. I plugged the electrical connector into the new actuator (DORMAN 604-111) and turned the key “on” for about two minutes so that the new actuator could calibrate itself. Then I started the engine and felt the cold air blow from the driver’s side vents.

I had to take the pictures with my cell phone camera so, they’re not that great.

Many thanks to you KJ_SanTanValley for your time and effort in creating the illustrated step by step guide. It helped a lot.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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71 Posts
I was thrilled to find this post, then tore into mine and noticed a slight variation in the metal bracket in the dash. GM blocked access to the upper screw at some point in time. See my pic. I noticed you guys have 2002's and mine is a 2006.

I am now debating if I should drill a 1/2" or so hole in it to get access to the upper screw. And then would I still have clearance to get the actuator out/in?

Anyway to get around this piece?
 

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2002 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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12 Posts
Royalwapiti,
If you look at the fourth from last picture in the original post, you'll see a bundle of wires behind the metal bracket. If you drill a hole be very careful, you don't want to cut into this bundle of wires with the hole saw.

I was able to remove the two bolts that hold the metal bracket. Then, I was able to move the metal bracket out of the way and remove the actuator. If you can loosen the bracket and move it out of the way, you may be able to reach the top screw of the actuator.

If you can't reach the screw and you still have to drill a hole, you'll be able to see behind it before you drill. Of course, drilling into a loose metal bracket may be difficult because it'll want to move around. But, you may be able to brace it somehow.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls
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14 Posts
Im working on this right now, having the same issue as JOEE in post 5.

One Thing: on this bracket the 2 studs closest to the door of the vehicle, the bolts are welded in (studs) the 2 bolts closest to the console the nuts are welded on (weld nuts) I made the mistake of using a 1/2" socket to remove the welded on nuts( breaker bar) and now have to fish them in from behind to resecure the bracket. Correct method is to remove the nuts (closest to drivers door) and remove bolts closest to console.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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71 Posts
Welded smelded, they came out, after I cut a big honking hole in the bracket.

I was stuck, didn't know how I was going to get to the actuator, the bracket had to come out for the actuator to get past it.

I started with a 1 1/2" hole saw into the front of the bracket, right through the plastic. I was careful to not mess with any holes needed to secure other parts on.

That gave me access to the bracket. I tried for 20 minutes to get the 2 1/2" nuts off that are inside the bracket. Then i said screw it, got the oscillating cutter out and started cutting. $30 worth of of cutter blades later I had holes big enough to get a socket on the nuts. I snapped a 1/4" wobble extension, so I knew they were on there solid. Got the 3/8" set out, they came off, the bracket came out. It ain't pretty but I ain't paying a dealer to do this.

Now for the actuator itself. It got dark tonight so I stopped, I hate working under worklights.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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Mission accomplished. I changed it out, no issues, it chattered the first time I put it in, I pulled it out and opened it up again and the pulley wasn't set straight.

Today I took it to my mechanic and he checked the pressure and filled it for me. Works like a champ.

Here is the metal bracket after it came out. There is no way I was going to get a socket on the bolts (the two that are farther from driver door.) I snapped the welded nuts. Was barely able to get a wrench on the bolt so the welded nuts could be tightened. You guys with 2002's have it lucky in this respect, you only have 2 nuts holding that bracket on.

Heck yesterday when laying on my back looking up at the bracket I noticed a button on my shifter. I had this TB since it was new for 5 years and never knew this button was there. For the Traction Control.

Before and after
 

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2002 chevy trailblazer_ltz
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Great directions

I replaced my driver's side temperature actuator today using these guidelines from KJ_SanTanValley and joee. Took me and my son about 3 hours. I expect if it weren't 95 degrees and 80% humidity here in St. Louis it would have been considerably shorter. It certainly is a simpler solution than removing the instrument panel. I think one of the keys to this is in joee's suggestion that the actuator be positioned to slide over the damper arm then rotated to line up with the screw holes. This is the most difficult part because you really cannot see to line things up and it is a trial and error process by feel. Reassembly is nice because you can run the AC and it comes out the driver's side vents! Very cool....
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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31 Posts
Still blowing warm after changing the actuator

Just changed it thanks to this great write up. Took about an hour. My driver's air is still blowing warm while the passenger's side is nice and cold.

Where else should I be looking now?
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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Just changed it thanks to this great write up. Took about an hour. My driver's air is still blowing warm while the passenger's side is nice and cold.

Where else should I be looking now?

I changed mine and the air on driver's side was warmer than the passenger.....until I recharged the system. For some reason the low refrigerant will do that...I think because the rear air and the passenger air get dibs on the cold air first. Thus driver side is warmer.


Mine is doing it again so I have a leak. Good thing it is not a daily driver, at least in the summer. We use it in the winter mostly.
 

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2002 gmc envoy_slt
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91 Posts
:D Right on! I just changed my actuator last week and I'm so glad i did. I've been using the passenger vent on myself while my wife uses the vent near the window. The driver's side vents were closed because it was blowing 75' air. It's a pain to get the actuator lined up correctly. What I did was plugged in the connector and lined them up as close as possible and placed the 2 screws in about 2 threads in, and then I turned on the ignition to on and while it the actuator was calibrating, I applied slight pressure and it fit in :woot: Woo hoo ! Nice to have cold air coming through the driver vents. I've put up with it for over a year now and thanks to all you TVers, I'm really liking fixing everything myself. She runs great and a big thanks to everyone who has contributed. :thumbsup:
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_ls
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I have a 2005 Blazer with the same problem as Royal with that metal bracket. I drilled a big ole hole to remove the actuator screws, but I couldn't remove the actuator because of that bracket. So i used a box wrench and put a long piece twine on the other end to pull the wrench to crack loose the bolts, that are driven down from the defroster vents, because the nuts were welded solid on the bracket, then used a flexible extension to completely remove the bolts. Took the bracket to work and cut out the guts, drilled out the welded nuts and used new nuts and bolts for a much easier replacement and removal.
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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New actuator, recharged, still warmer

I still have a problem with the air being warmer on the driver's side. It's tolerable, but the passenger side is MUCH colder. Is it possible I didn't line up the actuator properly when installing it? It was only a coupe of degrees off, so I opened up the aftermarket part and turned the large gear until it lined up with the part I took off. There was no blue gear in the new one as there was in the old one, so it only required slightly lifting the top gear and turning the larger one, then reinserting the top gear until the teeth mated....went right on with no problem.

Any suggestions?

UPDATED AFTER:
It's definitely getting cold...but it's taking a while longer for the driver's side to get as cold as the passengers'.
 

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2006 gmc envoy_sle
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I have a 2005 Blazer with the same problem as Royal with that metal bracket. I drilled a big ole hole to remove the actuator screws, but I couldn't remove the actuator because of that bracket. So i used a box wrench and put a long piece twine on the other end to pull the wrench to crack loose the bolts, that are driven down from the defroster vents, because the nuts were welded solid on the bracket, then used a flexible extension to completely remove the bolts. Took the bracket to work and cut out the guts, drilled out the welded nuts and used new nuts and bolts for a much easier replacement and removal.
Sure wish you could have snapped a pic of your finished fabrication on your bracket before you reinstalled it or maybe just a pic of it after installation showing the mod done to it. :D....I received my new actuator a couple days ago and I'm getting ready to try the install using the info on this thread...lots of good information but removing and modifying that bracket looks like a real pita. If I can get it done...I'll try to post any pics ...(unless I completely bugger it up)
 

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2002 chevy trailblazer_lt_ext
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Okay, the driver's side has been blowing cold since I changed the actuator and there hasn't been any problems. About a week ago, something changed though. The driver's side has stopped getting cold while the TBZ is being driven. It gets cool but, not cold. If I stop at a stop sign or red light, then driver's side immediately goes from cool to cold. As long as the TBZ is stopped, the driver's side blows cold. When I take off from the stop sign or red light, the air stops blowing cold and goes back to blowing cool. The passenger side blows cold no matter if the TBZ is being driven or stopped. Only the driver's side temperature changes.

Has anyone else experienced this?
 
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