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I have a 2006 Surburban with a full center console. I have…

I have a 2006...

I have a 2006 Surburban with a full center console. I have the same issue as many owners with the drivers side blowing hot air from time to time. I have already replaced the blend door actuator in the rear and the doors and hot / cold are working now. So my next project was to replace the drivers side actuator which is on the passenger side just off the center hub. Not being a mechanic myself, I ended up disconnecting the center console and pulling it back out of the way to get to the actuator.

Mechanic's Assistant: Have you checked the coolant level? Have you checked the hoses for leaks?

Yes, I have had the compressor and condensor replaced, hoses checked. Cooling system drained and refilled. I had fantastic AC that lasted 2 months. When it started blowing heat again, I took it back to the shop and they said I needed an AC control panel on the dash. So I put that in and the AC worked for a while but then had no heat. By the way, the old one and the new one never was able to direct the air to the defrost, feet but only to the upper vents. I have the front actuator connected and hanging down so i can see if it is moving with the hot / cold settings. Unlike the rear actuator that was totally dead, the front one is moving all the way left and right. Is it possible that when it is connected and under pressure, it fails from time to time ?

Mechanic's Assistant: What is the model of your '06 Chevy?

1500 Surburban / 2006

Mechanic's Assistant: Are you fixing your vehicle yourself? What have you tried so far?

Yes, I am doing the nasty.

Mechanic's Assistant: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?

I have pulled off most of the dash and the center console to get at everything. I will not put everything back until I am sure the problem is fixed.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
2/21/2018
Jerry Newton
Jerry Newton, Chevy Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 5,666
Experience: ASE Master Technician, L1, Master GM Technician. Over 20 years of bumper to bumper GM experience.
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Actuators are notoriously intermittent. I usually rap on the actuator with a screwdriver or something like that to see if it suddenly starts working, that's a quick way to diagnose what you think might be an actuator issue.

Don't run these actuators if they aren't connected to the blend doors, though. That ruins the actuator by letting it over travel. GM had a bulletin about this some years back, but we're expected to just know it at this point. You should never plug in an actuator unless it's attached.

From your description, I'd say you need to replace that actuator.

Jerry Newton
Jerry Newton, Chevy Technician
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 5,666
Experience: ASE Master Technician, L1, Master GM Technician. Over 20 years of bumper to bumper GM experience.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If I replace it and it does not work where should i be looking next ? This has all been a very long puzzle and I am not so sure it is over yet.

A proper diagnosis would be with a scan tool. The HVAC module commands each actuator to a certain position, and the actuators have feedback, so with a good scan tool, you can command the actuator, and then watch the voltage on the actuator to see that it's actually moving in response to the command. Rapping on it with a screwdriver is just a shortcut, because 99% of the time, this problem IS caused by a bad actuator. But if you want to pin it down the right way, a good scan tool is necessary. So, in your case, if it continues to give you trouble, you'll need to hire a mechanic to put a scan tool to it and see whether/why the actuator is doing anything right or wrong, and determine a diagnostic strategy from there.

Odds are very good that a new actuator will fix this up, though.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I had read that when the coolent system is charged and the gauges read normal, it might still not be enough to cool the drivers side. It said that this car was not designed to cool properly. What do you think ?

I have been in a lot of Suburbans in my career. They are hard to cool, particularly if you live in the desert Southwest (that's where I am from originally).

If it's charged to specification and working properly, cooling and heating will be even on both sides if that's how the controls are set. When the heater core gets restricted, it can affect heat from side to side (just a nuance of how the system is designed), and if the AC system is undercharged, I've seen one side blow cooler air than the other. But as far as design? I think it was designed properly, and when it's properly put together, it works as well as can be expected, considering the amount of real estate inside the vehicle that needs to be heated/cooled. I don't believe there is an inherent design flaw.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The other thing that I mentioned was that even after I put the new control module in the dash, it did not direct the air to the defrost or feet so do you think this is an entirely different problem and how do i fix that ?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
one more issue. I had the blower motor replaced because there was not enough air volumn. The new motor did absolutely nothing. Could there be something clogged somewhere ? the previous owner has dogs in the car and was a smoker.

That is a different problem, and there is another actuator that performs this task. The diagnosis is very similar: scan tool, and watch to see if the feedback value matches the commanded value. Mode valve actuator (that's the one that controls floor/vent/defrost) is near the accelerator pedal under the dash, you can see it easily if you crawl under there, and you should be able to tap on it and see if it responds to commands, if you don't have a scan tool. If it's not moving, I'd probably take a guess and replace that actuator, too.

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As for the air volume, yes, I've seen conditions where the AC evaporator gets clogged up with debris and restricts air volume. Air moves through the evaporator whether the AC is on or not, so if it's plugged up with dog hair, tissues, leaves, a mouse nest, etc. you're going to have a problem. You can remove the blower motor and stick your hand up in there to feel around and see if there is debris in the air box. You can see the evaporator with the blower removed.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you Gerry. You have been very helpful. They should ask us to rate you at the end and instead of after the first question. If so, I would rate you a 5 Star.

That's OK, I appreciate the positive rating anyway. That's how I get compensated.

Thank you, ***** ***** with the Suburban.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I have also read and tried the HVAC reset proceedure to have the Actuators re-learned by pulling the fuse, turning the car on for 30 sec. / shutting off the car and putting the fuse back in, starting the car and running it for a few minutes. Then turning the AC to the coldest position and then to the hottest position the re-learn it. Do you agree with this process or is there another way or is this even nesessary ? It has worked for me in the past but then the heat comes back.

It's not even necessary, the HVAC module relearns the actuators with every key cycle automatically.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Also, the mechanic that has replaced all the parts that were supposed to fix the problem each and every time keeps telling me that he has to drain the coolent system in the back of the car and fix something back there but after having spent all this money on his recommendations and still not solving the problems,I don't want him to work on this anymore.

I'm not sure what he needs to work on back there, unless he wants to replace the actuators in the rear or something like that. It seems unrelated to your problem.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
That's what I thought and I already replaced them. I will get on with my nightmare. Thanks again.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Jerry, I got under the dash and found the MODE actuator for the control of the air direction. It was un-plugged to my amazement.I plugged it back in and the directionals work perfect.So that issue is solved. I was still getting only heat on the drivers side. You had said the the actuators reset themselves but I did not find this happening. So I following this proceedure :
Turn key on, press AUTO control for A/C, turn key off,pull HVAC fuse for 1 minute, start engine and it should automatically set the temp to 74 degrees which it did. Run engine for 2 minutes. Shut off engine for 30 sec. and restart car. I now have cold air on drivers side. Now, instead of the hor air I could not change, I now have cold air that I cannot change. I had put in a new actuator and only ran it when it was connected. So does this problem still go back to the testing of the HVAC module that commands each actuator ?

The HVAC system cycles the actuators each time you turn the off, and records their limits so the module knows where full hot and full cold is. We used to have to manually relearn actuators with a scan tool, but the software engineers solved that issue for us.

Have you replaced that temp actuator, or no?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
that would be the one for the drivers side that is located on the passenger side just right of the center hub and very difficult to work on.

It's tough to guide you on this without use of a good scan tool. The technician can see the blend door values and determine whether actual = desired, check trouble codes, sweep the actuators manually to make them work..... lots of good uses for a scan tool on this.

So, yes, in a manner of speaking it comes back to testing the HVAC module, and I'd use a scan tool for that purpose, if this were in my shop.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thats what I thought. Do I have to go to a GM dealer for this or would a good A/C shop have this scan tool to troubleshoot this problem ?

Probably not an AC shop, they are good with compressors, hoses, and things like that, but not so much with electronics.

I'd say the dealer, unless you know of a independent repair shop with a great reputation for electrical issues.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Then the dealer it is !.............Do you have any idea what it would cost just to do the scans ?

In a good independent shop, probably under $100. In the dealership... could be twice that. I don't know why, except that the dealer really hits people hard on diagnosis time, but it's literally a 10 minute job for the tech, along with several thousand dollars for the tool.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Alright then. I will go that route and pray a little. Thanks again for your help.
Chris

Of course, Chris. Good luck with it. Let me know if you need me to decipher something they tell you.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hey Jerry. My Suburban has been totaly fixed at the learning expense of myself. I was on the right path with replacing the actuator that controls the drivers side temperature. To refresh this continuing e-mail, I had bought a new actuator on-line and it still was not working after tearing the center console apart to get to it and replacing it. After our conversation, I went to the dealer and paid $85.00 which was a discount from the original $125.00. They said it would cost me $1,550.00 to fix the entire A/C problem. So I went to someone in the business that I trusted and they basically told me the same as GM. I had some A/C hoses under the rear passenger wheel well that were leaking and causing pressure leaks which are more than common for the 2007. It's the movement up and down that wears out the hoses going through the small opening that they created for it. They now make an adaptor kit so you can cut back to the fresh hose and attach the new fittings which is a lot less expensive than buying the full length hoses that can cost in excess of $500.00. There also is a valve back in there that controls the pressure, so we did not have that done until we checked everything else. Fortunately, it was working well because that was another $500.00 to go back and install that. So this buggy has had a lot of different issues to deal with and now I will get back to the actuator that started this entire novel. As I told you, I replaced the actuator because the drivers side was blowing hot air. Well I was right with the actuator being the problem but in every mystery there are unexpected things that cause even more problems. The mechanic told me I put a junk actuator in and he would only use GM parts. Ok, so he said that if he used the correct manufacturer part for this, everything would work correctly. So I admitted my mistake and told him to go ahead with it.
So, come to find out that the mechanic ordered in 2 actuators and none of them worked properly within there zone temperatures. So then he is totaly purplexed as to why the settings are not working. After more research, he comes to find out that THE NUMBER OF THE PART IS TOTALY WRONG IN THE PARTS SCREEN THAT EVERYONE USES. Once the correct actuator is put in with the correct part# ***** problems go away. I don't have that # but you guided me to getting to someone who could scan my vehicles problems. Anyway, I hope someone might read this and they will be helped by my experience and expense. Please e-mail if you are having the same issues. I am not a mechanic but can share my experience.Thanks, Chris
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Sorry, my e-mail is***@******.***
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